The Illinois Math Badging Initiative Micro-Internship Model

As a part of the Illinois Math Badging Initiative, EdSystems, together with XQ Institute, ran a six-week, 30-hour, paid, virtual micro-internship for 11 high school students from Charleston High School, Illinois Math and Science Academy, and Ridgewood High School.

The interns’ primary role was identifying real-world situations involving mathematical concepts and applying investigative methods to understand these scenarios. Their tasks included gathering information on how math is used in school activities outside traditional math classrooms and exploring how their explored topics and skills can be tied to classroom learning through weekly journaling and presentation assignments. 

Through weekly activities, students gained valuable essential employability skills. Our goal was to assist them in developing research skills to explore and gather information on math applications and refine their reflection skills by critically analyzing researched concepts and synthesizing insights into a coherent narrative. Many students reported an enhanced ability to communicate mathematical concepts effectively by presenting their insights and engaging with their peers.

We have written a model internship structure detailing internship recruitment, onboarding, implementation, student feedback, and lessons learned. The document explains how we curated weekly activities to fulfill our internship goals while providing useful learnings and guidance for students and suggestions for implementing this model in various contexts and topics. Additionally, we include student-facing resources developed by EdSystems to serve as a model for other organizations interested in implementing a similar micro-internship; this includes a timeline, topic ideas for weekly journaling activities, the journal template, and the final project description.

As a part of their final projects, students wrote thoughtful reports detailing their insights about where math can be captured outside the traditional classroom, highlighting the many different topics and skills explored during the internship.

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