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University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of ACES
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AFA Sessions


Download the 2019 ACES Family Academies Sessions

ACES Family Academies offer a variety of activities that give youth a glimpse into a college classroom setting. Participating departments from the College of ACES facilitate the classes.

The list of classes and their descriptions are grouped by department. During registration, you will select which classes you would like to attend by session. While we make every effort to enroll families in students’ preferred classes, classes have maximum capacities and requirements that will have to be considered. Enrollment in specific classes cannot be guaranteed, and alternative classes will be assigned if all of your student’s preferred classes are full by the time you register.

Enrollment is on a first-come, first-served basis by family, not by the individual student. Families are expected to attend classes as a family unit. We will notify you of your schedule prior to attending ACES Family Academies.

Tips for Selecting Classes

Remember that the College of ACES is educationally diverse; a variety of classes are offered during ACES Family Academies. Students who choose a diverse set of preferred classes have a better chance of getting into the classes they desire and will get a broader outlook of the possibilities in ACES for their future.

Classes marked with an asterisk (*) will be offered during two time slots.

Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics

Maybe Money Can Grow (Not on Trees)Learn how quickly your money can grow when you start saving! Paint piggy banks, discuss simple financial planning principles, and gain understanding of programs of study in the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics.

Economics: The Fun (and Seldom Seen) Kind *

Economics provides a great framework for explaining the things and events we see in the world around us. But it’s the things we don't see that sometimes need explaining. Come join us for a fun exploration and behind-the-scenes peek into the world of agriculture and consumer economics.

Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering

How Your Favorite Puffed Snack & Cereals Are Made!

Watch live how grain is transformed into snacks and breakfast cereals in a process called extrusion. See various processing equipment and operate a small extruder. Afterwards, pick your favorite seasoning and enjoy your creation!

Department of Animal Sciences

Dairy Science*

Interested in where your milk comes from or how it becomes cheese and ice cream? Join us for a class all about how we get milk from a cow (maybe try it yourself) and how we turn it into our favorite foods.

Sport Dogs

Do you love dogs? If so, join us for a session where you can discover some of the secrets of man’s best friend. Spend time learning about sporting events, dog behavior, and training tips.

Poultry and Pigs

Join us for a tour of PNCL, our Piglet Nutrition and Cognition Lab. We will show you are the facility and show you the different types of research we do there. We will also talk about embryo development and how chicks grow in the egg.

BBQ Science*

Join us for a class all about BBQing. We will teach you the basics of BBQing and let you get your hands dirty and stomachs full.

Where’s the Beef?
Join us at the University of Illinois Beef Research Center for a tour and the opportunity to learn more about beef cattle. Stick your arm in a cow, and discover all of the cool things we do at our research center to advance the beef industry!

Small Critter Care & Humane Investigation

Join us to learn all about small critters and special care they take when we keep them as pets. Be prepared to see, touch and hold as you learn about the awesome creatures.

Agricultural Communications Program

Ag and Environment through the lenses*
A hands-on workshop on how to improve the photos you take with your cellphones. Be exposed to basic photographic techniques like using lighting and how to improve composition.

Department of Crop Sciences

The Science Behind the Official Snack Food of Illinois: Popcorn*

Find out what’s poppin’ in Crop Sciences! Learn the origin of popcorn and the science behind why it pops! ACES researchers will share kernels of wisdom behind their current practices, and provide kernels for tasting too!

Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition

The Secret (Microbial) Life of Yogurt

Have you ever wondered about differences between fruit on the bottom, cream line, and Greek style yogurt? Or about kefir? Probiotics? Our food microbiology group will guide tastings of these products and demonstrate how to make these products at home.

Department of Human Development and Family Studies

Bringing Board Games to Life

What skills are developed when we play board games? Think of your favorite board game, and how it would feel to be the game pieces as you strategically mice between around the board! Let’s give it a try while I create your own giant board game to take home to play with friends and family.

Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences

“Bird’s the Word”: Exploring Avian Ecology and Conservation

This outdoor session will introduce you to the natural history of birds and research techniques used to protect wild bird populations. Get up close and personal looks at wild birds with mist-netting and banding demonstrations.

Puke Prospector

Come learn some new facts about owl adaptations and how these adaptations make owls such efficient hunters. We will also dissect some owl pellets and talk about prey populations and prey preference.

Homes for Bees

Learn about native bees and honey bees. Make a native bee house to take home and visit a honey bee hive, either behind glass or outside wearing a veil and bee suit.

Eating Dirt*

Learn about soil, soil profiles, and why soil is important. We will be building our own soil profiles that can actually be eaten!

Invasive Species of the Great Lakes
Come learn about many different invasive species of the great lakes region. Discover why these species are invasive and what we are doing to help address the issues. Lesson will include exploration of real invasive species specimens.

University of Illinois Extension

Monarch on the Move Challenge*

Monarchs represent fauna and flora that contribute to the health of our planet, such as pollinators, wildlife and native plants - collectively called biodiversity. Engage in a model that simulates caterpillar need, biological challenges and ways to support Monarch habitat.

From Grid to Meter: How Electricity is Delivered to Your Home*
Electricity travels on a journey from a power plant to our homes – but what does the journey involve? Using an interactive power grid display, we'll learn how electricity is generated and delivered through the grid, and about the new SMART grid upgrades and energy efficiency.

Paper Airplanes and Drones in Ag

Small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s) may change the way farmers monitor their crops. Learn about ACES research using UAVs for monitoring crops, and get up close with several UAVs. Discover how you can turn a paper airplane into a tiny smartphone-controlled UAV.

Well Butter My Biscuit

Learn how to make biscuits; and the food science behind it! Participants will make three versions of biscuits: traditional, pumpkin and whole grain. Families can share their own "biscuit history" as they enjoy their biscuits fresh from the oven!