Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

To ignite and nurture creative, ethical, scientific minds that advance the human condition.

A Day in the Life of a SEAMS Student


Originally made by David Kodama and Mariela Saenz, SEAMS student service learners from the Class of 2016

What is SEAMS?

SEAMS is a two-week residential experience designed to improve students' mathematics, science, and English skills, and prepare students interested in attending the Academy for the application process. Group inquiry and problem-solving are a primary focus in the academic curriculum. The SEAMS program is held at the Academy and students participating in the program live in IMSA's residence halls, learning interpersonal skill development from the residence life curriculum. Overall, these students get a small snapshot of the IMSA experience.

A Day in the Life, as Told by SEAMS Students

“Before I begin, I want to thank IMSA for giving me this opportunity to be a student these past two weeks. I had an amazing experience with many wonderful people. Our day started off by going to breakfast at 7:20am. The food was delicious. After breakfast, everyone participated in the energizers, which were games to get us excited and motivated for class. When energizers were over, groups A, B, C, and D went to their classes: Math, English, Science, SAT Prep, and Residential Life Programming. We did have snack breaks in between classes, which were an hour and 30 minutes long. In the evening, we had free time to do different planned activities and study hours to get our work done. I’m certain that everyone that attended SEAMS will take something home along with them. Whether it was from the classes, teachers, or even friends, this program has encouraged many students to apply for their sophomore year. Hopefully we can see each other again next year. I’ve really enjoyed this great opportunity that I shared with teachers and awesome tutors, and I will certainly remember this for the rest of my life.”

“Our SEAMS math class with Mr. Caster was educational and exciting. We learned about many things including Fermi numbers, geometry, and patterns in an engaging setting. Each day, class started out with a challenging, eye-opener activity that got us thinking. Next, we worked on our geometry that included assorted concepts, such as angles, circles, and trigonometry. Our class also worked with Fermi numbers, which allowed us to estimate the answers to complicated problems. Using Fermis, we found how many blades of grass are inside the track, how many French fries a person eats in their lifetime, and Earth’s linear velocity around the sun. The math room was always a positive atmosphere, and I think that everyone learned how to better work with others. With Mr. Caster’s help, we were all able to learn more than math.”
“At the SEAMS science program, we learned a lot about foodborne illnesses and did experiments to see what chemical would be the best preservative. The first experiment we did was about the amount of sugar and which amount makes yeast grow faster. The next experiment was on yeast growth, but we put different chemicals to see which one will serve as a better preservative. We also did an experiment to see which lemonade had the most Vitamin C based on the age of the lemonade. This is what I did at the SEAMS program and I definitely learned more than I expected. I really enjoyed the program overall.”
“English was an enjoyable and interactive class taught by Dr. Kind, the charismatic teacher. Dr. Kind taught vocabulary, writing techniques, specifically thesis statements and essay writing. She taught using fun lessons and interactive activities that effectively informed the students in class. Tutors in class participated in student discussions and helped with questions. From The Raisin in the Sun play to the scented dry erase markers, little things in class made it a great educational experience that wasn’t boring for a second.”
SAT Prep
“SAT Prep was a great experience for us to have a chance to learn more about the SAT. Mrs. Kennedy and Mrs. Trotter were great teachers and made the prep so much fun. They introduced us to new concepts and made sure we understood all the materials. At times it was difficult, but they led us through the lessons, reassuring us that we were doing great and that they expected it to be challenging for us. Mrs. Kennedy and Mrs. Trotter also gave us tips and taught us helpful strategies and skills to prepare. SAT Prep was awesome and really gave us a feel for the real test.”
Residential Programming
“Residential Life Programming was an enlightening experience led by the RCs. The students enjoyed this time because we got to express ourselves, dig into our emotions and fears, while having fun. It also gave us an opportunity to relate to each other and reflect on different situations. One of the favorite activities we did was when we threw paint on paper to represent obstacles, then we threw more paint to show how we would overcome these obstacles.