STEM-tastic: Science-Based Programs

Explore science, engineering, zoology, and ecology in your classroom with the fun, but fact-based films in our Science-Based programs.

All programs include theatrical screening and media education.

How to book?
Book a field trip or in-school session today.
Phone: 773.281.9075 ext. 3040

How much does it cost?
Field trips: Tickets are $6 per kid for groups of 25 or more and $7 for groups under 25. Chaperones attend free of charge based on an approximate 10:1 ratio of students to chaperones—there is a $10 fee for each additional chaperone. Refreshment packages are available.

In-School sessions: Session cost is determined by class size. We charge $8 per kid for groups of 50 or more, but there is a minimum fee of $400 for groups of 50 or less. There is an additional $100 fee for each additional 20 miles from Chicago.

Film still from Observation Station program

Observation Station

Grades K–2

Go on an adventure and discover exciting things about the natural world with the curious creatures in this program.

Students will learn how to observe their world, collect information, and tell a story about it. They will discover what happens if you push or pull an object harder? Why vibrations occur? Where animals live and why they live there? Why bats use echolocation to guide their path? And so much more.

Themes: animal characteristics and habitat; observation and classification; waves (light and sound); force and motion

Films: Mimicries, Lambs, Bruno, Earth to Luna! "Echo Echo Echo", Mobile, Night of the Elephant, Bugs! Bugs! Bugs!, and Guess How Much I Love You: "Blue Wonder".

90 mins. with media education. In Japanese, English, and German with English subtitles.


Film still from Love for Learning program

Love for Learning

Grades 1–3

Plants, animals, and creatures of all sorts learn about life sciences in this fun and informative program.

In these animated and live-action short films, characters to discover new things about life sciences: How are young animals like their parents, but not exactly? How do plants and animals survive together? What is a food chain and how does it relate to an ecosystem? How many types of living things co-exist in a place?

Themes: Interdependent relationships in ecosystems; life cycles; what plants/animals need to survive; observation and classification.

Films: Lambs, A Sea Turtle Story, Ain't No Fish, Dimitri: "The Collection of Peanuts", Me...Jane, Mademoiselle Zazie: "Weird Weeds", Diary of a Fly, I Know An Animal: "Snail", and Little Wild Ones: "Autumn".

90 mins. with media education. Screened in English, French, German, and Danish with English subtitles.


Film still from The World Around Us program

The World Around Us

Grades 1–3

Introduce your students toe earth and life sciences with this program full of solution-oriented characters.

The characters in these short films explore options to solutions that are serious or silly! What happens when the environment changes and what are solutions to the problems for those impacted? Where does rain come from? What is the human impact on earth's systems, what are interdependent relationships? What are good choices to make to reduce negative impact on the environment?

Themes: Sustainability, environmental change, interdependent relationships in ecosystems, weather.

Films: Electric Car, Ain't No Fish, How Funny!, Star Stuff: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos, Frog Weather, Papiroflexia, Great Grandad's Tall Tales: "The Bear", Pig's Happiness, and Wombo.

90 mins. with media education. Screened in English, Finnish, German, and Danish with English subtitles.


Film still from Earth 101 program

Earth 101: Our Part

Grades 3–5

Join the experts in these engaging documentary shorts from around the globe in order to discover new things about environmental change.

What are some impacts of Earth's processes on humans and vice versa? How can we protect the Earth's resources and environment? How is it possible to determine availability of resources? It's easy and informative to figure out, once we know our part.

Themes: Human impacts on earth systems; sustainability; interdependent relationships in ecosystems, collecting data, predicting future resources.

Films: Ain't No Fish, Blue Honey, Nine-and-a-half: "The Sea Without Fish", Checker Can: "The Plastic Check", Collage: "Protect Our Environment", and Fighting Air Pollution.

90 mins. with media education. Screened in English, German, Cantonese, and Mandarin with English Subtitles.


Film still from Why Don't We Ride Zebras? program

Why Don't We Ride Zebras?

