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

2022 Project 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


Registration for the Spring & Summer 2022 IMAGINE STEM Saturdays is closed, but we plan to be back in Spring 2023!


DREAAM House tutoring session

Previous sessions:

Middle and High School Classes

  • Grades 6-8 Mathematical Investigation of Geometry
  • Grades 9-11 Mathematics for Engineers

Saturdays, May 7, 14, & 21
Electrical and Computer Engineering Building (306 N Wright St, Urbana)

  • Check-in: 9:15-9:30 AM
    Classes: 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM
    Lunch Provided

Elementary Classes

  • Kindergarten Little Civil Engineers (parent/caregiver & child participate together)
  • Grades 3-5 Mechanical Engineers (parent/caregiver & child participate together)

Saturdays, June 4, 11, & 18
DREAAM (302 West Church Street, Champaign)

  • Check-in: 9:15-9:30 AM
    Classes: 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM
    Lunch Provided

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

Parent / Adult Caregiver participation is required:

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

Registration is open until seats are full or first day of class. Space is limited. Preference is given to students and families of DREAAM and UNCC.

COVID-19 Safety Protocols will follow state and federal recommendations. A COVID19 symptoms screening will occur at check-in for all participants staying for the event. We ask that students and family members stay home if exhibiting any COVID-like symptoms. Masks and vaccines are strongly encouraged, and we will be practicing social distancing. These policies will change as recommendations from the CUPHD, CDC, and state policy recommendations or requirements change.

Project Timeline

October – December 2021 January 2022 February – March 2022 April-July 2022
ChiS&E Implementation + C-U Teachers observe Curriculum Review and Revision C-U Implementation + ChiS&E Teachers observe Repeat for Session 2

Seeking Area Teachers to join the IMAGINE STEM Saturdays instructional team (Apply Here)

Teacher registration for the Spring & Summer 2022 IMAGINE STEM Saturdays is closed, but we plan to be back in Spring 2023!

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