E^2: Engineering Explorations

E^2: Engineering Explorations

Design, tinker, build, test—then do it again!

Working in teams, participants will engage in hands-on activities as they explore the engineering design process through electrical, chemical, and biomedical engineering!

Students will design, build, and race boats, experiment with the chemical engineering behind solar homes, perform a calculator dissection to understand circuits from the inside out, and tackle the concept of robotic surgery as they make their own Bristlebot!

STEMvironment 2017

STEMvironment 2017

Get your green on as you explore how STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) is a part of everything around us.

This program will give your student an integrated exposure to the various STEM fields and how they can be applied within an environmental context.

Explorations will include hand-on activities on the chemistry of recycling, solar and water power, and energy transfer.

The week will culminate in an environmental engineering project where students will use these real-world STEM concepts to design, build, and improve their own energy-efficient house.

REGISTRATION FOR THIS PROGRAM IS STILL OPEN! Click your location below to register!

Aurora (closes 6/30)

Belleville (closes 6/9)

Springfield (closes 6/30)

Summer 2017 is Almost Here!

Summer 2017 is Almost Here!

We are gearing up for summer 2017 and we are so excited to have all of you!

As we get closer to the start of our programs, here is some information that might be helpful to you.

Day Programs:

  • The program day begins at 8:30 a.m. and runs to 3:00 p.m. Morning drop-off/check in begins at 8:15 a.m. – and concludes at 8:30 a.m. Do NOT drop your child off prior to 8:15, as there will be so supervision available before this time.
  • Monday morning check-in: On the first day of the program, it is mandatory for parents to park and walk their participant to the summer program staff for first-day check-in. Your child will be assigned to a group leader who will be their same leader throughout the week.
  • Lunch is included in the program fee and provided through our food service, Sodexho. They offer many options for students, including burgers, macaroni and cheese, a salad bar, fresh fruit, and many other items. You may choose to send your child with a sack lunch if you prefer. Please note: the cafeteria is NOT a peanut free environment.
  • Pick up is promptly at 3:00 PM. We do not provide extended care. Please be timely and prompt with drop off and pick up for the best and safest experience for every participant.  Our personnel need to prepare for the next day after day programs end at 3:00 p.m.
  • Late Pickup Fee:  IMSA day programs end at 3 p.m.  Any parent/guardian picking up a child late will be assessed a fee of $15 per child for any pickup 15 minutes late and $1 per minute thereafter. Late fees are due on the child’s next day of camp.

Residential Programs:

  • Residential program check-in begins at 6:00 PM on the Sunday before the program start date. The entrance will change based on which dorms the students will be in. Please make note of this in your pre-program email!
  • Please plan on arriving to pick up your child between 1:45-1:55 p.m. the following Friday(the last day of the program). There will be a 30 minute program presentation/wrap-up starting promptly at 2:00 pm.
  • We do not honor requests to pair or group friends or relatives during their class during the day; however, they will have the opportunity to mingle during common activities such as lunch and free time.  Program participants are grouped at random to encourage a positive learning experience, meeting new friends while engaging in program activities.
  • We DO take requests for roommates. Friends or relatives (of the same gender) can be paired as roommates if both parties request each other by sending an email to us a studentenrichment@imsa.edu. Please include the program name and week offered, your child’s name, and the name of the child being requested as a roommate. We must receive this at least 10 days before the first date of your program to accommodate it.
  • Your child will be assigned to a group leader who will be their same leader throughout the week.

C.S.IMSA – Drops to DNA Part 2

C.S.IMSA – Drops to DNA Part 2

The case has been cracked! Our junior forensic scientists worked in the lab today in order to extract DNA from the pieces of a broken vase that were found at the crime scene. After analyzing the evidence and comparing it to the DNA samples from several key suspects, the CSI team has identified the culprit!

Students concluded the week with a successfully cracked case, and experience with real CSI science!

Ask your student:

Were your suspicions from earlier in the week correct? If not, what evidence changed them?

Vital Signs Chicago – Rubber Bones

Vital Signs Chicago – Rubber Bones

What happens when you remove the calcium and collagen from bone? Wacky and rubbery bones.  Using vinegar and bleach-soaked chicken bones, our intrepid chemists were able to answer that question and so many more. In doing so, they explored acid-base reactions and how they relate to bone physiology.

“I’m going to think a lot differently when I’m choosing between soda and milk at lunch.” With the biological and chemical knowledge they’ve gained, and engineering and mathematical problems they’ve had to solve, the students had quite the vital week!

Vital Signs Chicago – Animatronic Extremity

Vital Signs Chicago – Animatronic Extremity

Throughout the week, the students have built a prototype animatronic model after their own hand. Today they took their prosthetic creation one step further and learned the scientific processes behind myoelectric prosthesis, which uses signals from muscles that contract voluntarily from within a person’s residual limb. Students put on their engineering hats and went to work on adjusting their prototype, then designing and creating iterations to meet various challenges, like racing to pick up, carry, and deliver a ping pong ball to a new location. It was awesome to see all of the different designs come to life – literally!


C.S.IMSA Chicago – Drops to DNA

C.S.IMSA Chicago – Drops to DNA

Today our CSI technicians began what will be a two day process to extract DNA from a broken vase found at the crime scene. In order to prepare themselves to discover what should be the most convincing piece of evidence, students learned about the extraction process by using their own DNA!

After their training, investigators are ready to process the last piece of evidence tomorrow!

Ask your student:

What was one substance you used in the extraction of your own DNA? (Gatorade, soap, meat tenderizer, alcohol)


Vital Signs: Chicago

Vital Signs Chicago: Reflexes and Reactions

The students tested their natural reflexes and reactions today. In this video, they are testing their object permanence. Ask your student how they did!



Vital Signs Chicago – Cardiovascular Disease

Vital Signs Chicago – Cardiovascular Disease

In this lesson, our young doctors modelled two different arterial pathways to introduce the complexity of angioplasty – the surgical repair or unblocking of a blood vessel. They not only built the models, but they also engineered model stents to clear a blocked artery.

By the end of the day, they each developed different applications of their models and were even able to explain how their products could be used to treat cardiovascular disease. Who knows? We could see one of these designs in the very near future!