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LIVE from MIT-Nord Anglia STEAMFest

07 May 2017

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Last week four BIS students flew to Boston, USA to join over 100 students from 25 Nord Anglia Education schools to participate in the MIT-Nord Anglia STEAMFest.

The week long event immersed Rosa, Diksha, Hyun Seo and Mohamed in everything related to science, technology, engineering, arts and maths (STEAM) with leading experts and researchers at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). They experienced an amazing opportunity through the fun programme of STEAM-based activities, led by world-leading academics and students. They had the chance to make new friends from all over the globe and find out what it is like to be a student at MIT.

The students were joined by Mr. Backshell, who shared a brief update of their activities following each day:

Day one
After breakfast we walked to the Novataris Biomedical Research Centre. Here we were shown how to model and investigate how the different parts of a cell do different jobs. The students then built models of how different cells could be used for toxic detectors, synthetic blood, renewable paints and antimalarial drugs.

After a really interesting debate on the ethical issues of using cells to produce meat that was grown in vitro, and other uses for biomedical products such as golden rice used as a vitamin supplement in rice eating cultures.

In the afternoon students were in the laboratory producing microbes bacteria that smelt like banana – it was an application of bio engineering.

Day two
After another hearty breakfast, we went to the athletics department at MIT. Here the focus was the science of archery shooting and fencing. The students investigated the attributes of bows and arrows to determine how to make them fly further and improve accuracy. After this, students investigated how to make a vacuum in a jar and one way valve. They then put a marshmallow inside to determine what would happen if we reduced the pressure inside. The volume of the marshmallow increased and got bigger visibly. They also demonstrated how the vacuum had worked and were able to investigate the electronics of fencing six sensors.

In the evening the students ate dinner and then participated in a science quiz, the result of which was that BIS Abu Dhabi won their round and came second overall.

Day three
This was a whole day of STEAM. Students had a chance to design and create carnival attractions as part of an activity based on the iconic and enormously popular course at MIT, 2.009.

 After an  inspiring introduction by Professor David Wallace, the students were put into groups to ideate and embarked on the design process, brainstorming their ideas first and then putting them into production. The finished products were a resounding success and everyone had a great time trying them out. Kudos to all students as they demonstrated the true power of teamwork across the board. The results of which were critiqued by CEOs.

All of the groups were randomly however the winning group did include a student from Abu Dhabi, Hyunseo.

Day four
The first part of the day was spent walking round the most iconic buildings around MIT campus, which features a corridor called the infinite corridor; from one end you cannot see the other end but it stretches right through the MIT main building.

We then listened to a presentation from Jonny Sun a Ph.D. candidate at MIT who is a playwright, an artist, an architect, an engineer and a designer. Jonny illustrated the importance of STEAM. His interests range from comedy through science through engineering through genetics, and illustrated how important it was that all of these interactions of science technology, engineering, art and maths to solve problems. He writes various blogs and is in the process of writing a book.

We then went to a workshop which students had to design a message for propelling different objects in water. They were encouraged to research how animals move through fluids air and water. They then modelled this to propel their own object.

After lunch the students were involved in making and programming components to detect light of certain colours.

The final part of the day was spent with chemistry students who demonstrated various chemical reactions while quizzing the students on what they thought would be happening.

Day five
BIS students were given the opportunity to meet some students from MIT. Our students were invited to ask questions about specialist areas that the students from MIT were working on. These included nuclear science and engineering by engineering and aerospace engineering specialists, and the rocket team.

The final part at MIT was spent at the visual learning centre and represented the opportunity to use art in which they looked at a massive installation by Kenneth Noland. In the afternoon they visited Harvard, then finally before we departing attended a college event at the Boston school.


To find out the latest news at the MIT-Nord Anglia STEAMFest, search #NAEMITSTEAM.

To learn more about STEAM learning in our schools, search #NAEMIT.