PopUp Science program wins nod in Chicago Innovation competition

Time to read
1 minute

PopUp Science program wins nod in Chicago Innovation competition

October 14, 2020 - 20:43
0 comments

The Homewood Science Center’s outstanding work in hands-on learning earned it recognition as a Top 100 Finalist in the 2020 Chicago Innovation Awards.

The honor in the Innovative Nonprofit category is for the Homewood Science Center’s PopUp [email protected] program. The center is now eligible for the Chicago Innovation Awards’ People’s Choice Award

PopUp Science programs offered by Homewood Science Center immerse young people in fascinating science subjects. (Chronicle file photo)

PopUp Science programs offered by Homewood Science Center immerse young people in fascinating science subjects. (Chronicle file photo)

This is the 19th year for the Chicago Innovation Awards that recognizes the most innovative new products or services introduced in the Chicago region. Nominees come from institutions of all sizes, sectors and industries. Winners in 2019 were Adler Planetarium, McDonald’s Corp. and Abbott Laboratories.

When the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the regular PopUp SCIENCE programs at the science center, 18022 Dixie Highway, staff started distributing kits to families in the South Suburbs. More than 11,000 kits were distributed through area schools, nonprofits and community organizations in both English and Spanish.

The kits include simple hands-on activities and materials to help children and families explore science at home. Parents, grandparents and educators can reserve kits for at-home or classroom use on the Homewood Science Center website at homewoodsciencecenter.org.

“Hands-on learning is essential to teaching STEM (science, technology, engineering and math),” said Edie Dobrez, the center’s executive director.  “We were concerned about students missing that hands-on component in remote learning environments. We’re happy to be getting kids out from behind computer screens and getting excited about doing science, and we’re pleased the Chicago Innovation Awards recognizes the importance of providing tools for hands-on learning to all area children.”

PopUp SCIENCE @Home activities are included in the Homewood Science Center’s current community-wide program, Citizen Science: All About Birds in conjunction with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, a unit of Cornell University. Residents of all ages are being asked to monitor bird populations in the area. The program also includes hands-on activities for kids and presentations by guest lecturers. 

Registration is being accepted for the next program on bird migration and wild turkeys set for 7 p.m. Nov. 12. For information visit homewoodsciencecenter.org/citizenscience.