Amber Quirk

   Regional Superintendent 

   DuPage County Schools

Regional Office of Education

421 N. County Farm Rd

Wheaton, IL  60187


STEM News You Can Use

December 2023


Argonne Receives Funding to Advance Diversity in STEM

The grant is part of the Department of Energy's RENEW initiative that leverages the unique capabilities of DOE's national laboratories, user facilities and research infrastructure to provide training opportunities for students, faculty, and researchers from underrepresented backgrounds.

Society of Women Engineers Earns $5 Million Grant

The project seeks to address the impact of retaining women of color in the engineering profession. Read the full article here.

Are Consumers Ready for Robots to Show Up at Their Doorstep?

With Amazon aiming to increase drone deliveries in Europe this year and Walmart planning to expand its drone delivery system in the U.S., companies are investing more research and development funding into drone delivery. Are consumers ready for this change? Read more.


STEM Network Meeting - Wednesday, December 6, 2023; 4:00 - 5:15 pm

The staff at the Jurica-Suchy Nature Museum, located on the 2nd floor of the Michael and Kay Birck Hall of Science on the Illinois Benedictine University Campus, 5700 South College Road, Lisle, graciously offered to host this session. Join other STEM educators and champions from all grade levels as we learn and share, and explore this hidden gem of a museum and learning partner. Register here so that we can prepare. Attendees are eligible for STEM trinkets and treasures, and raffle prizes! Mark your calendars for the other 2023-24 STEM Network dates: February 7 and May 1. Interested in hosting an upcoming meeting at your school or facility? Email Dr. Susan Camasta. Oh, did we mention that attendees are eligible for raffle prizes?

You Be the Chemist Challenge - Registration Closes December 29, 2023

Join this collaborative, fun, and free challenge for students in grades 5-8 working in teams of 3-4. Students will answer mutliple choice and short-answer questions and create a video about their innovative response to a problem that is posed, with opportunities to advance in the competition. Study and support materials are provided. For more information, click here.

ICTM Book Study, "Choosing to See" - January 11, 18, and 25, 2024 at 7:00 pm

The ICTM keynote speaker was Pamela Seda, author of "Choosing to See: A Framework for Equity in the Math Classroom," sharedd information about the ICUCARE framework, the foundation of her book. Join colleagues for this FREE three-session book study. Sessions will be on 1/11, 1/18, and 1/25 from 7:00 - 8:00 pm. ICTM Members are eligible for one hour of IL PD credit for each session. People who register by 12/15 will have the option of having their name entered intgo a drawing for one of 5 free book copies! You do not need to have attended the conference nor do you have to be an ICTM member to register. Click Here to Register!

Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision is Back! January 21, 2024 Deadline

Ignite the imagination of K-12 students as they form competition teams and embark on a mission of discovery to explore current technologies, envision future possiblities, and present their ideas to win awards and acknowledgement. Find out more.

Organ/Tissue Donor Awareness Student Poster Contest - Entries through January 31, 2024

The poster contest is intended to increase organ and tissue awareness in Illinois by educating youth about the registry and to help them make an informed decision when they become eligible to register as a donor. The contest is open to K-12 students. Entries must be postmarked by January 31, 2024. See details here.

eCYBERMISSION Registration Open through February 28, 2024

This is a free, virtual STEM competition for 6th-9th graders, administered by the National Science Teaching Association. Students form teams of 2-4, led by an adult Team Advisor, and select a problem in their community to investigate with science or solve with engineering. Get your free teaching resources. Plus, you can apply for funding for your classroom.

National Geographic Society - Slingshot Challenge - Submissions accepted until February 1, 2024

Youth from around the world can share ideas for "slingshotting" our planet forward! NGS is challenging 13-18-year olds to create a one-minute video sharing their solutions to our current environmental problems. A selection of entries will be eligible to receive funding for up to $10,000. Participation is free of charge.


Submissions will be accepted until February 1, 2024. Also available is a series of virtual support sessions for students to meet with National Geographic Explorers to ask questions and workshop their ideas and challenge solutions. Visit to learn more about the Slingshot Challenge and check out our Slingshot Challenge Resource page, here, to sign up for information sessions, utilize our user guides and toolkits, and review our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

You + NEED = STEM - March 1, 2024

The DuPage Regional Office of Education STEM Squad invites you to register for this CWID day event that will engage in hands-on actvities that will expand your thinking about how these activities can enhance your students learning opportunities. Don't delay, register soon.

Your Climate Story Competition - Submissions Due June 10, 2024

The 2024 Ocean Awareness Contest invites students to creatively express their personal experiences, insights, or perceptions about our changing climate reality. Students worldwide, ages 11-18, will share their visual art (digital and handcrafted), poetry, creative writing, film, music, dance, and multimedia to create the largest collection of youth environmental arts in the world. Cash awards available. Submit online for free by June 10, 2024.


Jurica- Suchy Nature Museum

This museum, located on the campus of Benedictine University in Lisle, offers varied learning opportunities. You can schedule visits, borrow a discovery box, or explore IDNR resource trunks. Learn more.

Spotlight on Career Readiness for STEM

Register to receive access to this collection of articles hand-picked by EdWeek editors based on their insights into the math skills students need for high-demand careers, ways schools can help students take more college-ready courses, data on student demand for STEM-job prep courses, strategies for sparking student interest in STEM, and more.

Why Are Most Auroras Observed Near the North and South Poles?

NSTA offers this free lesson plan for middle school students.

The DuPage ROE STEM Squad - We Are Here to Support You

Below is a list of some ways in which the STEM Squad can support you and your students. If something is not on the list, simply ask and we will do our best to assist. Email Mary Biniewicz for more information.

  • Loan you one or more of 15 STEM Trunks for students in Grades K-12.
  • Work with you to help plan a STEM event or STEM Club activities.
  • Arrange to facilitate an activity at your STEM event.
  • Conduct an after-school STEM workshop for students in Grades 5-8.
  • Support an in-classroom activity for your younger students.

Winter Topics

Consider one or more of these starting point resources for timely and fun STEM activities.

Winter STEM Activities

Computer Science Education Week - December 4-10

STEM Starters

Have you explored our collection of STEM Starters? On our web page, you will find links to nearly 90 activities designed to begin class, end class, initiate conversation, or just for fun.

Visit our website for more information and resources!

Direct newsletter questions, comments, and suggestions to Dr. Mary Biniewicz.