MathWorks, in partnership with i2 Learning and Boston Public Schools, today kicked off the first-ever Boston STEM Week. More than 6,500 sixth, seventh and eighth grade students from 36 Boston middle schools will set aside their normal class schedule from Oct 3-7 to immerse themselves in a hands-on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) curriculum that its creators hope can serve as a national educational model.
The week-long initiative aims to inspire student interest in the STEM disciplines while teaching them skills, such as computer programming and software development, that are in high demand. Together with their teachers, students will work on projects that include: digital game design; building a lunar colony; building an interactive, friendly monster; kinetic sculpture; surgical techniques; and urban farming. At the end of the week, each school will hold a showcase for students to show their project work to friends, families and other community members.
“MathWorks is leading the private side of this initiative through financial support and a commitment of time and expertise from our staff,” said CEO Jack Little. “Our aim is to ensure schools have access to the tools, curricula, and training necessary to build the interest and competencies necessary for students to pursue STEM careers. A strong pipeline of future engineers and scientists is critical to growing our technology economy, and advancing our quality of life.”
MathWorks began its partnership with i2 Learning early in 2015 with the development of Bytes and Beats, a program in which middle school students learn to code using MATLAB® while making music using sensors and Arduino boards. The interactive, 20-hour project-based course includes lesson plans, student handouts, code and audio files.
“The MathWorks partnership was instrumental in helping us create Boston STEM Week,” said Ethan Berman, CEO of i2 learning. “To have dozens of schools, hundreds of teachers and thousands of students participating in this curriculum is a testament to the meaningful impact academia and industry can have when they combine forces. We believe this collaborative initiative can serve as a model for national STEM education.”