Another Successful MIT Beaver Works Summer Institute

MIT Beaver Works Summer Institute (BWSI) is a free, four-week, rigorous STEM program for talented students entering senior year of high-school. In its third summer, it has grown to 8 projects with about 200 students from 105 schools across the U.S. plus teams operating remotely in Canada and Mexico. This summer’s program concluded last week in a final, all-day event of races of autonomous cars and air vehicles, as well as demonstrations of student projects such as satellite designs, Alexa-like cognitive assistants, and machine learning to detect cyberbullying on Twitter. See videos of the programs from 20182017, and 2016, along with this 2017 blog post.

BWSI starts each year by enrolling teachers and students in December for online courses that begin in January. Students showing significant progress in the online course may apply in mid-March for the Summer Institute, which runs from early July into early August.

BWSI is organized by the MIT LL Beaver Works educational research collaboration between Lincoln Laboratory and the MIT campus. Beaver Works seeks to expand BWSI in future years to involve more schools in BWSI and also to make the BWSI curriculum available to other schools for developing local STEM programs. For information about how to incorporate BWSI into your own school curriculum, email

Become a MassBay STEM Mentor

MassBay Community College in Wellesley runs a STEM Mentor Program in which STEM professionals meet with its students at least once a month during the school year. Activities during the year include periodic STEM Forums, a Robo-Sports competition, hands-on STEM activities, and tours of four-year colleges and local STEM companies. Learn more in this STEM Mentor Program brochure and enroll here. This year’s Kick-Off Reception, where mentors will meet their assigned students, will be October 4, 5:30-7:30PM. For more information, contact Valerie Kapilow, STEM Starter Academy Project Director, at or 781-239-3157.

Start a Design Squad Global Club for Ages 10-13; Register by Aug. 15

PBSKids facilitates the creation of Design Squad Global clubs for ages 10-13 to explore engineering and design — and then matches each club with a partner club in another country for collaboration. DSG clubs run in 6- or 12-week seasons throughout the year.  On your own or collaborating with a local organization, you can learn how to start a club, review the club guide, and then sign up by August 15 to form a club (ideally of 9 to 12 students) for the September 15 – December 15 season. Each week, you’ll need about an hour for preparation and an hour (or more) for club time, plus a half hour every other week communicating with your overseas partner club. No experience in teaching or engineering is needed. For more information, email Saranya Sathananthan at

Edge on Science: Drone and Code for Grades 6-12, Aug. 27-31

Edge on Science will offer a one-week program, Drone and Code, August 27-31, for Grades 6-12 at the Spellman Museum of Stamps at Regis College in Weston. Learn the basics of drone flight and how drones have been used. Learn how to code instructions and fly a drone. No previous coding experience is required.

MetroWest STEM Education Network Meeting, Sept. 12

All are welcome to attend the next quarterly meeting of the MetroWest STEM Education Network will be held on September 12, 8:15-10:30AM at Framingham State University. Topics include MSEN’s recent joining of the STEM Learning Ecosystems Community of Practice, the forming of the MSEN Advisory Committee, and community updates about local STEM activities. Register here.

Register Now for Destination Imagination 2018-19

Registration is now open for Newton’s Destination Imagination program for the 2018-19 school year.  It’s a volunteer-run STEAM program for Grades K-12 (see video). Teams of 2-7 students form in September (by Grades: K-2, 3-5, 6-9, and 9-12) to address various design challenges throughout the year in preparation for regional tournaments in the early spring and potentially state and global competitions in May. Over the years, over 350 Newton students have participated, and this year a Newton team went to the Global Finals! Here are videos of the 2017-18 Technical ChallengeScientific ChallengeEngineering ChallengeFine Arts ChallengeImprovisational Challenge, and Social Action Challenge.

For next year, teams are currently being formed in the communities of Angier, Cabot, Countryside, Franklin, Horace Mann, Mason Rice, Solomon Schecter, and Underwood schools — and other teams are welcome. Details are in this webinar. The registration fee of $150 is reduced to $50 for adults volunteering to co-manage a team. For more information, contact Matthew Miller at

Say Goodbye to Robots Leaving the MIT Museum, Aug. 10

The MIT Museum will host a free, family-friendly farewell party for robots leaving the Museum for three months due to a change in exhibits. This event will be held on August 10, 7-9PM at the MIT Museum (265 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge) with demonstrations, presentations, hands-on activities, tours through the Museum’s robot gallery, and cake and ice cream. Register for free.

2018 Congressional App Challenge is Now Open

Five Massachusetts members of Congress have joined their colleagues in other states to host the 2018 Congressional App Challenge. Middle- and high-school students who live and/or go to school in the districts of Representatives Clark, Keating, Kennedy, McGovern, or Moulton may sign up for the Challenge by September 10, as individuals or in teams of up to four. Registered entrants can then use any programming language on any platform to make an app on any theme or topic (except as prohibited by the rules) and then create and submit a 1-3 minute video demonstration of the app and its purpose by noon on October 15. The MassTLC Education Foundation is one of many partners sponsoring the Challenge.

Empow Studios: Back-to-School Open Houses, Aug. 11 & 18

Empow Studios will host back-to-school open houses, 3:30-5:30PM, on August 11 in Lexington (1776 Massachusetts Avenue) and on August 18 in Newton (180 Needham Street). Families with children in Grades 2-8 are invited to sign up online at either of those pages to attend.

Library Seeks Facilitator/Instructors for ‘Girls Who Code’ Club

The Newton Free Library, preparing for its fifth year hosting the Newton Girls Who Code Club, seeks volunteer facilitator/instructors for this very popular, free, after-school program for Grades 6-12. The Library provides meeting space, and the global Girls Who Code organization provides curriculum materials. Facilitators do not need technical experience and may learn alongside Club members. They need a passion for closing the gender gap in technology, skill in fostering community in youth groups, and the ability to volunteer 3 to 4 hours per week, October through May (including preparation and travel). Men and women are encouraged to apply. The Library expects to host two sections, each with 20-25 girls and two or more facilitators meeting two hours each week in afternoons, evenings, or weekends — depending on when instructors are available. If interested, read this description and email if you have further questions. Apply here.