FAQs

Questions? Check out the below frequently asked questions, or reach out to stemweek@mass-stemhub.org

ABOUT
What is STEM Week and when is it?
STEM Week is a statewide effort to boost the interest, awareness and ability for all learners to envision themselves in STEM education and employment opportunities, and compliment the formal instruction happening in the Commonwealth beyond STEM week. STEM Week 2019 took place October 21-25 2019.
What is Project Lead The Way?
Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is a nonprofit organization that provides a transformative learning experience for PreK-12 students and teachers across the U.S. PLTW empowers students to develop and apply in-demand, transportable skills by exploring real-world challenges. Through PLTW’s pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science, students not only learn technical skills, but also learn to solve problems, think critically and creatively, communicate, and collaborate. PLTW also provides teachers with the training, resources, and support they need to engage students in real-world learning.
What is the STEM Week Challenge?
Mass STEM Hub and Project Lead The Way teamed up with the State to provide an engaging, meaningful experience for Mass STEM Week open to all K-12 students across the state. In partnership with Dell Technologies, MassDEP, and TD Garden, students solved real-world problems centered on the theme of Zero Waste. Students participated in activities, problems, and projects to apply STEM knowledge and skills to challenges such as food waste and e-waste.
How many people participated in the STEM Week Challenge?
An estimated 60,000 students and 1,600 educators from over 400 schools across the Commonwealth participated in the STEM Week Challenge with Mass STEM Hub and Project Lead The Way, and over 300 STEM professionals volunteered their time to provide students authentic feedback on their work.
What is Mass STEM Hub?
Mass STEM Hub’s mission is to provide schools with access to and support for applied learning and STEM education that builds knowledge and skills students need to succeed in a rapidly-changing, high-tech world. We do this through best in class applied learning and STEM curriculum, authentic industry connection, and dedicated educator support.
What is Zero Waste? Why is it the theme of the STEM Week Challenge?
The concept of Zero Waste centers on minimizing and eliminating resource waste by reducing, recovering, and reusing materials, products, and packaging.
During the 2019 STEM Week Challenge, students had the opportunity to dig deeper into sustainability topics and take an in-depth look at the goods and energy we consume. Through hands-on activities anchored in STEM, students learned how to apply their collective creativity and innovation to solve a real-world waste challenge. Through their problem-solving efforts, students forged relationships with local community and industry partners as they pursued Zero Waste solutions.
Who should I contact if I have other questions?
Contact stemweek@mass-stemhub.org. We’re happy to help!
SIGNING UP
How do I sign up for the challenge?
Registration for the 2019 STEM Week Challenge is closed. Follow Mass STEM Hub on social media to keep up to date with future opportunities to get involved! @Mass_STEMHub
CURRICULUM
How much does the curriculum for the PLTW STEM Week Challenge cost?
Thanks to support from One8 Foundation, teacher and student resources associated with the 2019 STEM Week Challenge are available to you for free!
How much time do I need to dedicate to this?
The challenge was designed to be delivered over 10 instructional hours. This time gives students the opportunity to build the knowledge (around Zero Waste) and skills (in the areas of engineering and design) they need to be able to design and develop solutions to the real-world problem associated with the challenge.
What if I have more than 10 hours to dedicated to this?
That’s great! The STEM Week Challenge facilitator guides developed by Project Lead The Way map out the experience and also include helpful teacher resources and optional extensions designed to dive deeper.
What is APB?
The activity-, project-, problem-based (APB) instructional approach helps students become active and engaged learners by creating student-centered learning experiences in which teachers act as facilitators, rather than lecturers. In this environment, students begin to lead their own discovery as they work through hands-on activities, projects, and problems that become increasingly open-ended as they progress through the curriculum and more challenging as they advance to higher grades.
• Activities: Activities empower students to develop knowledge and skills they’ll use to navigate a real-world project and problem. Activities are structured, hands-on learning experiences.
• Projects: Projects help students explore a real-world challenge and make meaningful connections. Students draw on the preparation provided in the previous activities to identify and propose solutions.
• Problems: Problems challenge students to apply what they’ve learned through the activities and projects. They reflect real-world challenges and are open-ended, with no one “right” answer.
The APB approach not only makes learning more relevant, but it also empowers students to develop both technical and in-demand skills that are valuable and transportable across all industries. These skills – including problem-solving, critical and creative thinking, collaboration, communication, and ethical reasoning – are critical to students’ success later in life and are proven to be the most demanded and valued in the job market.
TRAINING
How much does teacher training cost?
Thanks to support from One8 Foundation, teacher training associated with the 2019 STEM Week Challenge is available to you for free!
When and where was training?
Teacher trainings for the 2019 STEM Week Challenge were offered in four locations during the week of September 23rd: Lowell, Roxbury, Westfield, and Worcester.
What is the train-the-trainer model?
The train-the-trainer model – used in the STEM Week Challenge teacher trainings – prepares trained teachers to not only facilitate the STEM Week Challenge learning experience with students in their classrooms, but also rain fellow educators at their schools to deliver the STEM Week Challenge learning experience to their students.
PARTICIPATION
Do I need to have Project Lead The Way in my school currently to participate?
No – the 2019 STEM Week Challenge was open to all K-12 schools in the Commonwealth.
Do I have to be a STEM teacher to participate?
No – all K-12 Massachusetts teachers, no matter what subjects they teach, are welcome to bring the challenge to their classrooms. The only requirement is that teachers attend the training or be trained by a teacher who attended training. With the goal of helping all students see themselves in STEM, PLTW created each activity, project, and problem to be:

