Register for Project Exploration Spring Programs

Project Exploration provides free daytime and after-school STEM education programs for K – 12th students, who may not otherwise have access to high-quality learning opportunities. Our program goals are to foster a lifelong relationship with science, technology, engineering and math by providing students with hands-on learning experiences, in person or online.


In-person programs are still limited. Programs are expected to continue virtually in February, and students will receive mailed supplies and hands-on learning provided over Zoom or Google Classroom.

Register for K - 8th ProgramsRegister for High School Programs

Youth-Science Pathway Programs

Project Exploration programs provide students with a dynamic set of experiences through Youth-Science Pathways. Organized around four phases of scientific inquiry (Launch, Discover, Explore, and Pursue), Youth-Science Pathways is a set of fluid, non-linear programs that reflect students’ emerging skills, curiosity, and ambition; and encourages them to take ownership of their learning, become active members of the scientific community, and invest in a lifelong practice of inquiry.

Launch Programs

  • Build early learners science literacy proficiency 
  • Expand students fine motor skills and reading abilities
  • Introduce students to community based thinking and the foundation for long-term relationships among students and STEM Mentors

Discover Programs

  • Introduce students to a broad range of scientific disciplines and topics
  • Enable students to develop and practice the basic principles of science and scientific inquiry
  • Build student confidence and lay the foundation for long-term relationships among students and STEM Mentors

Explore Programs

  • Focus more specifically on discrete disciplines and inquiry methods
  • Expand critical thinking, collaboration, public speaking, and investigative approaches
  • Empower students to articulate their interests and create their personal science identities

Pursue Programs

  • Equip students with skills and experiences to pursue science in higher education and the workforce
  • Build advanced scientific proficiencies as well as leadership and decision-making skills
  • Allow students to develop highly personal, one-on-one working relationships with scientists

Launch Programs

Building Blocks Club

Building Blocks Club is a program for early learners (K-2) focusing on entry level programming where students are introduced to the basic principles of the nature of science and scientific inquiry. Students build confidence and these Project Exploration programs lay the foundation for long-term relationship amongst students and STEM Mentors.

Programs being offered to early learners in kindergarten through 2nd grade the Spring 2021 semester include:

  • Life Science in partnership with the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum – Learn more about the world around you and all of its amazing organisms! Meet scientists from museums around Chicago and get hands-on with citizen science projects. You will learn more about urban ecology, ecosystems, Lake Michigan, and the history of organisms on planet Earth through engaging activities with your facilitator and PE partners, and volunteers.
  • Intro to Engineering in partnership with the James Dyson Foundation – What do all STEM professionals have in common? They love to try new things and find solutions! Complete engineering and science challenges with the engineers at Dyson. Each activity will push you to be innovative, creative, make observations, and draw conclusions. By the end of the program, you will be well on your way to becoming a “junior” STEM professional!


STEAMachines is a program for early learners in areas with a lack of STEM education and enrichment. Designed to boost youth’s science literacy skills and introduce youth to STEAM. STEAMachines is intended to help youth develop reading and comprehension expertise using age-appropriate books featuring protagonists of color paired with relevant hands-on STEM activities.

Discover Programs


Sisters4Science is a program for girls led by female facilitators who emphasize leadership development through scientific exploration. Designed to get girls interested in science, keep girls interested in science, and equip girls with skills and experiences that enable them to pursue science, Sisters4Science creates a science-rich learning environment that puts girls at the center.


Brothers4Science is a program for middle school urban boys in areas with a lack of STEM education and enrichment. Designed to get boys interested in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM); keep boys interested in STEM, and equip boys with skills and experiences that enable them to pursue STEM. Brothers4Science is intended to help boys develop self-esteem about their thoughts, feelings, experiences, and decisions, expose them to a wide variety of roles played by men in science.

Science Digest

Series of one day programs that give students a chance to meet scientists from a broad range of scientific disciplines and occupations, learning not only about what they do, but how they learned to do it.   This informal and intimate program encourages students to “try on” different scientific disciplines and evaluate their interest.

Explore Programs

Environmental Adventurers

Environmental Adventurers is aimed at engaging diverse, urban youth in the environmental sciences, biology, anatomy, and zoology subjects to develop skills in research in a meaningful and hands-on way. 

Explore Engineering

Explore Engineering uses the Ten80 Student Racing Challenge curriculum, a rigorous automotive engineering curriculum to teach teens engineering concepts employed in car racing, and build their own model race car that will be entered into a nationwide engineering competition.

Forensic Investigators

Forensic Investigators a popular and rigorous program that teens gain hands-on experience in a variety of subdisciplines, including latent fingerprints, firearms and tread wear, biology/DNA, microscopy, and drug chemistry.

Sports Science

Sports Science works with teens to study how the healthy human body works during exercise, and how sports and physical activity promote health and performance.

Pursue Programs

Science Giants

Science Giants is designed to give teens an introduction to the basic principles of small acreage food production, including: soil science, water resources, plant production, business management and leadership skill. Science Giants works with teens to develop skills in presentation, facilitation and interpretation of various science disciplines with a focus on Urban Agriculture, Ecology and Nutrition. Students will work with a local restaurant to develop a strategy for renovating a community garden.

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