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STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math Locker

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STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math

DuPage Area STEM Expo

Positive Reinforcement: Say This, Not That

While I am not an avid reader of USA Today, the newspaper did publish an article that is worth reading about how to give positive praise that encourages kids to work harder in order to achieve higher.


This article references praising effort rather than achievement. This plays into the idea of cultivating a growth mindset where effort is believed to pay off in higher achievement. Students who believe that working hard leads to eventual success tend to work harder and achieve higher. We also know that making mistakes is essential to learning and that students with a growth mindset feel better about taking risks and making mistakes. Praising effort over achievement is one way that parents can encourage growth mindset in their children. We are working hard to change our culture to best support growth mindset development in students by establishing positive norms and engineering our messaging to support growth mindset. Parents supporting this work at home can dramatically improve their student's learning at school and life in general!

Night at the Lab


DuPage Area STEM Expo

The DuPage Area STEM Expo will be held on February 25th at IIT Rice Campus. The event is targeted to students in grades K-6. There will be presentations, activities, and projects to take home. Fun for the family!


Saturday, February 25, 2017
10:30am – 3:30pm 


IIT Rice Campus

201 E. Loop Road, Wheaton, IL 60189 
Complimentary admission and parking



Summer Science Camp at Notre Dame

Notre Dame STEM Camp.PNG

Sandburg MS 7th grader's filmfeatured in One Earth Film Fest 2016!

Kendall Dirk's short film, "Cutting CARbon Emissions", was featured in this year's One Earth Film Fest March 4-6th at different venues around Chicagoland. His film highlights the importance of individual contributions to improving the environment. We are very proud of Kendall's accomplishments!




Link to MySuburbanLife article

IIT's DuPage Engineer's Week EXPO

IIT is publicizing an Engineering Week for K-8 students in DuPage County with an EXPO!

Check out their website for details. It looks very exciting!


Engineering Week EXPO

Saturday, February 27, 2016 from 10:30 AM - 3:30 PM
Illinois Institute of Technology: 201 East Loop Road, Wheaton, IL
Free, and open to the public



Fermi STEM Events

Here is a link to up and coming Fermi Lab STEM Events. They are always a great time for the family to learn and have fun together! Most programs are for 4th grade through high school.


One of my favorites is the Ask-A-Scientist program. It's 1-4 on the first Sunday of every month. Students and adults get to ask real Fermi scientists their questions about the universe. Always wanted to know about the beauty quark or Schrodinger's cat? Now's the time!

College Rankings Do Not Predict Their Added Value to Students

Link to New York Times Article

College rankings have come to mean a great deal to students and parents. Our students become bean counters in high school to fill their resume and raise their GPA. It is still very unclear, even after careful study, to measure the effect different institutions have on their students. Sure, graduates of Harvard and MIT go on to make more money, but those institutions' selection process alone would create a group of students with the outcomes we see regardless of what happens in those colleges' classrooms.

What does this mean for us? Rather than strive for points and lists of activities, focus on passion and learning. It doesn't really matter in the long run whether a student gets an A or a B in a course. What matters is how much the student learns and how engaged they are in that learning. Our conversations with our kids will frame their experiences. If our questions are often about grades and points, that is what they will focus on too. Instead focus your conversations on what your children are learning. Ask your son or daughter to explain to you what they learned in their favorite class today. Make it a regular part of the dinner conversation. Encourage your child to take challenging courses in areas they are passionate about. Help them find ways to make their least favorite classes more engaging by connecting the content to outside resources like museum visits, movies, or another activity. Ask your child's teachers for suggestions.

Top Ten Questions Your Child's Science Teacher Wishes You Would Ask (NSTA)

1. How is science taught in your classroom? What methods or activities do you use? Are there sample lessons I can review?
2. What science topics will my child learn and what skills will he/she master by the end of this year? How does this relate to what my child learned last year and what he or she will learn next year? How does it relate to what my child is learning in math, other subjects, or the world
in which we live?
3. Do you have access to local informal science opportunities? Will there be field trips to local museums or science centers?
4. Will there be science homework and what will it look like?
5. What types of questions should I ask my child about science on a day-to-day basis?
6. What can I do to support my child’s science learning? Are there science projects or activities we can do together at home, or apps, websites, or learning games we could explore?
7. How does the school support education in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects? Is STEM incorporated throughout the
day and if so, how? Are there after school STEM clubs, programs, or science and engineering fairs that would support my child’s learning?
8. How will learning be assessed? Will you use only formal assessments like tests or will children be able to show you what they know through other
9. What happens if my child doesn’t achieve the learning goals of a lesson or unit of study? Can he or she get extra help?
10. What types of science equipment and technology will be used throughout the year?


