Happy New Year! Here is a roundup of STEM activities and events in the next two months.
AEOP Summer High School Apprenticeships
Applications are open for the 2024 AEOP summer apprenticeships. Apply for summer work experience in a US Army Research Lab, Center, or Partner University. Applications will be on a rolling admissions basis, with more locations added throughout the year at U.S. Army labs and partner universities. By applying, you can be part of groundbreaking STEM research that gives you unique, paid experiences and opportunities in the fields you’re most passionate about, in addition to working alongside professional scientists and engineers at labs across the country. Apply now! Outreach specialists are available to provide application guidance. Learn more and join the mailing list. Follow on social like IG and YouTube.
NASA Summer Internships
The space agency’s paid internship program gives high school, undergrad, and graduate students a chance to work alongside some of the brightest minds in the world. Educators are also encouraged to apply. Applications for summer 2024 are being accepted now through February 2. Apply here.
2024 Girls Who Code Summer Programs
Girls Who Code offers free virtual summer programs for high school girls and non-binary students to learn the computer science skills they need to make an impact. Participants will meet inspiring professionals across diverse industries and tap into lifelong college and career support to help them succeed in their first interviews and jobs. Complete this form to confirm your eligibility. Girls Who Code will let you know when applications open in mid-January.
Planning for Summer Camps
This is a great time to consider STEM summer camps and pre-college programs. Many programs fill up fast, and some require applications. Learn about nationwide summer camps available to students. If you live in Massachusetts, review my extensive list of 100+ STEM summer camps. If you’re unsure where to start and need help, I offer personalized consulting services for families.
Power to Explore Student Challenge from NASA
NASA, in partnership with Future Engineers, presents the Power to Explore Student Challenge, a writing challenge that invites K-12 students in the United States to learn about radioisotope power systems, a type of nuclear battery integral to many of NASA’s far-reaching space missions, and then write an essay about a new powered mission for the agency. Submit your entry by January 26. Get full contest details here.
Check out NASA+, the space agency’s first on-demand streaming service, giving way to a new world of NASA originals like Other Worlds and Space Out and interactive content, including NASA Space Place. The new, free experience is about creating space for curious minds to explore our home planet and beyond. Discover hundreds of videos and live content on the NASA App too!
Earthwise: Monthly e-Newsletter With Earth and Climate Science Resources
Earthwise is NASA’s latest education initiative to prioritize access to Earth and Climate Science education resources for K-12 educators and learners. Educators are invited to subscribe to a monthly e-newsletter to receive resources through 2024. Register now and watch a message from Artemis II astronaut Victor Glover!
Family Play and Learning Activities
The Discovery Museum in Acton, MA has created Discovery at Home, an online resource for hands-on STEM activities and things you can do with your kids indoors and in your backyard! Discover fun and interactive ways to play, learn, and explore with your children.
Upcoming Events & Activities in Massachusetts
The Robo Hub Opens in Cambridge!
Located by Cambridge’s scenic Danehy Park, The Robo Hub is a destination STEAM center for robotics enthusiasts and is committed to serving the local community. The organization offers after-school classes, weekend workshops, and school vacation camps for students in grades 3-8. The Robo Hub also supports high school robotics teams and welcomes families for birthday parties and social gatherings. Explore their winter programming. Your first class is always free, and use the code BOSTONTECHMOM for a 50% discount on all winter programming!
Christa McAuliffe Center Grand Reopening
The Christa McAuliffe Center for Integrated Science Learning at Framingham State University is reopening following a nearly $8 million renovation! The Center was established in 1986 to honor Framingham State’s beloved alumna Christa Corrigan McAuliffe ‘70, the “First Teacher in Space,” who died in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. During the redesign to modernize the aging Center, its original 1994 Challenger Learning Center was removed and replaced with a new Briefing Room, Mission Control, and Spacecraft where thousands of individuals will engage in simulated space missions each year. The Planetarium’s state-of-the-art projectors, movable seats, and upgraded sound system will make interdisciplinary programs possible on and under the dome. Fully immersive and multifunctional learning environments will enable the Center to expand its programming across all disciplines and serve wider audiences.
Girls STEM Summit Statewide 2024
Registration is open for Girls STEM Summit Statewide, the premier Massachusetts summit for high school girls in grades 8-12 interested in pursuing STEM degrees and exploring STEM career choices.The Summit features five STEM-focused career tracks with hands-on learning activities, a keynote presentation by a highly accomplished female STEM professional, and a talk by college admissions outlining best practices for applying to STEM degree programs. The event will take place on Sunday, April 7 at UMass Lowell. Cost: $75. Register now.
Plugged In: Monthly Community-wide Open Mic Nights
Plugged In is hosting a free Pathways to Music monthly Open Mic on the third Thursday of every month from 6-8 PM in Needham. All ages, all abilities, and all musical skills are welcome. There will be free pizza, puzzles, and crafts to encourage collaboration and conversations. This is a great opportunity to make music and friends. Plugged In will provide a full backline with drums, guitars, bass, keyboards, and drums.
January 20: The Multiverse @ Andover: Black Hole Symphony will be hosted by the Cochran Chapel at Phillips Academy Andover. Join the team of scientists, artists, and musicians to explore possible worlds through immersive music, evocative discussion, and mind-bending art in a cohesive, multimedia experience. This is a free event for the public, but registration is required.
