As 2017 wraps up, here are a few STEM opportunities I wanted to highlight. Have a wonderful holiday season!
Hour of Code
Mark your calendars for the 5th annual Hour of Code being held December 4-10. 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 are well suited for doing at home.
STEM at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)
WPI in Worcester, MA offers one of the nation’s preeminent university outreach programs to elementary, middle, and high school students. Over the past 10 years, WPI has helped girls and boys explore the STEM field while honing leadership and collaborative skills, building confidence, and encouraging friendships. Academic programs range from introductory STEM courses to robotics and math competitions, plus the humanities and arts. Classes are offered during the school year and over the summer by WPI faculty and staff along with area educators.
Girls Who Code Club at WPI
Girls Who Code is a program for girls in grades 9, 10, and 11 who are interested in learning about computer science and how to impact their community. This program exposes girls to positive female role models with a background in computer science, from WPI and Dell. For more information, please contact the Office of Pre-collegiate Outreach Programs by email at email@example.com or by phone at 508-831-4900.
- Grades: Girls in Grades 9-11
- Dates: January – May 2018
- Hours: Tuesdays or Wednesdays, 4:00 – 6:00pm
- Cost: free
- Registration: Opens on Monday, December 4, 2017 at 9:00am
STEM Activity at Home: Bake Constellation Cookies
I love to bake cookies with my daughters, so I was excited to come across this neat science project where you can learn about constellations by baking cookies. This project was designed by Erica Saint Clair of Rosie Research. She’s a mom (with a Ph.D. in Physics) on a mission to make “learning real science by doing fun science.”
Erica has many free science activities on her website and I asked her what some of her favorites were. She said, “My favorite mini maker is probably the constellation cookies, although with the holidays here I really love the cratered moons since you can make them into ornaments!”
Using mini chocolate chips as the stars and colorful sprinkles as connecting lines, your kids will understand how to visualize the constellations. Download the Constellation Cookie recipe.
Here is the full list of free or low-cost STEM activities for your kids to consider this month. Enjoy!
December (various dates): Attend free coding workshops (including Hour of Code and Minecraft) at Microsoft Store in Burlington. (Ages 8+)
December 2: Attend Science on Saturday and learn about nuclear science and engineering at MIT Kresge Auditorium in Cambridge. Free (All ages)
December 2, 9, 16, 30: Hands-on engineering and design programs are offered by the MIT Museum in Cambridge. Free with Museum admission. (Ages 12+)
December 5: Learn to code in Java at Empow Studios Holiday Java Coding Workshop. Pizza & juice included! 6:45pm-8:15pm in Lexington. Cost: $30
December 7: Explore and work with Scratch to create games, animation, and stories at the Newton Free Library. (Grades 3-4)
December 9: Attend Science on Saturday and see some real-world robots up close and meet students who participate in Lincoln Laboratory’s robotics educational outreach programs at Lincoln Laboratory in Lexington. Free (Ages 5-17)
December 9: Register now for a Women in STEM event hosted by perSEVERE 5962, a FIRST Robotics Competition team, at UMass Lowell. Everyone will have the opportunity to do hands-on STEM and leadership activities led by women engineers. Free (Girls, grades 7-12)
December 16: Come see FIRST LEGO League (FLL) teams compete in the Eastern MA Championships at Newton North High School. They expect to have a maker fair and some FRC & FTC robots you can see and drive. Free event and open to the public.
December 19: Master the basics of Ozobots robots at the Newton Free Library. (Grades 2-4)
December 26, 27, 28, 29: One-day NanoCamps at Empow Studios for kids to learn to design, build, and code. 9am-4pm in Lexington. Cost: $95