Deadline to Register is April 25, 2014 – Register Today!!!

The TRiO Upward Bound Math and Science at Northeastern Illinois University and Columbia College Chicago in collaboration with Scientist for Tomorrow program, is proud to present the 4th Annual STEAM Conference held at Northeastern Illinois University in the main campus in the Alumna Hall, 5500 N St Louis Ave, Chicago, IL 60625.
The  STEAM  Conference is a free event open to all middle grade and high school students as well as educators and parents. There will be Science, Technology, Engineering, Art/Architecture/Agriculture and Mathematics (STEAM)  project based, hands on workshops, led by middle, high school and college students as well as educators and STEM professionals.
The event will begin at 10:00 a.m. and end at 3:00 pm.
Workshops sessions include Mobile App Development, VEX robotics, CAD design with SketchUp, KODU game design, hands on science investigations and much more.
Registration for participants is required and space is limited! Registration deadline is April 25, 2014.
To register for the event click on the link below.
 The STEAM Conference goal is “to engage and foster STEM/STEAM education through project-based, career oriented and hands on activities. Motivating our youth to pursue greater enrollment in math and science courses in high school and consider a path into post secondary education in STEM/STEAM fields.” The conference was made possible by the collaboration between the Chicago Teachers’ Center at Northeastern Illinois University, Columbia College Science and Math Department and the UBMS program.
 For more information visit
 UBMS STEAM Conference 2014 Save the Date pdf


2014 Family Science Day at the Field Museum

Scientists for Tomorrow
Science Institute in the Department of Science and Mathematics
Columbia College Chicago

 Summary of Winter Session: Family Science Day
Event Host: Field Museum
Date: March 15, 2014

 On Saturday, March 15, 2014 over 550 members from 36 community-based organizations participating in the National Science Foundation (NSF), Informal Science Education (ISE) NSF-ISE Scientists for Tomorrow (SfT) program attended third annual Family Science Day at the Field Museum. The faculty and staff of the Science Institute, in the Department of Science and Mathematics in collaboration with the education department of the Field Museum, organized the event.

At the Field Museum, the event took place directly at the exhibits and classrooms.  The workshops aligned with the concepts that the participants learned in the module “Physics of Sound and Mathematics of Music.” The lessons are taught in most community sites under the supervision of Scientists for Tomorrow staff.  

Andy Hershberger, the liaison for the education department of the museum, facilitated the event. Attendees participated in planned activities, which involved three music-oriented workshops: Investigation of Musical instruments, Constructing Pan Flutes and Building Thumb Pianos. They also attended three museum exhibit explorations: Africa, Ancient Egypt and Revolving Planets.

Participants at the event included parents, children, program instructors and community leaders from 36 partnering Chicago community organization sites. Columbia College Chicago students and staff members contributed and documented the event.

The Family Science Day event at the Field Museum was designed to expand the conceptual foundation revolving the learning module of Physics of Sound and Mathematics of Music, most importantly to promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) interest in all children.

We expect that the youth will share the knowledge gained within the dynamic museum environment, with the rest of the communities who have not had the chance to experience this opportunity.  Furthermore, to become more involved in future STEM activities in their centers.

The high attendance and participation of our community members made the event a success. The team leaders showed great dedication, and the children above all, expressed great interest and enjoyed the event. Children loved the fact that they were able to construct their own take home instruments when consulting and listening from museum experts.

The Field Museum staff led the workshops with great success. Site leaders along with parents, successfully managed participants around the exhibitions. In addition, the participation of our 24 teens from the Upper Bound Math and Science from Northeastern did an amazing job! These young leaders showed great enthusiasm and responsibility throughout the event. Not only were they able to keep their groups organized, but also assisted other team leaders with directions towards designated exhibitions.

Special guests included a dance performance by The Back of the Yards Ballet Folklorico. The performance called, “Concheros, ” is a compilation of Aztec dances that represented their customs in Agriculture (La danza del maiz), Sun Gods (La danza del Sol) and War (La danza de Guerra).  The ballet instructor, Emilio Corona, presented and talked about the instruments, as he made music using a sea shell, “Caracol” and a wooden “Teponaztli” slit drum. 

The following community organizations who participated in the event were:  Chicago Teachers, Enlace Chicago, United Neighborhood Organization, Logan Square Neighborhood Association, Chicago Teachers Center, Brighton Park Neighborhood, Center for Community Arts Partnership, Family Focus Inc., YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago, GEMS, Three Rivers and Metropolitan Family Services.  

