Technovation: Intro Webinar – Nov. 14, Kick-Off – Dec. 9

The Technovation Challenge is  a worldwide, technology entrepreneurship competition in which each teams of five middle- or high-school girls (10-18 years old) identify problems in their local communities, build prototype mobile apps for them, develop business plans, and pitch the plans to potential investors.  Teams will meet for 3-4 hours weekly with mentors from the tech/business community, January-April, in preparation for regional and worldwide events in May and June.

The MassTLC Education Foundation will host a webinar on November 14, 12:30-1PM, to introduce parents, students, and potential mentors to the competition.  If you are not available at that time, register to get access to a recording of the webinar. And everyone — students, parents, mentors, and anyone else interested — is invited to register for the in-person Technovation Kick-Off event (register here) on December 9, 1:30-5:30PM at LogMeIn (333 Summer Street, Boston). Teams can register for the competition anytime before March 7. and may attend MIT’s free App Inventor workshop, January 27, 9:30AM-Noon (register here). Adults can sign up to be a mentor/coach. For more information, email

20th MIT ‘Friday After Thanksgiving’ Chain Reaction, Nov. 24

Each year, on the Friday After Thanksgiving, the MIT Museum hosts a hugely collaborative Chain Reaction in which simple or complex contraptions built by participating teams are joined into one massive Rube-Goldberg-esque chain reaction viewed by over 1500 attendees.  (See video from 2017.)  This year, the 20th annual F.A.T. Chain Reaction will be on November 24, 1-4PM, and will be based on the theme “Twice As” (as in “2X, for the 20th anniversary).  The public can view contraptions and talk with teams 1PM-3PM, and the chain reaction will start at 3:30PM.  Buy tickets online or in person on November 24 at the MIT Museum (starting at 10AM) or Rockwell Cage (starting at 1PM).  There’s still time to register a team to participate by building a link in the chain.

Register Now for STEM Pathways mini-Jamboree, Feb. 17

STEM Pathways — a Boston University/MIT outreach program for synthetic biology — will host its annual mini-Jamboree on Saturday, February 17 , 9:30AM-4PM on the BU campus, to expose high school and undergraduate students — particularly those from underrepresented communities — to synthetic biology, international competition, and recruiters for next season’s Boston University & MIT iGEM teams. Registration is free, required, and open now. High-school students must be accompanied by an adult (parent, teacher, chaperone). Read about the 2017 mini-Jamboree.

Register Now for NuVu Summer Programs

Registration is now open for these summer programs presented by NuVu Studios in Cambridge, which are each offered in three sessions (July 9-20, July 23-August 3, August 6-17):

FLL Team Seeks Your Response to its Short Survey on Water Use

A Newton-based First LEGO League robotics team of 4-8th graders is conducting research aimed at reducing the amount of water people use on their lawns. They are asking the public to respond to this 8-question survey on water usage to help the team with its research and efforts to save the environment. The note that the Environmental Protection Agency has said, “if the average sized lawn in the United States is watered for 20 minutes every day for 7 days, it’s like running the shower constantly for 4 days or taking more than 800 showers.”

STEM-Related Gift Ideas

We’re starting early this year with a grab-bag of suggestions from friends for STEM-related gifts for the holidays. In no particular order, STEM-infused friends recommend these oldies-but-goodies:

Brandeis Professor Eric Olson recommends a 1971 classic, The Great International Paper Airplane Book. “This book really delighted me as a kid. Some of the designs are really easy to make, others are much more challenging, some are familiar, some are truly bizarre.  It’s a lot of fun.”

LigerBots mentor Jonathan Young recommends:

LigerBots mentor Pam Wright recommends:

Please send your recommendations for STEM holiday gifts to

LigerBots to Host FLL Regional Qualifying Tournament at NNHS, Nov. 18

The LigerBots will again host the Newton Qualifier, a FIRST LEGO League robotics competition for 300 Massachusetts students in Grades 4-8 on Saturday, November 18, 9AM-3PM, at Newton North HS. It’s free and open to the public. The theme of this year’s competition is Hydro Dynamics (see video). Teams will compete using LEGO robots they have designed, built, and programmed to perform complex tasks. The public may also view the teams’ displays of their solutions to real-world problems related to the water-based theme. There will also be a maker fair with hands-on STEM activities for kids and a “RoboPalooza” exhibit of robots from First Robotics Competitions and FIRST Tech Challenges.

STEM Talks at TEDx@BeaconStreet at JFK Library, Nov. 18

There will  be several STEM-related speakers participating in the TEDx@BeaconStreet event at the John F. Kennedy Library on November 18, 8AM-9PM. In-person seating is currently full for each block, but you can register here and then get on the waitlist. If you don’t clear the waitlist, you’ll still be able to view the simulcast, either onsite or online.

  • Gina Ford, Principal Sasaki Associates
  • Jim Heppelmann, President and CEO, PTC
  • Hiroshi Ishii, Associate Director MIT Media Lab
  • Satchidananda Panda, Professor Regulatory Biology Laboratory at Salk
  • Valerie Mosley, Chairwoman and CEO, Valmo Ventures Bio
  • Cady Coleman, NASA Astronaut, NASA’s Office of the Chief Technologist
  • Justin Werfel, Senior Research Scientist, Wyss Institute at MIT
  • John Ryan, Co-Founder, Banyan Infrastructure
  • Lindiwe Matlali, Founder and CEO of Africa Teen Geeks
  • Olle Ljungqvist, Professor of Surgery at Örebro University Hospital
  • Bernard Harris, Former NASA Astronaut
  • Tal Achituv, MIT Media Lab, Center for Civic Media
  • Kathy Kleiman, Founder of ENIAC Programmers Project
  • Tal Zaks, Chief Medical Officer, Moderna Therapeutics
  • Fiorenzo Omenetto, Associate Dean for Research & SoE Tufts University
  • Mina Khan, Software Engineer at Google
  • Osman Kibar, CEO at Samumed

MSSEF Mini Grants to Schools for Science Fairs, Grades 6-12

The Massachusetts State Science & Engineering Fair offers mini-grants to middle and high schools to either start or expand science fairs. Grants are available for up to $1,000 for the first year, renewable up to $2,500 for a multi-year program, plus tuition scholarships of up to $3,500 for up to six STEM teachers to attend Curious Minds courses to help them bring science and engineering practices into their classrooms. Apply online. For more information, email

MassCEC Grants Available for Clean Energy Activity Day Programs

The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) is accepting applications for grants for Clean Energy Activity Day programs for elementary and middle school students. These are for one-day events (Monday-Saturday) that include a hands-on learning opportunity for students at a school, clean-energy business, or organization. Up to ten grants will be made, for up to $8,000 per event for Grade K-4 or up to $10,000 per event for Grades 5-8. Applications are due at 4PM on December 8. For more information, see this webinar or email Tamika Jacques.