The Innovation Institute in Newtonville has announced its fall schedule (also in PDF) of after-school and weekend STEM courses, including a new course in computer programming with specific appeal to girls. Some spaces are still available in summer courses, which are mostly 9AM-noon for one or two weeks with some full-day exceptions (see schedule). Courses are taught by a team of educators, researchers, and STEM professionals. Enroll online. Fall courses (with approximate Grade levels) are:
- Architects of the Future: Design, Building and Geospatial Skills Development (K)
- Investigate, Discover & Design: Developing Critical Thinking Skills through Science & Engineering (K-4)
- Microworlds: Microorganisms, Cell Biology & Molecules (3-4)
- Chemistry of Human Body Systems (4-5)
- Mechanical Advantage: Introduction to Mechanical Engineering (4-8)
- Microworlds: Microorganisms, Cell Biology & Molecules (5-6)
- Science & Engineering of Renewable Energies (5-6)
- Neurophysiology: Electrical Engineering and the Nervous System (6-8)
- Introduction to Computer Programming (6-8)
- Molecular Biology, Genetics & Neuroscience (6-8)
- Electrical Engineering Design Immersion (7-8)
- Astronomy & Astrophysics (7-8)
- Neurophysiology: Electrical Engineering and the Nervous System (7-12)
- At the Frontiers: Materials that Matter (9-12)
Three Newton middle-school girls have been chosen to represent Newton at Envision the Future, a one-week residential summer STEM program for girls ages 11-13. Newton’s student ambassadors will be rising 7th Graders Abigail Brooks (Brown MS), Deanne Harris (Oak Hill MS), and Dumebi Okonkwo (Day MS). This summer, they will gather with 45 other middle-school girls from Southeastern and MetroWest Massachusetts, under the auspices of the Southeastern Massachusetts STEM Network, for challenging STEM activities, career exploration with STEM professionals, meeting women role models, and connecting with other girls with similar interests.
In Newton, this program is sponsored by the John M. Barry Boys & Girls Club of Newton (which will fund scholarships for the students), NewtonSTEM, the Newton Free Library, and Newton Community Education. In the next school year, these student ambassadors and sponsors plan to replicate one or more of the program’s STEM-promoting practices in Newton. Newton was invited to participate based on the sponsors’ interest in replicating these activities in our community.
As part of the Newton Free Library‘s expanded STEAM programming, on May 13, teachers from Newton’s Russian School of Mathematics will host an hour of engaging games, puzzles, and hands-on activities for kids in the Library’s Druker Auditorium: Grades 1-4 at 3:30PM, then Grades 5-8 at 4:30PM. RSM aims to make math more accessible to all children, to shed stigmas that kids may associate with it, and to encourage flexing of problem-solving muscles! The program is free, but registration is required (Grades 1-4 , Grades 5-8). For more information, contact the Children’s Room at 617-796-1370.
Since last week’s notice about the Newton ‘Girls Who Code’ Club seeking additional volunteer instructors for next year (Oct-May), additional information is available about the activities and requirements of the position. Instructors use the Girls Who Code curriculum and deliver short lectures, run discussions, and help girls with their coding projects. The club also hosts guest speakers, goes on field trips, and develops soft skills like collaborating and presenting one’s work. Club volunteers are passionate about closing the gender gap in technology and getting girls into this rewarding field. Instructors must:
- Be proficient in at least one backend programming language,
- Have intermediate knowledge of data structures and algorithms,
- Be able to pass a background screening, and
- Commit to volunteer 2–3 hours per week.
To learn more about volunteering, please review the additional information (PDF) and then contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts offers a range of STEM-related programs for girls of various ages. To register for any programs, girls must be Girl Scout members ($25 per year). Register online for these upcoming programs:
As noted last week, the Newton Girls Who Code club is planning to build on its successful first year and expand next year, from two sections (of up to 20 girls each) to three or more. Additional technologies, such as 3D printing and Raspberry Pi, may also be offered. Each section meets weekly at the Newton Free Library. David Miller, a Google software engineer and the first to volunteer as a Newton GWC instructor, says: “Newton GWC is now recruiting software engineers to volunteer as lead- or co-instructors for the 2015-6 school year. Contact email@example.com if you’re interested in fostering the next generation of women technologists, software engineers, and computer scientists. We have a great time and learn to use computers to do anything. Join us!” David has written on the Google Cloud Platform blog about his experience with this club — as well as with teaching his daughters to code.
MassBay Community College in Wellesley is offering STEM Summer 2015 for students entering Grades 7 and 8, July 6-17. It runs 9AM-3:30PM, costs $350, and includes classes and projects in math, biology, physics, and computers. Although the registration deadline was April 15, MassBay highlighted this program at the MetroWest STEM Education Network meeting on May 1, so applications might still be accepted. Contact Sarah Sreedhar (firstname.lastname@example.org, 781-239-2582) for more information.
If you’ll be on Cape Cod this summer, you may be interested in short summer STEM camps run by Jr. Tech in…
- Computer Game Developer: July 7-9, entering Grades 6-9
- Animation Creation: July 10, entering Grades 6-8
- Computer Programming in Java: August 3-5, entering Grades 7-9
and Marstons Mills:
- Screeching Rockets: July 20, entering Grades 5-7
- Simple Machines for Kids: July 20, entering Grades 4-6
- Fizz, Bang, Boom: July 21, entering Grades 4-5
- Computer Science Camp for Kids: July 22-24, entering Grades 5-7
Registration is open now. For more information, call 774-994-2097 or email email@example.com.
The Newton Girls Who Code club is winding up a very successful first year in Newton and planning to expand next year. Laurie Finkielsztein, a Newton resident and junior at Gann Academy, started the club, inspired by her experience at the 7-week Girls Who Code immersion program at Twitter/Cambridge last summer. She contacted Liz Rowland, teen librarian at the Newton Free Library, who recruited Google software engineer David Miller as volunteer instructor for the Newton after-school sessions. When 37 girls came to the third meeting last October, they divided into two sections, each meeting two hours a week to learn computer science and create projects using the Girls Who Code curriculum.
Throughout the school year, they created video games and computer-aided art; built apps for phones and mobile web browsers; and studied cryptography and artificial intelligence. Newton’s club has been featured in GigaOm, the Google Cloud Platform blog, and the Newton TAB. This spring, they met for an afternoon with Harvard’s Women in Science club. In May, their final projects will tackle real-world community problems, and this summer two students will attend the Girls Who Code summer immersion program.
Laurie says, “I’ve been so surprised at how excited these girls are. They don’t feel that coding is nerdy. We’re changing that stereotype by starting young. They see that coding is one of the coolest things you’ll get to do. It’s the closest thing to having super-powers. It’s a skill that can be applied to anything. It teaches you a new way to think.”
Newton GWC aims to expand its offerings next school year, with more sections and new technologies (3D printing, Raspberry Pi). A family information session will be held at the Newton Free Library, Wednesday, September 16 at 7PM. Club meetings will start in early October. For more information, prospective students should contact Liz Rowland at firstname.lastname@example.org. Prospective volunteer instructors should contact David Miller at email@example.com.
The 2015 Massachusetts STEM Summit will be held on November 10 at DCU Center in Worcester. Proposals for sessions or exhibits may be submitted until May 1 for any of these themes: Career Awareness & Workforce Development, Digital Education, Early Education, K-12 Education, Higher Education (2-year or 4-year), Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Out-of-School Time, or Research and Practice.