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Stories about... Champaign-Urbana Community

Wai-Tat Fu's Lab Partners with STEAM Studio To Make STEM, Spatial Reasoning Fun

February 21, 2017

Hundreds of local adults and children converged on Altgeld Hall on Saturday, January 28th for Math Carnival: Gathering for Gardner. As they participated in the numerous puzzles, games, riddles, magic tricks, and other hands-on activities, they discovered that math is more than just figures and formulas.According to Melinda Lanius, a math Ph.D. student who, along with Assistant Professor Philipp Hieronymi, organized this year’s event, “Math is play!” So numerous volunteers from Illinois’ Department of Mathematics, Illinois Geometry Lab, and Association for Women in Mathematics spent the afternoon showing members of the community that play can indeed be math—and that it’s fun.

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Melinda LaniusLots of Local Kids (and Parents) Have Fun with Math at Math Carnival: Gathering for Gardner

February 3, 2017

Hundreds of local adults and children converged on Altgeld Hall on Saturday, January 28th for Math Carnival: Gathering for Gardner. As they participated in the numerous puzzles, games, riddles, magic tricks, and other hands-on activities, they discovered that math is more than just figures and formulas.According to Melinda Lanius, a math Ph.D. student who, along with Assistant Professor Philipp Hieronymi, organized this year’s event, “Math is play!” So numerous volunteers from Illinois’ Department of Mathematics, Illinois Geometry Lab, and Association for Women in Mathematics spent the afternoon showing members of the community that play can indeed be math—and that it’s fun.

FULL STORY


Melinda LaniusMath Carnival: Gathering for Gardner to Show Kids—Math Is Play…and Fun!

“It’s flipping the switch. Every time we have this event, kids are like, ‘Wait, this counts as math?’ Because they’re having fun! – Melinda Lanius

January 20, 2017

The math folks in charge of the 2017 edition of the Math Carnival: Gathering for Gardner have one goal in mind: trying to get kids to realize that math is more than just some dry formulas memorized in school, but it’s a creative, problem-solving process that’s fun. So from 2:00-5:00 pm on Saturday, January 28th, volunteers from the Department of Mathematics, IGL (Illinois Geometry Lab), and Association for Women in Mathematics will be on hand at Altgeld Hall to get the community, especially local kindergarten through middle school youngsters, engaged and playing with math. “That’s the spirit behind this—Math is play!” says Melinda Lanius, a math Ph.D. student who, along with Assistant Professor Philipp Hieronymi, is organizing this year’s event..

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Denos' Uni High Engineering Class Designs Assistive Devices for Senior Citizens

March 14, 2016

Engineering is about more than just designing things; it’s about making a difference in people’s lives. This is one key principle Uni High Engineering teacher Sharlene Denos tries to instill in her students. So she’s always on the lookout for projects her class can do to give back to the community. Like the air maze they designed and built for the Orpheum in 2014. But they haven’t forgotten the older folks. Denos and company spent time in 2015 designing some devices that provide accessibility for senior citizens. Then in January of 2016, they presented their designs to stakeholders at Clark-Lindsey Retirement Village in Urbana, who vetted the designs and contributed constructive input on how they might be improved.

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Daniel Urban, a grad student from the School of Integrative Biology's Animal Biology DepartmentLeal Science Night Exposes Local Youngsters to STEM, Role Models

April 13, 2015

Instead of heading to the movies last Friday night, a number of local STEM students and professionals gathered at Urbana’s Leal School to share their passion for their respective fields with local students and their parents at the school’s annual Science Night. Presenting at the April 10th event were a number University student groups and staff. For example, two undergraduate student outreach groups, Physics Van and Chemistry’s REACT group, shared activities with the visitors. In addition, MechSE undergraduate student Patrick Slade was on hand to demonstrate bionic prosthetics.
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Uni Student Darren LiuUni High Engineering Class Makes Wind Maze for Orpheum Museum

January 22, 2015

"It's a real-world project: they're learning about engineering by actually being engineers." – Sharlene Denos, Uni High engineering teacher

This past summer, University Laboratory High School (Uni) teacher Sharlene Denos made a visit to Champaign's Orpheum Children's Science Museum to further cement the university's partnership with the museum. She told the interim director:

"I've got this new engineering class, and I'd really like them to do something that would benefit the community. We love the Orpheum; is there anything that we can design and build for you that would be useful for your museum?" The director promptly responded, "Yes, we really want an air maze."
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Allante Whitmore Stanley presents her Water Filtration project to teachers during the PIFSE workshop.iRISE Course Prepares Engineers for Community Outreach

