Boston Public Schools Holds Immersive STEM Event for Middle Schools

Boston Public Schools has wrapped its first Boston STEM Week, an immersive science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning experience for grades 6 through 8 that took place from October 3 to 7.

More than 6,500 students from 36 Boston middle schools participated in the event. Boston Public Schools developed the program with the goal of helping students gain confidence in STEM fields "and perhaps inspire them to pursue a future in STEM," according to a news release. For one week, the district replaced regular classes with STEM curricula developed by i2 Learning in collaboration with MIT, MathWorks and other organizations.

Programs offered during Boston STEM Week include:

  • Digital Game Design, a course for grade 6 students to use the Scratch programming language to create an original video game with custom graphics, sound effects and music;
  • Building a Lunar Colony, a course for grade 6 students to construct models of lunar colonies;
  • Building an Interactive, Friendly Monster, a course for grade 7 students to create their own interactive stuffed monster using a LilyPad Arduino computer, conductive thread and some simple programming;
  • Kinetic Sculpture, a course that introduced grade 7 students to key concepts and skills of kinetic sculpture;
  • Surgical Techniques, a course for grade 8 students to participate in hands-on activities such as dissections, construction of life-sized body systems and simulated surgeries; and
  • Urban Farming, a course for grade 8 students to learn how to grow food in cities.

In preparation for Boston STEM Week, the school district offered teachers a choice of six two-day professional development sessions, as well as information about how to integrate the events into English language arts, English language development, history and social science, Common Core math and arts subjects.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at [email protected].