Tell them "Good Job" -- Avoid, "You're Smart."

This NY Times article is an oldie but a goodie. I recently ran across it again in my internet meandering.

I have this conversation with my wife from time to time, reminding both of us to praise the work and effort that our children put into their activities and accomplishments rather than what we see as being smart or intelligent. Over time, making your children believe they are "smart" (Stable Mindset) can undermine their desire and perseverance for challenge.

It seems like such a small thing, telling your daughter that she is smart in math, but there are dramatic long term consequences according to a growing mountain of evidence championed by Carol Dweck or Stanford University. Encouraging your kids to believe that their successes are the result of who they are instead of what they do leads to the perception of intelligence as a static characteristic, which we know for certain is not, and that the belief that intelligence is stable is detrimental to effort and self-perception for years to come.

When children or adults believe in a static view of ability, they have less incentive to work hard. In a static ability world, either you can do it the first time well or you won't be able to do it at all. Students who believe they are smart or, the opposite, dumb give up easily and choose less challenging tasks than those who believe that hard work leads to success and greater ability.

The next time you hear yourself saying, "You are so smart!" to your son, daughter, or student, stop yourself and replace it with "Great work! Way to stick with it," and your child will reap future benefits.

Hate Math? Then Your Children Will Too.

Link to Original Article

US News and World Report reported on a recent study linking parents' math anxiety and their children's success in the classroom over time. The study found that parents with a lot of anxiety around their own math skills tended to have kids with lower math growth across the year when they helped their child with homework. The authors of the study suggest providing resources to parents to improve their perceptions and skills in mathematics to help students achieve better results. There are a number of free resources out there to improve math skills in fun ways and I encourage any parent with anxiety around math to do some math learning on their own to improve their skills and perceptions in math. One of the best resources I've found is Khan Academy. You can access grade appropriate content with video instruction to beef up your own math skills in order to better help your student and transfer confidence in mathematics. The site plays like a game where you earn points and badges for improved performance over time.


Two Year Degrees Can Really Pay Off

(Reuters) - Steven Polasck of Corpus Christi, Texas, liked math and science in high school. He considered attending a four-year college but ultimately decided to use his strengths to get a two-year degree in instrumentation from Texas State Technical College. He has not looked back.

"I went to work on the Monday after graduation," said Polasck, 27, who monitors and fixes systems at a Valero Energy Corp refinery. "The first year I made almost $80,000."

An associate's degree has long been considered an inferior alternative to a bachelor's degree. Now that more states are tracking their graduates' incomes, however, it is becoming apparent that some two-year degrees offer much higher earnings than the typical four-year degree - at a fraction of the cost...

Link to Full Article


STEM Career Spotlight - Medical Assistant, connects students to information that would meet their personal and professional goals on how to become a qualified medical assistant. The site offers a directory of accredited schools/colleges in the U.S that offers medical assistant program; certification guide, exams and licensure criteria; financial aid information; career center detailing the specializations and professional opportunities available to licensed medical assistants. Recently, the site published a resource for students in Illinois. This resource provides complete information for anyone considering a career in medical assisting in Illinois. A job is the ultimate goal of anyone attending a medical assisting program, so we help visitors understand their prospects after graduation. For more information the resource can be found here:

Elmhurst Resources for Family STEM events, programs, workshops, and activities

I am proud to present along with Tania Pachuta of the Northwestern Center for Talent Development a brand new resource for families in Elmhurst. The resource, titled STEM for Elmhurst Families, pulls ...more

Henderson, Ed.D., Mary
Associate Superintendent for Learning and Leadership Development
Beedy, David
Director of STEM Education