IMSA Fusion

IMSA Fusion starts on Thursday, September 13!

IMSA Fusion program application (due September 12)

This year, we are excited to have IMSA Fusion (a STEM program developed by the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy) as an after-school program once again, after a year with it living in the school day. We will meet once each week, Thursdays from 4 to 6 PM. This will be our third year partnering with IMSA, exercising our minds as engineers, tinkerers, mathematicians, astrophysicists, plant biologists, geneticists, forensic scientists, and explorers.

This year’s topics:

  • Fall topic — Mars: Manifest DestinyStudents will consider the enormous challenge of planning a permanent, sustainable colony on Mars.  To do so, students will explore gravity and orbital mechanics, the environmental conditions on Mars, and spaceflight hardware currently in development.  They will also participate in citizen science projects, analyzing actual imagery from Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and other platforms to apply engineering design principles to propose their own spaceflight hardware, and apply project management techniques to develop their own mission architecture.
  • Spring topic — Biological ToolkitIn the Biological Toolkit STEM curriculum module, students complete hands-on, inquiry-based activities using laboratory equipment and processes to culture yeast, separate molecules through gel electrophoresis, and synthesize and isolate “proteins.”

Previous topics:

  • Medieval STEMThis curriculum is an exploration of science, math and technology that was developed, altered or utilized by civilization during medieval times.  This time period helped lay the foundation for modern science and mathematics. Technological advances abounded. This curriculum focuses on agriculture, society and epidemiology, engineering, chemistry and textiles, and technological developments that lead civilization into the Renaissance. (From IMSA’s page)
  • AgronomicsThis curriculum explores STEM topics in the context of agronomy, the science and technology of producing and using plants for food and fuel. Students will investigate plant genetics, soil science, crop management systems, new technologies, and other issues at the forefront of agronomic research. Data analysis, policy development, efficient process design, and problem-solving will engage learners in a deeper understanding of the role of agriculture in Illinois and the world. (From IMSA’s page)
  • Flight and the Aviation IndustryIn this curriculum, middle-school students will be immersed in the various facets of the aviation industry ranging from aircraft design and assembly, airport structure and runway design, navigation, air traffic control, and airline efficiencies to the economic and environmental impact aviation has on their lives. 
  • Secret Communications (Cryptography): Ciphers, codes and modes of delivery come together in this unit to foster inquiry into the subject of cryptology.  Important capacities such as persistence and tenacity are practiced as students combine critical observations skills with logical analysis strategies to solve “secret” messages and share encrypted ideas with others.  Acting as researchers and investigators students explore a variety of ciphers, codes and methods for making sense of encrypted messages.