Spend a few minutes in any of Champaign's three magnet elementary schools, and you'll find they're a little different from the norm.
At Garden Hills Elementary, students post questions to inquiry boards and then research the answers, all while learning about cultures around the world.
At Booker T. Washington STEM Academy, they learn about science, math, engineering and technology, even when that means learning about force when kicking a ball in physical education.
At Stratton Leadership and Microsociety Magnet School, students learn financial literacy, citizenship and real-life skills by managing businesses and agencies, participating in elections and working to earn paychecks.
It's been more than a year since the Champaign schools received a $5 million, three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The money supports the three magnet schools, and at all three, the goal is to engage students as they learn, in hopes they'll retain the knowledge better.