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We are dedicated to building a community of researchers and educators who together innovate ways to engage students and the public in STEM fields — Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

22 May 2017

REU Student: Taesoo Jung

The STEM Center would like to introduce one of our summer 2017 visiting REU students: Taesoo Jung. Having conducted most of her previous undergraduate research in Georgia, Taesoo is excited to be gaining new research experiences in the midwest and exploring the archaeology and ecology of the Upper Mississippi River System. Here’s a little word from Taesoon:

As an undergraduate in Anthropology and Fisheries & Wildlife at the University of Georgia (UGA), I am looking forward to this summer’s interdisciplinary REU program! My previous research experiences include the UGA Singer-Moye Mounds Field School, the UGA Laboratory of Archaeology, the Georgia Museum of Natural History’s Zooarchaeology Laboratory, and the Center for Applied Isotope Studies. I have also attended UGA courses in Cultural Materials, Cultural Resource Management, Zooarchaeology, and Soils & Hydrology. Most of my previous experiences are in a laboratory, so I am especially excited to go back into the field for zooarchaeological and ecological research! It is my hope that my previous interdisciplinary experiences can provide a unique insight into the questions we will be asking this summer!

18 May 2017

94 Days and Counting Down…

In just 94 days (depending on when you read this), on August 21, something amazing will happen. The Earth, Moon, and Sun will align, and the midday sky will darken as the Moon moves in front of the Sun. If you are able to get to the right spot (see map here), you will see the Moon completely cover the Sun–a total solar eclipse. It’s an event not to be missed, and a little preparation (especially if you’ll be viewing with kids) will help you get the most out of your solar eclipse experience.

Image source: NASA

Start preparing with your kids now… don’t wait until August. Here are three easy and fun activities from NASA to get things going. First, make a Sun cookie! During the eclipse, you’ll see the Sun in a whole new way, so make this delicious model to learn more about our nearest star. Talk about the features of this model that are good/useful/accurate and not-so-good/misleading/inaccurate. All models have their pros and cons.

Image source: NASA

Second, make a scale model of the Sun and Earth.This is a simple activity that takes on some big questions… how big is the Earth compared to the Sun? How far away is the Sun?

Image source: NASA

Third, help your kids find the answer to this question: “How can the little Moon hide the giant Sun?” Using balls of various sizes and guiding questions, you can help children understand a big part of how eclipses work.  Links to these activities and a great article on safety from the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) are below.

Are you a local teacher looking for professional development about the upcoming eclipse? Stay tuned… information about SIUE workshops will be available on this site and on the SIUE Eclipse page soon.


1. Solar Cookie Model

2. Scale Model of Sun & Earth

3. How Can the Little Moon Hide the Giant Sun?

Safely observing with small children:  (NSTA) Hurst, A., Plummer, J., Gurton, S., & Schatz, D. (2017). Preparing for the Eclipse. Science and Children, 54(7), 52.

15 May 2017

Summer REU Program

Over the summer, the STEM Center will be welcoming ten undergraduate students from across the country to participate in an immersive research experience learning concepts in both ecology and archaeology funded by the National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates program. In partnership with the Illinois Natural History Survey, University of Illinois, SIUE Department of Anthropology, and Western Illinois University, these students will conduct archaeological excavations, learn how to identify fish species that people used thousands of years in the past, and learn to conduct fish monitoring using electrofishing methods. These ten students will work in interdisciplinary research teams to integrate archaeological and ecological datasets in an attempt to document initial evidence of the Anthropocene in the Upper Mississippi River Systems. The project will culminate with the students creating a research poster that will be an original contribution to the understanding of the environmental processes that led to the current conditions of the Mississippi River as we see it today.
These posters will be presented in the last week of the program. Mark your calendars to attend their poster presentations, sponsored by the SIUE Anthropology Club, on Thursday, July 27th from 1:00 – 3:00 pm in Room A of the MUC. Stay tuned throughout the summer! Future post will spotlight our students and include program updates.

