Middle School Outreach



I-RISE AVID Engineering Program

This is an in-school STEM enrichment program for Champaign Unit 4 middle school students enrolled in the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) Program. I-RISE graduate students develop and teach engineering design projects (link to lessons page) closely aligned to their field of research. This program meets weekly during the normal AVID elective period for 3 consecutive months, plenty of time to facilitate close interactions and mentoring of middle school students. Graduate students share their experiences of pursuing an engineering career and model engineering problem solving techniques and "habits of mind". At the end of the semester, students get a tour of the University of Illinois College of Engineering campus and labs. This allows graduate students to share more of their research and college experience with the youth.


I-RISE + 4H Arduino Design and Young Inventor's Program

This is new program as of Spring 2014. I-RISE graduate students, as well as College of Engineering undergraduates partner with 4H educators to offer and after school club to Champaign Unit 4 AVID students focused on designing and programming Arduinos. The Arduino is an open source, open hardware system that simplifies the process of designing microprocessor controlled systems. Examples include designing a strobe light system synchronized to your MP3 player or video game controllers that sense light, sound, acceleration, or even odors. The range of possible applications is limited only by the imagination of the children. Interested students can enter their designs into the First Robotics Competition held at UIUC this May.