gce steam class Photo Gallery

Bike Prototyping

After weeks of learning from different experts in the field, the Juniors were ready to build the prototype of their original bike designs. Each group of students was given a client profile for whom they had to design a bike. To prepare for this assignment, they met with the Director of Volunteers at Working Bikes, the owner of EarthRiders Cycle Shop, the Program Director at the Chicago Department of Transportation, and designers and engineers from the James Dyson Foundation. Equipped with a wealth of knowledge and some hands-on experience, the students sought out to build their prototypes using all scecondhand materials from the WasteShed, an awesome resource for teachers and makers!

Field Experience

Rapid Prototyping with The James Dyson Foundation

Students in Design & Engineering received a visit from a team of designers and engineers from the James Dyson Foundation. We have a longstanding partnership with the Dyson Foundation, and we are so grateful we get to learn from their experts every year. This year, students were tasked with answering the prompt, “How does design solve problems?”. Under the guidance of the Dyson experts, the students worked in small groups to identify problems they face daily and started to design a product that could address that issue. Admittedly, the process was a bit messy, but according to the designers, that’s precisely the way it should be.

Cooking to Impress

Our students knocked out another month of delicious meals for community lunch. Hiu’s advisory experimented with Asian flavors and delivered dishes with spice, acidity, and umami. They served up bahn mi sandwiches, Thai-inspired ramen, Korean-inspired tacos, and Thai red curry rice bowls. Each lunch was elevated with an accompanying dessert or drink: matcha cookies, iced milk tea, horchata, and black sesame chocolate chip cookies. The meals were equally fresh and hearty with lots of colors to look at and flavors to discover. This group of students was confident to be ambitious under the guidance of Chef Mike McCants. They picked up some knife skills and tips on how to build and layer flavors.

Fresh with a pH

The Freshmen in the Water class are studying the water cycle. In the process, students learned that infiltration is an important part of the cycle because as the water passes through layers of soil and sand, it is filtered and purified so it can be consumed. Using that information, students built water filters to address the guiding question, How would you cope in a water crisis?. As a part of this investigation, they studied pH levels and how to determine if the water is potable. After they designed and built their filters, the students attempted to turn non-potable water into potable water.

Field Experience

Envisioning the Future of Bicycles at Earth Rider

Juniors in Design & Engineering visited Earth Rider, a full-service, woman-owned bike shop to learn from store-owner and bike expert, Sharon. Sharon is a League Cycling Instructor and a certified Bicycle Technician from the United Bicycle Institute. She shared a wealth of knowledge about different types of bikes and how they have evolved to meet different needs. She also talked about parts of a bike, bike safety, and accessories that make biking more accessible and practical for all types of commuters. During this visit, the students collected important information that’ll help them design their own bikes and tried out some smooth-riding e-bikes!!! The students were overwhelmed by Sharon’s hospitality; spending time at Earth Rider was more like being at her home than at a bike shop.


The purpose of this Field Experience is to learn more about bicycles (how they are put together and how they are evolving) so that the students can then design our own bikes.


They talked to the owner of the Earth Rider about the parts that make up a bike, their purpose, and the choices designers make when using certain parts over others.

WorldChicago Youth Ambassadors

WorldChicago Youth Ambassadors from France, Martinique, and Guadeloupe spent the day with us to experience learning like GCE students. WorldChicago facilitates collaboration between people from all over the world to advance national security, economic development, and social justice. WorldChicago is a local coordinator for the U.S. Department of State Youth Leadership Programs for international high school students and adult mentors. These short, yet dynamic programs inspire cross-cultural dialogue, build respect and mutual understanding, and boost civic engagement among young Americans and their international peers.

The international students joined us in classes, ate lunch with us, and participated in our Soapbox discussion. The students from France, Martinique, and Guadeloupe shared anecdotes about their school-life in comparison to what they’ve experienced in Chicago. Upon leaving at the end of the day, WorldChicago Youth ambassadors and GCE students exchanged social media handles, so we look forward to keeping up with our visitors.

Field Experience

Working with Bikes at Working Bikes

Juniors in Design & Engineering met with Anna, the volunteer coordinator at Working Bikes in Pilsen to learn about the anatomy and the mechanics of bikes. In the second unit of this STEAM course, students have been pursuing the guiding question, “How are bikes designed and engineered to solve specific problems?”. In their pursuit of an answer, students have been studying the concepts of weight, speed, acceleration, velocity, and mass and their effects on simple machines such as the wheel, the axle, and the pulley. To gain a better understanding, the students visited Working Bikes , an organization committed to giving new life to discarded bicycles and distributing them as tools of empowerment to local and global communities.

On the day the students visited, a shipping crate was waiting to be filled and shipped to the Jordan. Anna showed the group how to get the bikes ready for transport, and they got right to work.


The purpose of this Field Experience is to investigate the guiding question, “How do bicycles impact lives?”. The students talked to experts to investigate the evolution of bikes and how they are put together so that they can then design a bike that suits a person’s specific needs.


The students talked to bike shop employees about the parts that make up a bike, their purpose, and the choices designers make when choosing to use certain parts over others.