Chicago STEM Outreach Project

The outreach efforts of the NeuroMotor Control Laboratory have included the development and implementation of a STEM Outreach program in the Chicago Area. Through this initiative, the NMCL worked to provide potentially under-exposed students with hands-on learning experiences that would spark their imaginations, provide an introduction to scientific practice and methodology, and ultimately help prepare them for potential careers in the maths and sciences.

In 2009, the Chicago STEM Outreach Project successfully partnered with a private school in Roger's Park, where their activities were directed along three lines of effort. First, a Discovery Learning Lab, complete with resources, was created to house STEM and Discovery Learning techniques and resources for children in grades pre-K through 8. Second, the NMCL obtained a local foundation grant to revamp the middle school science curriculum and to provide teacher training on the then new SEPUP (Science Education for Public Understanding Program) curriculum. Third, the NMCL launched and coordinated a math and science club at the Terra Nova location.

Objective data taken during the 8-year life of the Terra Nova installation indicated that the Chicago STEM Outreach Project made an ongoing and quantifiably positive impact on STEM learning for students in the Terra Nova location.


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Learn more about the Discovery Learning Lab

NMCL's first state-of-the-art Discovery Learning Lab began with the transformation of an unused classroom into a warm, inviting environment for students pre-K through 8. The space features a wet lab, has a seven-foot-tall whiteboard and an "Idea Wall" along the south perimeter, as well as an Apple MAC-based multimedia system with large-screen display. In addition, the space provides weigh scales, microscopes, and storage for science curriculum modules for each of the teachers in the school. While the Chicago STEM Outreach Project has ended, the Terra Nova Discovery Learning Lab continues to support activities that engage hands and minds through guided and self-directed exploration, as well as traditional lab-based science activities.

Learn more about SEPUP

Developed with funding from the National Science Foundation, SEPUP (Science Education for Public Understanding Program) is an issues-based science curriculum that uses personal and social narratives to present a thematically continuous science education to children in grades 6 through 12. SEPUP is designed to be integrated with the classroom- and lab-based STEM core curricula and exceeds state standards in all 50 states.

Learn more about the Math and Science Club

The STEM Outreach efforts at the Terra Nova location featured an early-morning, extracurricular Math and Science Club. For one hour every week, the Math and Science Club invited students from the Terra Nova location to engage in a broad range of STEM-based educational activities, such as Math League competitions, chemistry experiments, model rocketry and rocket launch events, Lego Mindstorm Robotics and environment mapping, and microscopy.


Learn More

If you are interested in learning more about the Chicago STEM Outreach Project, contact NMCL's founder and co-director, Dr. Robert A. Scheidt.