Amber Quirk

   Regional Superintendent 

   DuPage County Schools

Regional Office of Education

421 N. County Farm Rd

Wheaton, IL 60187


STEM News You Can Use

February 2024


The National Educational Technology Plan - Recently Released

The U.S. Department of Education (Department) today released the 2024 National Educational Technology Plan (NETP): A Call to Action for Closing the Digital Access, Design and Use Divides. First released in fulfillment of the 2000 Educate America Act, NETP has been updated multiple times since its original release.

Dirt-powered Fuel Cell Runs Forever

A Northwestern University-led team of researchers has developed a new fuel cell that harvests energy from microbes living in dirt. The completely soil-powered technology could fuel underground sensors used in precision agriculture and green infrastructure, offering a sustainable, renewable alternative to batteries. Read more.

More "Hidden Figures" Discovered at the University of Chicago

Working with photos taken in the early 1900's at the Yerkes Observatory, researchers discovered that more than 100 women performed astronomical observations, analyzed data, collaborated with researchers, and published papers, at a time few women were able to become professional scientists. Use this link to learn more.

Herrick Students Place in Illinois Math Contest

In a recent contest sponsored by the Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the Herrick eighth grade team placed second among 47 middle schools while the seventh grade team placed seventh among 47 middle schools. In addition to placing as teams,12 individual 8th graders earned perfect scores and five 7th graders earned perfect scores. Congratulations, Herrick Spartans! Click here for the details.


ROE STEM Network - February 7, 2024; 4:00 to 5:15 pm

The staff at SCARCE, located at 800 Rowling Road, Unit D, in Addison, look forward to hosting the next STEM Network session. Join other STEM educators and champions from all grade levels as we learn and share with colleagues, and explore this great community resource. Register here so that we can prepare. Attendees receive STEM trinkets and treasures, and are eligible for raffle prizes!

Mark your calendars! May 1 is the last 2023-24 STEM Network session. Kathleen Meyer, Indian Trail Middle School in Addison, graciously offered to host the group. More information to come. Interested in hosting a meeting next year? Email Dr. Susan Camasta.

Spring into Agriculture (Virtual) - February 6, 2024, 6:00 - 7:15 pm

You don't want to miss this hands-on virtual sesssion. Join Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom for new and unique twists on your science and literacty efforts for the spring season. The webinar is hosted via Zoom. Click here for registration and more information.

Designing Equitable, 3-D, Curriculum Anchored Assessments - February and March

The National Science Teaching Association invites you to work on connecting your instructional materials to engaging, three-dimensional assessments. This is a four-part webinar series begining on February 21. More information about the series and cost can be accessed here.

Rubber Band Car Challenge - Submit by March 18, 2024

Students design and build a rubber band-powered car that will go as far as possible.The 10th annual Science Buddies Engineering Challenge is free to enter, uses simple materials, and is designed to work well in a K-12 classroom or out-of-school setting. Submissions will be accepted from February 18 to March 18, 2024, but students can start to plan, design, build, and test their rubber band cars now!

Math-ish! Book Talk with Jo Boaler - May 8 or 9, 2024

Mathematics is a fundamental part of life, yet every one of us has a unique relationship with learning and understanding the subject. Working with numbers may inspire confidence in our abilities or provoke anxiety and trepidation. Stanford researcher, mathematics professor, and the leading expert on math learning Dr. Jo Boaler argues that our differences are the key to unlocking our greatest mathematics potential. Dr. Boaler is hosting two free webinars to coincide with the release of her new book, Math-ish! Finding Creativity, Diversity, and Meaning in Mathematics, coming out on May 7th. Learn more or register for the book talk here:

Rocketry and Avionics - Taking Data to New Heights - June 10-13 or June 24-27, 2024

Experience the thrill of rocketry for yourself as you learn to integrate rocketry with avionics curriculum in your classroom. This free, dynamic workshop at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign will guide you through modules focused on developing foundational knowledge, predictive modeling, and fabrication skills. The opportunity includes 20 PD hours, housing and modules. Seats are available for novice and advanced learners but are limited. For more information, contact Heather Arnett at [email protected].


Let Imaginations Soar with the United States Patent and Trademark Office

Explore invention education with this free platform that includes online games and activities for K-12 students, video interviews with actual inventors, projects and assessments, lesson plans, and more.

Curated STEM Resources

Mixtures and solutions? Types of energy? Forces of motion? Biodiversity? Health and human body systems? Magnetism or electromagnetism? Density? Educators spend a lot of time designing and searching for lessons. You want quality materials to align with class objectives, but are easy to use, thoughtfully designed and prepared, and help bring concepts to life with hands-on experiments and activities that really work. Science Buddies offers a collection of units with lessons and activities, suitable for grades K-12.

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

Below is a list of just 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 one or more of 16 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.

Celebrate March!

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.