Time flies when you’re having fun, and suddenly our two-week (June 25-29 & July 9-13) NU Summer STEM Program (NUSSP) is already over for this summer. I (Nick) had a great time with the students and I hope they had as much fun participating in the program as I did!
In our first week, we introduced the idea of natural disasters and their impact on Boston; particularly the reactions of the populace to and the effects of a category 5 hurricane striking Boston. On our first day (6/25), students learned about Engineering, the Engineering Design Process (EDP), and Systems Thinking. The big EDP activity this day was designing, building and testing catapults; the objective being able to hit me as often as possible with the projectiles (skittles): this is much harder than it seems, even when I’m stationary. We also examined MEMA disaster plans, made disaster plans and emergency kits, and role played various people in the city and how they would react to an incoming storm.
On the next day, we visited the Museum of Science to explore the museum and watch the Dream Big IMAX movie. After we came back, we simulated the storm hitting Boston, and role-played again, albeit with the storm having struck Boston.
On Wednesday, we learned all about energy and electrical circuits, playing with Snap Circuits, modern solar panels (thanks Camara for your help this day!), and designed, built, and tested wind turbine blades.
Thursday we learned about environmental effects (i.e. pollution), created our own water filters, and learned just how difficult it really is to separate oil from water. We also learned about the Ford Pinto and had a group discussion about ethics, as well as the impact of greenhouse gases and how we can reduce our plastic use and carbon footprints.
On Friday, we spent the entire day at the NU Marine Science Center, where we learned about coastal erosion and creatures who inhabit the tide pools along the shoreline. Thank you Claire for providing everyone with Italian ice, as it was incredibly hot this day!
After a 1-week hiatus to celebrate July 4th, the students came back on July 9th to learn about infrastructure and transportation, including a visit to the Earthquake lab to design Earthquake-resistant buildings and feel an earthquake for themselves.
The next day, the students learned about sustainability and supply chains and took part in my favorite activity of all, overfishing! We also started working on our final projects this day; the objectives of the project can be seen here.
Wednesday we learned about Big Data (wonderful TED talk which explains what that means) and had a chance to explore some large data sets, acting as journalists and describing weather patterns in the Blue Hills. I also showed the students some examples of really big data and how it can be analyzed; we took a look at all the towns and cities in the USA and sorted by size, population, and looked for some weird town names. In the afternoon, we really dove into final project work, with just 1 day until presentations.
We started Thursday with a public speaking activity; each student had 20 seconds to prepare and then had to give a 1 minute TED talk on a variety of wacky topics, such as ‘Quantum Mechanics’, ‘bacon’, and ‘cannibals on a train.’ The rest of the morning was spent finalizing projects, and then presentations and graduation in the afternoon (see below for presentations).
On our final day we learned about geography, had a campus scavenger hunt, and participated in a mini engineering fair, courtesy of AIAA, AIChE, EWH, and SWE. After a combined lunch with the GE Girls program in the International Village dinning hall (all-you-can-eat), where we may or may not have eaten more than we should have, we concluded the day with a visit to the Mapparium. And sadly, when we came back, the program was over. I had a blast and I hope to see y’all in the future at callbacks, or perhaps even at Northeastern!
Final Project Links:
Flooding and Hurricane Defense Inc.
Alana, Ananya, Miles, Ronak, Sofia, Zeba
Boston Public Blizzard Safety
Alex, Alexis, Blien, Divya, Mary, Zackaria
Water You Eating LLC
Annie, Camille, Patrick, Rayhan, Srija, Tim
Responsive Energy Development
Camden, Colin, Damien, Kimberly, Lloyd, Oliver
Thank you from all of us at the Center for STEM Education to all the people who made this program possible:
Counselors – Nicholas, Tamanna, Priscilla, Peter
Volunteers – Carlin, Kurt, Matthew
Other: Camara (Energy day)
NU Marine Science Center
Clubs: AIAA, AIChE, EWH, SWE