Archive 2018-19

During our trip to Graue Mill third and fourth grade students had an up close look into the guts of a historic working mill and home, the gear system that powers it and the role the mill played in the Underground Railroad  We also had some time to do a bit of birding in the Fullersburg Woods along Salt Creek.

Afterwards, the fourth graders tested renewable energy using Lego motors and gears to create models. They built capacitor cars, by harnessing energy from the sun, they also built and tested the power generated by wind and water machines.


Mrs. Finn's Challenge Program elementary students are busy solving logic problems and puzzles. We are also solving linear equations with a kinesthetic and visual system that helps students to think algebraically.  

Currently, third graders are learning about Greek mythology and constellation stories and are creating an original tale of their own and are writing a script for a group project.  Meanwhile, fourth grade is reading the mystery, "The Wright Three" by Blue Balliett while exploring pentominoes and learning more about Frank Lloyd Wright's organic art and architecture.

The fifth and sixth graders have been invited to explore the Chicago History Museum's exhibit "Modern by Design" and participate in a Design Symposium in March.  Working in teams, the students are using the design thinking process (empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test) to communicate, collaborate and innovate as they problem solve.

Seventh graders participated in the 2018 Northern Illinois Model UN Conference at the Chicago History Museum on Monday, November 5th.  During the conference simulation, students became delegates from various countries and engaged in a full day of speaking, debating and writing resolutions on international affairs.  World Health Organization (WHO) delegates discussed water scarcity and malaria while Security Council covered issues impacting the South China Sea and cyber warfare.


The conference is geared toward middle school students looking for a challenging experience and is largely coordinated by an intense group of teens involved in the Chicagoland MUN Club. Since it's inception, Challenge Program students have been offered this rare opportunity to participate in NIMUN and we are very grateful for the immense amount of work that goes into preparing for this day.

Middle School Challenge visited Argonne for the Extreme X-Rays and Particle Accelerators lab to explore how scientists use an electron beam moving at 99.999999% the speed of light to examine things very small. Students experimented on a small scale to see how this device works and practiced the same skills that scientists use to make and utilize these extreme x-rays.

5th grade also visited the lab for a special workshop on Building a Better Battery. This lab allowed students to explore the process of accelerating discovery using the "sprint" method.  Small groups are given limited time to investigate a specific aspect of a battery design to collect data, look for trends, and report back to the team. The team reviews the small group’s recommendations and through scientific argumentation, comes to a consensus about that aspect of the battery’s design. 

The project goal was to develop a prototype battery that will be used to power a toy car. The kids did an awesome job debating the data and successfully launched a vehicle using their battery design.

Mark your calendar for
Challenge Night
Tuesday, April 9
at 6:30p.m.

On Saturday, January 19th , students from the Forest Park Middle School 8th Grade Challenge Program won the 4th place medal in the Illinois Regional at the National Engineering Week Future City Competition for their city, "Ventus Terre." These students also received the “Best Model” award and a special award from the American Society of Civil Engineers.

For their project, students designed a simulated city, wrote a team research and narrative paper, built a scale city model and presented their vision of the future to over 35 engineers. 

Future City is a project-based learning program where students in middle school imagine, research, design, and build cities of the future.