Des Plaines Valley Region
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STEM Programs

Changing Tomorrow

TMA Education Foundation video highlighting East Leyden High School’s success story, where TMA support helps industry and students by providing funding and support to local schools.


   S.T.E.M. Magazine





Illinois STEM Initiative

  1. Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources: development, production, processing, distribution, of agricultural commodities and resources including food, fiber, wood products, natural resources, horticulture, and other plant and animal products/resources;
  2. Energy: developing, planning and managing the production of energy including renewable energy and clean coal technology and its distribution through smart grid technologies;
  3. Manufacturing: product and process development and managing and performing the processing of materials into intermediate or final products and related support activities;
  4. Information Technology: designing, developing managing, supporting and integrating hardware and software system;
  5. Architecture and Construction: designing, planning, managing, building, and maintaining the built environment including the use of green technologies;
  6. Transportation, Distribution and Logistics: planning, management and movement of people, materials and goods across all transportation modes as well as maintaining and improving transportation technologies;
  7. Research and Development: scientific research and professional and technical services including laboratory and testing services, and research and development services;
  8. Health Sciences: planning, managing and providing therapeutic, diagnostic, health informatics, and support services as well as biomedical research and development; and
  9. Financial Services: securities and investments, business finance, accounting, insurance, and banking services.

PMSA Engineering Students Meet Award-Winning Alum

Each year during Engineers Week the prestigious Washington Award is conferred upon an engineer(s) whose professional attainments have preeminently advanced the welfare of human kind.

pmsaPresentation of the award is made at a joint banquet of the members and guests of the Western Society of Engineers; the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers; American Society of Civil Engineers; American Society of Mechanical Engineers; Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers; National Society of Professional Engineers; and the American Nuclear Society.

Members of the Monty Pythons Robotics Team, based out of Proviso Mathematics & Science Academy with the honoree at the Washington Awards dinner, Dr. Martin Jischke, a graduate from Proviso High School. Among his many accomplishments, Dr. Jischke went on to become the President of Purdue University, one of the transfer schools out of the Engineering Technology program at Triton College.

Leyden Takes to the Air With Green Windmill Technology

leyden-air-with-greenThe Chamber is working with Leyden High School District 212 and the Chicago Manufacturing Renaissance Council in an innovative “green” technology project. This project is called The Leyden Manufacturing Renaissance Partnership and will involve the business, industrial technology, and science departments, as well as several local volunteer companies–Manor Tool, KCS Computer Technology, GFI Genfare, Midwest Bank, Scot Forge, Airport Auto Body, Omar Electric, Opticote Inc., Parkway Bank, C. Johnson Sign, and The Great Escape Restaurant. We are very happy and proud to be a part of this endeavor which brings together the school district and the business community educating students toward a common goal. To date, we have built two windmills and will be installing them on the roof top to monitor the amount of energy used in Room 262 at East Leyden.

Region Students Engineer Water RobotsRegion Students Engineer Water Robots

Robots mostly composed of LEGOs diving into a pool of water was an impressive sight to see during the WaterBotics program offered this summer at Triton College. But what may have been more impressive was the fact that the robots were created and programmed by high school students.

Students representing eight high schools within the college’s district designed, constructed and controlled robots that were used to complete a series of increasingly complex challenges while maneuvering their robots in a pool . . . see more at


NEXTGEN-2011 – Connecting scientists today with the scientists tomorrow!


130 students from Oak Park & River Forest High School and Niles High School who are beginning independent research projects for either the Percy Julian Symposium or as part of the new Investigations in Biomedical Research class met with 25 scientists from universities and industry to exchange ideas and develop mentoring relationships.

Northwestern University, Abbot Labs, Fermilab, Argonne National Labs and the Chicago Rehabilitation Institute and the Museum of Science and Industry were some of the partnering institutions.




