The Innovation Institute in Newtonville will hold two open houses — December 5 (6:30PM-8PM) and December 8 (2:30PM-5PM) to introduce winter-term classes in science and engineering for ages 5-15. In this after-school/weekend program, scientists and education specialists work with up to ten students in a class to offer learning and inspiration designed to complement day-school studies. Classes are two hours, once a week. Topics range from the neuroscience of the senses to the science of renewable energies, with a focus on fun learning, critical thinking skills, freedom to create and innovate, and mastery of STEM concepts. For more information, visit theinnovationinstitute.org or call 617-340-9907.
At the 10th annual Massachusetts STEM Summit last week in Foxboro, Newton North HS’s InvenTeam presented its continuing work on its award-winning Pedestrian Alert System for developing countries. Also, Steve Chinosi, Chief Innovation Officer of Newton Public Schools and director of Newton’s Innovation Lab, spoke in a workshop about integrated STEM curriculum and teaching, describing Greengineering and other projects in the district. Greengineering currently involves 200 students (57% girls) across multiple schools, including five high-school science electives. Program partners include PTC, Village Bank, Whole Foods, Legal Seafoods, MIT, Earth Day Network, Patagonia, BU Engineering, BioBuilder, Ecovocative, and UPS.
The STEM Summit also featured these independent programs used in Newton schools: DIGITS, Club Invention, and Science from Scientists.
MIT’s Sixteenth Annual Friday After Thanksgiving (F.A.T.) will be held November 29, 1PM-4PM at the Rockwell Cage Gymnasium at MIT. This is a STEM event like no other. You can either go to watch or register as a team to build your part of a giant, Rube-Goldberg-like Chain reaction. Each team gets a table on which to build a link in a chain reaction that goes around the gym. Each link is supposed to take from 30 seconds to 2 minutes — and eventually either pass a golf ball to the next link or pull a string.
The event is emceed by Arthur Ganson, artist in residence at MIT and Mechanical genius. At the MIT museum, there is a whole room of his sculptures, and it’s worth a trip just for that. Continue reading
The 10th annual Massachusetts STEM Summit will be held this Wednesday, November 13, 7:30-4:30PM at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough. Registration is at capacity and the waitlist is now closed, but you can sign up for the STEM Summit mailing list to receive information about future events. This year, the STEM Summit introduces the Resource Room with 39 exhibits by educators and innovators to demonstrate how they incorporate STEM concepts into activities and lessons to engage students from pre-school through community college.
The DuPont Challenge essay contest will accept entries between November 15 and January 31. The contest encourages students in grades 7-12 to consider how science and innovation can be used to meet the needs of the 21st century for food, energy and protection. Students should address one of the four following categories in a 700–1,000-word essay:
- Together, we can feed the world.
- Together, we can build a secure energy future.
- Together, we can protect people and the environment.
- Together, we can be innovative anywhere.
The top three teams in the Junior Division (grades 7-9) and Senior Division (grades 10-12) will win trips to Walt Disney World and the Kennedy Space Center. Savings bonds for students and grants for teachers are also awarded.
The Massachusetts Science Olympiad, Level C will be held March 22, 2014 at Framingham State University. Registration forms are due December 8 (first-come, first-served after that, up to 40 teams). Events this year are: Anatomy & Physiology, Astronomy, Boomilever, Bungee Drop, Chemistry Lab, Circuit Lab, Compound Machines, Designer Genes, Disease Detective, Dynamic Planet, Entomology, Experimental Design, Forensics, GeoLogic Mapping, MagLev, Materials Science, Mission Possible, Rocks and Minerals, Scrambler, Technical Problem Solving, Water Quality. Trial events are: Evolution, Mystery Engineering/Architecture, Cell Biology, Write It/Do It. The cost is $125 in state and national dues. For information, see www.soinc.org. Each team should provide an adult volunteer for running, proctoring, or grading an event.
Moody’s Mega Math Challenge is a free, online, one-day competition in applied math for teams of high-school students. It requires participants to consider and analyze a relevant issue using mathematical modeling to come up with a practical solution. The problem to be addressed in the Challenge will be revealed on the morning of each team’s scheduled day during Challenge Weekend (March 8 or 9). The team’s solution paper will be due at 9PM that same night. Teams are evaluated on approach, methods used, and creativity displayed in math modeling.
Teachers may register teams of 3 to 5 students (up to 2 teams per school) now through February 28. Last year there were 39 teams from 32 schools in Massachusetts (none from Newton). The Challenge is sponsored by the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.
The Real World Design Challenge (RWDC) is an annual aviation design competition for high school students in grades 9 through 12. It’s run by a public/private partnership aiming to enhance the STEM workforce, and it’s free for students and teachers. Teams of 3-7 students design a plane, and each team is supported by professional mentors. This year’s state RWDC challenge (PDF) is to design an unmanned aircraft for “precision agriculture” and develop a business plan for its commercial operation.
RWDC focuses on the “real world” through:
- A real problem identified by industry professionals
- Real tools, including commercial design software
- Real roles for students to promote leadership, teamwork, innovation, and problem-solving
- A real contribution in which students can make a difference. Continue reading
Universal Technical Institute in Norwood, MA is hosting the New England Skills Gap Expo: Solutions Through STEM, November 21, noon to 3:30PM. This free program includes a keynote by former U.S. Secretary of Education Dr. Rod Paige, a panel discussion by STEM professionals in industry and education, and a hands-on expo area. Register at email@example.com.
Boston’s Museum of Science celebrates National Chemistry Week with events on Sunday, October 27, 1PM-5PM. Students (pre-K to 12) and adults can meet scientists and students from all around New England who will lead fun, educational activities around the Museum. Build your own battery, split water into hydrogen and oxygen, find out why some light bulbs save more energy than others, and test the conductivity of a sports drink. Dr. Bassam Shakhashiri, professor of chemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, will present exciting demonstrations in the Cahners Theater at 1PM and 4PM. Admission to museum is required. (Free tickets to Dr. Shakhashiri’s presentation might still be available on a first-come, first-served basis after advanced reservations closed October 23.)