11 May 2017

Free Workshop: Understanding History with a STEM Lens

Making the Most of Maps

The STEM Center is proud to announce a brand new workshop in collaboration with the Teaching with Primary Sources project! This summer institute introduces elementary and middle school educators to integrating STEM thinking into their curriculum with maps. Teacher teams will first learn how to use primary sources in the classroom, including many free resources online including items from the Library of Congress and sample lessons and curriculum. Teachers then learn how to add inquiry to their units by learning sample STEM-integrated history lessons that use maps in unconventional ways. These lessons include analysis tools to integrate STEM-related thinking into their classroom curriculum. Finally, educators have an opportunity to plan to integrate lessons and tools into their own curriculum with the support of STEM educators.

Where and When: 6/20-21 from 9:00-3:00 in Springfield and 6/27-28 at SIUE

Lunch and 12 PD Hours included when you register for free. You will also receive a free flash drive with all of the primary sources and curricular materials free. Sign up with a colleague from your school and receive additional materials for your classroom!

08 May 2017

There’s Still Time to Register for Cosmic Investigators!

In the Cosmic Investigators Odyssey Camp, students begin their journey of learning to navigate by preparing a star shapes and stories log book. Of course they will need to know the different types of telescopes, how they work, and build one to take home. Participants will explore our solar system, making moon craters, solar viewing, investigating edible rocks (meteors), conducting planet temperature experiments and building a pocket solar system. Along the way, students will participate in the Viking search for life experiments and look for life in the universe.

Campers and their families are invited to a star party with the River Bend Astronomy Club on the evening of Saturday, July 22 at the Shaw Sky Lab on SIUE’s campus.

Registration costs for Odyssey Science Camps are $325, plus a $25 non-refundable application fee. Registration information is available at

Veil Nebula © NASA/JPL

04 May 2017

NASA Exoplanet Travel Bureau

Image © JPL/NASA

Did you know that NASA has a travel department? Sort of… They have commissioned travel posters for some of the closest exoplanets to Earth as a semi-joke. We say “semi” since it’s the hope of NASA and more than a few kids out there that we will visit these worlds someday and continue to push the frontiers of knowledge. If you are starting an astronomy unit in your classroom, be sure to check out this site for some fabulous images that can galvanize student engagement by making their imaginations run wild.

Exoplanet Travel Bureau Site

02 May 2017

Eclipse 2017

Did you know that there’s an eclipse coming up this summer? On August 21 there will be a total eclipse of the sun, visible from locations across southern Illinois. In Edwardsville we will be just outside the path of totality but there will still be dramatic sights to see on that day. If you’re back in school, or even if you’re just getting ready to return, you should certainly get out there with some equipment to view the solar eclipse safely. It’s a rare and stunning event so don’t miss out!

For more information see SIUE’s informational site or give us a call at (618) 650-3500.

24 April 2017

Odyssey Camp

It’s almost summer and that means another session of Odyssey Science CampOdyssey Camp Will Be Held from July 17-28 and offers a wide variety of activities for students going into grades 2 through 9.

You can find the registration form here. If you have any questions or concerns, contact us here at the STEM Center ( or 650-3065) and we’ll be happy to help!


26 January 2017

STEM and Basketball

Yesterday the STEM Center was able to provide some science demos during the Women’s Basketball game for Field Trip Day 2017. The Athletics Department wanted to showcase some of the academics on campus to the thousands (!) of middle school students visiting campus so we ran out on the floor during time outs to show stomp rocket competitions and sports science trivia. It was a blast and we even made the news!

Official SIUE Press Release

Edwardsville Intelligencer Article


12 January 2017

STEM In 2017


Hello everyone! We’re back from winter break and getting everything together as quickly as we can. Between weather and staff illness it’s been interesting but starting next week we’ll be opening with our 2017 hours.

Monday 10:00 am – 3:30 pm
Tuesday 10:00 am – 7:00 pm
Wednesday 10:00 am – 7:00 pm
Thursday 10:00 am – 3:30 pm

As always, we’ve tried to pick a range of times to accommodate different schedules so hopefully there’s a time that works for you! As always, we’re also happy to accommodate appointments as long as our schedules permit in a given week.