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Center for the Advancement of Science Education

March 27, 2014 Attraction No Comments Email Email

The Museum’s Center for the Advancement of Science Education (CASE) was created to help realize the Museum of Science and Industry’s vision: to inspire and motivate our children to achieve their full potential in the fields of science, technology, medicine and engineering.

Science and technology are critically important to our well-being, our nation’s economic growth and our environment. But education and engagement in science is on the decline:

  • By eighth grade, American students have fallen behind the leading ten nations in science. By age 15, they are behind 27 other nations in math skills.
  • Nearly two-thirds of Chicago fourth-graders failed to display even the most basic level of science knowledge on the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

CASE’s innovative programs are designed to extend the content of Museum exhibits through strategies that empower teachers, engage the community, and excite students and Museum guests. The Museum works with local school systems—especially Chicago Public Schools—and collaborates with some of the best minds in science and education to develop and evaluate programs.

We engage youth and those who are essential to their success by supporting the involvement of their families, communities and schools. CASE programming aims to raise interest and participation in science by students during their middle- and high-school years; influence youth to choose careers in STEM fields; sustain a supportive community climate for science engagement; and facilitate high-quality science teaching and learning in schools.

CASE programs target four areas:

Science Teacher Education

Coursework offered through our Institute for Quality Science Teaching and Learning provides middle-school teachers with science content and teaching strategies directly relevant to their curriculum. Teachers from 25 percent of all Chicago public schools grades K-8 have participated in our courses. Participants in our courses are eligible to earn graduate credit or even a master’s degree in science education through a partnership with the Illinois Institute of Technology. MSI’s focus is on enabling teachers who are in the classroom today and creating a pipeline of quality teachers who can inspire passion and excitement about science. About 1,000 teachers participate in these programs each year.

Community Initiatives

The Science Minors series of programs allows children from diverse backgrounds to discover new interests and skills, prepare for college, and learn about science careers. After-school Science Minors Clubs partner with 70 Chicago-area schools and community organizations to extend science learning into places where younger students already spend their time after school. The Science Minors program teaches teens about science before they volunteer to provide hands-on experiments for Museum guests. Teens who choose to continue on to our Science Achievers youth development program pursue more rigorous science topics, prepare for college and careers and participate in paid internships. Each year, these programs combined reach about 5,000 students, most of whom are underrepresented in science.

Student Experiences

Approximately 340,000 students visit MSI on field trips every year, making MSI the top field-trip destination among Chicago cultural institutions for the past five years. All Illinois school groups visit the Museum for free. Programs for school groups use our captivating spaces to investigate the science behind everyday life. Learning Labs provide facilitated, engaging educational experiences that are aligned with state and national science learning standards. Labs have pre- and post-visit activities and additional resources to enhance what students learn once they return to their classroom. More than 18,000 students in grades 3 through 12 participate annually. We offer two videoconferencing programs, Live … from the Heart and Mission to Mars, which allow students to talk live via video with experts in the operating room and at NASA.  Our youth development programs for high schoolers, Science Minors and Science Achievers, have inspired more than 600 teens to consider science careers and prepare a path to college.

Guest Experiences

All of the Museum’s 1.5 million annual guests are invited to participate in science like never before. Museum staff help create “a-ha!” moments through interactive experiences tailored to meet different learning styles. State-of-the-art laboratories allow guests to participate in more complex experiments. Students can learn engineering and innovation skills while working on projects using the cutting-edge software and equipment in the Wanger Family Fab Lab. The Science Theater makes guests the stars in a funny play about the digestive system. Guests can feel the floor shake in a large-scale chemistry show, engage in discussions about current science news like climate change, and much more. Our new, permanent exhibits are designed to foster engagement through guided exploration and facilitated hands-on activities.

Learn more about CASE at msichicago.org/CASE

The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (MSI), one of the largest science centers in the world, offers world-class and uniquely interactive science experiences that inspire inventive genius and foster curiosity. Through groundbreaking and award-winning exhibits that can’t be found anywhere else, to Live Science Experiences that make you the scientist—a visit to MSI is where fun and learning mix. Through its Center for the Advancement of Science Education (CASE), MSI offers a variety of student, teacher and family programs that make a difference in communities and contribute to the Museum’s larger vision: to inspire and motivate children to achieve their full potential in science, technology, medicine and engineering. Come visit and find your inspiration! MSI is open 9:30–4 p.m. every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas day. Extended hours, until  5:30 p.m., are offered during peak periods. The Museum is supported in part through the generosity of the people of Chicago through the Chicago Park District. For more information, find MSI online at msichicago.org or call (773) 684-1414 or (800) GO-TO-MSI outside of the Chicago area.

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