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‘Maze Runner’ author to visit NIU

Published: Tuesday, April 1, 2014 5:30 a.m. CST

DeKALB – Imagine waking up in the heart of a vast maze with memory of nothing except your name. Every day, you have to run the maze, searching for a way out. Every night, the maze fills with robotic monsters, and its walls change positions. That’s the chilling premise of James Dashner’s best-selling young adult novel “The Maze Runner.”

At 1 p.m. Wednesday, April 9, the author will visit NIU’s Altgeld Auditorium to discuss his dystopian “Maze Runner” series, the upcoming film adaptation, and his career as an author. The event is free and open to the public. Public seating is limited to the auditorium balcony, which can be accessed from Altgeld’s third floor. Main floor seating will be occupied by high school students on campus for hands-on activities related to “The Maze Runner.”

Dashner’s talk is presented by NIU STEM Read with support from Follett, Random House, Friends of the NIU Libraries, and NIU Undergraduate Admissions. STEM Read, located in NIU’s Center for P-20 Engagement, uses popular fiction books as a gateway to help young readers explore the science behind the fiction. The program hosts live events throughout the year and creates free online videos with STEM experts, games, collaborative writing prompts, art activities, and lesson plans that align with Illinois state learning standards.

To build on young readers’ enthusiasm for “The Maze Runner,” STEM Read has invited 220 middle and high school students from around the region to participate in a live action game based on the book. Students from Sycamore High School and Clinton Rosette Middle School are among the groups planning to attend.

Throughout the day, the students will take part in creative problem-solving activities with NIU experts in psychology, engineering technology, kinesiology, and cryptography, all factors in solving the maze.

STEM Read plans to post the game and related videos to stemread.niu.edu shortly after the event.

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