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Stories about...K–12 STEM Outreach

(Note: Web articles are organized in descending order from the newest to the oldest articles.)

ACES Family Academies Shows Youngsters: "It's Not Your Parents'
(or Your Grandparents') ACES Anymore!"

July 19, 2017

“To be able to tell our story, I think that's what's so important—so people can see all of these opportunities and see what ACES is today.” – ACES Family Academies Director, Tina Veal

They came from near and far, back to their Alma Mater…back to ACES, where they got prepared for their careers and for life. The trip was nostalgic—visiting old haunts, reminiscing, and marveling at the many changes on campus. But as they returned with their children (or grandchildren) in tow, they had a greater purpose: to introduce the next generation to the center of learning that helped to make them who they are today, to bond with them while doing a variety of fun learning activities, and to possibly do a little recruiting to Illinois.
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EOH Visitors Discover that Engineering is Fun, Exciting, and Can Change the World

March 27, 2017

Making the pilgrimage to Illinois to take part in Illuminate New Horizons, the 2017 edition of Engineering Open House (EOH) were thousands of visitors, young and old, including mumerous classes on field trips, and lots of families. During the event, held on March 10–11, visitors encountered some of the many faces of engineering, ranging from current engineering students from all across campus, to alumni, who were excited to come back to their alma mater to show visitors some of the exciting projects they’re currently involved in, and possibly do some recruiting. It was clear that exhibitors hoped to engage visitors in their demonstrations and exhibits, many of which included interesting hands-on activities, to show them not only the breadth of the field of engineering, but that it’s fun and exciting, and that engineers can change the world.
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NGS Middle Schoolers Build Bridges, Experience Engineering During EOH Design Contest

March 23, 2017

It had all come down to this. It was crunch time—figuratively, and possibly literally, if their bridge built as part of the Engineering Open House (EOH) Middle School Design Contest collapsed while being tested. For weeks, three teams of eighth graders from Next Generation School (NGS) in Champaign had been designing bridges—building their prototypes, testing them, working out any kinks. Finally, Saturday, March 11th, the day of the contest, had arrived. With their fingers crossed, each team eagerly watched Illinois engineering students attach a bucket to their bridge then slowly fill it with sand. The idea was to see how much sand could be added before their bridge buckled. And whether they won an award or not, they’d learned a lot: about teamwork; about the engineering process; and what being a Civil Engineer might be like.
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EOS Contest Exposes Local Kids to EOH, Engineering

March 21, 2017

“Hail to the Orange, Hail to the Roof!” This was emblazoned in bright orange on the front of the blue t-shirts more than 200 local 1st, 3rd, and 4th grade students wore as they invaded Engineering Open House (EOH) on Friday, March 10. They showed up to participate in the Engineering Outreach Society (EOS) engineering contest. Their main goal? To determine how well the house their team had constructed—particularly the roof—would stand up to the test: an avalanche of “hail” stones...
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REACT: Recruiting Tomorrow's Chemists Today Via Fun, Hands-On Activities

March 17, 2017

If you happen to visit a local 2nd, 3rd, or 4th grade classroom and find the students doing an engaging, hands-on activity about chemistry, it’s probably being led by members of REACT (Reaching and Educating America's Chemists of Tomorrow). Chemistry's student outreach group, which specializes in engaging hands-on activities and demonstrations, can be found in local classrooms, school STEM nights, and other community outreach events, showing learners of all ages that Chemistry is fun and exciting.
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two girls play with oobleckBarkstall STEM Night Exposes Students and Their Families to Fun Science and Engineering

March 15, 2017

A large number of Barkstall Elementary School students, along with their parents and siblings, ended up back at school on Thursday evening, February 23rd to take part in the school’s Science Fair/STEM Night. In addition to viewing science fair project posters made by Barkstall students, participants took part in a number of fun, STEM-related hands-on activities and demonstrations presented by Barkstall folks, as well as University of Illinois students, including some from the Physics Van and REACT outreach groups.

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At the 2017 NGS Science & Engineering Fair, Every Student Is a Winner!

March 6, 2017

Friday, February 17th, 2017 wasn’t just any day at Next Generation School in Champaign; it was the day of the much-anticipated 2017 Science & Engineering Fair. And just as in previous years, it wasn’t a competition— no individual student or team won a ribbon or prize for having the best project. All the students were winners: they designed and completed a research project, learned the scientific or engineering method, and prepared a poster. Then, after working on their project for weeks, students finally got to present them to community experts, many from the University of Illinois, who provided not only positive comments about what students had done well, but ways they needed to improve, and even suggestions regarding further research they might do in the future.

