United Way’s BoSTEM team has been out in the community the last few months getting STEM into the hands of students and families through a variety of different events. Read below for everything we’ve been up to, and check out the end of the blog for our fun STEM activity to do at home!
We’ve also updated our website, so visit us at www.bostem.org for all things STEM!
April Game Night with WOW STEM
On Wednesday, April 6th, BoSTEM teamed up with Boston Public Library Teen Services (BPLTS) and women+ advocacy organization a World of Women in STEM (WOWSTEM) for the second of our STEM Game Night series! The hour of gaming debauchery was streamed live on the BPLTS Twitch channel: https://www.twitch.tv/bplts for over 50 Boston teen viewers. Our host was librarian Chris Jacobs, and our VIP was WOWSTEM Vice President and Harvard Ph.D. student in physics, Taylor Contreras. The pair were joined by teen viewers for a few rounds of ridiculous physics-related drawings and animations on Jackbox.
While gaming, Taylor gave us an inside look at what being a Ph.D. student at Harvard is like. She shared how her interest in physics sprouted from learning about dark matter in a freshman astronomy class.
Taylor helped found WOWSTEM because she wanted to spark curiosity in others by recognizing and uplifting the women who have contributed to science throughout history. Her biggest advice to middle and high school students is to follow their curiosity because one moment of fascination can become an entire career!
BoSTEM @ The Zoo
What better way to celebrate Earth Day than learn about STEM and
conservation surrounded by zebras, giraffes, lions, and more? This Earth Day, April 22, BoSTEM partnered with Zoo New England’s Franklin Park Zoo to host Party for the Planet, with over 30 organizations participating by leading a hands-on activity for students and families. Activities included seed germination with West End House and Sociedad Latina, leaf rubbings with Speak for the Trees, paper beads with sySTEMic flow, a robot challenge course with Latino STEM Alliance, and much more!
BoSTEM’s table led activities with the micro:bit, where families could use the micro:bit play rock, paper, scissors and
observe a science experiment measuring soil moisture. Learn about how to do the experiment here! BoSTEM also provided free admission to the zoo for over 300 BPS students, family members, and educators, and Franklin Park Zoo had over 10,000 attendees in total, breaking the record for the most attendees they have ever had in one day!
BPS STEM Parent University
On Saturday, May 7th, BoSTEM partnered with Parent University and Dudley Street Neighborhood Charter School for Family STEM Day in Roxbury! This was an amazing opportunity for Boston students to learn along with their parents by doing creative and fun STEM activities from dozens of Boston-based organizations. At the BoSTEM table, students and their families learned about what materials and structures are best for engineering a sturdy boat by building (and sinking) their very own vessel. At the end of the event, families were entered into a raffle to win Chromebooks and STEM kits. Thank you to all who came to Parent University’s STEM Day!
May Game Night with Autodesk
On Wednesday, May 18th, BoSTEM was back at it again with Boston Public Library Teen Services (BPLTS) and Autodesk, a leader in 3D design, engineering and entertainment software, for the third of our STEM Game Night series! As always, the gaming gala was streamed live on the BPLTS Twitch channel: https://www.twitch.tv/bplts for all Boston and Massachusetts teens. Our host was librarian Chris Jacobs, and our VIP’s were Dr. Fope Bademosi, Emily Bisaga Dunne, and Guillermo Melatoni. The group was joined by teen viewers for a few rounds of Quiplash and Patently Stupid on Jackbox.
Our guests of honor came from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences that all led to Autodesk. For example, Emily is a Boston Public Schools alumna who has used her expertise in industry outcomes to bring diverse people together to work on the same problems. She explained that every individual thinks, speaks, and acts differently, so listening has been an imperative skill to her success in the STEM world. She put it best by saying, “It’s not just about making beautiful things, it’s about bringing together beautiful people.”
Dr. Fope Bademosi came to Autodesk with a PhD in Design, Construction, and Planning. During the games, she told us about the challenge of teaching herself 75% of what she now knows about building technology during her undergraduate courses in Nigeria. Dr. Fope also shared how her and her team 3D-printed a functioning pedestrian bridge that is two meters long! Her advice to the students of Boston is to keep pushing the envelope of what is possible by always questioning your reality and keeping your mind open to new possibilities.
Finally, Guillermo spoke to the teens about his success in increasing the number of Tinkercad (a free online 3D modeling program) users from tens of thousands to over 50 million! Our minds were blown when he said that there are 7X as many Tinkercad users than there are people who live in Massachusetts. Guillermo also shared that Autodesk helps both TV shows and video games run smoothly, so if you or someone you know is a gamer, you’ve always had experience using Autodesk’s products!
Thank you to all of those who tuned in during the stream, to BPLTS, and to Autodesk for making this awesome night possible. Stay tuned for more STEM content from BoSTEM.
The sky was the limit at STEAM-a-Palooza this year! On Saturday, June 4th, BoSTEM partnered with Boston Public Schools at the Boston Nature Center, where students were invited to explore STEAM subjects with Boston-based organizations and to show off their very own STEAM projects. At the BoSTEM table, students learned about engineering and aerodynamics by constructing and flying their very own paper airplanes. Some flew as long as 39 feet! Other tables included giant Jenga, brain-powered racecars, paper rockets, and much, much more. As STEAM-a-Palooza came to a close, students were eligible to enter a raffle for some fabulous prizes. Thank you Boston Public Schools, students, and all the Boston STEAM organizations who came!
Interested in trying your own paper airplane engineering activity? Check out our activity guide here!
Looking to keep up to date on all things STEM in Boston? Click the links below, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.