Scientists for Tomorrow Family Science Event 2014.PDF


Scientists for Tomorrow Field Museum Online Survey

Field-Museum-2014-thumbnailPizza-PartyThank you for coming to the Scientists for Tomorrow (SfT), “Family Science Day” at the Field Museum. For your participation you and your classmates have a chance to enter to win a Pizza Party provided by us.

All you have to do is complete the following survey online before March 22, 2014. The site that completes more than 5 surveys will win! To look for clues visit The Field Museum website.

The survey will close at 5PM on March 22, 2014.




People and Plants—Knowing our ecosystem

At Scientist for Tomorrow, we assess ourselves by measuring the success and impact we have on the community. We motivate ourselves to create a community of innovation and curiosity. Most importantly, we pride ourselves when make a difference, connect students to all that revolves around science and change their lives.
I believe humans are born scientists. As infants we start exploring our world, experimenting with objects, and learning about the mechanics of life. Soon after we mature, the mind of a scientists erodes because of some external influence that says “You can’t do that, you are not smart enough.” The dreams of many children are quickly destroyed and lose interest with science. Majority of the children grow up to be disconnected from the planet and everything that revolves around science. We, as humanity, must do our best to learn about the planet Earth. What best way to start with People and Plants! Our mission with this project is to bring that curiosity back, and connect them closer to Earth.
People and Plants will connect students to learn about our planet’s ecosystem by exposing them knowledgeably, to atmospheric activity, biodiversity and natural resources. Ultimately drawing a big picture and helping students understand that everything in this world is connected; one action–being harmful or good– will have an effect on the planet’s environments. We hope that this project will change the students way of thinking, so when they grow up and become adults, they will take more care of the planet Earth.
Ignacio Mendez

SfT Community Sites to visit the Field Museum

All of the community members affiliated with Scientists for Tomorrow are invited to participate in our annual Family Science Day event at the Field Museum March 15, 2014. Participants will be exploring the exhibits, attending workshops and building hands on activities to take home.

If you would like to attend, contact your resource coordinator of the program at your community center/s. We look forward to seeing many Parents, Students, Staff and Volunteers. This will be an enjoyable and educational experience for all of the participants!

Field Museum 2014.pdf

Field Museum 2014

Community Partners Meeting ReCap

Jan. 24—Scientists for Tomorrow (SfT) kicked off their first Community Partners meeting of the year 2014 to discuss important topics involving SfT in their community sites; twenty-one community leaders and staff  participated representing thirteen community organizations.

Marcelo Caplan, Associate Professor in the Department of Science and Mathematics and founder of SfT, provided updates regarding the implementation of the Module Alternative Energy last fall and Family Science Day at the Museum of Science and Industry that took place on December 14, 2013.

Over the course the first academic semester more than 440 participants from 31 sites participated in the module Alternative Energy; with 5 sites currently finishing up the module.

In order to continue evaluating the program, SfT needs to have all of the Pre and Post test submitted before February 8th.
Only 26 people between Directors, Resource Coordinator and Instructors (less than 50%) filled the survey sended by Surveymonkey to gage what happen in the sites. Community partners need to be more involved in the program to make this program better and  successful.

At the Family Science Day (Museum of Science and Industry), more than 400 people participated in the event. Out of the 322 participants who filled out the exit survey, 240 were children, 24 teenagers and 72 Adults. There were 73 participants who were first time visitors at the Museum of Science and Industry.

In the community partners meeting, the participants were grouped into small groups to discuss between them, the reality of their centers regarding recruitment, retention, challenges and improvements of the program. At the end of the 15 minute small group discussions, one member for each group had to present their findings to the whole group. The whole group discussion was narrowed down to the fact that many of the recruitment strategies used by the centers DID NOT INCLUDE THE TEENS’ PARENTS!!!. To have an effective recruitment strategy, the inclusion of the parents in the cycle is paramount. Parents/Guardians are the ones that are expending more time with the children, as well as bringing and picking up the teens from the center. This can “motivate” some undecided teens to take part on the program:

   Important Notes from the meeting:
How to Recruit Participants:

  • Call the parents and meet with them personally to discuss the program.
  • Make a mandatory parent/student orientation to show and present Scientists for Tomorrow to the community.
  • Build a relationship with the school administrators, staff and teachers, so they can tell you which students would be interested in the Scientists for Tomorrow program and can funnel them to the program with positive incentives.
  • Present, discuss about the program and show the final product at a school events. Put a desk outside the classroom (like a booth) and talk to the students as they walk by.
  • Find a good day to have the Scientists for Tomorrow program that will not interfere with other programs. SfT is only one day a week.
  • Talk to local media (school newspaper, radio station, etc) to increase interest at the school.
  • Present and talk about the Scientists for Tomorrow at school assemblies or go to the class personally during school hours.
  • With the help of the community site make a program fair, where the students can choose which programs they want to sign up.
  • Send to SfT coordination pictures of your teens and their parents so we can posted in the SfT Site, Then show the participants and their parents the Scientists for Tomorrow website and social media.
  • Go and present the program at Science or Math clubs
  • Work around sports or other popular clubs.