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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 LaniusNext Generation Preschool's Grazi Murad Imparts Love of Science, Animals to Students

January 30, 2017

Practically the first thing one sees upon entering Next Generation School’s Preschool is an intriguing, glass-enclosed structure—science teacher Grazi Murad’s classroom. When one ventures into the room, replete with exhibits, butterfly-filled cases, and animals in enclosures that simulate the different habitats the animals are from, her love of animals—and her students—is quite apparent. That her students love her and her hands-on style of teaching science is also readily apparent. The kids not only get to look at and hear about the eclectic range of animal friends in Murad’s menagerie, they get to meet them face to face—animals like Lizzy the Leopard Gecko, Gizmo the Bunny, Arnaldo the Chinese Water Dragon, and Bridget the Fire Corn Snake. They even get to touch them…if they’re brave enough.

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Outreach About Aerospace Engineering Takes Off With Support from Illini Aerospace Outreach

December 6, 2016

As its name implies, Illini Aerospace Outreach (IAO) is all about Illinois Aerospace students sharing their love of aerospace engineering with local students. IAO’s goal? To pique students’ interest in aerospace—or STEM in general.While IAO members do numerous outreach events themselves, the organization also serves as the main point of contact for organizations and schools seeking outreach from one of Aerospace Engineering’s numerous RSOs (Registered Student Organizations).
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Local K–5 Students Learn about DNA and Genomic Research at IGB's Genome Day

November 30, 2016

Around 500 visitors, both young and old, spent their Saturday afternoon on November 12th at Genome Day, learning more about DNA and genes. Sponsored by the Institute for Genomic Biology (IGB), the event featured fun, engaging, hands-on activities taught by 120+ Illinois students, staff, and researchers associated with IGB who were on hand at the Orpheum Children’s Science Museum, where they shared their passion for genomics and introduced the visitors to the world of IGB's research.
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LaViers' RAD Lab Uses Robots/Dance to Study Movement, Provide Automation

September 8, 2016

Surrounded by a crowd of laughing, cheering GAMES campers, NAO, an adorable little white and red robot, strutted its stuff, doing the moves the girls had choreographed and which it had been programmed to do. Then, like a chorus line, the team of high schoolers who had developed the routine lined up behind NAO and performed it along with the robot, amid gales of laughter.

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Students/Alumni Promote Engineering at Illinois During EOS 2016

April 15, 2016

Thousands of guests of all ages flocked to campus on March 11–12, 2016, to attend “The STEM of Innovation,” the College of Engineering’s 96th annual Engineering Open House (EOH). Among them were students from local schools on field trips, including some who showed up as guests of campus student groups, like WIE (Women in Engineering) and EOS (Engineering Outreach Society). Illinois engineering students had done projects with them earlier in the semester then brought them to EOH as a culminating event. Even some former students showed up representing their current companies, like Ford, to try to lure youngsters into engineering…or to entice current engineering students into their company. And of course, lots of Illinois engineering students showed up to strut their stuff.

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POETS Seeks to Change the Attitudes, Shape of Students in the STEM Pipeline

March 18, 2016

Andrew Alleyne, PI of the NSF-funded Center for Power Optimization of Electro-Thermal System (POETS), says the Center’s educational components are “all hypothetical at this point” and just “plans in people’s heads.” However, his plans and those of POETS’ Co-Directors of Education, Fouad Abd-el-Khalick (K-12 students) and Phil Klein (undergraduate/ graduate students), and Education Coordinator Joe Muskin appear to be well thought out and seek to strategically strengthen the education of targeted populations along the STEM pipeline.

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Vet Med student Katelyn Bagg2015 Vet Med Open House Offers Visitors Hands-On Learning Opportunities

October 7, 2015

The thousands of visitors of all ages who attended the 2015 Vet Med open house on Sunday, October 4, found plenty to see and do tailored to their specific interests. For instance, pet owners got tips on how to train Rover or care for Fluffy. Folks hankering for the good ole’ days learned practical skills: how to milk a cow or a goat, or sheer a sheep. Parents who needed to get the kids out of the house found a plethora of educational yet entertaining activities, ranging from...

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Local youngster and his motherEngineering Open House 2015 Looks to the Future

April 6, 2015

The thousands of guests who visited campus on March 13–14, 2015, to attend “The Future Starts Here," the College of Engineering’s 95th annual Engineering Open House (EOH), were not only exposed to the many facets of engineering. Staffing the numerous exhibits were eager engineering students on hand to suggest to visitors that engineering at Illinois, and/or some of the technology being presented, could be in their future.
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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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Rheology Zoo DemoOpen House Showcases MechSE for Prospective and Current Students

October 23, 2014

On Friday, October 17, 2014, Illinois’ Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering (MechSE) held its 3rd MechSE High School Visit Day/Open House so prospective high school students, plus new MechSE students (both freshmen and transfers), and their family members, could discover what Mechanical Engineering at Illinois is all about.

