Amber Quirk

   Regional Superintendent 

   DuPage County Schools

Regional Office of Education

421 N. County Farm Rd

Wheaton, IL 60187


STEM News You Can Use

January 2024

The DuPAGE ROE STEM Squad Announces

Its Newest STEM Trunk - Water Quality Testing Kits

The availability of clean, fresh water is a contemporary issue and a perfect cross-curricular topic for lesson or unit study. To enable hands-on learning in these studies, we have a new trunk that can be loaned to DuPage schools. The trunk includes four testing kits, each comes with a handbook and supplies to test for seven substances typically found in water. Lesson plans are available for grades 5-12. For first-time users, we will schedule an opportunity to acquaint you with the kits and help you learn how they can be integrated into your plans. Email Mary Biniewicz for more information.

The purchase of the water quality testing kits was made possible through a generous donation made by Domtar Corporation located in Addison. We are grateful for the opportunity to share this exciting resource with our DuPage schools.


DuPage ROE STEM Squad After-school Workshops - Winter/Spring 2024

The Squad has openings for the following workshops for DuPage schools serving middle school students (grades 5 - 8). We bring everything needed to work with as few as 10 students and up to 40 students. Activities are planned for about 90 minutes but can be adjusted based on your school schedule. Email Mary Biniewicz for information or to schedule a workshop.

  • Mini Olympics. Students will launch, hurl, and fling their way through this session as they participate in unique STEM Olympic-style events while they apply estimation and measurement skills. Sessions are available on February 7 and 8, 2024.

  • Grow Your Own Pizza. Students will learn to prepare and grow many of the ingredients needed to make delicious home-made pizza and they get to take home everything to continue the learning and fun at home. Sessions are available on March 7 and 12, 2024.

  • Catapults. Students will build catapults using a schematic and provided materials, then experiment to find the best angle to hit targets. Once students have mastered the idea, they build their own catapults with the materials provided. Requires the use of a large open space or hallway. Sessions are available on April 9, 10, and 11, 2024.

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 for the last 2023-24 STEM Network session on 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?

County Wide Institute Day - 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 you in hands-on actvities and expand your thinking about how these activities can enhance student learning opportunities. Don't delay, register soon.

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!

Summer Research Experience for Teachers - Applications due March 31, 2024

The Northwestern University Materials Research Science & Engineering Center provides a Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program each summer. Middle-school, high-school, and community-college teachers are eligible to apply. Participants engage in research, develop a network of scientific colleagues, learn scientific and technological developments, and discover ways to transfer this knowledge to their classroom. Learn more.


Learning Technology Center Podcast - AI Is For Everyone

Matt and Brian chat with Dr. Monica Burns about how educators can utilize AI to streamline their daily workflows. Then, RETC Eric Santos joins to highlight AI-powered features in apps you already use in your classroom. Listen now.

Now Hiring Near-Peer Mentors for NSTA GEMS Summer STEM Program 

Gains in the Education of Mathematics and Science (GEMS) is hiring for its paid Near-Peer Mentor staff positions for the 2024 summer! GEMS is a free, weeklong summer STEM experience for 5-12 graders in Champaign, Illinois, sponsored by the Army Education Outreach Program. Mentors are college or high school students who support teachers and mentor student participants. Mentors will receive a stipend based on experience and education.Learn more.  

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.

Winter Topics

  • Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day - February 22

Toolkit and Resources

Argonne National Laboratory Event

  • Black History Month

Black Innovators Who Changed the World

Celebrating Black STEM Innovators

Black Women in STEM You Should Know

Standout Women in STEM

  • Winter Olympics

STEM for the Winter Olympic Games

Science of Winter Olympics

Science News Explores Winter Olympics

  • Fun with Snowflakes

Science Snowflakes

DNA Snowflake

Animal Snowflakes

Virus Snowflakes

Insect and Spider Snowflakes

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.

Arrange a Pediatrician to Visit Your School, Classroom, or STEM Event

KIDS Urgent Care specializes in urgent care for children up to age 22 years old. They treat everything from colds to lacerations needing stitches. Want to learn more about the skills needed to be a board-certified pediatrician and the tools we use to diagnose and treat illnesses and injuries in children? You can arrange visits to your school, classroom, or STEM Fair with hands-on educational activities to show you what it takes to be a KIDS Urgent Care pediatric specialist. Leave a message for Karen Durante at 630-868-3621.

Visit our website for more information and resources!

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