Mass. Audubon Citizen Science: Join the Firefly Watch

All are invited to participate in the Massachusetts Audubon Society‘s citizen-science project, Firefly Watch, to track the geographic distribution of fireflies along with the environmental factors affecting their abundance. Learn how to participate (10 minutes a week) and see interim results.

BlocksCAD STEM Workshop in Somerville, July 9-13

Boston-based BlocksCAD is a STEM education technology company offering a cloud-based 3D-modeling tool to help users (primarily in Grades 4-6) to have fun learning math, computational thinking, and coding through visualization and 3D printing. Sol Menashi (STEM educator and former program manager of the DARPA BlocksCAD project) and Jenny Yoder (principal developer of the BlocksCAD software), co-founded the company last year to help educators and students use this technology.

The company will host a five-day BlocksCAD Workshop, 9AM-Noon, July 9-13, at Arts at the Armory (191 Highland Ave., Somerville). Participants will have fun, learn coding and design skills, and take home two 3D prints of their own design. The cost is $300. To register, email or call 413-682-6745.

Highland Street Foundation: Free Fun Fridays at Museums This Summer

The Highland Street Foundation is bringing back Free Fun Fridays, during which it provides support to about 100 selected museums and cultural venues open to everyone for free on specified Fridays. Here are the STEM-oriented Free Fun Fridays on the schedule this summer:

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

Empow Studios Opens on Needham Street; Open House June 23

Empow Studios opened its beautifully designed new studio space in Newton at 180 Needham Street last week, with enthusiastic staff and representatives of the mayor’s office and Chamber of Commerce celebrating the ribbon-cutting. Families with children in Grades 2-8 are invited to register for an Open House and Student Showcase on June 23, in one of four time slots (12PM, 12:30PM, 1PM, 1:30PM) for a tour and preview of programs:  Summer Camps (June 25 – August 31), STEM After School ClubSTEM Clubs and Classes (Weekday & Weekend), and Birthday Parties.

First Meeting of NEMO: New England (FIRST) Mentor’s Organization, June 26

New England FIRST Mentor’s Organization (NEMO) will hold its inaugural meeting on June 26, 6-8PM, at MassRobotics (12 Channel Street, Suite 502, in Boston). Register by June 19. NEMO aims to help FIRST mentors become better mentors, and meetings will include presentations and networking. This inaugural meeting will be introduced by the Regional Director of NE FIRST and will include a presentation about off-season projects for FIRST Robotics Competition teams.

SE Mass. STEM Network Conference in Bridgewater, Aug. 15

The Southeastern Massachusetts STEM Network invites educators, business partners, and community representatives to its STEM conference — Educating for the Future: Practices – Programs – Partnerships — at Bridgewater State University on August 15, 8:30AM-2PM, in the Rondileau Campus Center Ballroom (19 Park Avenue in Bridgewater).  All are welcome and attendance is free but registration is required. For more information, contact

Mass. STEM Week will be Oct. 22-26

October 22-16 has been designated Massachusetts STEM Week by the Governor and the Massachusetts STEM Advisory Council. The MetroWest STEM Education Network will coordinate our region’s activities for the week and is seeking STEM professionals to volunteer to offer presentations and hands-on activities, asking schools and out-of-school programs to request them, and asking about STEM-related events planned for the week in order to promote them.

Register by June 18 for MIT’s HSSP — Sundays in Summer for Grades 7-12+

MIT’s Summer HSSP is a weekend academic program (June 30-August 11) for students entering Grades 7-12 (plus those who just graduated high school).  Courses are run by volunteers on Sundays at various times between 10:30AM and 3:30PM.  Registration is now open until June 18 on a lottery basis, with equal consideration given to all applicants registering by that deadline.  The cost is $40 regardless of the number of courses taken, and generous financial aid is available.  For more information, email  The course catalog contains these 32 STEM courses:

  • From Binary to Symbolic Machine Language: How Computers Understand Code
  • Introductory Python Programming through Games
  • Fun with Arduinos
  • Quantum Computation
  • Complex Numbers
  • Advanced Topics in Combinatorics
  • Extremal Combinatorics with Applications to Computer Science
  • Advanced Math for Middle School Students!
  • Computational Complexity Theory: Proving Puzzles Hard
  • The Physics of Life
  • Intro to Organic Chemistry
  • Networks Everywhere!
  • The Foundations of Intelligence: An Introduction to Neuroscience
  • The Extremes of Life
  • High Seas Adventuring!
  • How Language Works
  • Biolabyrinth: Navigating Academic Literature
  • Intro to Synthetic Biology!
  • Pandemics, Epidemics and Genomics
  • Plants: Biology, Behavior, and Growing Your Own
  • Topics in Modern Physics
  • Regenerative Biology: A History, Techniques, and Recent Breakthroughs
  • The Foundations of Intelligence: An Introduction to Neuroscience
  • Exoplanet Explorer
  • Engineering Inventions
  • Introduction to Biochemistry
  • Quantum Physics and Astrophysics: The Universe at its Two Extremes
  • An introduction to Jet Engines and Rockets
  • The Science of Food
  • Introduction to Biochemistry: How does your body carry out chemical reactions?
  • Molecular Machines and Electronics – Industrial Revolution 5.0?
  • Design / Build / Fly

Innovation Institute Expands Facility and Courses for Summer and School Year

Entering its fifth year, The Innovation Institute (TI2) in Newtonville announces expanded facilities, new equipment, and new courses. Here’s what sets it apart:

Enlarged and enhanced facility: A year-long renovation has resulted in the doubling of lab space, all redesigned discussion rooms, and one expanded room for older students and special events.

Proof-of-Concept approach: TI2 instructors have advanced degrees and deep content expertise and are passionate and highly capable educators. They facilitate learning and serve as role models because they respect young people’s capacity to learn.

Summer courses: Registration for summer courses is closing soon. Students are placed by interests and maturity, rather than solely by age or grade. They have options from Micro&Nano Worlds and Chemical Reactions to Neuroscience: Select Topics and The Body Electric: Neurobiology and Engineering. Courses always have new content, even if their names remains the same. This summer, some students will explore making art under the microscope!

School year Enrollment is open for the 2018-19 academic year, including The Internet of Things—Computing, Engineering, and Design (a student-directed course); Jr NeuroExplorers; Biology of the Brain: Intro the Nervous System; and Molecular Biology, Genetics and Genomics.