Amber Quirk

   Regional Superintendent 

   DuPage County Schools

Regional Office of Education

421 N. County Farm Rd

Wheaton, IL  60187


STEM News You Can Use

November 2023


Chicago Biohub Launched in Chicago

The Chan Zuckerburg Biohub is a $250 million lab that will bring together researchers from the University of Chicago, the University of Illinois, and Northwestern University to study human tissue and inflammation with goal of creating groundbreaking therapeutics.

New Mineral Named After Argonne's Material Scientist Kanatzidis

Kanatzidis is the namesake of a newly discovered mineral, kanatzidisite, which was recently unearthed in Hungary. Kanatzidisite belongs to a class of materials known as chalcogenides, which Mercouri Kanatzidis has studied extensively for decades at Argonne and Northwestern. Read more.

How Can Game-based Learning Boost Achievement in STEM?

When students engage in game-based learning in STEM classrooms, they not only learn content, but also learn the practices they need to be successful in STEM subjects, according to NC State College of Education Professor Emeritus Eric Wiebe. Read the full article here.


National STEM Day - November 8, 2023

Celebrate teaching STEM by sharing with students ways to build skills and confidence so that they see themselves as innovators and problem solvers. Here are some links that might get your STEM ideas flowing.

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?

Amazon's Future Engineer Scholarship Program - Applications due December 15, 2023

College scholarships will be awarded to 400 high school seniors who intend to study engineering, robotics, and computer science, plus obtain a paid internship with Amazon. Refer to this site for more information.

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.

Grosvenor Teacher Fellowship - Applications Due January 7, 2024

The National Geographic Society has partned with Lindblad Expedtions to send educators into the field around the world to learn, create, connect, and explore. Read more about eligibility requirements and the application process.

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 acknowlegement. 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.

Future City - The Ultimate STEM Competition

This competion invites students in grades 6-8 to imagine, research, design, and build cities of the future that showcase their solution to a citywide sustainability issue. Using the Engineering Design process, this year students will build a 100% electrically powered city with energy generated from sources that maintain the health and safety of citizens and the environment. Learn more. Wood Dale Junior High has a winning history. Hear about their program.

Tell 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.


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.

  • Borrow one or more of 15 STEM Trunks for students in Grades K-12.
  • Work with a STEM Squad member to help plan a STEM event or STEM Club activities.
  • 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.

Energizing Student Potential (ESP) Program

ESP is a free, STEM-based program for grades 3-12. This is a collaborative program to encourage students to

explore STEM Fields, with opportunities for classroom grants, energy kits, and additional resources to teach STEM in your classroom or program. The National Energy Education Development (NEED) project has extended the original due date. For more information and to apply, send an email to [email protected]

or call 1-800-875-5029, as soon as possible.

Fall Topics

Here are a few resources for STEM activities related to upcoming events and celebrations.

Managing Lists in Google Contacts

It's time to clean up your (digital) Roladex! Sarah Phelps has tips for keeping your Google Contacts tidy, including using labels to ensure you never lose track of another important email address. Watch now.

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.

What Are You Going to Do With the Leftover Holiday Candy?

Here are some possibilities.

Visit our website for more information and resources!

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