Each spring, District 181 schools dedicate a special week to their love of science through student fairs, experimental projects in the classroom, and visits from special speakers. This year, Prospect School formed a unique partnership with the DuPage Children's Museum (DCM) to provide Virtual STEM Labs to students.
The labs, which students completed during their asynchronous time at home the week of March 9, aim to spark curiosity and promote critical thinking through hands-on discovery. Students received materials for the project at school then logged into a Zoom session led by an experienced DCM educator. Each lesson involves building, making, experimenting, or engineering a solution to a problem and are completed independently by students.
"We were thrilled to offer this experience to our students as part of our season of science activities," said Prospect Principal Kristin Cummings. "It was the perfect fit for students to complete science projects like we do in a typical school year but with our safety protocols in place."
Parent volunteers said that not only were students fully engaged in the sessions but they learned a lot from them, too.
Students engaged in the following activities by grade level:
- Build a Bridge (Grades 4-5): Students designed, built, and tested the strength of a bridge structure.
- Sounds All Around (Grades 1-3): Students conducted hands-on experiments to bring the concept of sound to life, such as making a sound sandwich and playing a song together."
Third-grader Will Matricaria said, "It was fun to do a hands-on experiment and learn more about sound vibrations."
Fifth-grader Fiona Duffy Schimpf added, "It was awesome. It was a well-taught and productive learning experience."
Second-grader Dev Patel really enjoyed making the Kazoos. "It was fun, and I learned that sound can travel through water and air."
Enriching, enhancing, and supplementing the educational experiences of Prospect School students is the mission of the Prospect PTO whose cooperative efforts with the community at large made STEM with DCM possible.
"The best part of the Season of Science with Prospect Elementary School," explains DCM Chief of Play & Learning, Breth Nicholas, "is the joy on the students' faces when they hear something unexpected in a sound experiment or succeed in building a strong bridge. DCM provides kids the opportunity to play like a scientist where they engage positively with STEAM experiences that fuel a passion for lifelong learning."
To learn more about ARTS & STEM with DCM, Private Play Time, Summer Tinkering Camp, and other programs for young children and their grown-ups, please visit dupagechildrens.org
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About DuPage Children's Museum
The Museum helps develop curiosity, creativity, thinking, and problem-solving in young children through its mission: "DuPage Children's Museum ignites the potential of all children to learn through hands-on exploration by integrating art, math and science." Interactive exhibits and programs make learning fun for children and adults playing together. DCM serves over 300,000 visitors annually, in a typical year, representing all 50 states. DCM's reach and support represent well beyond the Chicagoland area. The Museum's impact extends across cultural, financial, and educational boundaries. It touches the lives of children from all regions, providing the building blocks for success in school and life. The Museum is located at 301 N. Washington Street in Naperville, www.dupagechildrens.org or call (630) 637-8000.
DCM Special Event Information: DCM is now booking Private Play Time through Spring Break! The Museum has been divided into two separate play experiences – each offers exclusive access to select exhibits for your small group of up to 10 children and adults. Learn more and book your Private Play Time today! dupagechildrens.org/private-
Not ready to visit yet? Turn your place into an exhibit space. Rent one or more of our hands-on portable exhibits to create unique, open-ended learning outcomes at home. dupagechildrens.org/exhibits-