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Local News

PopUp Science spreading around the globe

The Homewood Science Center started its free PopUp Science program in 2016 as a way to share science concepts with the community. 
 
Now the ideas behind PopUp Science are being learned by science enthusiasts around the world, thanks to the Homewood Science Center’s membership in the STEM Learning Ecosystem, a national and international network working to change how students learn, educators teach and how businesses develop a workforce for the 21st century.

The Homewood Science Center started its free PopUp Science program in 2016 as a way to share science concepts with the community. 
 
  Kids work together on building 
  a roller coaster at a 2017 
  PopUp Science session at the 
  Homewood Science Center. 

  (Chronicle file photo)
 

Now the ideas behind PopUp Science are being learned by science enthusiasts around the world, thanks to the Homewood Science Center’s membership in the STEM Learning Ecosystem, a national and international network working to change how students learn, educators teach and how businesses develop a workforce for the 21st century.

 
The STEM Learning Ecosystem has various ways to improve STEM learning, including Community of Practice programs for organizers. Edie Dobrez, HSC executive director, and Holly Kelsven, HSC marketing and events director, were invited to participate in the April program and got to share information on PopUp Science.
 
“We had people come up to us, including from Israel and Kenya, and ask us how we’re doing PopUp Science,” said Dobrez. “PopUp Science basically is a product of necessity because we didn’t have funding to have million dollar exhibits. It’s really got us on the map — literally.”
 
Filmmaker Anne Colton made videos of several PopUp Science programs. Those were part of the presentation that Dobrez and Kelsven gave at the Community of Practice program in New Orleans in April. 

“Really, the videos tell the story,” Dobrez said. 

 
PopUp Science has been a great way to draw people of all ages into the science center and it allows experts in various fields to share their knowledge, she explained. 
 
The science center starts its 2019 calendar of PopUp Science on May 25 with its “Building Basics” program followed by “Go Green!” recycling on June 22, “Metal Mania” on July 27, “Bubble Bash” on Aug. 24 and “Science of Healthy Choices” on Sept. 28. All sessions are from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the HSC, 18022 Dixie Highway in Homewood.
 
In April, HSC brought its “Roller Coaster: An Inventor’s Journey” field trip to Project Exploration, a community center in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood. Representatives from HSC took all the materials needed to help the kids in the Chicago after-school STEM program have the experience of learning science concepts by building a roller coaster.
 
Every group was given 45-minutes for roller coaster building using construction kits that include: pipe insulation, skewers, popsicle sticks, brads, Dixie cups, cereal boxes, straws, rubber bands, paper towel rolls, toilet paper rolls and bottle caps. Marbles serve as the roller coasters.
 
The science center developed the 90-minute program around roller coast inventor John Miller, of Homewood, whose many innovations helped improve the safety of roller coasters. Dobrez said during this school year between January and May, 34 school groups took a field trip to HSC for the roller coaster program that is geared toward fourth graders.
 
Schools within a 30-mile radius of Homewood have enjoyed the field trip since HSC first started offering it in 2017. 
 
Dobrez gave special thanks to Mi-Jack Products, which recently helped underwrite the field trip expenses for Markham School District 144 and Hazel Crest District 152 ½.
 

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