Argonne National Laboratory

To ensure a successful field trip, we have developed a teacher checklist to help you plan appropriately for your trip.  Argonne National Laboratories is a gated facility and requires additional steps compared to more traditional field trip locations.

Pre-Trip Preparation

  • Plan to arrive at the lab by 9:45 am and depart after lunch around 1:00 pm.  Adjustments can be made to these times in advance.
  • Tell all adults and students that are age 16 and older to bring a photo ID.  Students can use their school ID. This includes all drivers.
  • Plan for at least two chaperones (teachers or parent) supervising the fieldtrip. For groups over 20 students, add a chaperone at the ratio of 1 chaperone to 14 students. A dedicated chaperone must accompany any special needs child throughout the fieldtrip and should not be counted toward the general student population.
  • Give the driver Argonne National Laboratory 9700 South Cass Ave, Lemont, IL 60439 as the official address. You will need to enter through the main gate at Cass Ave/Northgate Road.  GPS might steer you towards South Gate (off of Lemont Road). You will not be able to enter via that gate.
  • If staying for lunch, plan to have students bring a lunch and a beverage. You should have a means to keep these items cool in warm weather.
  • Please pre-divide your class and chaperones into three subgroups.  Each group will be moved into three different rooms. Please make sure to distribute your chaperones to ensure a successful experience.
  • Please budget for 10 to 15 mins. at the security gate.
  • Before you depart from school, check that the weather conditions or other factors for timely arrival are on track. If there is an emergency or the group is running late. Please call Shari Knight at 630-252-4114.

Arrive at Argonne Visitors Center (10 – 15 mins)

  • When you arrive at the Cass Ave entrance, turn onto Northgate Road and proceed 1/2 mile to the Argonne Visitor Center -224. Larger vehicles should pull off on the shoulder just before the turn-in to the Visitor Center and activate flasher lights. Smaller vehicles may enter and park in the parking lot.
  • All adults and those age 16 and over must enter Building 224 and present a photo or school ID.  Those folks will be given a gate pass and the teacher will get directions to building 360.
  • When all have returned to the bus, proceed to the guard post. All adults must present their photo ID with their issued pass to the guard. Your vehicle may be searched.
  • Once cleared by the guard, proceed to Building 360- about one mile.  Unload your vehicle near the West 360 Lobby. A facilitator will welcome your group, talk about safety, and briefly talk about the laboratory’s mission, and the history of the Building 360 area.
  • Buses are free to park at the back end of the parking lot of building 360.

Lab Participation (140 minutes)

  • Your group will move to a plenary space where the lab facilitators will set the stage for a mission-based problem or themed activity suite to be studied. One goal is for students to develop next-generation science skills, some of the same skills that Argonne scientists and engineers use in their work.
  • Your group will be subdivided. Each subgroup will move to a different activity station and complete their assigned task(s) under the direction of a facilitator.  It’s important that one or more chaperones accompany each group and actively monitor and assist the students as much as possible.
  • Depending on the lab, the subgroups may rotate to a second station, and perhaps a third station. At some point all the groups will reassemble to report and share their findings and insights with the whole group, and/or do some type of culminating activity together.  The facilitators will discuss aspects of the Post-Lab component of your visit before everyone departs the building.

Lunch at the Cafeteria (30 minutes)

After the lab activities conclude, your group will board your bus or vehicle.  You have the option to stop at the Argonne Cafeteria for lunch. For the sake of time and order, students are not allowed to purchase food or beverages.  When you enter the cafeteria, washrooms will be available on your left and lunch tables (labeled “Reserved for Learning Labs”) will be available on your right (the north end of the cafeteria). Students must use “inside voices”, be seated- not roam, and be on their best behavior – generally be respectful and “blend into” the atmosphere within the cafeteria. (Students will share the cafeteria with the Argonne Employees.) Chaperones must monitor and guide students at this time. When finished eating, everyone must clean-up their space and put all trash in nearby containers. Collect all personal items. Students may use the washroom a final time before boarding the bus.  Board the bus or vehicle.  Make a final count and head back through the main gate for departure. Gate passes do not need to be shown or returned to the guard during normal hours - 7:00 am – 6:00 pm.