   How to Recruit Parents:
Before the Program and During the Program

  • Have a parent/student orientation
  • Design and make a contract commitment with the parents and students
  • Promote the program on report card day pick up
  • Recruit and ask the parents to volunteer to work with you and learn by attending the class sessions.
  • Attend one of the parents morning workshops (Zumba, English, Computer class, etc..) and invite them to the events or discuss the program with them
  • Promote the establishment of a Scientists for Tomorrow parents group that meets once a month to do a small STEM workshop for parents – Marcelo will support academically his initiative
  • Get involved in community events and invite them (church, events, media, etc.) to others SfT events

Family Science Days

  • Talk to the parents on the phone about the program and Family Science Day events.
  • Tell the participants and put in the permission slips that the participants have to bring one parent/guardian/adult or they cannot attend Family Science Day event.
  • Talk to the parents standing outside waiting for their kids before or after class finishes.
  • Have a SAVE THE DATE flyer and give this flyer TO THE PARENTS – You have the date in advance for the trip. Do not wait until the last week
  • Put Family Science Day events in the school’s calendar or local media.
  • Email the teachers and parents the flyer.
  • Do Phone Blast or Robocalls
  • Make an announcement about Family Science Days and the program before the school day finishes.

End of the Module Celebrations

  • Have a huge end of the module celebration by raffling prizes, having food and inviting other programs to organize the event with you and do activities that does not necessarily involve science.
  • Find a more conductive time and place to do an end of the module event
  • Make a Mothers Day or Fathers Day event, so the students can present and give their mom a wind chime or monochord.

Currently 28 community sites will be implementing the Physics of Sound and Mathematics of Music module, where students will design and build 3 musical instruments.The other eight sites will implement Plants and People which students will create a new pilot activity, The Vertical Garden.
Toolbox and materials will need to be schedule with an SfT staff and the person will need to pick up at Columbia College Chicago, 623 S. Wabash Ave, Room 600N. Pre-test, Consent Forms and any other forms will be accessible online at under the registered user.

Community Leaders and staff will need to have a start date available to begin the implementation of the modules. Instructors will be advised for future professional developments, one being on February 8, 2014 to make a xylophone and February 22, 2014 for the sites implementing Plants and People.
Important Notes:

  • Survey Monkey from Family Science Day to win a scholarship for a paid module
  • End of the Year Physics of Sound photo and participant count recap to win a pizza party.
  • How to view activity logs through Google Drive folder

In the last hour of the meeting with the coordinators, directors and SfT staff, important upcoming events were presented as well as a potential 3 week summer program.

  • Family Science Day – March 15, 2014 at the Field Museum – Were all of our community members are invited
  • Family Science Day –  May 3, 2014, STEAM Conference at Northeastern University- Were all of our community members are invited to present or attend workshops.
  • Robotics Summer Program Challenge – Sites participating will explore the wonders of robotic engineering and compete against each other, eventually leading up to the winner competing with the other sites.

The Community Partners meeting is an effort to integrate STEM in your communities and minimize conflicts when running the SfT programming at your sites. For more information about SfT’s STEM initiative visit

Destination Chicago Recap

Scientists for Tomorrow (SfT) would like to thank everyone who participated at the Destination Chicago Festival. More than 400 people came to the festival held at the DePaul Center. There were raffles, art activities and workshops provided by informal science education venues. The Scientists for Tomorrow, 3,2,1 Go!!!  Balloon Powered Kart  workshop had more than 40 participants per session. SfT also gave the parents and teens the option of soldering and making name plates out of copper.

Thank you to SfT’s community partners who came to the event. It was great to see many of the coordinators and families from Richard Edwards Elementary,  Rosario Castellanos Elementary, Maria Saucedo Scholastic Academy, Mount Vernon Elementary School and John C. Burroughs Elementary School participate at Destination Chicago. We hope to see many of you participate in future events.