On Tuesday, August 4 at 7PM, a representative from iRobot will talk about robots at the Newton Free Library. The talk — about what some robots do and careers for people who want to work with robots — is for kids entering Grades 2-5 and will be in the Library’s Druker Auditorium. Space is limited, so pick up tickets at the Library’s children’s desk 30 minutes before the program starts.
Newton’s three middle-school girl ambassadors to Envision the Future — Abigail Brooks (Brown MS), Dumebi Okonkwo (Day MS), and Deanne Harris (Oak Hill MS) — had a terrific week at Bridgewater State University, culminating in a STEM Resource Expo to present their work and meet with STEM programs and vendors. Sponsored by the John M. Barry Boys & Girls Club, the Newton team joined 45 other girls from 17 Massachusetts communities in a packed program of inspiration, introductions, experimentation, and accomplishment — all in collaboration with about two dozen women in STEM careers.
Attending the final-day Expo were Tamara Brogan (Boys & Girls Club Director of Education), Margaret Albright (Newton School Committee), and Bruce Henderson (NewtonSTEM). Other supporters of Envision the Future — Angela Pitter (Newton School Committee) and Jill Graboski (Newton Free Library Assistant Director) — were unable to attend at the last minute. NewTV covered the event (video; see timemark 8:10).
The Newton Envision the Future middle-school ambassadors and supporting organizations — including Newton Community Education and The Innovation Institute — are eager to replicate aspects of the program in Newton throughout the coming year. Stay tuned.
MassCAN (the Massachusetts Computing Attainment Network) is sponsoring a 3-day workshop for Massachusetts math and computer science teachers to explore the Bootstrap curriculum. With Bootstrap, students ages 12-16 learn algebraic and geometric concepts through computer programming. The workshop will be held August 10-12, 8AM-4PM at the Framingham State University. The cost is $25, including breakfast and lunch. Register online. For more information, contact Jim Stanton of MassCAN at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-618-2456.
MIT neuroscience professor Nancy Kanwisher has launched a website, nancysbraintalks.mit.edu, to present her many short video lectures on the human mind and brain. They’re aimed at anyone interested in the brain — especially high-school students — and not much science background is required. Start with her TED talk.
The Discovery Museums in Acton seek STEM professionals to become Science Communication Fellows. Twice a year, the museums accept 8 educators and STEM professionals as Science Communication Fellows in their Portal to the Public program — part of a nationwide program of 36 participating museums. Training takes 10 hours across two Saturdays. Applications (PDF) for the fall cohort are due September 4. Fellows work with education professionals to develop fun, engaging activities to help non-scientists understand their work and then share the results in public programs. Fellows receive free museum membership, a chance to improve communications skills, and membership in a national network of science and museum professionals committed to increasing public understanding and appreciation of STEM. This video explains the program from the points of view of Fellows, parents, museum staff, and kids. Since 2013, thirty professionals — from 15 corporations and universities — have become Fellows at the Discovery Museums. Space is limited, and tuition may be waived. For more information, contact Denise LeBlanc at email@example.com or 978-264-4200 ext. 20.
At the conclusion of Envision the Future, a one-week summer STEM camp for middle-school girls, the Southeastern Massachusetts STEM Network will present a STEM Resource Fair on Friday, July 24, 10AM-Noon at the Rondileau Campus Center of Bridgewater State University (directions). The 48 middle-school girls attending Envision the Future, including three girls representing Newton, will present the results of their work that week. Over 40 programs and vendors will exhibit at the Fair. Representatives of the John M. Barry Boys & Girls Club of Newton, NewtonSTEM, and the Newton Free Library — which are sponsoring Newton’s activities in Envision the Future — will attend.
The LigerBots are running an online survey of adults in Newton who are interested in:
- Finding a FIRST Lego League team for their children
- Coaching a team
- Offering meeting space, volunteer time, or other resources for a team
- Finding additional team members for teams they coach
The LigerBots do not directly run any FLL teams but are eager to help teams come together and help Newton teams have a successful season. See the FLL page on the LigerBots site for more information.
Also, FLL coaches in Newton — former, current, and prospective — are invited to join a Google group started by NewtonSTEM. For information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Innovation Institute (TI2) in Newtonville — a leading science and engineering enrichment program for grades K-12 — is enrolling for its Fall courses that start the week of September 9, with discounts for early registration. New courses include:
- Architects of the Future: Geo Spatial Skills Development (Grade K)
- Mechanical Advantage: Intro. to Mech Eng. I, II, III (Grades 3-4, 5-6, 6-8)
- Computer Programming (without intimidation!) for Future Scientists & Engineers (Grades 5-8+)
- Physics & Technology (Grades 8-10, 9-12)
- Electrical Engineering & the Coding Collective (Students are still writing the description. If you’d like to help, contact the director) (Grades 8-10)
- At the Frontiers: Materials that Matter (Spring Term, Grades 9-12)
- Molecular Biology, Genetics & Genomics, and Neuroscience (Grades 6-8, 8-10)
At TI2, students learn alongside talented scientists, engineers and educators in courses ranging from Computer Programming and Renewable Energies to Neuroscience and Mechanical Engineering, Parents call it a “local treasure” for its focus on “how” and “why” critical and creative thinking. Contact TI2 by email or 617-340-9907.
The Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs sponsors Project Learning Tree, and award-winning environmental-education program of the American Forest Foundation offering professional-development courses for teachers. Upcoming sessions include:
- PreK-8 Curriculum: August 19 at Brookwood Community Farm in Canton, September 19 at Riverbend Farm in Uxbridge. $20 Register via Gini.Traub@state.ma.us, 413-584-6788,
- Early Childhood Experiences: September 12 at Mount Greylock Reservation in Lanesborough, November 17 at Borderland State Park in Easton. $15. Register via Gini.Traub@state.ma.us, 413-584-6788.
- Both curricula together: October 17 at Lawrence Heritage State Park. $35. Register via Nancy.Riley-Whitehill@state.ma.us, 617-626-1494.
The Newton Free Library will offer CodeCampKids for kids entering Grades 5-7, to take them from NO experience in coding to creating their own basic app pages. It will meet August 6, 10, 17, and 25. Unfortunately the registration list, which opened three days ago, is already filled, as is the waiting list. Clearly there’s more demand for courses that introduce Newton’s kids to coding!
For those who did not get into the camp, there are many online resources for learning various aspects of coding. Here’s a list from Infoworld and other sources:
- Free: MIT’s Scratch, Kahn Academy, w3schools.com, MIT Open Courseware, Programmr, Google’s HTML Rocks, The Code Player, Code Academy, Code.org
- Free for introductory sessions, with fees for other sessions: Code Avengers, Code School