Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

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

Support Leads to Professional Development Expansions

IMSA and its public and private partners know that teachers are important mentors when it comes to helping children discover the wonders of mathematics, science and technology. That is why IMSA delivers research-based and practice-proven professional development programs throughout Illinois with a special emphasis on helping teachers who work in underserved communities. IMSA works with educators to provide curriculum and instructional practices that focus on imagination, inquiry, problem solving and integration.

Motorola Foundation Supports Problem-Based Learning

How can we design a public awareness campaign to promote radon awareness? How can we develop a model rehabilitation habitat for injured foxes?  How can we inform the public about the environmental factors that impact Lake Michigan and our drinking water?  These are just some of the real-life issues that make science come alive for Illinois teachers and students who participate in IMSA’s Problem-Based Learning (PBL) Initiative supported by the Motorola Foundation.

For the second consecutive year, the IMSA Fund for Advancement of Education ( received a $100,000 Innovation Generation Grant from the Motorola Foundation to help spark Illinois students' interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields.

IMSA's PBL Initiative provides advanced PBL Design Institutes, PBL Coaching Institutes or a Facilitator Academy to schools in central and southern Illinois and selected Chicago Public Schools.  

Problem-Based Learning (PBL) organizes curriculum, instruction and assessment around carefully crafted “ill-structured” problems that are relevant to the learners. Students gather and apply knowledge from multiple disciplines as they develop skills to help them compete in the 21st century: critical thinking, problem solving and collaboration. Teachers learn how to incorporate the Illinois Learning Standards into designing, implementing and evaluating classroom units that address problems affecting their communities.

Illinois Teachers Deliver Challenging Enrichment Programs Thanks to Public and Private Support

Through the IMSA Excellence 2000+ (E2K+) program, teachers motivate students in mathematics and science at schools throughout Illinois.  E2K+ is an after-school enrichment program for upper elementary (grades 4-5) and middle school (grades 6-8) students who are interested, talented and motivated in mathematics and science.  The learning experiences which emphasize logic, mathematical thinking and experimental scientific thinking address real-world topics to increase student curiosity.

Participating teachers receive specialized training in the content and instructional methods of the program from IMSA staff members.  Students learn about the wonders of mathematics and science as they build rockets, use forensic science to solve simulated crimes and consider how earthquake concepts apply to Illinois and beyond.  Additional IMSA activities such as field trips, workshops and online opportunities including the “Problem of the Month” and Webinars provide more ways to engage students.

E2K+ began in 2000 by serving seven schools. Thanks to public funding from the state of Illinois and private sector support by corporate, foundation and individual donors to the IMSA Fund for Advancement of Education, the program now serves nearly 150 teachers and 1520 students at 58 schools in communities throughout Illinois including Carbondale, Chicago, Springfield, Waukegan and many others.   

Significant support of both Excellence 2000+ (E2K+) and Problem Based Learning (PBL) has come from the Harris Family Foundation. Over the last 15 years, the foundation’s generous gifts have grown to nearly $2.2 million in support of IMSA, E2K+, and PBL – the most generous donations in all of IMSA’s history.