STEM in the News

Exciting ways students and the community are connecting with STEM.

2021 Massachusetts STEM Week Challenges

The following organizations received grants to develop STEM design challenges for students:

BioBuilder Edicational Foundation, Newton: BioBuilder invites students across the Commonwealth to engage with its Idea Accelerator, a digital offering that allows students to learn the foundations of biodesign and challenges them to develop a biotechnology that solves any challenge they want to address. The world’s health crisis has focused everyone’s attention on biology and life science. A design challenge related to bioengineering is not only timely but is also a way to focus student’s ideas on solving society’s needs, allowing students to both see themselves in STEM and see STEM in the world. To learn more, contact Stephanie Ovitt at stephanie@biobuilder.org.

CoderZ by Intelitek, Inc: CoderZ invites students and educators to explore CSTEM, the fusion of computer science and STEM, through their award-winning platform during Massachusetts STEM Week 2021. Owned by Intelitek, Inc., CoderZ's gamified online platform is as easy to use as it is powerful. Students learn core STEM, coding, and robotics skills, while supporting 21st Century skills such as critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration. To learn more contact Kathy Scott at kathy@gocoderz.com or 215.589.3954, and to schedule a demo, visit https://calendly.com/kathygocoderz.

FIRST Robotics WPI, Worcester: New England FIRST invites students and educators across the Commonwealth to engage with robotics teams during MA STEM week and learn more about how to get hands-on with robotics.  FIRST programs enable students from kindergarten through high school to understand the basics of STEM and apply their skills in an exciting challenge while building habits of learning, confidence, and teamwork skills along the way. To learn more, visit https://nefirst.org/ or first@wpi.edu

Gale Force Education: Gale Force Education brings the excitement of power engineering to high school students through Engineering for Resilience (EfR), which focuses on the design and operation of New England’s power grid. In a series of challenges aligned to MA STEM standards, students will design, test, and improve power grid system components and a model power grid system. To learn more, visit https://bit.ly/2UMvRdN or contact us at michael@kidwind.org.

Kids in Tech, Inc., Lowell: Kids in Tech’s STEM Challenge will help students in the Commonwealth visualize the concepts of AI, understand how these systems affect the world, and appreciate the potential they have to change the future. Students will utilize two online platforms, Machine Learning for Kids and Scratch, through which they will complete engaging activities that allow them to see what is possible with AI concepts and technology. The challenge will culminate in a project in which students will design their own Smart Cities using AI principles and programming language. To learn more, visit us at www.kidsintech.org or info@kidsintech.org.

Museum of Science, Cambridge: The Museum of Science and EiE®, the Museum’s curricular division, invites educators and students to see themselves in STEM by engaging with the museum’s newest permanent exhibition, Engineering Design Workshop powered by MathWorks, in classrooms throughout the Commonwealth during Mass STEM Week 2021. Engineering Design Workshop enriches hands-on activities through the use of state-of-the-art tools and includes the popular Design Challenges program that invites visitors to design, build, and test their own solutions to fun engineering and computer science challenges. Challenges will engage students live and in-person as they engineer to solve problems related to environmental challenges humans face across the globe, set in the context of urban, coastal, suburban, and rural settings across the Commonwealth. To learn more, contact Lesley Kennedy, manager of professional development, at lkennedy@mos.org.

United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, Boston: In partnership with Boston Public Schools, United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley’s (UWMB) BoSTEM initiative challenges students and educators across the Commonwealth to explore social justice for civics by using STEM as the lever for change. The impact of social justice issues on youth has been exacerbated by COVID-19 and racial injustices. Through this design challenge, teachers will support their students in local data collection and synthesis to build a social justice message and project around equity in the city for issues like our deteriorating environment, lack of affordable housing, transportation equity and food security. To learn more, contact us at bostem@supportunitedway.org.

Wade Institute for Science Education, Quincy: The Wade Institute for Science Education, the Salem Sound Coastwatch, and the Lloyd Center for the Environment have designed “Hurricane Heroes! Storm City, Massachusetts,” a phenomena-based challenge that will allow educators to use grade-level appropriate science and technology concepts that address Massachusetts curriculum standards. This challenge will give students across the Commonwealth the opportunity to learn about storms and their impact and to incorporate engineering concepts with physical and earth science disciplinary core ideas. To learn more, visit wadeinstitutema.org or contact Sandi Ryack-Bell at sRyack-Bell@wadeinstitutema.org.

STEM Challenge Partners

The following organizations were also announced as STEM Challenge Partners. The organizations have collaborated with the STEM Advisory Council over the last 4 years to provide opportunities for students across the Commonwealth.

i2 Learning: i2 Learning has been proud to partner with the Commonwealth since the inaugural Massachusetts STEM Week in 2018. Building on i2's successful weeklong and monthlong programs in schools and districts around the country, i2 is now partnering with select Massachusetts school districts to pilot i2 Full Year, a complete school year of immersive, interdisciplinary, project-based curriculum. For more information about bringing an i2 program to your school or district, please visit www.i2learning.org.

Mass STEM Hub and Project Lead the Way: As part of Mass STEM Week 2021, Mass STEM Hub, a program of the One8 Foundation, is providing an opportunity for schools to connect directly with industry professionals to help students deepen their learning and link their coursework to real-world careers. With Student Industry Connects for STEM Week 2021, middle and high school students (grades 6-12) are invited to submit Project Lead The Way (PLTW) and OpenSciEd (OSE) projects from Fall 2021 to receive authentic feedback from STEM professionals on their work. Classrooms that submit projects will also have the opportunity to continue the conversation with professionals through follow-up virtual classroom visits. Visit Mass STEM Hub Student Industry Connects website for more information, including a link to register. Contact connect@mass-stemhub.org with any questions.

These are YouTube Channels created by the Green Brothers (also known as the Vlog Brothers). Students learn about engineering and science concepts, as well as other subjects through vivid text features, explicit explanations, and reflective questions.

Crash Course

Crash Course Kids

The team at Illustrative Mathematics has authored a list of resource links focused on adapting to online teaching during the pandemic. They range from content-specific resources to general advice specific to the pandemic.

Illustrative Mathematics Resources for Shifting Instruction Online

StraDDegy provides access to 100’s of resources that can be introduced as whole-class, small group or independent activities. Teachers can sign up for a free 30-day trial.

StraDDegy Number Sense Activities

The NASA Exoplanet Exploration Page provides a variety of pages in easy-to-read kid-friendly (and parent-friendly) formats that explore various aspects of planets beyond our solar system and the prospects of finding life.

The University of Cambridge provides a page with a wide selection of math learning activities for ages 3-19.

University of Cambridge Maths at Home

The University of Cambridge provides a page with links to a wide selection of activities for students of all ages.

University of Cambridge NRich Math Activities

The Mathematics Assessment Project offers a set of assessment activities for middle- and high-school math teachers.

They are divided into 3 levels based on the extent to which they require students to autonomously apply their mathematical knowledge, and include a scoring rubric, a set of pre-scored sample student work, and the same set of work without the scores.

The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics has a web page of free resources. They are relevant to teaching math in general but do include some online-specific resources.

This site hosts a series of workshops to share practical tips, virtual experiments and other concrete tools that families – even those with little time, few resources and no STEM exposure or teaching experience – can use to engage their children’s learning.

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