The St. Elmo Brady STEM Academy is an educational outreach program targeted at underrepresented fourth and fifth grade students. In this presentation Joseph Gamez, Program Director, will give a brief history of Brady STEM Academy and reflect on his experiences doing STEM outreach--particularly its impact on students and their families as well as on himself.

The stored solar thermal energy research group in the College of Engineering and at the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE) has developed a portable cookstove that stores solar energy. This stove was designed for the energy impoverished areas across the globe, and as a solution to the Global Cooking Problem. Cooking results and lessons learned from our initial test sites in the Navajo Nation, Les Cayes, Haiti, and in kitchens across Champaign-Urbana will be discussed.

How do you design simulations that use gesture interaction to support middle school students in constructing explanations of complex scientific phenomena? This is the overarching question driving the GRASP Project, an NSF-funded collaboration between the University of Illinois College of Education and the Concord Consortium. We will give an overview of development thus far and will discuss plans for expanding testing of simulations in classrooms.

Ctrl-Z is a five year old local high school robotics team drawing students from nine different schools in the greater Champaign-Urbana area. We compete in the annual First Robotics Competition, the highest division of the FIRST organization. Ctrl-Z works hard with our community to develop recognition for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).

Louise Walder has been leading a garden club at Prosperity Gardens for several summers. She is a long-time gardener and loves to see children enjoy learning and discovering the world of vegetables and herbs. She will be discussing the possible link between the classroom and healthy eating at home.

Teaching students about the nature of science is a goal set out by the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), but this goal can be a challenge to meet in the classroom. Project NEURON developed a curriculum unit on microbial ecology which opens with a lesson to help address this challenge. In the lesson, students work in groups to examine how models of the tree of life have changed throughout history. The activity supports exploration of concepts such as: new technologies advance science, science is subject to change based on new evidence, and science is a result of human endeavors.

In this informal session, staff from the Center for Education in Small Urban Communities will talk briefly about their organization, the work they do in schools, and the opportunities for collaboration with mathematics, science and technology education projects.

We have an excellent Friday lunch planned for this week, so don't let the inclement weather deter you! May Berenbaum will be joining us to speak about the BeeSpotter citizen science project and the Insect Fear Film Festival.

Barbara Hug will be joining the group to present on Project NEURON (Novel Education for Understanding Research on Neuroscience).

In this informal talk, Morten Lundsgaard and Avigail Snir will talk about their collaboration with University of Montana professor Lisa Blank on incorporating Etoys as a modeling tool in a science methods class for K-8 pre-service teachers


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