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STEAM Works unveils fall offerings for students, teachers

August 31, 2016

STEAMWorks-CenterpieceAs the fall semester starts, NIU STEAM Works is gearing up for another season of diverse programs that combine content from science, technology, engineering, the arts and math to spark creativity, innovation and problem solving.

STEAM Works programs bring together the existing roster of STEM Outreach programs and expand to include programs that emphasize the arts and design.

For all ages, STEAM Works has something to offer. Check out today to see which events belong on your calendar!

 STEAM Fun for Everyone

Kids age 7 and up love our STEM Saturdays: One- and two-session classes, offered on Saturday mornings, on topics like LEGO Robotics, 3D printing, learning to fly and stop-motion animation. These popular classes fill up fast––especially the STEM Divas sections, which are specially designed for young girls––so don’t wait to check out the full schedule and register for your top choices. Classes start Sept. 17.

Thousands of families will explore science, technology, engineering, arts and math together at our annual STEMfest, to be held this year on Oct. 8, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the NIU Convocation Center. People come from across northern Illinois to enjoy hundreds of hands-on activities and displays presented by more than 40 NIU departments, student groups, regional corporations, museums, educators and national laboratories.

Students in middle school, high school and college who are interested in learning about computer coding should sign up for this year’s 24-hour Huskie Hack, which starts at noon on Nov. 5, in the Holmes Student Center. Registration is free, but required. No coding experience is needed, just enthusiasm for team-based collaboration and innovation in fields as diverse as local government, social services, fashion and athletics.

Our STEM Cafés will continue to bring experts to local restaurants to share their cutting-edge perspectives in an informal setting, with refreshments available for purchase. We’ll cover the Physics of Baseball on Sept. 14 at Two Brothers Roundhouse in Aurora. Other topics scheduled for this fall include sustainable food sourcing and the sharing economy.

STEM Outreach will continue to dazzle and amaze students and families through school demonstration shows, traveling hands-on exploration labs and family nights. Contact [email protected] to arrange for a tailored experience sure to engage and educate the audience you have in mind.

STEAM Up Your Classroom

For educators looking to STEAM up their students’ semesters, STEAM Works has a variety of options.

On Sept. 24, K-5 educators interested in learning how to introduce their students to computer science basics in a fun, accessible format can register for a free Code Studio workshop at the Kaneland Meredith Road Middle School, 1N377 Meredith Road in Maple Park. The workshop, facilitated by national leader, will run from 6-8 p.m. Details and registration are available online.

High school teachers can sign their classes up for the Nov. 17 or 18 STEM Read field trip. Attendees read the popular sci-fi novel, Mike Mullin’s Ashfall, then gather on the NIU campus to hear Mullin speak, ask him questions and learn more about scientific concepts relevant to the novel’s plot, including volcanology, physics, engineering and food science. For more info, head to

STEAM Works can also come to your school and customize a class for students or professional development for teachers. To get the conversation started, contact Kristin Brynteson ([email protected]). “We’re happy to work up a program that will be energizing and educational for any age group,” says Brynteson. “Thanks to our experienced instructors, a STEAM Works visit is guaranteed to maximize classroom engagement.”