July 2, 2013

Illinois graduate students who are interested in sharing their love of engineering with youngsters now have a new course at their disposal—ECE 598 EO: Community Outreach for Engineering Researchers—through which they can learn the ins and outs of outreach. Developed by iRISE (Illinois Researchers in Partnership with K–12 Science Educators), the course trains graduate students how to develop design projects then teach them to local middle school students, with the goal of creating classroom-ready teacher materials.
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Rebecca Ginsburg poses by a poster of the EJP Shakespeare class's presentation of The Tempest.Education Justice Project: Motivating Prison Scholars for Change

May 24, 2013

Every Friday evening, four or five educators car pool from campus over to the Danville Correctional Center to teach at the medium- to high-security prison for men. Part of the Education Justice Project (EJP), between 60–70 professors, graduate students, and others from a variety of disciplines volunteer their time to teach workshops on topics ranging from STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics) to Shakespeare.
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Rochelle Gutierrez interacts with a local middle school students at Noyce's iMATHS club.Noyce Scholars: Taking Student-Centered Math to High-Needs Schools

May 14, 2013

"Noyce is probably the best decision I've made professionally, and as far as my college career goes." Liz Denz

Liz Denz has wanted to teach math ever since her freshman year in high school. And Illinois' NSF-funded Noyce program, which provides scholarships for talented mathematics majors who want to become K-12 math teachers, is helping to make her and other Noyce scholars' dreams come true.
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Central HS student competes in ICTM Math ContestChampaign's Central, Centennial High Schools compete at ICTM Math Contest

May 6, 2013

High school students from across the state—more than 3,000 of them—flooded the Quad on Saturday morning. These students, representing more than 200 schools, came to Illinois for the annual state finals of the Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics (ICTM) High School Math Contest. Each team practiced their math skills throughout the year and qualified at one of 22 regional contests in order to make it to the state-wide contest.
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Rochelle Gutierrez interacts with a local middle school students at Noyce's iMATHS club.Noyce: Training Math Teachers Who Foster Equity in the K-12 Classroom

May 2, 2013

This is Rochelle Gutiérrez' hope for her Noyce scholars when they finally become K-12 math teachers: that when they look at themselves in the mirror every day, they will be able to say, "I'm doing what I wanted to do when I went into education."
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Michael Rivkin and Angela Lee compete in the Water Quality eventMarie Murphy School: A Day in the Life of an Illinois Science Olympiad Team

April 20, 2013

This reporter's foray into the behind-the-scenes world of the Illinois Science Olympiad State Tournament held on campus this past weekend happened by chance. After photographing one of the first events of the day, I stumbled onto Marie Murphy School's homeroom in Noyes Lab, where the team's coaches, 30 contestants (fifteen kids on the Varsity team, fifteen on the JV team, which does trial events), plus parents/chaperones were preparing to compete, planning out their strategy for the day, glued to computers (cramming?), or playing games to kill time.
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A mother and her son examine a display about "Creatures That Are Not Afraid of the Dark," while her daughter considers her career options.Naturally Illinois Expo Uses Hands-on Activities to Interest Students...in Science, Naturally

March 15, 2013

Pet Cecil, a real live tarantula. Dig for million-year-old fossils. Hold a gargantuan grasshopper. Experience the circus atmosphere of an exhibit showcasing Illinois river otters and pet the vivacious ringmaster's stuffed otter.

These are some of the fun things a grandfather and his three grandkids found to see and do at the Naturally Illinois Expo the weekend of March 8–9. In addition to these four visitors, the Expo attracted 1900+ more, including around 1100 students, teachers, and chaperones from 12 schools and 40 classrooms.
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A BTW kindergartener operates a drill press to drill hole in his ping-pong ball mold.BTW Kindergarteners Have a Ball Learning About Polymers, Manufacturing

March 11, 2013

Amidst lots of glitter and armed with rubber gloves and goggles, Booker T. Washington STEM Academy (BTW) kindergarten students recently had the opportunity to make superballs—and were exposed to one type of manufacturing process while doing so. Assisting Nano-CEMM Education Coordinator Joe Muskin, who used his knowledge of nanotechnology and his teaching expertise to guide the youngsters through the process, were about six University pre-service teachers and a team of Next Generation middle school students who sacrificed their day off of school to help mentor the kindergarteners.
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Bryant FritzLocal Teacher Uses Project Lead the Way to Prepare Next Generation of Engineers

February 20, 2013

"Mr. Fritz, I'm going to be an engineer!"

