Argonne National Laboratory

Learning Laboratory
"Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself." - John Dewey, Philosopher

The Learning Lab calendar is booked for the remainder of the spring/summer session. Registration for the 2017-2018 school year will open in August, with learning labs resuming in October. Please check back then.


Argonne National Laboratory offers classrooms the opportunity to explore cutting edge science and engineering while visiting a national laboratory. Experienced instructors guide students through hands on experiments that are designed to educate participants on the major challenges Argonne scientists and engineers are currently researching and the innovative science they use to solve these challenges.

2016-2017 Learning Lab Classes


Power Up!

     Scientific Disposition: Systems Thinking

How will we meet our growing energy needs? Scientists at Argonne are tackling this huge problem by looking at the big picture and seeing how electricity generation, transmission, and use are connected. From this, they can plan and create a next-generation electricity grid. Students will have the opportunity to experience, first hand, how complex this problem is and get to weigh in on what they think is the best solution to one of society's biggest challenges.

Extreme X-Rays and Particle Accelerators

     Scientific Disposition: Inference and Visualization

Scientists control an electron beam moving at 99.999999% the speed of light inside a building larger than a baseball stadium. This produces some of the brightest x-rays on the planet. Surprisingly, this giant machine is actually used to study things that are very small. Students will learn how this incredible device works and practice the same skills that scientists use to make and utilize these extreme x-rays.


     Scientific Disposition: Computational Thinking

What do you think makes a good computer scientist? Is it fast typing skills? The ability to code for hours on end? A fast computer with a big screen? It turns out that computers are to computer scientists what telescopes are to astronomers: tools. The computer is essential for computer scientists to do their job, but without computational thinking, it is impossible to program a computer. In this learning lab, students will solve complex problems using this powerful skill just like Argonne computer scientists use their own computational thinking skills (and the world's sixth fastest supercomputer) to tackle some of science's greatest challenges.

Building a Better Battery

    Scientific Disposition: Collaboration

How do you think scientists make discoveries? Do they slave away, alone in the lab, year after year, failure after failure, until the big "Eureka!" moment? What if the problems that needed to be solved by scientists can't wait years? How do they accelerate discovery? Argonne researchers use a unique strategy called a "sprint" to develop the next generation of cheaper, more powerful batteries. These new batteries are essential if electric cars and renewable energy are going to become a widespread reality. In this learning lab, students will work in teams and use sprints, just like Argonne scientists and engineers, to quickly design and test their own batteries!

Learning Lab Logistics

  • Field trips are free to all STEM Ed organizations/schools
  • Content is geared towards 5th -12th grade students 
  • Field trips are available Monday-Thursday
  • Field trips begin at 9:30am and end at 1:00pm
  • Available from Oct. 3 2016 - June 8, 2017
  • Group size - up to 75 individuals
  • Group may bring a sack lunch, space will be provided
  • Groups are responsible for own transportation
  • All participants MUST wear long pants and closed toed shoes. 


Learning Lab Schedule

Learning Labs are offered during the following times of year:

  • Oct 3, 2016 - Dec 8, 2016
  • Jan 30, 2017 - Apr 6, 2017
  • April 17, 2017 - June 8, 2017