Mars: Manifest Destiny
Students will consider the enormous challenge of planning a permanent, sustainable colony on Mars. To do so, students will explore gravity and orbital mechanics, the environmental conditions on Mars, and spaceflight hardware currently in development. They will also participate in citizen science projects, analyzing actual imagery from Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and other platforms to apply engineering design principles to propose their own spaceflight hardware, and apply project management techniques to develop their own mission architecture.
Out of the Silo: Agronomic STEM
This curriculum explores STEM topics in the context of agronomy, the science and technology of producing and using plants for food and fuel. Students will investigate plant genetics, soil science, crop management systems, new technologies, and other issues at the forefront of agronomic research. Data analysis, policy development, efficient process design, and problem-solving will engage learners in a deeper understanding of the role of agriculture in Illinois and the world.
Material Science: Living in a Material World
Students are on an eight thousand year journey to see how the development of Materials Science has shaped the course of human civilization. Explore the world of man-made objects by examining relationships between molecular structure and materials properties. From Stone Age tools to modern carbon nanostructures, students will test, analyze, and create complex materials from simple building blocks.
Take Flight: Investigating the Aviation Industry
In this curriculum, middle-school students will be immersed in the various facets of the aviation industry ranging from aircraft design and assembly, airport structure and runway design, navigation, air traffic control, and airline efficiencies to the economic and environmental impact aviation has on their lives.
Medieval: STEM Through the Middle Ages
This curriculum is an exploration of science, math and technology that was developed, altered or utilized by civilization during medieval times. This time period helped lay the foundation for modern science and mathematics. Technological advances abounded. This curriculum focuses on agriculture, society and epidemiology, engineering, chemistry and textiles, and technological developments that lead civilization into the Renaissance.
Secret Communications: Sharing Concealed Messages
Ciphers, codes and modes of delivery come together in this unit to foster inquiry into the subject of cryptology. Important capacities such as persistence and tenacity are practiced as students combine critical observations skills with logical analysis strategies to solve “secret” messages and share encrypted ideas with others. Acting as researchers and investigators students explore a variety of ciphers, codes and methods for making sense of encrypted messages.
Students complete hands-on, inquiry-based activities using laboratory equipment and processes to culture yeast, separate molecules through gel electrophoresis and synthesize and isolate “proteins.” Through designing a biological system using an electronic database, exploring the very basics of our genetic code in DNA and debating the ethical and social implications of this field, students investigate topics at the forefront of biology.