Come see what Newton can invent — and see how you can help! The NewtonSTEM community is invited to Newton North HS at 5PM on March 28 for the InvenTeam’s presentation of its invention — a Pedestrian Alert System to save lives in Ethiopia. The team is one of 16 nationwide to win a grant of $10,000 for experimenting and prototyping for its invention. The team now seeks local sponsors to help fund actual fabrication. (You can donate online to help the team meet its goal.) The event will be held in Room 121 (Design & Visual Communications Technology Lab) of Newton North HS, 457 Walnut Street, Newtonville, MA.
The statewide Massachusetts STEM Summit was held Oct. 18 at Gillette Stadium, with 1200 attendees.
- Astronaut Cady Coleman, in her keynote, spoke of the need not just to inform and inspire, but to help students — particularly girls and under-represented minorities — to identify as STEM folks, to see themselves in STEM careers.
- The Girl Scouts noted a survey showing that 74% of girls state an interest in STEM, but only 13% say they are considering a STEM career.
- Science Club for Girls enrolls not only community volunteers but also “near-peer” mentors, who learn to see themselves as people who can talk and teach STEM as they work with K-6th Grade students.
- Milton High School’s technology club teaches 4th-5th graders in a four-day summer session on robotics — raising money for the high-school program, inspiring the next generation of kids, and teaching the high schoolers a bit about teaching.
- Boston University runs the Artemis Project (a five-week summer program in which Computer Science undergraduate women introduce rising 9th grade girls to computer science) and a one-week Summer Pathways program (for rising Juniors and Senior girls to explore STEM careers).
- And it was good to hear Massachusetts Secretary of Education, Paul Reville, speak of his visit to the Innovation Lab at Newton North HS last February.
Earlier this year, Newton Public Schools announced a three-year partnership with Boston University’s School of Engineering to bring BU engineering undergraduates into Newton classrooms as Inspiration Ambassadors, to engage and mentor middle-school and high-school students. The undergraduates are professionally trained for these roles to guide hands-on design challenges and host interactive presentations. The College of Engineering will also work with Newton’s teachers in workshops and professional development opportunities. The BU Technology Inspiration Scholars Program has worked with over 2,200 students in twelve states.
Norma Sullivan, 6th grade math/science teacher at Oak Hill MS, believes kids need to get the STEM bug by the end of middle school — ideally by the end of 6th grade. She’s doing her part. Besides her LIFT2 professional learning program and summer internship and her classes’ early participation in the DIGITS program, she is engaging her students to explore STEM careers with these ideas: Continue reading
Bigelow MS’s year-end competition to design and build a remote-controlled Bionic Arm shows one facet of how STEM is being taught in Newton’s middle schools. Students were challenged to design and build a prosthetic arm that would lift and place an object. Each arm is entirely remote-controlled by 4 hydraulic pistons – one to control each axis to make the arm lift, reach, grab, and rotate. In the year-end challenge, 4 teams of 4 students in each class competed in a tournament to “shoot hoops” with the robotic arms they created.
This spring, Oak Hill MS formed a new after-school Robotics Club, the MegaOHMS. About 20 students from all three grades joined together each Monday afternoon to plan, design, build, and program Lego robots to tackle the season’s challenge —navigating the tricky “Oak Hill Harbor”, avoiding many obstacles while deploying buoys and positioning life boats. Continue reading
Salman Khan has created a growing library of over 2000 engaging educational videos — all free on YouTube — in arithmetic, algebra, trigonometry, statistics, calculus, biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, history, finance, economics. See www.khanacademy.org for the entire library, including 9-minute video overview of all of it.
Sal’s recent 20-minute TED talk (video) explains how he aims to revolutionize and invert education (i.e., lectures will be at home via video, and what was once homework will be done in school), with each student progressing at his/her own pace and teachers coaching individuals and small groups. Continue reading
Newton has become the latest site for DIGITS, a statewide program offered free to middle schools to increase 6th graders’ interest in STEM and knowledge of STEM-related careers. DIGITS pairs volunteer STEM Ambassadors — professionals in STEM-related fields who are trained in the DIGITS program — with classrooms to inspire and motivate students and explain the importance of math and science in their careers. Continue reading
The Governor’s STEM Advisory Council’s Operations Board announced today the @Scale Initiative to endorse current STEM projects that:
- Address specific performance gaps in the goals of the Massachusetts Statewide STEM Plan (PDF) and
- Have the potential to scale up for statewide implementation.
Projects that receive @Scale Endorsements will be listed on the STEM Pipeline website so that potential funding partners may seek more detailed information and solicit proposals from project leaders for specific scale-up initiatives. Project leaders will then directly engage funding and implementation partners to establish coalitions for implementation. Continue reading
Science Club for Girls (SCFG) is a nonprofit organization focusing on girls-specific programming in underserved communities. It provides free, hands-on science and engineering programs to over 1,000 girls in five cities in eastern Massachusetts (Cambridge, Lawrence, Boston, Newton and Fitchburg), and in Pokuase, Ghana. The Newton chapter was founded in 2004 and meets in the Myrtle Street Baptist Church on Saturday afternoons in October, November, February, and March. In addition, it holds Leadership Forums, Winter Science Parties, and Museum Overnights.
- All girls grades K-7 are invited to join, and girls in grades 7-8 and high school serve as Junior Mentors. Mentor-scientists model and foster leadership, affirm college as an expectation, and promote careers in science and technology as goals and options.
- STEM professionals, graduate students, and undergraduate students interested in becoming a mentor-scientist can send an email to email@example.com.
- Donations to support the program are gratefully appreciated.