In Fall 2014 and Spring 2015, the Center for STEM at Northeastern took weekly trips to both the Hyde Park and Mattapan Boston Public Library branches to do STEM activities with 4th-10th grade students there. During the fall semester, students participated in the Future City program and engaged in activities and lessons which were based off of the Museum of Science’s “Engineering Everywhere” Vertical Farms curriculum. The goal of the program was for students to design their own cities in SimCity and on a physical model, with a strong focus on urban farming and food systems.
Northeastern students from the American Society of Civil Engineers, Civic Engagement Program, and the Gordon Scholars program volunteered each week and formed strong connections with students at the libraries. Activities included building a window hanging planter, designing a water transportation system, and reflecting light off of mirrors to find the best place to put a plant.
The Hyde Park program was so successful that Northeastern STEM was asked to return in the spring to do general STEM activities. Some of these activities were designed by College of Engineering students in the Civic Engagement Program, such as the chemical reaction activity in which students conducted different chemical reactions that could keep them safe on a stranded until help could arrive. This activity was highly successful and was run again at the callbacks for Center for STEM’s middle school summer program. The library program helped BPS students stay occupied after school, and couldn’t have been successful without our Northeastern students!