Mohammed, a Junior at the Chicago Math and Science Academy (CMSA), instructs a sixth grader to pour water into a clear beaker containing a small amount of powder, and all of a sudden they mix and the water turns into cold snow. As he has the younger student run his gloved hands through the cold powder, Mohammed explains what polymers are, and how the experiment illustrates a physical reaction, not a chemical one.
Mohammed is one of about two dozen well-prepared high school students from CMSA that applied to join IMSA Allies, an after school program that integrates the teaching of science, service learning, and leadership skill development. The Allies program is based on a ‘Kids Teaching Kids’ model in which high school students learn science through hands-on, integrative demonstrations, which they then pass on to local middle schoolers. The Allies program was developed at IMSA’s Aurora campus, and this summer Chase announced a $55,000 grant to expand the program to a second location within Chicago. IMSA partnered with CMSA, a STEM college preparatory school in Rogers Park, to bring the program to Chicago’s Northside.
In recognition of the IMSA Allies’ expansion, the CMSA Allies presented hands-on lessons to a class of 6th grade students on Tuesday, November 26. After introductory remarks from Concept Schools’ Aydin Kara, Chase’s Charlie Corrigan, and IMSA Professional Field Services’ Michelle Kolar and Sarah Antrim-Cambium, the Allies led younger students through two experiments focusing on polymers and their formation.