One of the things I’ve been involved with this semester is a great new program for high school students that will be held at Olin starting this January.

The program is funded by a grant given to an organization that oversees math/science education for the metro west area. It is a program very similar to the MIT SEED (Saturday Enrichment and Engineering Discovery) program. The program is a three and a half year Saturday school where 25 or so students per grade will be on Olin’s campus following a curriculum that mirrors much of Olin’s emphasis on teamwork, design and open-ended projects. The hope is that these students will be motivated to go to college to receive a degree in a technical field of some sort. What this means is that in 3.5 years, there will be around 100 high school students on Olin’s campus every Saturday, with anywhere from 4-15 Olin students being paid to teach! The curriculum is currently being developed by a committee made up of Olin professors, Olin students, and local high school teachers. The expectation is that the actual classes will be taught by Olin students, while still being advised by the high school teachers. I can’t imagine what it would be like to get a dose of Olin’s project-based curricular approach as a 9th grader. I’m jealous. 😉

In any case, there are 4-5 Olin students currently involved in developing the first two semesters of the curriculum. I won’t go too much into detail, since AndyP and Alyshia (both also involved) may choose to write more about the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) program’s curricular plans. Very briefly though, it looks like the first semester is going to look a bit like the Student-created course from last year called: How Stuff Works. The second semester is going to be an introductory exploration of the design process much like Design Nature, where students use inspiration from nature with a quick run through of the design process to create toys that mimic hopping actions.