Saturday STEM (Grades 3 – 8)

Spring 2023 Programs

Descriptions of our upcoming Saturday STEM programs are below. Please watch this page as we will be adding more programs for February – April!
Virtual programs will each typically be 90-minute, synchronous programs with small class sizes. Participants are responsible for gathering or ordering the program materials for these sessions – a materials list is after each description. Some sessions will offer an activity kit for an additional fee. Schedule and registration links are below each program description.

Earth Day – In-Person in the Metro East Region

Grades 3-4: Bee Friendly

Bees need your help! The more we use the land to build houses, the less land bees have to build hives. Our Earth Day biologists will learn all about a special type of bee – solitary bees – and how they can do their part to help these bees find a safe place to live. After learning where bees like to live, you will design and build your own bee house. Once finished, you and your adult at home can set up the bee house in your own yard or maybe in a nearby forest preserve. The Earth’s bees will thank you for their new safe home!

Grades 5-6: Greener Cleaners

While it may seem counterintuitive to think that household cleaners contribute to polluting the environment since they exist to clean things, the fact is that many of the commercially-sold cleaners often contain chemicals that contribute to air pollution, lower drinking water quality, and are toxic to animals! In this Earth Day program, we will identify the chemical culprits to watch out for when buying cleaners (and learn about some of the chemistry behind what makes these ingredients particularly harmful). We will then put our efforts into devising and testing our own eco-friendly cleaner recipes that can be used to disinfect our homes without polluting our Earth.

School Year: 2022-2023ModalityDatesTimeCostRegistrationScholarship Application*
Grades 3-4In-person @ Fulton Jr. High School, 307 Kyle Rd, O'Fallon, IL 622693/25/239:30 AM - 12:00 PM CST$30Register NowApply Now
Grades 5-6In-person @ Fulton Jr. High School, 307 Kyle Rd, O'Fallon, IL 622693/25/239:30 AM - 12:00 PM CST$30Register NowApply Now

DNA Day – In-Person @ IMSA-Aurora Campus

Grades 3-4

Happy DNA Day (which is every April 25)! DNA is the universal molecule of life – that means every living thing has DNA, from infection-causing bacteria to the very plants we eat and enjoy all around us. DNA is even inside us humans and also within our pets!! In this exciting Saturday STEM, our budding biologists will extract DNA from a living thing – a plant, such as an onion, strawberry, or banana. Applying the concepts related to the structure and function of DNA, students will harness the power of certain chemicals needed to separate DNA from the rest of the plant’s tissue in order to see the DNA come out of the solution right before their eyes! Students will also create a small model of a DNA molecule to take home as a celebration of this important biomolecule and as a memento for their experiences in the lab with us.

Grades 5-6

If genes are the storybooks of life, and DNA is the universal language of those stories, then chemicals called DNA nucleotides can be considered the alphabet of this important language. And, given the incredible diversity of life on this planet, it becomes that much more mind-boggling to realize that there are only four DNA “letters” in the alphabet of life: Adenine (A), Thymine (T), Guanine (G) and Cytosine (C). In this program, we will be exploring the chemistry of DNA nucleotides which encode all the genetic material that makes us who we are. We will also investigate how misspellings in the DNA storybook of an individual can lead to unexpected twists and turns (i.e. mutations) in our genome. Students will leave this program with their own 3D models of the A, T, C, G DNA nucleotides and a newfound appreciation for the significant role that these four tiny “letters” play in the story of all living things on Earth.

School Year: 2022-2023ModalityDateTimeCostRegistrationScholarship Application*
Grades 3-4In-person @ IMSA4/22/239:30 AM - 12:00 PM CST$50Register NowApply Now
Grades 5-6In-person @ IMSA4/22/239:30 AM - 12:00 PM CST$50Register NowApply Now

*Applying and qualifying for a scholarship does not guarantee an award or registration into the program. To qualify for a scholarship, the student’s family is required to submit proof of financial eligibility: if you qualify for SNAP or Free/Reduced lunch, you qualify, but we need you to submit proof of eligibility. If you do not have a form in your possession or have difficulty getting it from your school or IDHS, you may submit a screenshot showing eligibility. Please contact us at if you have difficulty with this requirement. Alternatively, a 2021 or 2022  federal tax return showing proof of family income may be submitted.

  • Scholarships are awarded on a rolling basis, so it is to your benefit to submit all supplemental forms as soon as possible.
  • WATCH YOUR EMAIL and CHECK YOUR SPAM FOLDER! Award recipients will be notified via email and must reply to the scholarship offers within the time period indicated in the email.
  • NOTE: You may choose to either pay for program registration OR apply for a scholarship and await award notification. Your scholarship application will not be considered if you also complete a paid registration.

No requests for a registration cancellation/refund for virtual programs will be accommodated if they are received less than 5 days before a program begins. Requests must be made in writing via an email to: Please include the program name and your student’s full name.

No requests for a registration cancellation/refund will be accepted for all in-person Saturday STEM programming.