STEM Challenges are real-world projects that create opportunities for high school students to work alongside STEM professionals as mentors. Students and mentors from STEM Challenge industry partners collaborate over the course of six months to explore, create, and build innovative solutions. STEM Challenges are overseen by the Illinois Science & Technology Institute.
The Center for Mathematics, Science, and Technology participated again in the annual STEM Challenge hosted by the Research and Development Learning Exchange. Brad Christiansen, Kayla Christensen, and Matthew Hagaman from CeMaST mentored student teams from high schools in Washington, Williamsfield, Downers Grove North, and ITW David Speer Academy to develop a prototype product, plan, process, or system that suggests an innovation and “smart” way to manage everyday energy and/or water use. Throughout the process, students had electronic access and occasional visits with the personnel from CeMaST. Mentors provided guidance as students conducted research, formed ideas, and addressed problems that they encountered.
Students were encouraged to innovate ways to manage everyday energy/water usage. Washington Community High School’s solution saved $30,000 in energy and water costs at their school. ITW David Speer Academy created a model of a DC microgrid to power two schools. Downers Grove North High School pitched a solar-powered wearable that can power your phone on the go. Williamsfield High School demonstrated a showerhead capable of sensing water temperature and time. A total of 1200 students participated in the STEM Challenge during the school year, and 200 students presented at the Chicago event.