Challenge Program News - Forest Park District 91 - Mrs. Finn


On Wednesday,  November 20, 2019, Challenge Program 8th graders participated in the The Great Water Design Challenge sponsored by NOAA Planet Stewards Project and IMSA. 

In this Great Water Challenge, student teams use research and design thinking to create innovative responses and solutions to address their selected water challenge. Topics included: water quality, marine pollution, invasive species, sustainability and conservation. Experts were available for questions, conversations and insights.
Forest Park Middle School students researched the issue of flooding in Illinois and sought out ways to improve our current water infrastructure to make it more sustainable, efficient and resilient to fluctuation climate change.  All students at the IMSA event presented their solutions in a poster session.


Sixth Graders are learning to think like a historian and investigate a topic in depth and present it in a format they choose.  We began with a look into the Hull House and how Jane Adams used neighborhood ethnicity & poverty data from street maps to create programs to address and correct social issues.  

Using the National History Day theme, "Breaking Barriers," students explore a topic they are interested in and develop their thesis statement with a connection to the theme.  Locating primary sources from archives, online historical collections and periodicals takes time, but discovering the perfect piece of evidence is worth it. 


Challenge students participated in the 2019 Northern Illinois Model UN Conference at the Chicago History Museum on Friday, November 22nd.  Taking on the role as delegates from various countries, students did an excellent job speaking, debating and writing resolutions on international affairs.

During the mock summit, delegates participated in one of three UN bodies: the African Union (AU), the UNHRC (United Union Human Rights Council, and the United Nations Security Council. The topics they faced included:  immigration and Africa, women's health in Africa, religious freedom, rights of refugees, cybersecurity and journalist safety.  

Mark you calendar:

Challenge Night

Tuesday, April 7
at the Field-Stevenson Gymnasium

Inspired by Lewis Carroll's fantasy novel, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, fourth & fifth graders created interactive projects with coding.  Armed with a micro controller, alligator clips and a whole lot of craft materials, students created projects that 
unleashed the power of their Micro:bit.  Projects coincided with chapters in the book and included step counter, creating sound, programming pixel LEDS, building a magnetometer and constructing a game with MicroPython.


Seventh graders are learning about the brain, the complex and fascinating puppet master of the body through a program which was created by a group of neuroscientists who wanted to get kids interested in neuroscience. Hands on experiments provide accessible neuroscience discovery and allow students to have a chance to explore electrophysiology. 

Students recorded action potentials from African cockroach nerves and examined the spike voltage change  as sodium and potassium ion channels were opening and closing in the neurons. Next, students listened to and recorded their own electrical impulses to get a sense of the neuron/muscle communication that takes place with each action. Lastly, students controlled a gripper claw with the EMG signal of their muscles. The gripper claw opened and closed depending on the strength of the signal they made when contracting their muscles of their own hands.

1 in 5 people are likely to develop a neurological disorder at some point in their lives.  For this reason, getting more people interested in studying the brain is important.