United Way’s BoSTEM has been busy in the lab, thinking up new ways to provide career-inspiring STEAM opportunities to youth and families, and we’re excited to share some of our plans with you, as well as reflect on some of our accomplishments from this past winter. Read to the end to find a fun hands-on STEM activity to do with students!
Lovepop Teacher Externship
Teacher externships are like field trips for teachers, where they spend time with different companies in STEM industries to learn about what those companies do, how they do it, and what they can take back to their students.
Over the February school break, BoSTEM and Boston Public Schools partnered on an externship with Lovepop. Lovepop’s founders were featured on Shark Tank (16:45), and their beautiful pop-up cards can be seen in stores at South Station, the Prudential center, or at their storefront in Harvard Square.
We welcomed several educators into Lovepop’s space (in person!) for three days, where they learned both about the technology they use, and also the entrepreneurship and business skills that have made them successful.
On the first day, teachers learned about how a card is designed and created and even had the opportunity to pitch their own. Teachers also learned how much data is used to inform what designs to create each season, and how Lovepop adjusts their production based on what is selling – in almost real-time. We got to see the technology they use to cut the cards and meet folks from the merchandising, design, and retail divisions of their business.
On the second day, teachers dove into how Lovepop actually operates. We learned about how the company uses data to plan out and forecast their finances, how the cards are manufactured and distributed, and all of the software and systems they use to operate the business effectively.
Teachers presented what they learned, and had lots of great ideas for taking this learning back to their students. One teacher was excited to show her students how much data is used to inform decision-making. Another was interested in using Lovepop as a means to showcase universal design for learning principles with their students through developing their own cards.
We look forward to seeing what our teachers and Lovepop will do together next!
Game Night with Boston Public Libraries Teen Center and Rapid7
On March 2nd, BoSTEM teamed up with Boston Public Library Teen Services (BPLTS) and cybersecurity company Rapid7 for the first of our STEM Game Night series! The hour of gaming was streamed live on the BPLTS Twitch channel for over 50 Boston teen viewers. Our host was librarian Chris Jacobs and our VIPs were software engineers Aine, Matt, and Serena from Rapid7. We were joined by teen viewers for a few rounds of cybersecurity trivia on Quiplash and some intense games of AmongUs!
While gaming, our special guests gave us an inside look at what being a software engineer at a cybersecurity company is like. Matt told his story about how he entered the cybersecurity field, starting with his love for taking things apart and putting them back together and modifying Minecraft coding. Aine explained the importance of solving logic puzzles when a problem arises and she’s the only one who can fix it. And Serena reminded us that anyone with a love for computers can get into software engineering by using free resources online. It truly was a pleasure to hear these accomplished young professionals talk about their passions.
When the AmongUs imposters were defeated and the games were coming to an end, any teen from Boston who came to watch the stream could enter a raffle to win a Nintendo Switch Light, gift cards to Best Buy, or a chance to meet one-on-one with Aine, Matt, and Serena! BoSTEM will be planning another STEM Game Night with BPLTS and a VIP from women+ advocacy organization A World of Women in STEM (WOWSTEM) with new games and prizes on Wednesday, April 6th, 5-6pm. Don’t miss the excitement! Register now on our Eventbrite and tune in at https://www.twitch.tv/bplts.
STEM Activities for All
There are many STEM activities for students, but it can be difficult to use or find the right one. BoSTEM is trying to change that. We’ve been working on a standardized Activity Plan that is easy to use and will provide all the information you need to be successful in delivering it to your students.
We’ve included our first few opportunities below, and in the coming months, we will be releasing many more, as well as a way to easily search for activities that are interesting and relevant to your students.
Students will test their skills with computer coding as they combine coding blocks to produce an animation that tells a story. The story should include a beginning, middle, and end. Read more.
Want to add your own to our list? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will walk you through how to fill out the template, provide feedback, and give your organization a shoutout on our social media channels.
Spring has sprung, and we have lots of ways for students and families to get outside and have fun doing STEM in Boston. All events are free for Boston Public School families. We hope to see you there! Be sure to follow our Eventbrite for the most up-to-date list of events.
Game Night with Boston Public Library’s Teen Center and WOW STEM
April 6th, 6:00pm-7:00pm
Interested in gaming? Interested in STEM? Then come join Boston Public Library Teens Services and women+ advocacy organization A World of Women in STEM (WOWSTEM) for a night of playing games like Jackbox. The event will be hosted on Twitch.
During the games, you’ll be able to play along with Harvard physics Ph.D. student and Vice President of WOWSTEM Taylor Contreras. There will also be a raffle for some fabulous prizes for those who attend. We hope to see you there!
*This event is intended for teens ages 13-18 in Greater Boston
Join us on Twitch at the specified time, or sign up below to get reminders.REGISTER
BoSTEM @ The Zoo
April 22, 10am-3pm
We invite the Boston Public Schools community to Franklin Park Zoo’s Party for the Planet to learn about local climate, environmental, and STEM-focused organizations, programs, and businesses.
If you are a BPS family or a teacher, sign up for free admission to the zoo for the day to celebrate the Earth!
Note: Please bring your own mask, which will be required indoors at the zoo.REGISTER
BPS Parent University
May 7, 11am – 2pm
The Boston Public Schools’ Parent University and Dudley Street Neighborhood Charter School (DSNCS) is hosting Family STEM Day on May 7th from 11am-2 pm outside on DSNCS’s blacktop. This hands-on Family STEM Day is for parents and children grades K-5 to learn about the fantastic world of science, technology, engineering, and math and how these fields of study merge to impact our daily lives. The event is also an opportunity for families to learn about the many careers associated with STEM. No need to register – just show up!
Looking to keep up to date on all things STEM in Boston? Click the links below, or email us at email@example.com.