January 20: Students in grades 5-10 are invited to participate in a free video game development workshop at MIT! This is an exciting opportunity to learn how to design and develop your own video games, taught by MIT and Harvard students! Learn to use a revolutionary no-syntax platform in just 2 hours — no experience required! Simply bring your laptop or Chromebook. Spaces are limited, so sign up now.
January 27: The Christa McAuliffe Center at Framingham State University welcomes all to explore the redesigned Center during a Grand Reopening Celebration with free activities from 11am-4pm. Experience the full-dome planetarium film Big Astronomy, enjoy live musical performances of Octave of Light by Multiverse Concert Series, experiment during a simulated Mars mission in the Challenger Learning Center, and interact with NASA Solar System Ambassadors! Check the website for more information and visit logistics.
January 28: The Christa McAuliffe Center at Framingham State University is hosting a Day of Remembrance event from 11am-1pm to observe the 38th anniversary of the Challenger disaster. At 11:39am, there will be a moment of silence to honor the STS-51L crew, followed by a live performance of an original composition dedicated to Christa McAuliffe by Dr. David Ibbett. All are welcome to stay and explore the Center’s redesigned facilities and modern, fully immersive learning environments! Check the website for more information and visit logistics.
February 3-29: Welcome to the Year of the Dragon! Learn about each of the twelve animals by comparing the legendary creatures to real animals in the museum galleries during the Chinese Zodiac Animals Scavenger Hunt at the Harvard Museum of Natural History. Regular museum rates apply.
February 7: The Robo Hub, a new STEAM center in Cambridge, is hosting an Open House from 3pm-7pm. Stop by and learn about their vacation, afterschool, and summer programs, meet the teachers, and participate in interactive exhibits.
February 10: The Harvard Museum of Natural History in Cambridge is hosting I ♥ Science, a popular annual event for children and adults! Meet amateur and professional scientists who study and collect fossils, mushrooms, and meteorites. Talk with experts who build telescopes, analyze earthquakes, and grow carnivorous plants, and so much more! Regular museum admission rates apply.
February 17: STEAM Ahead is hosting a STEAM Leadership Symposium at MIT. This free, 1-day event is designed to provide high school students a space for the exploration of leadership. Various leaders from high school, collegiate, and professional fields will network with participants and define what leadership is in this ever-changing world. Apply now. The application deadline is February 9. Please note that this application may close prior as participation in this event is limited.
February 19-23 (school vacation week): Here is a sample of organizations offering STEM vacation camps.
- Acera School (Winchester) hosts STEAM camps full of immersive projects and activities for ages 5-12.
- Christa McAuliffe Center (Framingham) offers one-day mission and planetarium programs. Grades 6-8 can participate in the Expedition Mars mission paired with different full-dome films and hands-on STEAM activities complementing each film’s unique themes. Grades 1-3 can participate in a new interactive program. There will also be several planetarium showings of the family-friendly Fly Me to the Moon!
- Code Wiz (various locations) offers robotics, coding, Roblox, and Minecraft camps for ages 7+.
- Einstein’s Workshop (Burlington) offers electronics, science, robotics, and Minecraft camps for grades K-8.
- Guild Hall (Cambridge & Woburn) hosts robotics and game development programs for ages 9-17.
- Inventor STEM School (Bedford) offers classes for students ages 4-14, including Game Development Bootcamp, LEGO-Mania, Robots: Out of This World, and Minecraft Creators.
- The Robo Hub (Cambridge) offers LEGO robotics and STEAM camps for grades 3-8. Use the code BOSTONTECHMOM for a 50% discount on all winter programs.
February 22: Wentworth Institute of Technology is hosting Engineers: Make a World of Difference. This free program is open to students in grades 5-8 of all genders looking to learn more about engineering and celebrate National Engineers Week. Register now.
February 23-25: Join high schoolers from around the Boston area for Wonderland, a weekend hackathon of building, programming, and socializing. Centered around mystery chests, Wonderland will be a space to find ways to combine quirky software packages with unsuspecting hardware. From combining Python cat gif libraries with receipt printers to old keyboards with RC cars, there is no limit to what can be made in Wonderland! The event is completely free and happening at the WPS Institute right off of the Green Line in Newton. Open to all high school students of any programming background. Register now.
Registration in February: MIT’s popular Spark program for students in grades 7-10 will be held on March 16-17. Registration opens in late February. Cost: $70. If you want to be alerted when registration opens, create an account.
March 2-3: MIT Blueprint is a weekend-long learnathon and hackathon for high school students on MIT’s campus. All high school students are eligible to apply, and all levels of coding experience are welcome! Free event! Apply now.
March 2-April 6: MIT Educational Studies Program is holding Spring HSSP 2024 for students in grades 7-12 on MIT’s campus. Classes are taught by MIT students and members of the MIT community on topics including abstract algebra, cryptography, astronaut health, and more! Spring HSSP will happen over five Saturdays from March 2nd to April 6th (skipping March 16th for Spark). The registration deadline is February 20th. Spring HSSP classes have limited capacities, but the first phase of registration is a lottery where everyone has an equal chance of getting into the classes they rank. Cost: $50 (generous need-based financial aid available). Register now.
Image Credit: The Christa McAuliffe Center: During the Expedition Mars mission simulation, Challenger Learning Center’s Spacecraft ferries crew members between a base on Mars’s moon, Phobos, and the planet’s surface. Here, individuals participate in hands-on labs and experiments to build a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and search for evidence of life and water on Mars.