Sort of a mini-EOH (Engineering Open House), the event, held at the Mechanical Engineering Lab (MEL) gave visitors the chance to visit exhibits and lab demonstrations that showcase some of the exciting things that go on in the department, as well as meet some MechSE students, staff, and even some faculty.
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Memory Metal to Oobleck: NanoDays Makes Learning About Nanoscience Fun

April 10, 2014

Last weekend, 22 6th–8th grade students from Next Generation School (NGS) participated in NanoDays, a program offering unique hands-on learning experiences about nanoscale science. The two-day event was held at the Champaign Public Library on Friday, April 4th, and the Orpheum Children's Science Museum on Saturday, April 5th. The role of NGS students was to demonstrate to NanoDays visitors the unique properties of nanoscale materials...
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Katie Brown does a hands-on activity with youngsters at Prairie Elementary during a recent after-school activity.NutrImpact: Encouraging Children (and Adults) to Choose Healthy Foods

March 17, 2014

During her time at Illinois, Lisa Shkoda, who recently graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Food Science and Nutrition, decided "the community needs nutrition education." So she founded NutrImpact.
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Engineering Students Enjoy Exposing Visitors to STEM During EOH 2014

March 14, 2014

Among the thousands of folks who made the pilgrimage to the Illinois campus to attend "Transform Your World," the 94th annual Engineering Open House (EOH) on March 14 and 15, 2014, were a couple of Springfield, Illinois mothers who wanted to give their sons a little extra exposure to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).
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Tina Huang exhibits a flask she "turned silver" by shaking the contents together.Holiday Magic Show Helps Make the Season Merry and Bright

December 18, 2013

Area folks who attended this year's edition of the Holiday Magic Chemistry Demonstration Show discovered that learning about chemistry can not only be fun, but festive, a little loud, and quite bright. In fact, enjoying themselves as much as the rest of the audience were a couple of firemen—invited, no doubt, because of the pyrotechnic nature of many of the demos (and the slightly pyromaniacal tendencies of the performers).
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A local youngster and Illinois grad student Lorna Rios stand in front of a green screen to "dance with plants."IGB's Genome Day Exposes Visitors to Genomic Research

November 13, 2013

From watching themselves dance with plants on a video screen, to using a ProScope to examine coral and fossils, to measuring the temperature of a "Yellowstone National Park hot spring," around 500 area youngsters (and their parents) who attended Genome Day on Saturday, November 2, 2013, got to learn a whole lot about genomics.
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Vet Med student interacts with a young visitor to the Large Animal Emergency Rescue station during the fall 2013 Open House.Vet Med Open House Appeals to Young and Old Alike

October 9, 2013

It appears that McDonald's no longer has a monopoly on the marketing strategy that has made the fast-food chain practically a household word. The Vet Med Open House seems to have stumbled upon their secret: "Get 'em when they're young." Like most campus open houses, it's designed to acquaint the public with what their unit does and to recruit students to Illinois…with one notable exception. Instead of targeting mostly high school students and adults, the outreach also appeals to youngsters...of all ages.
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Kevin WolzChancellor's Fellow Wolz Hopes to Revolutionize Agriculture Via
Woody Perennial Polyculture

September 6, 2013

Around 150 guests, including some local farmers, who visited the Woody Perennial Polyculture Research (WPPR) site on Thursday, September 5th, did more than tour the gardens, taste the raspberries, and sample the "home-grown" food. As part of the WPPR Field Day, Kevin Wolz's Chancellor's Public Engagement project, visitors to the South Lincoln plots learned about his system, which he is proposing as an alternative to corn and soybeans.
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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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Two contestants competing in the 4-H Robotics Competition4-H Robotics: Working to Make a STEM Career Down the Line Automatic

May 13, 2013

"My whole goal in this is to get more kids in STEM," 4-H Educator Bob Smith unashamedly acknowledges. In charge of 4-H Robotics for the state of Illinois, Smith provides training, expertise, and curricula for county-level 4-H club leaders and also oversees 4-H's state-wide robotics competition.
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4H robotics club member competes at Robotics Competition4-H Exposes Youth to STEM Via Informal Education

May 7, 2013

Fifty years ago, 4-H used to be synonymous with youngsters competing to see who could raise the largest pig or bake the tastiest pie for the county fair. No longer your father's 4-H (or your mother's), some of the youth-development organization's clubs today are devoted entirely to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and have 20th Century topics, such as geospacial technology, video film-making, computer science, wind power, and even robotics.
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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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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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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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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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Science Olympiad National Tournament turns K-12 students' attention to STEM

May 11, 2010

Around 3000 STEM-inclined middle- and high-school students from around the country converged on the Illinois campus May 21–22, 2010 to participate in the National Science Olympiad Tournament.
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Bugscope gives area students personal look at insects

The Bugscope project provides free interactive access to a scanning electron microscope (SEM) so that students anywhere in the world can explore the microscopic world of insects.
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GSLIS Fellow Meadow Jones Promotes Informal Science Education at Orpheum

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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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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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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