Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM)

4-H is the youth outreach program of the University of Illinois. Implemented through a network of land-grant universities in every state, 4-H is the largest youth development program in the country. This presentation will share how 4-H is seeking to fill the current gap in preparing youth for STEAM careers and the 21st century workplace.


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.


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).


Dr. Mary Kalantzis has served as the Dean of the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign since 2006.

On October 16th, Dr. Mary Kalantzis will discuss multi-modalities in STEM teaching and learning and the affordances of new technologies.


Alvarez Dixon, Extension Educator for Champaign and Vermillion Counties, will discuss his outreach work in STEM education and local Special Interest Clubs (SPIN), including the Teens as Teachers program which helps young people in the early high school years work with middle school-age youth as mentors in STEM topics. Bob Smith, also from 4-H, will share information on statewide SPIN clubs in robotics and other technologies, including computer science.


Brenda Pacey, University of Illinois Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Affiliate Director, provides brief history of the growth of PLTW high school, middle school, elementary STEM curriculum program implementations across the state  - from 12 high schools in 2004-05 to over 200 K-12 schools and 35,000 students in 2014-15. Join us for reflections and observations about the impact of PLTW STEM participation on students.


Maya Israel (Special Education, College of Education, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) gives a MSTE Friday Lunch talk titled "Engaging struggling learners and students with disabilities in STEM learning".


Ray Price will be speaking to us about Illinois Foundry for Innovation in Engineering Education (iFoundry). Ray will describe iFoundry as a curriculum incubator and will explore the activities (both successes and failures).  He will discuss the current areas of emphasis and the potential future opportunities. 


Most people know that engineers make things, and "making things" is one of the most inherently creative tasks imaginable. Yet often, those with enhanced logical abilities are told to pursue STEM and those with enhanced creative abilities are told to pursue arts. We will explore the value of presenting STEM disciplines as "inherently creative vehicles for social good' in order to broaden the appeal of STEM disciplines and encourage diversity.


We present several studies conducted in our lab that shed light on what students attend to when performing cognitive tasks in physics. The studies, drawing from a variety of methodologies from the learning sciences, aim to understand the obstacles to, and factors facilitating, competent performance.  The findings from some of the studies debunk biases/hunches that many physics professors have about what students do, and the audience will very likely find several of the findings surprising.  Pedagogical implications of the findings will be discussed.


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