4-5 Curriculum Summaries:
What’s the Story, Data?
Information is all around us and constantly being generated. “Big data” concepts of volume, variety, and velocity of data will be explored and students will create a unique data visualization to convey the story of data they collect. Finally, data will be critically analyzed to test the validity of claims and students will explore how data can be manipulated to misrepresent a claim.
Dive In: Oceanographic Engineering
Through inquiry-based explorations, students will engineer solutions to aquatic challenges. Engaging in island construction, growing crops through aquaculture, and examining ocean “ownership” will afford learners the opportunity to participate in various aspects of the engineering design cycle.
Synthetic Scorecard: Building the Future of Biology
Biology, engineering, and technology will intersect in in this curriculum. Investigations will familiarize students with various equipment and techniques used in these fields of study. Protein folding, population densities, gel electrophoresis, case studies, design challenges and more will be explored throughout the curriculum.
You Be the Judge
Welcome to an introduction of some basic principles involved in chemistry, the application of chemistry as well as practices required to create and carry out meaningful investigations. After students have experienced the concepts in a lab setting, they will have a chance to apply their knowledge and lab skills in a variety of simulations throughout the unit. Students will take the role of experts and identify problems, develop methods of testing, and conduct the tests. After gathering, analyzing, and interpreting results, students will make and share evidence based decisions in a variety of settings.
Climate Change: The Future is Now
This unit engages participants in a variety of investigations to help establish basic understandings regarding climate science literacy. Exploration through real-time and virtual experiments, the use of web based applications, as well as modeling and engineering experiences will help participants identify the facts, issues, and actions they wish to take.
Engineering: Design & Build
Student led teams conceptualize, build, test, and acquire knowledge while becoming familiar with the engineering design process. Using an open-ended inquiry approach students are able to foster their creativity. Students learn to apply multiple skills and develop the habits of innovators.
6-8 Curriculum Summaries:
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.