Boston Public Schools to Transform Classrooms into STEM Learning Labs

10/04/2016 12:28 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

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STEM Week Begins at the Perry K-8 School in South Boston

The majority of children born today will work for companies that have not yet been started, in fields which have not yet been invented. STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) is changing our world so rapidly that the facts we teach our children in middle school are often no longer true or relevant by the time those children graduate high school.

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show occupations related to STEM are projected to grow to more than nine million in the next six years. With that in mind, we need to instill in our youth, especially in underrepresented groups such as women and minorities, an interest and dexterity in science, technology, engineering and math.

That's why we're excited to host Boston STEM Week. From October 3-7, 36 middle schools across the city will replace all their regularly scheduled classes with a project-based STEM curriculum developed by MIT, i2 Learning and a number of other leading STEM organizations. During this week, classrooms will be transformed into STEM learning labs. Teachers and students will use the engineering design process and work in teams to solve real-world problems using hands-on experimentation, critical thinking and collaboration. All courses address real world challenges where students can see how STEM and STEM-related fields impact their everyday lives. Boston STEM Week was inspired by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) STEM for All initiative.

Through the generous support and funding from a number of our corporations and foundations including i2 Learning, MathWorks, MIT, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, and the Lynch and Boston Foundations, all students will take part in this program. The week will end with a student showcase where students will present their work and learning to their family, friends and the community at large.

We want to ensure that this learning continues beyond Boston STEM Week. This past summer, more than 300 of our Boston school teachers from all subject areas attended professional development in project-based learning and interdisciplinary STEM curriculum. The teachers' comprehensive training sessions will not only positively impact students during this special week but will influence teaching throughout the school year.

As the birthplace of American public education it is fitting that Boston will be the first public school district in the nation to change our entire middle school curriculum during Boston STEM Week. We're excited to reach this educational milestone. We're also thrilled that educators from across the country are set to join us in early October to see the program in action and follow this innovative model in the coming school year. Our country's future engineers, scientists, and entrepreneurs are sitting right here in our Boston Public Schools' classrooms. Boston STEM Week showcases the best of our city's education, business and nonprofit communities - coming together to make sure Boston students, of all ages and abilities, have access to every possible opportunity.

For more information on Boston STEM Week, visit: http://bostonstemweek.org