Chemapalooza 6-22: Ooey Gooey

Chemapalooza 6-22: Ooey Gooey

Silly slime and smiling faces! Students became Chemical Polymer Interns for Ooey Gooey Toy Company today. While creating their own Play Doh, Putty, Goo, and Oobleck substances, our interns learned about polymers and heterogeneous mixtures. They used that knowledge to make a new toy for the company, a bouncy ball, by using the ingredients from the previous slimes.

Ask your student: What type of substance is Play Doh? (Suspension) What kind of molecules are in Putty and Goo? (Polymers) What substance gives Goo its sliminess? (Borax)

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Chemapalooza 6/21: Water Beads

Chemapalooza 6/21: Water Beads

Today, in Chemapalooza, the students investigated the nature of water beads. Our little chemists used the scientific method to design their own experiment and create a hypothesis on how they predict different liquids or different concentrations of liquids would have an impact on the growth-size of water beads. As the week progresses, the students will continue to work through the experiment and analyze their results and ultimately evaluate their hypothesis.

Ask your student:

What is osmosis? (Osmosis is a special type of diffusion- movement of water across a barrier form high to low concentration)

What is an independent variable? (An independent variable is the variable you are testing in an experiment: it is the variable that is changed)

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Game Day STEM 6/22: Egghead Day 1

Game Day STEM 6/22: Egghead Day 1

Today, in Game Day STEM, the students used a “Free Fall Impact Tester” to test how well specific materials protect a hard-boiled egg from a free falling object. The goal of the activity was to simulate how well different materials used in helmets protect the head from impact all while learning about free fall distance and velocity.

Ask your student: What is the relationship between the height of a dropped object and the velocity with which the object is traveling? (The higher the height the object is dropped from, the greater the velocity. There is a direct relationship between height and velocity)

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Game Day STEM 6/21: Pole Vaulting!

Game Day STEM 6/21: Pole Vaulting!

Today, students continued to explore the important role that physics plays in sports.  They also investigated how potential and kinetic energy plays a role in pole vaulting. After collecting data, students hypothesized the optimal conditions for a vault, and using an online simulation, they were able to test some of these hypotheses by changing various factors that affect pole vaulting (speed of vaulter, height of bar, etc.).

Ask your student: Is there an optimal amount of flexibility in the pole that would be best for the vaulter? Which factor had the biggest effect on whether or not the vaulter cleared the bar?

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Game Day STEM 6/20: What’s Your Vertical?

Game Day STEM 6/20: What’s Your Vertical?

Today students tested to see how the position of your body affects the way it moves. After selecting a few different angles, the students precisely measured the flexion of their knee, and then measured how high they could jump!

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Ask your student: What angle helped you to jump the highest?

Chemapalooza – 6/20: Magic Messages and Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream!

Chemapalooza – 6/20: Magic Messages and Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream!

Today, students became chemical investigators to discover the concepts of pH and acids/bases.Our junior chemical scientists observed color changes during reactions using common household materials. Students also wrote invisible messages to friends!



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Ask your student: What are examples of acidic liquids? What are examples of basic liquids? (Acidic: tomato juice, acid rain, battery fluid; Basic: milk, eggs, soapy water)

Game Day STEM – 6/19: Splash Science

Game Day STEM – 6/19: Splash Science

To start off the week, in one of their lessons the students investigated splash. They experimented with different variables in order to hypothesize what is necessary for divers to enter the water with minimal splash. Students generated an investigable question, developed a procedure to test their question, and analyzed the results of their experiment.

While testing their hypothesis students dropped many different weighted objects at different heights into the water to see what was different in the splash.

A question to ask your student: What was your investigable question(s)? (various answers)

What splash do you think this will create? The young scientists are coming up with “testable” questions about how the height, angle of entry, and shape of an object will affect its splash.
What splash do you think this will create? The young scientists are coming up with “testable” questions about how the height, angle of entry, and shape of an object will affect its splash.
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Students are trying to determine who they will draft based on the athlete’s body type.
Students are trying to determine who they will draft based on the athlete’s body type.
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The students are “gearing up” for cycling science! Those nifty purple items are gear kits that allow the students to figure out how to manipulate gear ratio for better performance.

Chemapalooza – 6/19: Molecular Gastronomy

Chemapalooza – 6/19: Molecular Gastronomy

Today students trained to become a budding chef in an emerging culinary style known as Molecular Gastronomy. Exploring how science and art can mix, students used the scientific principles of Molecular Gastronomy to create visually appealing and texturally unique foods, and explored two foodie experiments. By the end of the lesson, students became quite knowledgeable in the growing field!


Ask your student:

What is the process of thickening a liquid so it doesn’t melt in its new solid form? (Gelification)

What is the process of creating gelified pearls? (Spherification)


SITE Interns: Inquiry Workshop

SITE Interns: Inquiry Workshop

site workshop


Members of IMSA’s SITE program – Summer Internships for Tomorrow’s Educators—in a workshop on Inquiry-based learning led by IMSA’s Dr. Nicole Ross. SITE is a program piloted by IMSA’s outreach (Professional Field Services) office for the summer of 2017. It provides college education and STEM majors with training, mentorship and support, feedback, and classroom opportunities to teach hands-on, inquiry-based STEM content to students in IMSA’s summer programs. The pilot program consists of 6 interns who are in their sophomore to senior year of college. SITE interns will work and teach alongside IMSA high school students who are part of the ALLIES program, a STEM leadership and teacher development program for high school students.


Click here to learn more about our SITE Interns!

Integrated Science @ IMSA

Integrated Science @ IMSA

This uniquely IMSA program, combining two weeks of online learning followed by one week of engaging hands-on learning on campus in Aurora, explores the links between biology, chemistry, and physical science. Taught by IMSA faculty, participants delve into scientific topics including gas laws, osmosis/diffusion, and how water affects climate.
With a solid foundation from two weeks of online courses, students arrive at IMSA for a week of hands-on activities in our state-of-the-art laboratories. Students live in the residence halls, experiencing life at IMSA first hand as a student. At the conclusion of the program, students are presented with a Certificate of Completion.
This program is open to African American/Black, Latino, rural or low income students that have an interest and talent in STEM. Many program participants go on to apply and are accepted to IMSA’s three-year residential high school program.
The residential portion of this program is held at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, 1500 Sullivan Road, Aurora, and runs Monday through Friday, however students arrive on campus the Sunday evening prior at 6 pm.

Students must be entering 9th grade in fall 2017 and have completed a year of pre-algebra.