For students at The British International School of Boston (BISB), our collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) represents an opportunity for not just academic enrichment, but also for personal growth.
The recent CARNIVAL event, part of the Cambridge Science Festival, was a key event in the long-standing collaboration with MIT. Our booth, which spanned four tents, was one of the largest at the festival and was in Kendall Square which is the heart of Boston’s STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Music) ecosystem, where we hosted three main activities: 1) build your own flashlight, 2) create your own balloon car, and 3) build your own wind turbine.
We had over 30 enthusiastic staff and student volunteers, leading these stations and engaging with hundreds of visitors, young and old – all whom had a common interest: scientific curiosity. This was arguably one of the biggest hits in BISB’s history with our families and local community approaching our booth to engage in STEAM activities and learn more about our amazing school and the impact we’re making in our community.
Ariv V, a Year 11 student at BISB said, “As a grade 10 (Year 11) student, this was an incredible experience for me. I got to represent our school and learn how to better interact with the public on science. I volunteered for the Cambridge Science Fair in 2022 and 2023, and I can clearly see how the collaboration between MIT and BISB allows us to be at the forefront of STEAM education while engaging with our community”. –
In addition to the wonderful events linked to the Cambridge Science Festival, in the last 12 months, BISB has collaborated directly with MIT on:
· 7 Student Trips to MIT
o Discovering Exoplanets - workshop
o Capturing Physics in the act - workshop
o Make 3D - workshop
o Tardigrade hunt - workshop
o Plasma Science and Fusion Center - tour
o Personal and Biomechatronic Robotics - tour
o #IfThenSheCan - exhibit
· 5 MIT Video appearances
o Alien Life final projects showcase
o Coasts and Climate questions answered
o Build Better Plants questions answered
o Bell Curve special appearance
o Social Life special appearance
· 3 visits from our MIT Curiosity Correspondents
o Middle School Science Fair visit
o Ask MIT video shoot
o Bell Curve video shoot
· 3 MIT led Teacher professional development courses.
Residential trip to MIT
As part of our collaboration with MIT, one experience that stands out the most is the residential trip to the MIT campus. A select group of students stay at a hotel near MIT for one week, with other Nord Anglia Education students, visiting from across the globe. In order to be selected for this trip, students are assigned a themed hack. A hack is a popular thing for MIT students to do and is defined as a clever, benign, and ethical prank or practical joke.
“During my application for the MIT trip, I had to ‘hack’ a part of MIT and map out the idea on a piece of paper. This got me very engaged, and I deeply thought about what I was going to do. Of course, as a Year 7 ( grade 6) at the time, I couldn’t think like a college student – but I did have the brilliant idea to turn the nuclear research reactor into a minion.” – said Sofia D, a Year 12 ( Grade 11) student at BISB.
“We did many fun activities every day, for example, we were put into groups and had to build objects that were accessible to anyone, including persons with disabilities. In my group, I built a basketball hoop out of cardboard where you could change the height for anybody to use,” she said.
During the trip, students are involved in many fun activities every day, including visits to sites, local tours, and MIT presentations. We also have a chance to work with MIT professors, students, and graduates in fun and interactive activities to get exposed to STEAM, grow curiosity, and connect and create friendships with people from all around the world.
Other advantages to the collaboration:
In past years, BISB students aged 5-14 have been given the opportunity to enter one of Cambridge Science Festival's most popular competitions, the Curiosity Challenge, where students tell MIT what they are curious about through artwork, photos, essays, and poems. A selection of artworks is then selected and published in a book and shared among all winners. BISB students have been featured in every edition and, in 2022, our very own Anais, then Grade 8, was also presented with the award of ‘STEM Star’.
“I’ve participated in this competition annually and, each year it continues to expand my interest and passion for science. Now, I’m a STEAM and MIT student ambassador and I hope to spread the love for science through more MIT challenges with students just like me,” said Ariana G, Year 12 (Grade 11) student.
It brings us great joy that BISB will continue to nurture this relationship with MIT daily in the classroom by utilizing the additional collaborative activities, including the 3 annual challenges, the monthly video series home-labs and Ask MIT, and the MIT Abstract webinars. The student experience in BISB is enriched by collaborating with one of the leading academic institutions in the world – MIT.
In conclusion, the collaboration between The British International School of Boston (BISB) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) represents a powerful catalyst for academic enrichment and personal growth. The success of BISB's participation in the Cambridge Science Festival's CARNIVAL event, along with the myriad of other initiatives, student trips, video appearances, teacher development courses, and the unique residential experience at MIT, showcases the profound impact of this partnership. Beyond academics, this collaboration instills a deep sense of scientific curiosity and community engagement. BISB's students, from a range of age groups, have not only excelled in competitions like the Curiosity Challenge but have also become ambassadors for STEAM and MIT. This partnership is a beacon of educational excellence, inspiring young minds to explore, innovate, and connect on a global scale, laying a strong foundation for future curious scientists.