Fostering Tomorrow's Innovators since 2009

The Baxter Box Program

Our goal is to advance equity in STEM education by increasing access to authentic science experiences for students. We do this by providing resources to teachers at Cook and Lake County public schools that serve students in grades 6-12, specifically those that have been historically under-represented in STEM, such as communities with high Black, Indigenous and other People of Color (BIPOC) and low income populations.

The Baxter Box program is a way for teachers to borrow materials and equipment for biology and biotechnology labs for FREE! Workshop participation is highly recommended but not required.

Interested in bringing a Baxter Box to your classroom? Just put in a request to reserve a Baxter Box on our website and we will be happy to deliver and pick up materials. Please note that requests need to be confirmed. Training for Baxter Box labs are available through our professional learning workshops as well as our online resource hub.

Questions? Contact

The Baxter Box Program will not be delivering or picking up supplies from April 12 through April 22 as we prepare and host the Baxter Symposium.
  • There is power in sharing! We encourage teachers to share tips/tricks, lesson plans, etc.
  • Our materials have traveled all across Chicagoland! It is important that we remember these resources are shared and often given to another classroom quickly after you are done with them. We appreciate everyone taking care of these supplies so we can reach more classrooms together!
  • We want this to be a fun experience for you and your students! To do that, please let us know how you envision bringing your Baxter Box to your classroom so that we provide everything you need to successfully implement a lab. No detail is too much - we encourage over communication!
  • Lab Newbie: Just dipping your toes into the biotech lab water? The Baxter Center is able to provide lab guides, tips, tricks, and even come into the classroom to support. We often recommend starting with basics like learning pipetting technique.
  • Workshop Attendee: A great way to try out the lab and think through what it would look like in your own classroom is to come to one of our workshops first! We will run the lab together, talk through the science and implementation.
  • Lab Pro: Some teachers have experience with these types of labs from previous education, research, or work experience. They still have access to our shared resource hub for lab guides and previous workshops.
  • Veteran: Many teachers that have tried out these labs have incorporated them into their annual curriculum, schedule, and budget. By building up your own inventory of lab equipment over time, or receiving a grant to purchase equipment, you can help keep this program sustainable as we reach more teachers and students!
Planning my Baxter Box
    • We encourage teachers to attend our free workshops to test out and learn about our lab activities. We understand that not every lab will be covered so we highly encourage you to take a look at the teacher manuals or work with us to see what labs and equipment will work best for your students.
    • For typical reservations of 1-4 kits, we ask that you reserve materials at least two weeks in advance. For larger requests, please email us so we can discuss your idea and see what is possible. If you aren't able to reserve materials two weeks in advance, you can always email us and we will try our best!
    • Yes! The Baxter Center provides free professional development workshops for Chicago area educators to test out Baxter Box activities. Can’t make it? Email us and we’d be happy to provide resources and space to learn more about our labs.
    • Workshop participation is highly recommended but not required.
    • Please reach out to us! We have a community of amazing teachers who have brought these labs to their middle school classroom and have some fun tips and tricks you would be interested in.
    • We typically purchase labs through third party vendors such as Bio-Rad, miniPCR bio, Carolina, Edvotek. They provide some amazing materials! Our goal is to provide you materials for free with supplemental support.
    • The Baxter Center team is happy to drop off and pick up materials directly from your school! When you make a reservation, the website requires you to choose a Monday or Friday for delivery and/or pick up. We will reach out to you to confirm the exact day of delivery/pick up ahead of time. We most often leave supplies at the main office/security.
    • Yes! We understand that a great deal of work goes into running a lab activity with your students. That is why we are available to support our educators through the process. We can help...
      • Plan the activity.
      • Scaffold the materials and concepts for your students.
      • Figure out what materials you need and how to prepare them.
      • Run the lab as your assistant.
      • Troubleshoot on the fly.
      • Dispose properly of materials.
    • We love working with you and your students! To make the most of this experiment, we hope that you will run the lab activity and we’ll be a background support.
Baxter Box Care
    • Some items are temperature sensitive! Please be on the lookout for consumables that should be stored in a fridge or freezer. Typically these are provided in our Baxter Center cooler lunch bags with an ice pack.
    • No worries! We understand that accidents can happen, just please leave a note on the equipment impacted and give us a heads up over email.
    • Please pack it up as you found it! You could help us and other teachers in the following ways
    • Throw away any gels in the trash, wipe dry all of the components from your electrophoresis systems.
    • Place the pipettes back in the boxes. If any were twisted out of range, please leave a note and let us know!
    • Return any unused consumables unless you have an immediate need for them.
    • Please return all pipette tip boxes, even if empty! We will refill them for the next teacher.
    • Please pack up the microliter madness kits (silicone gels, practice cards, template sheets, food coloring containers, petri dishes). You can return your used tips (food coloring only) in the provided bag. Do not put used tips back into the tip boxes.
    • Most used pipette tips, centrifuge tubes, paper towels can be disposed of in the trash, however please reference the vendors safety data sheets typically found on their website. Labs that involve bacteria require a bleach bath for all materials that come in contact with bacteria.
    • Pipette tips that were ONLY used for pipetting food coloring + water, when learning to pipette, can be returned to us for re-use. Please put them in a labeled ziploc bag, not in the pipette tips boxes.
Scope & Guidelines