Students at the Crete-Monee Sixth Grade Center are fusing their love for math and science with a whole lot of fun through their participation in the Illinois Math and Science Academy (IMSA) Fusion Afterschool Program. Currently in its fourth year, the math and science based inquiry program is designed to challenge the top 10% of the class. Crete-Monee School District 201-U is the only district in Will County to support the hands-on program. “I joined IMSA because I love math and science,” said Connor Kettelson, a program participant.
Students in the program need to meet several requirements in order to participate. They must be in the top 10% of their class; maintain a 3.0 GPA throughout the school year; follow school behavior expectations; have a recommendation from a 5th
grade teacher; fill out an IMSA application; and submit an essay explaining their personal interest in math and science. Twenty sixth-graders currently participate in the program and meet twice a week. The students apply knowledge learned in class to complete the inquiry lessons. During these lessons students are exposed to new vocabulary and content beyond the classroom. They also encourage critical thinking skills, teamwork, and problem solving.
“In IMSA we dissected DNA from a strawberry. It was so cool because we saw the DNA form. It looked like a cotton string. Also, we talked about genetics. IMSA is so cool and fun,” said Connor. The students also collaborate with the Coretta Scott King Magnet School IMSA Fusion program; take field trips; and host an annual Parent Night where they have an exhibition of all their activities.