IMAGINE STEM Saturdays & Partnerships for Equity, Access, and Representation in STEM (PEAR-STEM)

Spring 2023 IMAGINE STEM Saturdays


Saturdays, 9:30 am – 12:30 pm (Check-in begins at 9:15 am, lunch is provided).

Schedules vary by class. View the descriptions and scheduled class dates below.

Spring 2023 Applications are closed.

Spring 2023 Courses

FULL  Kindergarten – 2nd grade: Little Chemical Engineers (Apr 22, 29, May 20, 27, June 3)–States of Matter, Mixtures, Mathematics, and More. Changing states of matter and mixtures can do amazing things, like form clouds and grow crystals. Get to know more about the chemistry that is all around us.

FULL  3rd -5th grade: Structural Engineers (Apr 22, 29, May 20, 27, June 3)–Engineers must design bridges to last despite incredible pressure and forces. The same science keeps buildings standing and allows skyscrapers to be built higher and higher. Learn to be your best structural engineer by experimenting with the design of bridges, then test their ability to stand up under pressure.

6th -7th grade: It’s Only Natural (Apr 15-29, May 20-June 3) –Get to know the natural environments all around you, the benefits of nature, and opportunities for future careers both in science and technology. Implement field techniques used in natural resource management, use statistics, capture photo and video samples, use video editing software, and experience how time in nature can benefit you.

8th-10th grade: Molecule Makers (Apr 22-29, May 20-June 3)–Whether it is food, fuel, fabrics, or pharmaceuticals, molecules are at the very heart of the materials that make up our bodies and that surround us in our everyday lives. With the power of artificial intelligence and robotics combined with human imagination, anyone can become a molecule maker. We need molecules to solve problems, and we need molecule makers to imagine and make them.

8th-12th grade: Rocketry & Avionics (May 20-June 3)–Learn the fundamentals of rocketry and put them into action as you design and build a single-stage rocket. Collect data on launch day to analyze its flight.

Parent / Adult Caregiver participation is required:

  • Elementary: side-by-side learning for child and an adult caregiver will participate together during Saturday classes
  • Middle School: Family STEM events
  • High School: College & Career Preparation event (TBD)

All courses include project-based activities with close attention to advanced mathematics, introducing algebra concepts as early as kindergarten with the goal of long-term participants being algebra-ready by 8th grade and calculus-ready by 12th.

Space is limited. Preference is given to students and families of DREAAM and UNCC.

COVID-19 Safety Protocols will follow state and federal recommendations. We ask that students and family members stay home if exhibiting any COVID-like symptoms. Masks and vaccines are encouraged. These policies will change as recommendations from the CUPHD, CDC, and state policy recommendations or requirements change.

Seeking Instructors for IMAGINE STEM Saturdays

Join the Partnerships in Equity, Access, & Representation in STEM Team!

February/March 2023 April 2023 May 2023 June/July 2023
ChiS&E Implementation + C-U Teachers observe C-U Implementation C-U Implementation + ChiS&E Teachers observe Curriculum Revision


Partnerships for Equity, Access, and Representation in STEM Initiative Overview

PEAR STEM is a collaboration of Champaign-Urbana (C-U) community organizations (DREAAM & UNCC), the Chicago Pre-College Science and Engineering Program, and University of Illinois (UIUC) Psychology and Engineering faculty, specialists in public engagement and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) teaching and learning (WYSE & MSTE). The overarching goal is to address inequities in preparation for STEM careers among K-12 students and to identify how to optimize preparation for historically excluded Black and Brown children. 

Project Aims:

STEM Mentor assisting students with a 7th grade ChiS&E physics & algebra activity
UIUC STEM Mentor assisting 7th grade ChiS&E students with a physics & algebra activity
  1. Plan and Implement IMAGINE STEM Saturdays that build on and enhance the Chicago Pre-College Science & Engineering program for implementation in the C-U community (Registration Information Below)
  2. Provide teacher professional development structure to strengthen course content and delivery for IMAGINE STEM Saturday and ChiS&E instructors, and
  3. Evaluate the effectiveness of the enhanced program.

IMAGINE STEM Saturdays draw from the experiences of ChiS&E:

  1. Providing a project-based STEM curriculum with a strong focus on preparation for advanced mathematics,
  2. Emphasizing the important role of the family in STEM success, and
  3. Drawing upon the expertise of certified teachers and STEM professionals focused on culturally sustaining practices

Funded by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion’s Call to Action grant as a social impact initiative.