As 2018 wraps up, here are a few STEM opportunities I wanted to highlight. Have a wonderful holiday season!
Mark your calendars for the annual Hour of Code December 3-9. This is a great opportunity to introduce children to coding and learn some of the basics. There are many ways for parents, teachers, librarians, and afterschool programs to get students involved. Check out my recent article for a list of activities. Many of these activities are well suited for doing at home.
Discovery Museum: First Friday Nights Free!– 4:30pm-8:00pm, Friday, December 7 (Acton)
Explore the museum at night on the first Friday of every month for free! The museum will gratefully accept non-perishable food donations for the Acton Food Pantry and Open Table of Concord and Maynard. Please note: Discovery Woods closes at dusk. Sponsored by Middlesex Savings Bank, with additional support from Emerson Hospital.
Discovery Museum: Meet the Scientists!– Drop-in 6:00pm–8:00pm, Friday, December 7 (Acton)
What’s it like to be a scientist or engineer? Find out in this special program where you can talk to real scientists and engineers and do the hands-on activities they’ve developed to showcase their work. Discover why they find STEM cool and exciting while learning about their research and interests. Check the website before the event for a list of the scientists and engineers who will be participating, and what type of science activity they will provide. This event is led by scientists participating in the Science and Engineering Communication Fellowship program. This is a free event.
Junk Drawer Book Series– For homeschool teachers
If you are a homeschool educator, the Junk Drawer series teaches STEM concepts with common objects found around your home. I received a copy of the newest book, Junk Drawer Geometry, from the author, Bobby Mercer, a high school physics teacher. The book includes 50 activities that don’t cost a thing because you can use common materials found in your house. The book series covers topics like engineering, physics, chemistry, and geometry and includes teaching guides, materials checklists, and step-by-step instructions that explain the math and science concepts behind each activity.
Biogen Foundation Spark Video Contest– For middle and high school students
Biogen is hosting its second annual Spark Video Contest for middle and high school students in Massachusetts. Create 30-second to 3-minute videos on the topic of biotechnology in your life. Please make sure the video is accurate and creative and have your teachers submit the video on the website (two submissions per school), because each school that submits an eligible video will win $500 and you could win a GoPro video camera! Submissions are open until December 17.
Here is a list of free or low-cost STEM activities for your kids to consider this month. Enjoy!
December (various dates): Microsoft Store at Prudential Center and Burlington Mall are hosting free Hour of Code Minecraft workshops for kids ages 8+. Explore aquatic worlds and uncover hidden treasure with the new Minecraft Voyage Aquatic tutorial.
December 1: RSVP now for deSTEMber Extravaganza presented by Girlstart at the Boys & Girls Club in Waltham. This holiday and winter-themed science event is for the whole family. FREE and everyone welcome!
December 1: Attend Science on Saturday at MIT Lincoln Laboratory in Lexington. Learn about 3D Printing and visit 11 stations to discover how 3D parts are designed and made. (Ages 5-17) Free + registration is required.
December 1-2: Attend MAHacks, New England’s bi-annual hackathon for high school students on Dec 1-2 in Boston. This is a FREE event and no experience is required.
December 2: Attend a Chanukah-themed STEAM Fair at JCDS, Boston’s Jewish Community Day School in Watertown. This is a FREE event. Please RSVP in advance.
December 5: If you’re considering a career in tech, don’t miss Ask a Coder. This an opportunity to meet three professional developers and software engineers at the Watertown Free Public Library.
December 6: Empow Studios is holding a Java Snowball Fight workshop from 7pm-8:30pm in Lexington. Learn syntax of the Java programming language while celebrating Hour of Code. (Grades 2-8) Cost: $25
December 8: Attend Science & Us, an event where high school students will get the opportunity to create their own science communication project. This is a free event being held at MIT.
December 8-9: The Museum of Science is celebrating Computer Science Week with their own roster of fun and educational hands-on activities for visitors of all ages during the weekend. Free with Exhibit Halls admission.
December 8-9: Artisan’s Asylum is hosting their 7th Annual Winter Market & Open House in Somerville. There will be many interactive activities for all ages including electronics and robotics activities, a scavenger hunt for kids, MassDestruction Robot Battles and more!
December 15: The LigerBots will be hosting a maker fair for families during the FIRST LEGO League competition at Newton North High School. This is a free event and features hands-on activities for kids in the fields of science, technology, engineering, art, and math.
December 15: The Teen Council at MIT Museum is hosting a Teen Cafe, an exciting event connecting local teens with MIT scientists and each other. The theme is “AI&U”- the future of AI and its impact.” This is a free event for high school students. Registration required.
December 26-28: Empow Studios is holding Winter Break NanoCamps where kids learn to design, build and code from 9am-4pm in Lexington & Newton. (Grades 2-8) Cost: $95/day