In October 2016, middle schoolers across Boston arrived at school ready to perform surgery and help humans live on the moon.
From October 3rd-7th, approximately 6,000 students from the city’s public middle schools took part in the Boston STEM Week program. Organized and created by i2 Learning, Boston STEM Week provided students with the opportunity to engage in real-world STEM-based problems through hands-on “learning labs.” The i2 Learning courses of focus, such as “Surgical Techniques” or “Building a Lunar Colony,” provided students with extended time each day for an entire week to collaborate and problem-solve around engaging STEM concepts. At the end of the week, students showcased and celebrated their project work, with parents and the entire school. In addition to providing the the STEM Week curriculum and materials, i2 Learning also facilitated two days of professional development for participating teachers in the months leading up to STEM Week.
The CTSC evaluated i2 Learning’s participation in Boston STEM Week, and recently published a report on the design and delivery of professional development and curriculum during the 2016 program. The main goals of the CTSC’s evaluation were to understand how i2 Learning’s curriculum was implemented by teachers during Boston STEM Week, what impact Boston STEM Week had on teachers and students, and how best to support teachers in future i2 Learning programs.
As part of the evaluation, the CTSC evaluation team collected and analyzed multiple sources of data. The CTSC observed the professional development, and during Boston STEM week itself, visited three schools to observe how six of i2 Learning’s courses were implemented in classrooms. In addition, the evaluation team collected extensive survey data from teachers, students, and administrators.
Overall, the CTSC found that educators and students felt that Boston STEM Week was a rewarding experience.Teachers valued the professional development sessions from i2 Learning, especially the hands-on, STEM-based activities and conversations with experts. Administrators reported gaining new perspectives on STEM instruction and students reported an increased interest in science and engineering Teachers had specific suggestions regarding changes that could be made to increase planning time in preparation for STEM Week and to provide additional support for modifying curriculum.
For additional information or questions about the 2016 i2 Learning at Boston STEM Week report, please reach out to Dr. Sharmin Hakim at firstname.lastname@example.org.