CHICAGO -- Using pedal-power to light up bulbs, making batteries from lemons, and creating "elephant toothpaste," Chicago youth are polishing their science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills, through a partnership between Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago and Exelon Corporation. To celebrate the partnership, the James R. Jordan Boys & Girls Club is hosting a STEM expo, where 50 youth from the Jordan and Little Village Clubs will be guided by volunteers and a team of "ComEd Ignitors" in fun science experiments.
Interactive stations at the expo feature "energy bikes," where youth pedal their way to knowledge about energy needed to power incandescent, CFL and LED light bulbs. Youth can also model carbon atoms with colored marshmallows, make ice cream, and batteries from lemons, as well as demonstrate solar cars they have built.
The science expo is among many activities Exelon is supporting through a three-year, $190,000 grant toward Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago programs that expose youth to the value of STEM skills – and the impact that these skills will have on their futures.
"This partnership with Exelon gives Club members an opportunity to boost their STEM skills in fun and engaging ways – and helps us expand vital STEM programming, such as Brain Gain, and Project Learn," said Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago's President and CEO, Mimi LeClair. "Our programs encourage Club members to explore industries and areas including energy, physics, and the environment, and to put everyday math into practice; skills that are key to any successful career."
An interactive presentation by science pro "Mr. G" will also demonstrate STEM concepts at the expo – from energy transfer and the relationship between height and velocity in roller coasters, to chemical interactions when making "elephant toothpaste," to a DIY hack of the tiny beads of ice cream known as Dippin' Dots.
"Exelon wants to show Club members how skills in science, technology, engineering and math power their everyday lives and offer a promising future," says Steve Solomon, Vice President Corporate Relations, Exelon. "This program exposes them to valuable new experiences and broadens the possibilities for their professional aspirations."
Exelon's grant also supports staff training, STEM-focused field trips, and interactions with engineers and other professionals working in STEM fields.
The STEM programming enhancements are currently offered at six Boys & Girls Club locations:
· James R. Jordan Boys & Girls Club, 2102 W. Monroe St.
· Little Village Boys & Girls Club, 2801 S. Ridgeway Ave.
· Pedersen-McCormick Boys & Girls Club, 4835 N. Sheridan Rd.
· Bright Boys & Girls Club, Orville Bright Elementary School, 10740 S. Calhoun Ave.
· Carter Boys & Girls Club, William Carter Elementary School, 5627 S. Michigan Ave.
· Logandale Boys & Girls Club, Logandale Middle School, 3212 S. George St.