2014 Family Science Day at the Field Museum

Scientists for Tomorrow
Science Institute in the Department of Science and Mathematics
Columbia College Chicago

 Summary of Winter Session: Family Science Day
Event Host: Field Museum
Date: March 15, 2014

 On Saturday, March 15, 2014 over 550 members from 36 community-based organizations participating in the National Science Foundation (NSF), Informal Science Education (ISE) NSF-ISE Scientists for Tomorrow (SfT) program attended third annual Family Science Day at the Field Museum. The faculty and staff of the Science Institute, in the Department of Science and Mathematics in collaboration with the education department of the Field Museum, organized the event.

At the Field Museum, the event took place directly at the exhibits and classrooms.  The workshops aligned with the concepts that the participants learned in the module “Physics of Sound and Mathematics of Music.” The lessons are taught in most community sites under the supervision of Scientists for Tomorrow staff.  

Andy Hershberger, the liaison for the education department of the museum, facilitated the event. Attendees participated in planned activities, which involved three music-oriented workshops: Investigation of Musical instruments, Constructing Pan Flutes and Building Thumb Pianos. They also attended three museum exhibit explorations: Africa, Ancient Egypt and Revolving Planets.

Participants at the event included parents, children, program instructors and community leaders from 36 partnering Chicago community organization sites. Columbia College Chicago students and staff members contributed and documented the event.

The Family Science Day event at the Field Museum was designed to expand the conceptual foundation revolving the learning module of Physics of Sound and Mathematics of Music, most importantly to promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) interest in all children.

We expect that the youth will share the knowledge gained within the dynamic museum environment, with the rest of the communities who have not had the chance to experience this opportunity.  Furthermore, to become more involved in future STEM activities in their centers.

The high attendance and participation of our community members made the event a success. The team leaders showed great dedication, and the children above all, expressed great interest and enjoyed the event. Children loved the fact that they were able to construct their own take home instruments when consulting and listening from museum experts.

The Field Museum staff led the workshops with great success. Site leaders along with parents, successfully managed participants around the exhibitions. In addition, the participation of our 24 teens from the Upper Bound Math and Science from Northeastern did an amazing job! These young leaders showed great enthusiasm and responsibility throughout the event. Not only were they able to keep their groups organized, but also assisted other team leaders with directions towards designated exhibitions.

Special guests included a dance performance by The Back of the Yards Ballet Folklorico. The performance called, “Concheros, ” is a compilation of Aztec dances that represented their customs in Agriculture (La danza del maiz), Sun Gods (La danza del Sol) and War (La danza de Guerra).  The ballet instructor, Emilio Corona, presented and talked about the instruments, as he made music using a sea shell, “Caracol” and a wooden “Teponaztli” slit drum. 

The following community organizations who participated in the event were:  Chicago Teachers, Enlace Chicago, United Neighborhood Organization, Logan Square Neighborhood Association, Chicago Teachers Center, Brighton Park Neighborhood, Center for Community Arts Partnership, Family Focus Inc., YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago, GEMS, Three Rivers and Metropolitan Family Services.  

Scientists for Tomorrow Family Science Event 2014.PDF


People and Plants—Knowing our ecosystem

At Scientist for Tomorrow, we assess ourselves by measuring the success and impact we have on the community. We motivate ourselves to create a community of innovation and curiosity. Most importantly, we pride ourselves when make a difference, connect students to all that revolves around science and change their lives.
I believe humans are born scientists. As infants we start exploring our world, experimenting with objects, and learning about the mechanics of life. Soon after we mature, the mind of a scientists erodes because of some external influence that says “You can’t do that, you are not smart enough.” The dreams of many children are quickly destroyed and lose interest with science. Majority of the children grow up to be disconnected from the planet and everything that revolves around science. We, as humanity, must do our best to learn about the planet Earth. What best way to start with People and Plants! Our mission with this project is to bring that curiosity back, and connect them closer to Earth.
People and Plants will connect students to learn about our planet’s ecosystem by exposing them knowledgeably, to atmospheric activity, biodiversity and natural resources. Ultimately drawing a big picture and helping students understand that everything in this world is connected; one action–being harmful or good– will have an effect on the planet’s environments. We hope that this project will change the students way of thinking, so when they grow up and become adults, they will take more care of the planet Earth.
Ignacio Mendez

Scientists for Tomorrow girls participated in the Girls do Hack event at the Adler Planetarium

On Saturday November 9th, 2013, a group of 14, After School Matters (ASM), Columbia College Chicago (CCC) and  Scientists for Tomorrow (SfT) girls from James Hedges Elementary School participated in the Girls Do Hack event at the Adler Planetarium.

In the weeks leading up to the event, the girls invested part of the time in the program to learn and be ready to present Science, Technology, Engineering and Technology (STEM) concepts and skills to a group of sixty other girls and teens from around the city of Chicago. The activity they presented was “The Circuit Monster”. Eliza Talamantes and Maricela Salazar, the instructors for SfT at James Hedges elementary school, worked hard to guide the presenters to form understandings of the concepts within the project and then, be ready to present and answer questions during their presentations. Ashley Conroy, the Coordinator for the Scientists for Tomorrow Program, helped by organizing the materials for both the preparation stage and the event.

The first activity of the event was the keynote address to the participants from Poornima Vijayashanker, the founder of Femgineer. Femgineer is a start-up aimed at promoting women in the fields of STEM. She gave a very inspirational talk before groups were divided for the day.

The Scientists for Tomorrow teens were presenting in three different groups, so each group had a different schedule for the day. When they were not busy presenting, they participate in several workshop sessions led by women interested or working in STEM related fields. Among many workshops was one titled “The 3D Experience.” Within this program, participants were given a problem they needed to solve and generate a possible solution within the time frame. The designs were first drawn on paper, then develop in a computer program similar to many computer aided design (CAD) programs. Their designed solution was then presented to the group, and finally printed on a
3D printer. During this workshop, participants were able to discuss ideas and connect with the STEM professionals, as well as learn about the future of 3D printing.

Another workshop the girls attended, was the Mobile Phone App Laboratory. Through this experience they learned about code and other technological concepts that are used in the world everyday. There were many other workshops that participants attended such as “Searching for Undiscovered Planets Outside of Our Solar System,” “Lockpick Village,” and “Solar Viewing” which took place at the Doane Observatory behind the planetarium. Each had a particular purpose, as well as STEM professionals for participants to connect with.

By: Ashley Conroy