PMSA Students participate in International Challenge

Destination ImagiNation (DI) Inc. is an extraordinary non-profit organization that provides educational programs for students to learn and experience creativity, teamwork and problem solving. Every year, they reach 100,000 students in more than 30 countries. Student teams solve open-ended Challenges and present their solutions at tournaments. Participants learn to unleash their imaginations and take unique approaches to problem solving.

pmsa student

One example is the Instant Challenge: The skills involved in the Instant Challenges are the same skill sets as in the Team Challenges with one exception…time. Instant Challenges are completed in a short period of time. Team members faced with Performance-based Challenges utilize their knowledge base in the science, social studies, mathematical, and language arts. They work together with their teammates and demonstrate the standards of Working with Others, Thinking and Reasoning, and Visual Arts

Manufacturing Is Cool

Additionally, Task-based Challenges often additionally require teams to use mathematics, science, and visual arts. The national compendium of standards referenced in this study and created by the Mid-Continent Research for Education and Learning Group, can be located at Students from Proviso MSA participated in the Construction Challenge in 2009 Regional Rally and then did robotics DI Challenge in 2010. They also participated in the DI International competition (Global Finals) in Knoxville, Tennessee this year, for which they received School Board recognition.

atom builder  

Atom Builder

A free online resource created by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, Manufacturing is Cool encompasses topics such as manufacturing products and processes, and careers in engineering and technology. This interactive website challenges and engages students in basic engineering and science principles and provides useful K-12 resources for teachers, as well as college resources for students and parents.

informal commons  

Informal Commons

This interactive website created by PBS permits the user to construct a carbon atom model. The simulation tool begins with a hydrogen atom containing one proton and one electron. Atom builder includes a glossary and guides for building stable atoms, as well as information about related scientists and discoveries. Informal Commons



The Informal Commons is your guide to informal science education resources on the web, providing a faceted search engine which searches across professional development sites in the informal education field. Funded by NSF, the site is still experimental and under development, however, provides a robust portal to many high quality science education resources.

September 2011 – Afterschool Alliance Report

OVAE CONNECTION Newsletter Archive






Illinois Math & Science Academy
Problem-Based Learning Networkpbln

Problem-based learning (PBL) is focused experiential learning organized around the investigation and resolution of messy, real-world problems. – PBL engages students as stakeholders immersed in a messy, ill-structured, problematic situation. – PBL organizes curriculum around this holistic problem, enabling student learning in relevant and connected ways. – PBL creates a learning environment in which teachers coach student thinking and guide student inquiry, facilitating learning toward deeper levels of understanding while entering the inquiry as a co-investigator.

Project Lead the Way
And Gateway to Technology


Project Lead The Way (PLTW) prepares students to be the most innovative and productive leaders in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) and to make meaningful, pioneering contributions to our world. PLTW partners with middle schools and high schools to provide a rigorous, relevant STEM education. Through an engaging, hands-on curriculum, PLTW encourages the development of problem-solving skills, critical thinking, creative and innovative reasoning, and a love of learning. The PLTW middle and high school STEM education programs give students a brighter future by providing them with a foundation and proven path to college and career success in STEM-related fields. STEM education is at the heart of today’s high-tech, high-skill global economy. For America to remain economically competitive, our next generation of leaders must develop the critical-reasoning and problem-solving skills that will help make them the most productive in the world. PLTW sparks the ingenuity, creativity, and innovation within all of our students. (Gateway to Technology for Middle Schools)

Engineering by Designenginerring in design

The International Technology and Engineering Educators Association’s
STEM±Center for Teaching and Learning™ has developed the only
standards-based national model for Grades K-12 that delivers technological literacy.
The model, Engineering by Design™ is built on Standards for Technological Literacy (ITEEA); Principles and Standards for School Mathematics (NCTM); and Project 2061, Benchmarks for Science Literacy (AAAS).

Built on the constructivist model, students participating in the program learn concepts and principles in an authentic, problem-based environment. A network of teachers (EbD™ Network) has been selected to collaborate and conduct action research in order to better understand the complexities of student learning and to help all students succeed and be prepared for the global society in which they will grow up.