TCIPG empowers Champaign County students with new math, science resources
Children in Champaign County will have the opportunity to electrify learning with new math and science resources powered by the University of Illinois’ Trustworthy Cyber Infrastructure for the Power Grid (TCIPG).
A $280,000 grant from the Illinois State Board of Education will provide mathematical development for Champaign Unit 4 School District teachers through a two-year program, using educational materials developed in part by TCIPG. TCIPG is also providing support for six to eight new science kits funded with a $2,000 grant from the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers)-Chicago section. The science kits will be housed in the Mahomet Public Library.
“We want to engage students at an early age by using science and math as key tools for describing and understanding big ideas. We also hope that some students might consider engineering related careers,” said Jana Sebestik, TCIPG education coordinator. “By showing kids how math and science matter in the real world, they are more likely to understand how cool and exciting they really are.”
The instruction for Unit 4 teachers will focus on helping teachers develop secondary math curriculum based on Common Core State Standards in mathematics. The program, a partnership between Unit 4, the University of Illinois College of Education Center for Math, Science and Technology Education, PowerWorld and the Orpheum Children’s Science Museum in Champaign, will integrate mathematical modeling, using power engineering as a case study. The teachers will in turn train their students in modeling.
The science kits will provide a hands-on learning experience for students, teachers and parents, who can create their very own power system. The kits include a model wind farm, Snap Circuits, electric motor investigations, electrostatic explorations, and hand-cranked generator activities. While they will be housed in Mahomet, the resources can be checked out by any of the 594 libraries that are part of the Illinois Heartland Library System.
“Engineering has very practical applications that have the ability to transform the world,” said William H. Sanders, TCIPG director and a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Illinois. “Our hope is that these resources will excite and enable students to think of new ways to solve important problems.”
TCIPG is a consortium of researchers from Illinois, Dartmouth College, Cornell University, the University of California at Davis and Washington State University who are addressing the challenge of how to protect the nation's power grid. Research, funded by the Department of Energy and with the support of the Department of Homeland Security, is focused on improving the way the power grid infrastructure is built, making it more secure, reliable and safe. TCIPG is part of the Information Trust Institute in Illinois' Coordinated Science Laboratory.
TCIPG is leveraging materials developed for the DOE research for its outreach in Champaign County.
“When families learn together, the learning is more genuine and impactful,” Sebestik said. “Our goal for this project is to promote math and science education for everyone’s benefit.”