Science Department Hosts STEM Day; Microsoft Partnership Continues to Provide Opportunities

On March 1, 2019, while DuPage County teachers were partaking in professional development opportunities and students had a free day, the St. Francis High School Science Department staff hosted nearly 100 junior high students in their second annual STEM Day.
The event allowed science and technology teachers, and volunteer high school students, to showcase Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) opportunities for the junior high visitors. Interactive and hands-on lab experiences and workshops were both fun and educational and included time in the Creator Space where students used the green screen to make videos, experimented with video gaming and 3-D printing, controlled robots using their cell phones, and explored the world of virtual reality. Students also spent time in labs learning about population ecology, implementing engineering practices by building bridges, and utilizing chemistry procedures to make their very own lava lamps.

“STEM Day is a great way for the St. Francis High School staff to introduce to the outside community the exciting lab activities and technology practices we are utilizing in the classroom on a daily basis,” said Patty Dahle, Science Department Chair. “We want others to experience how much fun science and technology can be in the learning process.”

“St. Francis High School ensures all students have high quality learning opportunities in STEM subjects. STEM education creates critical thinkers, increases science literacy, and enables the next generation of innovators,” added Maureen Isphording, Director of Admissions. “The St. Francis High School STEM Day was an opportunity to further develop skills with STEM disciplines, while having fun at the same time.”

As part of an ongoing partnership with Microsoft, St. Francis High School, a Microsoft Showcase School, continues to coordinate opportunities for students to interact with the Microsoft products and staff.

In addition to representatives from the Oak Brook Microsoft Store being available to and collaborating with the students in the Creator Space at the STEM Day event, Microsoft recently invited members of the St. Francis High School Adventure and Gaming Clubs to Oak Brook for several hours of gaming and virtual reality.

During their visit, the students and St. Francis High School staff, Jeff Gerdeman ’87, Director of Information Technology, and Colleen Kaplan, Technology Integration Specialist, met with Microsoft staff Amy Hood, CFO, Travis Walter, General Manager of World Wide Retail, Stacy Trackey Meagher, VP North Central Region, and Carlton Gossett ’11, Program Manager of Mergers, Acquisition and Venture Integration.  Together, they discussed ways in which Microsoft Stores can better support their local schools.

“The Oak Brook Microsoft Store has been an invaluable part of the Mobile Learning Initiative at St. Francis High School.  Whether it is providing in-house training; partnering for special events like technology open houses, STEM Days, or summer camps; or showcasing the great things we are doing at St. Francis High School, the Store has been an integral member of our one-to-one team,” said Gerdeman.

The Oak Brook Microsoft Store routinely partners with St. Francis High School to co-sponsor events such as Start-Up Day, Coding Camp, and technology open houses.
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