Program Activities

Moto-IGERT and Project Exploration partner for MOTORAMA
April 19-30, 2011


Project Exploration students with IGERT Trainees at MOTORAMA at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago

How do things move? A group of middle and high school students spent two days of their Spring Break with Moto-IGERT trainees learning about movement, senses and other things biomechanical. This was a fun science learning and teaching experience for everyone involved — IGERT trainees learned how to translate their specialized training into creative and challenging activities for the Chicago Public School (CPS) students, while using words and concepts that were clear and at the correct level for ordinary curious non-scientists. Recruited by Project Exploration, the CPS students learned a lot about sensing and moving. At the same time, they "graded" the IGERT trainees' ability to teach and communicate their scientific knowledge and enthusiasm.





What kinds of whiskers work best? CHS students designed their own "whiskers" and tested their efficiency through different experiments and activities.

Team Experiment

How can you measure and analyze different ways of moving? IGERT trainees Charlene McCord and Thomas Stewart work with CPS students in a team experiment.

"Southside," a blogger for Project Exploration, attended MOTORAMA. She reported in her blog:

Southside first talked to some of the grad students in getting their perspective about the whole experience. Etienne (University of Chicago) said he liked it and would like to do a neuroscience program with Project Exploration in the future. Richard (University of Chicago) likened the experience to "...being in front of a committee of professors..." but liked how the students would ask questions "'s good to have students excited about what you do..." Justin (University of Chicago) had different kind of experience during the last two days saying since it was " having a group of my peers trying to put together projects for a group of students ...[it was] challenging [due to] the different fields of biology [represented]..." However, Heather (also University of Chicago) who has worked with Project Exploration for the last 3 1/2 years with her first teaching experience being Sisters4Science, said " working with middle school and high school students and being able to explore with them..." She also added " sharing her enthusiasm for science with them..."

Then SouthSide asked few of the student participants about their Motorama experience. Jehad, a senior at Amundsen High School, related that he wasn't enthusiastic at first ...not caring about biomechanics. However all that changed when doing the fun activities about movement. "...[Motorama] piqued my curiosity to learn more ...a great way to learn new interesting fields of science even if you don't care about science ...a good way to get into it with Project Exploration..." Destiny, a freshmen at Perspectives Charter School – Joslin campus, said " was nice..." and that she "...learned a lot..." adding "...the scientists were willing to help and made sure you learned the concepts [as well as] activities..." Meanwhile Shelby, also a freshman at Perspectives Charter School – Joslin campus, said "...nice to learn different things especially about animals and how they sense things..." adding she enjoyed "...meeting and [making] new friends..." Hector, a sophomore, liked "...the projects and activities they [the grad students] had ...learned a lot of interesting facts..." And Tonyae, a freshmen at Lindblom Math and Science Academy, had this to say " was really cool [though] thinking it would be boring ...found out it was fun and engaging..." All participants SouthSide spoke with said they would either come again next year and/or bring their friends with them. Even Alexis, though not really part of the age group for this Project Exploration, a third grader at Milton Brunson Math and Science Speciality Elementary School, said "...I had fun was great ...can't wait until next year.."