• Scaffolded with entry points for all learners, regardless of STEM experience.
• Developmentally appropriate.
• Engaging to learners of all backgrounds.

Can all students, at all grade levels, participate?
Yes – the 2019 STEM Week Challenge was open to all K-12 students.
Each of the four grade bands will tackled a specific real-world problem associated with Zero Waste:
• Grades K-2: Food Waste
• Grades 3-5: Energy Waste
• Grades 6-8: Plastic Waste
• Grades 9-12: E-Waste
NIDUSTRY CONNECTION
What type of industry and career connections opportunities were students able to access through the challenge?
The STEM Week Challenge was designed to provide many opportunities for students to draw connections between their classroom experience and the world of work. STEM Week Challenge career and industry connections included the following:
• Opportunities to tackle real-world sustainability problems that organizations such as TD Garden, Dell Technologies, and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) face today
• Embedded opportunities for students to connect with STEM professionals, both virtually and in person
• A final project that challenges students to design and develop solutions to a real-world problem tied to the theme of “Zero Waste”
• A showcase event on Friday, October 25, during which students presented their work to community leaders and industry professionals
What was the showcase event on Friday, Oct. 25?
On Friday, October 25 – the final day of Mass STEM Week – there was a STEM Week Challenge student showcase in Boston at the Reggie Lewis Center. This event provided opportunities for students to share their Zero Waste solutions, engage with industry experts, receive feedback on their work, and celebrate their achievements! Nearly 600 students from across the state presented their prototypes to over 100 STEM professionals and sustainability experts at the Showcase.
VOLUNTEERS
What are the ways volunteers were involved?
• Virtual consultant: Connect with students and teachers right from your desk by serving as a consultant – offering advice, answering questions, and providing feedback online | Flexible location | Month of October, especially Oct 22, 23, 24 | 1+ hour(s) commitment
• Showcase judge: Volunteer as a judge for the week’s culminating event where students will present their work to leaders and industry professionals at an exciting location. | Reggie Lewis Center, Boston | Morning of Oct 25 | 2 hour commitment + travel
• Virtual judge: After STEM Week, review project work submitted by students across the state to help us choose winners in several categories! | Flexible location | Oct 28 – Nov 8| 3+ hour commitment
Are there other ways to get involved with Mass STEM Hub now that STEM Week is over?
Yes! Check out mass-stemhub.org/volunteer or reach out to Andreina at aparisiamon@mass-stemhub.org to get involved and inspire the next generation of problem solvers!