Chicago GEAR UP teachers, do you want to incorporate a novel science or math teaching tool to your curriculum, but lack the materials to do so? Then apply for a Units for Materials (UfM) Mini-Grant! We award materials to Chicago GEAR UP teachers as our way to help teachers motivate students to develop a love of science. We are looking for instruction that is rigorous, relevant to students, rooted in trusting relationships, and promotes reflection for teachers and students.
Check out Units for Materials created by teachers.
Apply for the Mini-Grant
Write a unit plan using the mini-grant application that includes the reasoning for use the material(s) you are requesting. Submit your application and, if approved, we will purchase the materials you need for the unit. You implement the unit in your classroom and provide documentation to GEAR UP. Required documentation is due within one month of completing classroom implementation. Click here for the application.
Who is eligible? Teachers from GEAR UP schools and certain Center for College Access and Success (CCAS) partner schools are eligible to apply.
How are units evaluated? We will use the Unit Plan Checklist to evaluate units. Outstanding units may be posted on our website and/or teacher writers may be invited to present them to colleagues.
Units for Materials (UfM) Mini-Grant Submission Guidelines
Your Unit Plan Application Must Include:
Documenting Your Unit Implementation
Sharing Your Work with Colleagues
Units for Materials Website: Outstanding units will be posted on our website for other teachers to adapt.
Unit Presentations: You may be invited to present your work at STEAM 2 Conference (formerly iMATHination). By submitting your unit, you have agreed to allow it to be shared with teachers and posted on the Center for College Access and Success or GEAR UP websites.
We Can Help
Units for Materials
Check out units that have already been created by teachers.
Forensics in Science
School: Foreman High School
Teacher: Elaine Sanchez
Students will investigate the science behind crime scene investigation. Students will dive into their sleuthing skills, while applying the Next Generation Science Standards and questioning skills to solve a crime. Microscope skills are necessary to explore various fibers and hair, while data collection practice leads you one step closer to solving the mystery. Fingerprinting, chromatography, and some chemistry basics will help foster scientific inquiry through an interactive experience.
School: Curie High School
Teacher: Sara Phelan
Some of our society rely on electricity generated from turbines. This unit allows students to see some of the science behind turbines and how electricity is made. It involves students building a wind turbine and gradually refining their model through collaborative research and exploration. From this, students engage in the scientific and engineering process of exploring the idea of wind turbines first through play and variable testing to then synthesize all of the information to compete for the most energy generating wind turbine design.
Teachers: Vanessa Summer, Beatriz Hernandez, Lovesea Jose, Doug Mavity, Anna Bronkowska
After students dive into the deep world of energy resources, this unit explores the problem solving & critical thinking skills of energy (heat) transfer. Students will build a solar oven that will be optimal for heat transfer. They will have to think about which materials will be best for absorption, reflection, insulation, etc. They will try out their ovens then correct any original problems. If solar ovens are capable of melting marshmallow and chocolate we will know that students have used critical thinking skills/ problem solving skills successfully to build their ovens.
Using Electric Motors
Teacher: Robert Payne
Get your motors running! In this unit students will learn the basics of how the relationship between electricity and magnetism are used to create electromagnets, to generate electricity and to create an electric motor. Students will have the opportunity to take part in this hands on experience of building two different electric motors through engineering and design. One very simple and basic motor and one more complex motor that will be able to perform the task of spinning a ferris wheel.
Using Escape Games in Science Classroom
School: Northwest Middle School
Teacher: Elaine Sanchez
Students will explore Sir Isaac Newton’s Three Laws of Motion. Throughout this unit students will explore the ideas of force, inertia, and the relationship between force and mass. Students will conclude the lessons with an “explosive” review. Using the concept of the Escape Room game, students will complete various tasks to help reveal clues that will help them open up a locked box with their group. Will they beat the clock to reveal the contents inside the mystery locked box or will they be doomed?
Learning about Solar Energy with Units for Materials Grant
Students at Foreman High School test out the solar powered ovens they constructed for science class.
Science chair, Ms. Summer wrote a units-for-materials mini grant offered through the Center for College Access and Success and received the materials for the entire 10th grade class at Foreman.
See photo album slide show.