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City Elementary/Middle Students to Show Off Their STEM Inventions

May 14, 2018
CONTACT: Jill Rosen
Office: 443-997-9906
Cell: 443-547-8805
jrosen@jhu.edu @JHUmediareps

WHEN: 5 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, May 15. (Media who arrive early can speak to researchers and project leadership during a reception from 4:30 to 5 p.m.)

WHERE: Baltimore Polytechnic Institute/Western High School, 1400 W. Cold Spring Lane, Baltimore, MD 21209. Please enter through Poly; the event will take place in the cafeteria.

WHAT: Students from nine Baltimore City elementary/middle schools will show off creations they conceived and built — some as part of classroom assignments, and others in response to challenges they encounter in their own communities. The event is a chance to see the work being done through SABES, a National Science Foundation-funded program created by Johns Hopkins and Baltimore City Public Schools (City Schools) to strengthen science, technology, engineering and math education in Baltimore City schools. In the past, students have engineered poop-scooping robots, a portable shelter for people experiencing homelessness, and a “condo” designed to attract and provide refuge for urban birds. This year, their innovations include sneakers equipped with lights and cameras to illuminate a person’s path and record surroundings while the wearer is walking home in the dark; a “biosand” filter that cleans water contaminated by lead pipes; and collapsible light poles that resist being knocked down.

A highlight of the 2018 event is an appearance by Barrington Irving, the youngest person and first African American to fly solo around the world—in 2007 at the age of 23. Irving is the founder of Experience Aviation, an organization that brings challenging STEM-based activities to communities to inspire youth in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields.

WHY: Students, particularly in under-funded districts, are often insufficiently prepared to pursue careers in science — job opportunities that are expected to grow in the future. It’s critical to spark interest in science early, and equally critical to devise tested educational models to do it.

BACKGROUND: With a $7.4 million grant from the National Science Foundation in 2012, the Johns Hopkins schools of engineering and education teamed up with City Schools to launch STEM Achievement in Baltimore Elementary Schools (SABES): a pilot program that combined teacher training, a rigorous, hands-on classroom curriculum, and engaging afterschool programming and community events to improve science, technology, engineering and math education in grades 3 through 5.

Last fall Baltimore City Public Schools introduced SABES as the elementary science curriculum for kindergarten through 5th grade.

Since the program was instituted, it has reached more than 11,000 Baltimore students and trained 345 city teachers. Research demonstrates students who’ve taken the program are more confident and interested in science and engineering. For instance, after completing the program, the number of students interested in becoming an engineer jumped 27 percent.

Members of the media who expect to cover this event should RSVP to Jill Rosen at 443-997-9906 or jrosen@jhu.edu.

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