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  • winter/SPrinG 2020 iSSue 4, Vol.5 A PublicAtion of the city of cAmbridGe, mASSAchuSettS

    The cambridge life thecAmbridGelife.orG

    STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math)

    STEAM Habits of Mind

    Q&A with STEAM Staff

    STEAM Academy

    Out of School STEAM

    STEAM Scholars

    STEAM Internships

    Cambridge STEAM Initiative Fostering Equity & Access to Quality STEAM Education

    A Historic

    Landmark to become Innovative


  • We believe that STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) habits of mind are critical to engagement, identity formation, and self-efficacy in young people. The Cambridge

    STEAM Initiative has aligned the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) science and engineering practices, math habits of mind, and artist habits of mind to create the STEAM Habits of Mind.


    dEvELOp CrAfT

    • Learn how to use appropriate technologies in your work. • Intentionally select appropriate materials to produce an intended aesthetic. • Freely explore how various materials work. Select appropriate materials

    to create a specific design.

    EngAgE & pErSIST

    • Develop curiosity by asking questions and defining problems that are meaningful.

    • Plan and carry out investigations to learn more about the question. • Work with and learn from others. • Consider multiple approaches to a challenge without giving up.


    • Use creativity and imagination to create designs and representations that also convey an idea, feeling, or personal meaning. Develop and use models to prototype designs.

    • Select materials intentionally. Be able to describe the idea, feeling, and/or personal meaning behind your design or representation.


    • Make close observations of things that otherwise might not be noticed. • Find rules and patterns in your observations. • Collect visual, audible, tactile, and written data with attention to precision. • Make close observations in investigations.


    • Think critically about your plan/design. Share design and the process of making it with others.

    • Use what you have learned and apply it to approach new problems. • Explain the process of making with others.

    STrETCH & ExpLOrE

    • Ask questions, explore playfully, and embrace the opportunity to improve as you learn from mistakes and accidents.

    • Learn from testing and others

  • The City’s effort to increase quality STEAM educational experiences for all residents is grounded in the shared principles of access & equity; focus on families and residents; collaboration with the community; facilitating innovation; teaching and learning; and data and research. In this edition of The Cambridge Life, we are highlighting the many STEAM initiatives that are taking place across our departments. I want to thank DHSP, CPS, and CPL for their collaboration and dedication to expanding this education to all residents. I also want to thank the City Council for their commitment and leadership on the City’s STEAM initiatives. Our success is a direct result of how our departments, leadership, and staff work collaboratively with our elected officials and the community to make Cambridge the unique and special place that

    it is today. I am fortunate to have a strong and dedicated team to carry out the policy initiatives of the City Council and the day-to-day operations that deliver the high- quality City services and programs our community expects. As always, you are welcome to send me your feedback or ideas by calling my office at 617-349-4300 or emailing me at citymanager@

    City Manager’s Message

    The cambridge life // WiNTer/SPriNg 2020 1

    ith the world-class institutions of higher education and the science and tech businesses

    located in our City, we want to do everything we can to ensure that all young people, particularly our underserved students, are prepared to take advantage of the incredible opportunities in their home city. The Cambridge STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) Initiative is a partnership between the City of Cambridge, Department of Human Service Programs (DHSP), Cambridge Public Schools (CPS), and Cambridge Public Library (CPL) created in 2016. STEAM is an integrated approach to learning that fosters knowledge of these topics while nurturing essential skills such as innovation, critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication to meet the needs of the 21st century economy and citizenry.


    City Manager Louis A. DePasquale



    2 6



    2 Q&A Cambridge STEAM Initiative

    6 Historic Landmark to become Innovative Makerspace

    8 STEAM for All Ages at Cambridge public Library

    10 STEAM in Out-of-School Time (OST) programs

    12 The next generation of STEAM Scholars

  • Cambridge STEAM Initiative

    It’s pretty unique for a city to have its own initiative focused on STEAM—how did this come about?

    Sue: The Initiative really started with an equity lens. Several years ago, there was recognition from a broad coalition of community leaders and City Council members that, although our higher ed institutions and businesses were at the center of technological innovation that was and is having worldwide impact, there were families and students who lived here—particularly those who are under-resourced, Black, Hispanic, people with disabilities, and/or women— who did not see themselves represented in this world. We realized that we needed to create more access for all students to participate in a range of STEAM learning experiences that were fun and interactive, and grounded in quality standards.

    There is a lot of national talk about adding Arts into the mix? Why is it STEAM and not STEM?

    Sharlene: That’s a frequently asked question. The Arts provide an accessible entry point to STEM and offer the creative lens that traditional STEM programming can appear to lack. We know that true innovators can evaluate the world and solve problems through the multiple lenses of scientist, technologist, engineer, mathematician, and artist. And we would like to inspire and cultivate our young people to think innovatively and fluidly by using all of their skills and knowledge from all areas of STEAM. In fact, we are creating a STEAM curriculum that puts Art at the forefront and have hired two educators to develop a series of lessons that will focus on how artists use STEM as part of their creative process.

    Q and A with Sharlene Yang, Director of Cambridge STEAM Initiative, and Sue Walsh, Asst. Director, Adult & Family Services, Dept. of Human Service Programs.

    What is the Cambridge STEAM Initiative?

    Sharlene: The Cambridge STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) Initiative is a partnership between the City of Cambridge, Cambridge Public Schools, and Cambridge Public Library created in 2016 to ensure that, through equitable access to high quality STEAM programming and resources, all Cambridge residents, regardless of social and economic barriers, are STEAM literate and possess the 21st Century Skills necessary to be successful, engaged, and responsible citizens in a rapidly changing world. We believe that by engaging families in quality STEAM programs and by creating purposeful partnerships across our community, we can achieve that goal.

    Q & A

    CAMbrIdgE STEAM InITIATIvE vISIOn 1. All residents will have equitable access to quality STEAM learning experiences;

    2. All students will graduate with high levels of STEAM literacy, empowered to make decisions about what they want to do, and able to be engaged and responsible citizens in an increasingly technologically-driven society;

    3. The local pipeline to Cambridge’s STEM workforce will reflect the diversity of the community (gender, ethnic, individuals with disabilities, etc.) ; and

    4. Cambridge will be recognized nationally as an innovative city that is a leader in both STEM industry and STEAM education.

    2 The cambridge life // WiNTer/SPriNg 2020

  • The cambridge life // WiNTer/SPriNg 2020 3

    and community-based organizations. Last year, our work focused on computer science and computational thinking, and finding ways for younger students to see themselves in this area of STEAM through near peer mentoring. Based on this work, the Educational Technology Department at CPS is going to pilot a Coding Buddies program where students in 5th grade will mentor 2nd graders in coding. This year, the Advisory Committee is focusing on students’ exposure to STEM professionals who mentor them, and building a system where professionals are connected to students through various avenues, such as the new spaces and programming at the library and its branches, through in school and out of school time programs, and eventually, through the Foundry makerspace (see pg 6-7). We are bringing to this conversation a race and equity lens by examining, with business and higher education partners, how we can create a training system to ensure that every adult volunteer who engages with our diverse population of young people does so with a culturally conscious lens. Sue: There is such rich knowledge and experti