Three middle-school girls representing Newton are set to join 45 of their peers from 17 Massachusetts communities at Envision the Future, a residential STEM program at Bridgewater State University, July 20-24, under the auspices of the Southeastern Massachusetts STEM Network. Shown above are Newton’s ambassadors: 7th Graders Abigail Brooks (Brown MS), Deanne Harris (Oak Hill MS), and Dumebi Okonkwo (Day MS), who were selected based on written applications and interviews. Last Thursday they met with program supporters in Newton to discuss what they expect to encounter: Challenging STEM activities, career exploration with STEM professionals, meeting women role models, and connecting with other girls with similar interests. Attending the discussion were representatives of the John M. Barry Boys & Girls Club of Newton (which will fund scholarships for the students), NewtonSTEM, and the Newton Free Library, as well as Newton School Committee representatives Margaret Albright and Angela Pitter-Wright. Representatives of Wellesley Public Schools, which is sending two students to the program, also participated in the discussion. A key aim of all supporting organizations will be to replicate various STEM-promotion activities of Envision the Future in their communities next year. Newton and Wellesley were invited to participate based on the sponsors’ interest in replicating these activities in their communities.
Last Wednesday evening, coaches and student leaders of the LigerBots high-school robotics team held an information session for a standing-room-only crowd of Newton parents (and kids) who want to start (or join) a FIRST Lego League (FLL) robotics team. FLL teams, consisting of 2 to 10 students in Grades 4-8, supported by 2 adult coaches, compete in the fall season by a) building and programming a LEGO robot to complete assigned missions and b) researching and presenting results for a project based on the FLL theme for the year. This year’s theme is Trash Trek. Most teams fill up quickly, so parents looking for teams for their children should consider coaching. Technical expertise is not required, and there is considerable help available from LigerBots high-school students (who are eager to cultivate interest in FIRST among younger students) and from other FLL coaches, many of whom are in an online discussion group. If you’d like to learn more about coaching an FLL team, or if you’d like to connect with other FLL teams in Newton, visit ligerbots.org/fll.php or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Besides NewtonSTEM’s list of summer STEM activities, parents may want to look at this list of summer computer camps for children and teens published by the Commonwealth Alliance for Information Technology Education (CAITE) at UMass Amherst. Thanks to School Committee member Margaret Albright for noting this.
Boston University’s U-Design summer STEM program has openings for students in Grades 7-9 in two of its workshops — Robo-Alley and Flight School 101 — running July 13-27, 8:30AM-4PM, at BU’s College of Engineering. Workshops of up to 20 students will explore design, experimentation, and invention. Cost is $425 and limited scholarships may be available for those in need. Register online. For more information, call 617-353-6919 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
LEtGO Your Mind, which offers LEGO-based robotics programs throughout New England, will hold two summer day camps at Lasell College in Newton the week of July 20-24, 9AM-3PM. Register online by July 12 for:
The Newton LigerBots will hold an informational meeting for students of Newton North HS and Newton South HS (including those who will be freshmen next fall) interested in learning about the engineering and business opportunities offered by the team. It’s great opportunity for students interested in technology, business, graphic design, public speaking, grant writing, and/or STEM. The open house will be held on Monday, June 15, 6:30-8:30PM in the Newton South HS wood shop (Room 9170, by the auditorium). Hands-on activities include driving the LigerBots 2015 robot, using power tools and computer-aided design software, making marketing products, and doing engineering challenge games. Dessert will be provided. Parents are also welcome to come learn about how the team works and opportunities for adults to get involved. For more information, email email@example.com.
Parents who are interested in robotics for their elementary/middle-school children are invited to an Info Night hosted by the LigerBots, to explain FIRST Lego League robotics to parents of students entering Grades 4-8 this fall. It will be held on Wednesday, June 24, 7-9PM in Newton North HS’s Film Lecture Hall (just off the main school lobby at the Tiger Drive entrance; map; park in the lot off Elm Street). FIRST Lego League immerses teams of up to 10 students, ages 9-14, in real-world scientific and technological problems. Teams research and design solutions to a scientific question or problem and build autonomous Lego robots that compete in performing assigned missions. This year’s challenge is Trash Trek. Experience in FIRST Lego League prepares students well for high-school-level robotics with the LigerBots. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.ligerbots.com.
Environmental Science Program is a summer outdoor and educational program, June 29-July 29, for students entering Grades 7 through 10, under the auspices of the Conservation Commission of the City of Newton. Students have fun enjoying the wilderness while learning about environmental science. Highlights include hikes to Blue Hills and Mount Monadnock, bicycle trips, a 12-mile canoe trip on the Charles River, an expedition through the salt marshes of the North shore, and an exhilarating three-day backpacking trip up Mount Washington. Students also conduct an environmental cleanup service project and learn about the environment through science workshops on geology, botany, ecology, water cycle, pollution issues, and conservation. The cost is $1295, and need-based financial aid may be available. Print and send the registration form and release forms. For more information, or to inquire about attending only part of the month, contact David Backer at 617-447-9317 or email@example.com.
The Cambridge Science Festival is not just for April vacation! Through its Science on the Street program, CSF now brings its STEM activities to cultural and community events and after-school programs across Massachusetts throughout the year — and to weekly sessions in parks throughout the summer. If you would like to volunteer — by organizing/presenting a Science on the Street activity or by being a helping hand — fill out this form. (Volunteers under age 16 must be accompanied by parent/guardian.) Scientists and educators who want to bring their own outreach activities to Science on the Street events should fill out this form.
The Cambridge Science Festival also seeks talented, outgoing high school students to join its 15-person Teen Advisory Board for the 2015-16 school year. The board meets periodically at the Museum of Science, promotes Cambridge Science Festival events in middle and high schools, designs and runs events for teen audiences, writes CSF blog posts, and serves as ambassadors at CSF events. Download details and the application here (MS Word). Interest in STEM is of course a plus, but significant academic achievement in STEM is not necessary.
Science Club for Girls aims to hire six creative, enthusiastic new team members who are passionate about empowering girls through STEM education. These program managers and program coordinators will work in Lawrence, Cambridge/Newton, or Boston for the 2015-2016 academic year, engaging youth, coaching volunteer mentors, or organizing logistics and materials. If you want to support underrepresented girls developing confidence and literacy in STEM fields, visit the Work With Us page of the Science Club for Girls website for job descriptions and how to apply.
Science Club for Girls also seeks interns for grants/development and social media to work on clearly defined work plans, 8-10 hours per week. If interested, send a cover letter with relevant experience and a small writing sample to firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line: Internship interest.