Library Afterschool Program

This 8-week after-school program at various Boston Public Libraries introduces kids to engineering and the design process and sustainability. Weekly, hands-on design/construction activities are led by Center for STEM staff members with support from Northeastern undergraduate students.

Typical Schedule

Week 1 – Introduction to Engineering and the Design Process

  • Students will engage in a build activity to make the tallest tower out of available materials which will hold a weight for a specified amount of time. Working in small teams, they will design, build, and test their designs, after which they will redesign their structure as a result of lessons learned from their first attempt.

Week 2 – Introduction to Energy

  • Using Snap Circuits Junior kits, students will learn the fundamentals behind circuitry and how circuits are used in most of the technological devices we use today. Students will be able to re-create circuits of various functionalities; such as shining a light bulb, spinning a motor, making sound.

Week 3 – Sustainable Energy

  • In this session, students will get an overview of renewable energy sources and will then focus on how solar electricity can be generated, storied, and utilized in homes, buildings, and other infrastructure.

Week 4 – Transportation

  • This sessions will provide an overview of the various forms of transportation in and between cities. Students will conduct cost-benefit analysis on various trip plans and will develop an appreciation for the forms and functions of different modes of travel.

Week 5 – Civil Engineering/Bridges

  • Students will construct bridges from popsicle sticks and other materials to test for strength. When possible, students will also be introduced to the West Point Bridge Design game, a free online platform to create and test model bridges.

Week 6 – Water Filters or Oil Spill Cleanup

  • This day students will learn about sources of pollution, water quality issues, uses of water bodies, and the clean-up processes for different contaminants.

Week 7 – Sustainability/Overfishing

  • Students are introduced to the basics of sustainability and the balance that is required when using Earth’s natural resources. Students will watch a presentation, discuss, and then simulate a typical fishing company that will have an increasingly large impact on the fish population as they develop more effective means of fishing.

Week 8 (Nov 24) – Project Session

  • Students will make a mini poster and share their vision of a sustainable city.

Past Programs

  • 2015: Future Cities @ Parker Hill Library
  • 2014: Future Cities @ Mattapan and Hyde Park Public Libraries

K-12 Student Engagement (2021-2022)

Number of students directly interacted with with program efforts in AY 2021-22 (Sept ’21 – July ’22):


Blog Posts – by Date

Blog Posts – by Category