MassCAN (the Massachusetts Computing Attainment Network) is sponsoring a 3-day workshop for Massachusetts math and computer science teachers to explore the Bootstrap curriculum. With Bootstrap, students ages 12-16 learn algebraic and geometric concepts through computer programming. The workshop will be held August 10-12, 8AM-4PM at the Framingham State University. The cost is $25, including breakfast and lunch. Register online. For more information, contact Jim Stanton of MassCAN at email@example.com or 617-618-2456.
The Discovery Museums in Acton seek STEM professionals to become Science Communication Fellows. Twice a year, the museums accept 8 educators and STEM professionals as Science Communication Fellows in their Portal to the Public program — part of a nationwide program of 36 participating museums. Training takes 10 hours across two Saturdays. Applications (PDF) for the fall cohort are due September 4. Fellows work with education professionals to develop fun, engaging activities to help non-scientists understand their work and then share the results in public programs. Fellows receive free museum membership, a chance to improve communications skills, and membership in a national network of science and museum professionals committed to increasing public understanding and appreciation of STEM. This video explains the program from the points of view of Fellows, parents, museum staff, and kids. Since 2013, thirty professionals — from 15 corporations and universities — have become Fellows at the Discovery Museums. Space is limited, and tuition may be waived. For more information, contact Denise LeBlanc at firstname.lastname@example.org or 978-264-4200 ext. 20.
“e” inc. — Boston’s environment science learning and action center — seeks to raise $3200 to enable Boston youth (ages 6-12) to attend its Summer Science Discovery Programs: “Oceans” August 17-21 and “New England Habitat” August 24-28. “e” inc. is a community-based non-profit that creates scientifically confident environmental citizens by providing civics and science sessions to children and teens in school-year and summer programs at over 20 Greater Boston schools, community centers, and other educational institutions. Donations to their IndieGoGo campaign go directly to a scholarship fund that will offset costs for low-income families. Space is still available for both summer programs.
In its first year in FIRST Lego League, the Boston Chinese Science Technology Athletics Recreation (CSTAR) Youth Club has created three FLL teams and three Junior FLL teams for the upcoming 2015 season. Current team members are students at Day, Burr, Franklin, Horace Mann, and Cabot schools. The teams have been meeting individually for the last few weeks. In addition, the Junior FLL teams are gathering in group meets on summer weekends. Typically, team members work on Lego models during the week and then bring them to show to the group in their weekend meets. This encourages them to plan what they want to build, cherish and improve what they are building, and present what they have finished. The times and locations of the meets vary from week to week, usually at Auburndale Cove Picnic Area or Newton Centre Playground. These gatherings are open to everyone of Junior FLL age (kindergarten through Grade 3). If you’d like to participate in any of these casual pre-season meets, please email CSTAR co-founder Guolin “Alex” Wen at GuolinWen@gmail.com.
CSTAR is a not-for-profit organization newly founded by some enthusiastic Newton parent volunteers. CSTAR is committed to bring a variety of extracurricular activities in Science, Technology, Athletics and Recreation to Newton youngsters. It currently runs summer programs in soccer and FIRST Lego League.
Market-research firm Performance Plus of Framingham is recruiting children — specifically, boys and girls between the ages of 7 and 12 who play with STEM toys at home — for a survey. The survey will take place in the child’s home, where she or he will have the opportunity to interact and experiment with a prototype concept. Families that participate will receive a Bose Soundlink Mini Bluetooth speaker. If interested, call Evelyn Field at 508-868-5886.
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 email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
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: