Skip to main content
You are the owner of this article.
You have permission to edit this article.

Statewide science exposition puts Millikin on display

  • 0

DECATUR — A project that French Academy students have been working on throughout the school year was catching the attention of visitors Friday at Millikin University.

The fourth-graders, including Thomas Sherman, Noah Roberts and Rahmir Brady, were explaining how they built soapbox derby race cars, with three on display in front of Shilling Hall.

Michel Rasmussen and his son, Ethan, were impressed by what they saw while exploring the campus and seeing the project.

“It's when they actually want to do it,” Michel Rasmussen said. “They don't realize they're learning.”

Teachers Cathy Jones and Jennifer Theis had their students partner with engineers from Caterpillar Inc. to design and test smaller prototypes of the cars. The students have been eager to drive the 10 cars they built, said Kamie Meador, the school's instructional technology coach.

“We want to see this in action,” Meador said. “This is what learning is all about. It's come full circle.”

Ethan Rasmussen, an eighth-grader at Summit Hill Junior High School in Frankfort, has had a similar learning experience, bringing with him a presentation about using barometers to predict weather.

Millikin is hosting the Illinois Junior Academy of Science State Exposition, the first time a private higher education institution in Illinois has hosted the annual research competition for high school and middle school students.

During the exposition that continues today, the students exhibit their research and design investigations while competing for scholarships and awards.

Millikin President Patrick White was looking forward to the opportunity to show the hundreds of visitors what the university has to offer as faculty, staff and students across all academic disciplines worked together to host the event and make a variety of presentations.

“This gives us a chance to say what a great university and city we have,” White said. “We hope they have a wonderful time and see a university that believes what they're doing is very important.”

Part of the goal to involve the French Academy classes in the event was to show the older students what can be done in elementary classrooms, said Christie Magoulias, Millikin School of Education director.

“We can show the high school visitors how exciting it is to work with young students in math and science,” Magoulias said. “We want the high school students to ask questions and see it's exciting to be a science educator.”

Magoulias led the French Academy classes on a tour throughout campus, including eating lunch in the dining hall and meeting Chef Brian Pehr. They saw inside chemistry labs and were treated to a surprise in the biology department as some of the students received kisses from a ferret.

Biology Professor Marianne Robertson allowed those who dared to pet a tarantula before continuing on the tour.


Want to see more like this?

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


News Alerts

Breaking News