Tours & field trips

Three young people interact with a small device at a lab bench

The Koch Institute is committed to fostering an interest in science and engineering in young people. As part of this mission, we invite groups of middle and high school students to visit our facilities, meet researchers who work every day to solve the complex problems of cancer, and learn interactively about the science and technology of cancer research at MIT.

Spring 2022 update: The Koch Institute is now hosting in-person visits for vaccinated groups, consistent with MIT policy. All programs are subject to researcher/facilitator availability and current safety protocols. We continue to offer free online programming via Zoom for interested groups, including virtual lab tours, demonstrations, presentations, and career panels.

Our Programs 

Programs are offered free of charge to public school groups, local non-profit community organizations, organizations with a history or mission of serving populations underrepresented in STEM, and groups with significant financial need. Program fees cover staff time, volunteer appreciation, and supplies. 

To book a visit, review the information below and email kigalleries@mit.edu with your preferred visit date, number and grade level of students, and desired activities. Virtual visits are also available. 

Koch Institute outreach programs last anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the activities chosen and are generally open to groups of up to 10-50 students at a time. The standard program for middle and high school students begins with an introductory discussion "What is Cancer?" and can be customized to include: 

Tours and talks

  • Guided tours of the educational exhibits in the Koch Institute Public Galleries 
  • Tours of Koch Institute laboratories led by cancer researchers (for students ages 12 and older, subject to researcher availability) 
  • Facility floor tour featuring research highlights from selected laboratories (available when lab tours are not available) 
  • Presentations by Koch Institute graduate students, technicians, postdocs, and undergrads (subject to researcher availability) 
  • Career panel/discussion with Koch Institute graduate students, technicians, postdocs, and undergrads (high school students and older, subject to researcher availability) 
  • Exploration of the five focus areas of cancer research at MIT  
  • Informal conversation with a Koch Institute researcher (subject to researcher availability) 

Hands-on activities 

  • How can seaweed help treat cancer? (alginate beads & targeted drug delivery) - all ages
  • The Fault in our Cells (exploring tumor heterogeneity & chemotherapy resistance) - best suited for high school students (learn more)
  • What does cancer look like? (examining cancer cells under a microscope) - all ages
  • What does a cell weigh? (exploring engineering and math) - best suited for middle school students

In addition to these customizable programs, we also offer the following packages: 

  • Cancer research mini-course (What is cancer? What does it look like? How do we treat it?) - middle & high school 
  • Cancer research sampler program - Meet a cancer researcher and take a tour of the KI Public Galleries - subject to researcher availability 
  • Kinesthetic re-enactments of cutting-edge cancer treatments - ideal for larger groups, weather permitting (see example
  • Elementary program (microscope slides/strawberry DNA & alginate beads) - especially for students in grades 4-5 
  • Self-guided visit of the Koch Institute Public Galleries (email kigalleries@mit.edu to request our student activity guide) 

Standard pricing is as follows: 

Program Length Participants Service Charge
Standard program (choose from activities above, note age limit on laboratory tours)
60-90 minutes up to 25 $150
  1-5 additional
(max 30)
$25
Tour of the Koch Institute Public Galleries & conversation with a cancer researcher
45-60 minutes up to 20 $100
  1-5 additional
(max 25)
$15
Cancer Research Short Course
1.5-2 hours up to 25 $200
  1-5 additional
(max 30)
$25
Workshop for grades 4-5
45-60 minutes up to 25 $100
  1-5 additional
(max 30)
$25
Self-guided visit of the KI Public Galleries
30-45 minutes up to 25 no charge

Programs are offered free of charge to public school groups, local non-profit community organizations, organizations with a history of serving populations underrepresented in STEM. We also offer discounts to groups with demonstrable financial need (Title 1, free/reduced lunch, etc.). To take advantage of these reduced rates, send an email to kigalleries@mit.edu with a description of the group, the need, and how the visit fits in with the organization's mission and/or curriculum. All requests will be confidentially reviewed and you will be notified of the appropriate charge for your visit.  

Other Logistics 

Reservations must be made at least two weeks in advance. Spring and summer are our busiest seasons, so please reach out early. Program hours are typically Monday through Friday, 9:00am – 5:00pm. We are closed on all MIT holidays. All groups must be accompanied by chaperones (see ratios below) that must stay with the group during the entire visit. 

  • Grades 4-8: 1 chaperone for every 8 students 
  • Grades 9-12: 1 chaperone for every 10 students 
  • College: 1 chaperone per group or 1 for every 12 students if touring a lab 

Visits to the Koch Institute can be paired with other outreach activities at MIT. Coordination across programs should be managed by the visiting group leader.