Grades 3–5

Discover the facts about life science in this program and explore the wonders of the natural world

From live-action television documentaries to beautifully-animated short films, come along to explore these concepts of earth and life science: Ever wonder why we ride horses and not zebras? What makes a habitat better for some animals and not others? How does a species develop?

Themes: Life cycle, traits, habitat; seasons, weather; science safety.

Films: Brain Zapped! Reason for the Seasons, How Funny!, Chickens of the Sea, Why Don't We Ride Zebras, A Sea Turtle Story, The Best Sound in The World, and Bushwhacked!: "Pygmy Croc".

90 mins. with media education. Screened in English, Finnish, and Portuguese with English subtitles.


Film still from Human Impact program

Human Impact: Our Choice

Grades 6–8

In this program, the characters and scientists look for answers to earth and life science queries.

How have increases in human population and consumption impacted Earth's systems? What interdependent relationships in the various ecosystems have been affected? What kind of experiments can measure these changes? Are there systems in place we can duplicate to measure consumption? There are solutions that can still be discovered!

Themes: Human impact on Earth's systems, climate change, global warming, resources and sustainability, deforestation, overfishing.

Films: So Many Forests, Ain't No Fish, Abiogenesis, Winter has Come, Vigia, Nine-and-a-half: "The Sea Without Fish", Blue Honey, Snow in Paradise, and Our Choice: "Climate Change".

90 mins. with media education. Screened in French, English, Swiss Italian, German, Cooke Island, and Mandarin with English subtitles.


Film still from Food Matters program

Food Matters

Grades 6–8

The animated, live-action, and documentary films in this program explore questions about science and engineering in both serious and light-hearted ways.

What effect has human impact made on the earth's resources and biosphere? What are options to engineer new products, create new materials to reduce this negative effect? What are nutritional properties of our favorite foods and where are they created? What are aspects of agribusiness that relate to negative effects on humans, animals, and nature?

Themes: Human impact, sustainability, food sources, genetically engineered food, agribusiness, human effect on biosphere.

Films: Reloaded, Let Them Grow!, Nine-and-a-half: "Faked Food", Vigia, Earth to Future, Blue Honey, and Checker Can: "Fries, Burgers, Cola".

90 mins. with media education. Screened in French, Swiss Italian, and German with English subtitles.


Film still from Engineering program

Engineering: Earth to Future

Grades 6–8

Open your students' eyes to the problems and solutions scientists and engineers are cooking up in this out-of-this-word program.

The characters, young scientists, and engineers in this collection of animated, live-action, and documentary short films look for design solutions to scientific questions: What is human impact on natural resources, how can materials be engineered to provide options for consumption? And in another documentary film, students from Brazil build their own satellite! Not only that, they travel to Japan to present their work.

Themes: Interaction between science, technology, and society; bioengineering and human impact; space exploration

Films: Primaeval Father, Earth to Future, Reloaded, Gulf, and UbatubaSat Project: A Journey of Discovery.

90 mins. with media education. Screened in nonverbal, German and Portuguese with English subtitles.


Film still from Gas Matters program

Gas Matters

Grades 6–8

The characters and scientists in this collection of animated, live-action, and documentary shorts explore the wonderful world of gas.

Our planet needs different types of gasses to exist. This program explores how important this is through various scientific practices, including data collection, visualization and analysis. Other films cover safety procedures, developing and using models, planning and conducting investigations. All exciting and important topics for budding scientists.

Themes: Investigation of properties of various gases; greenhouse effect and climate change; observing safety precautions; diagramming and data collection.

Films: What's the Go' o' That?, Atomic Energy, Discover Science: "Let's See the Speed of Sound", and Checker Can: "The Gases Check".

90 mins. with media education. Screened in English and German with English subtitles.


  • John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
  • Artworks: National Endowment for the Arts
  • Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences
  • Comer Family Foundation
  • Bloomberg Philanthropies
  • Alphawood Foundation
  • Polk Bros. Foundation