After-School Science Clubs

Regular out of school time activities have been shown to be particularly effective in supporting inner-city youth. Our MRSEC runs science clubs in four local elementary schools with two focused on general science/center research and the other two on programming/ robotics. Led by our post-docs and graduate students, these voluntary clubs explore key concepts critical to future explorations of materials and materials processing and enables small-group mentoring of students who are highly interested in science.

Andrew Carnegie Science Club

In our longest running science club we have worked with K-8 students doing a variety of materials and general science experiments. The club has been incredibly popular with students remaining in the program for many years and a wait list to participate. We are very proud that our partner teacher Ms. Ingram won a Golden Apple award. In her interview she discusses the important role science club has played for her students.

Droplet splashing Learning about AFM


Murray Language Academy Science Club

Begun in 2013 in partnership with their new science teacher we are helping build and develop interest in their growing science program.


Python/ Robotics Club at Carter G. Woodson and Kenwood Academy

The Python/Robotics (PyBot) project is a collaboration between the Materials Research Science Engineering Research Center (MRSEC) and the Neighborhood Schools Program (NSP). Undergraduate students hired by the NSP get training in programming using Python and building Arduino based robots. The undergradute students then go into neighborhood schools in Hyde Park and teach programming and robotics to middle school students. In 2012 we started a small pilot project in Murray and Kozminski Schools with 7 undergraduate students. Thanks to generous support from the University of Chicago Women's Board we have received funds to purchase a substantial amount of robotics supplies to enable to the students to build multiple mobile robots. 

In early 2013 we hired 6 outstanding undergraduate students and in February of 2013 we have started working with students at two neighborhood schools: Kenwood Academic Center and Carter G. Woodson. 

The Py/Bot Club has three primary aims:

  1. Expose students to computer programming early in their careers through the use of the simple (and free!) programming language Python.
  2. Engage student interest in science through the excitement of creating and sharing their own robots.
  3. Develop mentoring connections between near-peers. 

Kenwood Academic Center

Carter G. Woodson

Developing lesson plans