Here’s a chance for NewtonSTEM folks to step up with modest financial support to make a significant impact on engineering education in Newton. Matt Anderson (NNHS Physics and Greengineering teacher) has started a crowd-funding project to acquire a 3D printer for students to use in Greengineering projects. The aim is to raise $2453 by Thursday, November 28 to buy a MakerBot Replicator 2 printer. It will be used by students in Drafting, Engineering, and Greengineering for producing 3D replicas of models they create with CAD software. As Matt says, “This is one easy-to-implement example of cutting-edge technology in use in industry today, and we want to be right there as it’s happening. Rapid prototyping can be done quickly and cheaply with a 3D printer, and it can tell a product-development story much more effectively than drawings and descriptions.” You can contribute any amount via DonorsChoose.org. If you enter the promo code INSPIRE on the payment form, your contribution will be matched 100%, up to $100. If you have questions, please email Matt at Matt_Anderson@newton.k12.ma.us.
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.
Registration is now open for a four-day interactive workshop on the science of forensics offered over the February school vacation for students in grades 7 and 8 by Science from Scientists and MIT’s Whitehead Institute. Students will be guided through the story of a mock crime, will attend sessions to learn about forensic science (e.g., blood typing, chemical identification, chromatography, fingerprinting) and underlying concepts (heredity, chemical reactivity, the scientific method), and will apply what they have learned and present their findings. The workshop will be held February 18-21, 9AM-3PM at the Whitehead Institute, 9 Cambridge Center in Kendall Square, Cambridge. $400 per student includes lunch and materials. Registration is limited to 30 students, on a first-come first-served basis, and will close January 22. For more information, contact Amy Tremblay at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
Registration is open for second phase of the Lexus Eco Challenge, which runs October 14 through November 11 for grades 6-12. In each phase, a teacher advisor selects a team of 5-10 students, and the team chooses one of the Air & Climate challenges to work on, and then the team implements an action plan and reports results via Powerpoint. Teams can win prizes and a chance to participate in the final challenge (November 18 – January 17).
Harvard Educational Studies Program (ESP) is a tuition-free, extracurricular academic enrichment program for students in grades 6-12. Harvard students volunteer as ESP teachers. Each class is two hours long and meets on Saturdays at Harvard for seven weeks in the fall. Classes are in three sessions (10 am-12 pm, 1-3 pm, and 3-5 pm, depending on the course), and students may take classes in any number of sessions. Registration and course selection is now open, and classes start this Saturday, Sept. 28.
There are no formal test-score qualifications for ESP; students should be self-motivated and genuinely passionate about attending. STEM-related courses this fall:
- The Science of Music and Art (Grades 9-12)
- Game Theory: Mathematical Perspectives in Economics (Grades 6-9)
- Sound Knowledge: The Physics and Biology of Hearing (Grades 6-9)
- Really Fast and Really Big: Relativity and Cosmology (Grades 10-12)
- An Introduction to Organic Chemistry (Grades 10-12)
Last year, 80 students from nine different Newton Public Schools participated in Regional and State competitions sponsored by Destination Imagination. Destination Imagination encourages teams of learners (K-12) to have fun, take risks, focus and frame challenges while incorporating STEM, the arts, and service learning. DI students learn patience, flexibility, persistence, ethics, respect for others and their ideas, and the collaborative problem solving process. The program is run by volunteers and needs participation from every family. Teams are formed in October and meet in November, and the Regional Tournament is in early Spring.
Interested parents are invited to two DI Info Nights (6:30-7:30PM):
- Monday, September 16: Burr Elementary Cafeteria, 171 Pine Street
- Wednesday, September 18: Memorial Spaulding Auditorium, 250 Brookline Street
Print out the registration form and send it in with $125 (or $85 for team co-managers) by September 30 (after which there is a $35 late fee and no guarantee of placement). Need-based scholarships are available. For more information, visit newtondi.org or www.madikids.org, or contact Matthew Miller at email@example.com. Or for school-specific information, contact:
Cool Science has launched its second annual Art Competition about Climate Change, which is free and open to K-12 students across Massachusetts. Cool Science aims to combine art, education, and science to engage the public in thinking about the science of climate change. Winning artists will receive a $100 gift certificate and have their artwork displayed on the inside and outside of public buses in 2014. This year’s contest focuses on three questions:
- How does Carbon cycle through the atmosphere?
- What do scientists see that tells them that the earth’s climate is changing?
- How is climate change impacting Massachusetts?
Submissions are due November 22. Contest rules and resources are available at www.coolscience.net. Cool Science is sponsored by UMass Lowell’s Graduate School of Education and UMass Boston’s Department of Environment, Earth, and Ocean Sciences.
WGBH, PBS, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting are sponsoring the Innovation Math Challenge (IMC), a contest open to educators, student teams, gamers, producers, and anyone who has a great idea to create fun and engaging math educational media. IMC seeks to find up to 100 educational media digital resources (videos, games, interactives, infographics, and manipulatives) that are:
- Designed for middle school students,
- Aligned with the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics for grades 5-8, and
- Engaging for a wide range of students by reflecting a wide range of culturally responsive perspectives and learning styles.
Each chosen entry will receive a $1000 prize and be showcased on PBS LearningMedia. For more information, go to www.wgbh.org/support/innovationfund.cfm.
There’s one more week in this summer’s free, online Maker Camp, sponsored by Google+ and Make: magazine. Teens build daily projects at home or with friends, share them on Google+, and then join daily Google+ hangouts to learn project tips and tricks and go on virtual field trips on Fridays. This week’s projects are all about do-it-yourself music, and this weekend’s project is an LED Color Organ. Next week’s projects focus on special effects in movies. Join Maker Camp to particpate for one or more days. Videos of all Google+ hangouts, as well as instructions for all previous projects, are available online.