This is what science teacher Bryant Fritz's middle school students are telling him when they greet him in the hallway these days. For a couple of years now, Next Generation School in Champaign has been incorporating Project Lead the Way STEM curriculum as part of its science curriculum for the 6th–8th grades, and it seems to be leaving an impression.
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During the Next Generation School tour of the Ford Lab, MechSE grad student Kun Hyuck Lee (left) illustrates the type of model that can be manufactured at the lab, while fellow tour guide Matthew Mayer looks on. MechSE Gives Back to the Community

February 19, 2013

When Next Generation School science teacher Bryant Fritz needed a little help with a Project Lead the Way design and modeling unit involving computer-aided drafting (CAD) and printing 3D models, he knew just whom to call. He contacted the school's big brother to the north—the Mechanical Science and Engineering (MechSE) Department on the Engineering campus of the University of Illinois.
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Ishan MurphyAnnual Gathering for Gardner Event Celebrates Recreational Mathematics

October 30, 2012

If Captain Jack Sparrow has 100 gold doubloons, how can he distribute them amongst his ship's crew so that he keeps the largest share and still keeps the crew happy enough to avoid walking the plank himself?
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Jesse Miller performs a demonstration with hydrogen peroxide and soap.Local Scouts Discover Chemistry is Fun!

June 12, 2012

Although they had just recently gotten out of school, local Cub Scout Pack 402, as well as some area girl scouts, took time out in the midst of a fun-filled week at a Cub Scout Day Camp to do something just as fun—learn about chemistry.

Like a magician pulling rabbits out of a hat, Jesse Miller from Illinois' Department of Chemistry pulled one trick after another out of his bag of chemistry magic tricks...
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May BerenbaumFolks From Cradle to Retirement Home Connect With Nature at Pollinatarium

May 1, 2012

Imagine a lush green prairie oasis filled with wildflowers. Bees are busily buzzing. Hummingbirds are hovering. A butterfly in search of nectar gracefully floats through the air to alight upon a brightly-colored blossom. Imagine a place where, armed with butterfly nets, "city folks" longing to escape the concrete can get back to nature. Although it sounds too good to be true, it's not an imaginary place; it's Illinois' Pollinatarium, and it's just a few minutes away on the southern edge of campus.
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OLLI participant Jo Pride working in Illinois lab.OLLI Offers Mature Adults Learning and Research Opportunities

February 21, 2012

Unlike some senior adults who, after retiring from full-time jobs also retire from learning, a group of local retirees are continuing to learn—not only in the classroom—but in some more unusual places: Illinois' research labs. These seniors are participants in the OLLI Scientist Program, sponsored by Illinois' Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, more commonly referred to simply as OLLI, which is a program of learning opportunities for adults age 50 or older. These opportunities range from classes offered on campus to lab work, a lecture series, and overseas travel.
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Student using Fab Lab to create.C-U Fab Lab fosters creativity in local youth

August 30, 2010

A local young Tom-Edison-in-the-making with an inclination toward invention needs to look no further than the Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab. Located on the University of Illinois campus, this fabrication laboratory contains state-of-the-art, computer-controlled manufacturing tools designed to foster creativity and innovation in local inventors, both young and old. Would-be inventors can dream up a design, create it on a computer via easy-to-use design software, then use lab tools to create it. Another key feature is the Fab Lab network, an online community which allows local Lab users to present their problems and get advice from Fab Lab users around the world.
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Orpheum Children's MuseumGSLIS Fellow Meadow Jones promotes informal science education at Orpheum Children’s Science Museum

Meadow Jones, a GSLIS Fellow in Community Informatics who is interested in informal science education and the role of museums in supporting and enhancing science education, organized a series of events at the Orpheum Children's Science Museum in summer 2009 that featured a mystery mural: Dino Detective Days. Jones’ goal was “To facilitate scientific thinking through innovative and creative programming.”
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Honeybee (Apis mellifera) collecting pollen.Illinois’ Pollinatarium, a Discovery Science Center, is abuzz about pollination

October 23, 2009

Illinois’ new Pollinatarium is the first free-standing Discovery Science Center in the nation devoted to flowering plants and their pollinators.
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