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Teen Opportunities

A group of Adler Teens posing outside of the Adler and in front of the Chicago skyline.

At the Adler, we believe in the natural curiosity and visionary leadership of Chicago’s youth and strive to create a welcoming space for personal growth and scientific experimentation. Adler Teen Programs provide opportunities for young people to engage deeply with STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), prepare for a variety of careers, act as community thinkers and change-makers, and meet peers from across the city all while having fun! Sign up for our email list!

Teen Program Offerings

Operation Airlift

At this design-engineering competition, middle and high school teams will compete with each other to design and build the best possible remotely-controlled airship with peers, adult volunteers, and Adler Planetarium staff.

  • One Saturday in December
  • Students enrolled in middle and high school
  • 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Team Stratonauts

Whether it’s recovering meteorite fragments from the bottom of Lake Michigan or pioneering a cutting-edge urban light pollution study, in Team Stratonauts teens design and build experiments, develop solutions to authentic engineering challenges, and present their work to the general public and members of research communities.

  • October – January
  • Teens 14-18 years old
  • 16 weeks
  • Saturdays, 12:00-4:00 pm
  • Participants receive a stipend and travel support
Hangouts - Now Enrolling!

Hangouts is an event series for Chicago teens. We explore young adult professional development, STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, math), and we socialize. We ask questions about the Cosmos that make us say wow while addressing the pressures and ambiguities that are facing teens now.

  • October- June
  • Teens ages 14-19
  • Monthly
  • Participants receive transportation support

Hangouts are free with an RSVP!

If you have any questions or would like to RSVP a group, please email fsowe@adlerplanetarium.org.

Astro-Science Workshop

Astro-Science Workshop (ASW) at the Adler Planetarium is a fun, intensive program about space exploration designed for Chicagoland high school students.

  • Summer
  • Teens ages 14-18
  • 3-4 weeks
  • Monday – Friday, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
  • Participants receive a stipend and transportation support
Youth Organization for Lights Out (YOLO)

This program, based at Little Village Lawndale High School, focuses on light pollution through an environmental justice lens. Teens explore light pollution in their neighborhood and in dark sky sites including the Middle Fork River Forest Preserve and Indiana Dunes National Park.

  • October-December
  • Students enrolled at Little Village Lawndale High School
  • 3 months (twice a week)
  • Tuesdays and Thursdays 4:00-6:00 pm
  • Participants receive a stipend and transportation support
Youth Leadership Council

Council members bring youth voice to the planetarium as they design programs for peers and work with Adler staff to create an institution that is welcoming to Chicago’s young people.

  • October-June
  • Teens ages 14-18
  • 9 months (weekly)
  • Saturdays 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
  • Participants receive a stipend and transportation support
Summer Internship

Summer Internship: Looking for a summer job that will be challenging, fun, and eye-opening? The Adler’s Teen Internship Program places current high school students in professional museum roles, from facilitating fun science experiences for visitors to engineering solutions for underwater meteorite recovery!

  • June – August
  • Teens enrolled in high school during the school year prior to the internship
  • 8 weeks
  • Monday – Friday 10:00 am – 4:00 pm (exact times may vary)
  • Selected interns are paid part-time Adler employees and receive transportation support

The Aquarius Project

In the wee hours of a Monday morning in February of last year, a giant green fireball erupted over Lake Michigan. That fireball was a meteor breaking up in the atmosphere, and the pieces of that meteor are now sitting almost 200 feet below the surface of the lake. In the coming months, an unlikely scientific search-and-rescue team will pile onto a boat, sail out to the crash site, and attempt to retrieve these meteorites.

Learn More

The Adler Planetarium is grateful to the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, the Barker Welfare Foundation, Baxter, The Dover Foundation, Hive Chicago Fund for Connected Learning at The Chicago Community Trust, The Leo S. Guthman Fund, the Pritzker Foundation, S&C Electric Company Foundation, The Siragusa Foundation, and Wells Fargo for supporting teen opportunities.


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