On Thursday, October 16, 2014 Project Exploration co-hosted the STEMFest/Ten80 Expo for over 700 students from 16 high schools at the South Shore Cultural Center. A convergence of several different initiatives, the event served as the kick-off for year 2 of Explore Engineering: Ten80, PE’s collaboration with Ten80 Education to bring their engineering challenges to Chicago. These yearlong project-based programs are expanding this year to include four “challenges”: Racing, Innovation, Energy, and Rover. At the Ten80 Expo students heard from representatives from Ten80 and their main partner, the U.S. Army. They got hands-on time with some of the engineering kits, as a preview of what they’ll be working with over the next year.

On the other side of the building, the “Maker Party” kicked off a weekend of activities for the Pathways to STEM Success collaborative, a partnership of national STEM organizations led by PE and the Chicago Botanic Garden, which is focused on researching best practices for increasing diversity in STEM programs. Over 25 local and national STEM organizations convened to expose students to a wide array of STEM opportunities that ranged from afterschool programs, colleges, and careers. Students enjoyed walking freely to each table that engaged them with electric systems, computer programming, creating a geo-locative game, Arduino, forensics, robotics, and many other exciting subjects. Close to 700 participants experienced the entire STEM Fest hosted by Ten80 and the U.S. Army and more than 250 students visited the Maker Party that was arranged by Project Exploration and The Chicago Botanic Garden.

Check out the slide show below for a glimpse at the action.

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