Over the next five days, more than 6,000 middle school students and 300 teachers at 37 schools across Boston will set aside their regular class schedule to participate in an innovative, hands-on science and engineering program developed by i2 Learning in partnership with MIT and other leading STEM organizations. The 2nd annual Boston STEM Week includes courses such as Kinetic Sculpture, Building an Interactive Friendly Monster, Digital Game Design, Urban Farming and Surgical Techniques. Additionally, based on last year’s success, five schools will conduct i2 Month, offering their sixth grades a special four-week STEM-led interdisciplinary curriculum.
STEM Week is delivered by i2 Learning in partnership with Boston Public School and lead sponsors MathWorks and Vertex, with additional support from The Lynch Foundation, Shah Family Foundation, Massachusetts Life Sciences Center and The Boston Foundation.
“For my sixth, seventh, and eighth graders, STEM Week is like finding the entry point into their heart and soul,” Marjorie Soto, principal of the Hurley K-8 Dual Language School. “Last year, we had children who were wearing goggles and lab coats, working with the human heart to see how the blood goes through it. They were able to make connections and inferences based on what they saw, and connect it to what they had read. They not only experienced this learning, they owned it. It was as if they had become immersed in an exciting problem-solving community.”
Following their success during last year’s STEM Week, five schools have opted to extend beyond the week and are piloting i2 Month, a full month-long program. Replacing their traditional sixth grade coursework from the end of October until Thanksgiving, these schools will implement a special expanded version of the Building a Lunar Colony curriculum. In addition to many STEM activities, including constructing a sustainable colony on the moon, sixth graders will cover other school disciplines by reading and writing science fiction, discovering space exploration and developing their own form of government for their new colony.
“These schools are really leading the way in how education will look for the next generation.” said Ethan Berman, CEO, i2 Learning. “We are excited to work with the Boston Public Schools and key business partners MathWorks and Vertex, as well as local foundations whose support has allowed us to make a profound impact on students, teachers and schools.”
“One of the most direct and impactful ways of building a strong future workforce of scientists and engineers is to generate excitement for STEM in middle schoolers,” said MathWorks CEO Jack Little. “Our goal is to ensure schools have access to the tools, curricula and training necessary to build the interest and competencies necessary for students to pursue STEM careers.”
“Like most of my scientist friends, I got hooked on science early by my outstanding 5th grade teacher. Developing the next generation of scientists is all about capturing the imagination of kids early and showing them how much fun science can be,” said Dr. Jeffrey Leiden, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Vertex. “We’re delighted to be partnering with organizations like i2 Learning who share our commitment of bringing hands-on learning opportunities in STEM to students across the City of Boston.”
To see Boston STEM Week in action, watch this one-minute video.
To follow school progress, track team progress, and see images from past years, search #BOSTONSTEMWEEK on Twitter.