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Day of AI: Dr. Christine Cunningham and MIT RAISE on STEM Education

Posted by YES Staff on Wednesday, May 29, 2024

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The YES and EiE founder spoke about STEM education and curriculum development.


Day of AI STEM Learning Panel. Credit: B. Logan.

Earlier this month, Dr. Christine Cunningham (Museum of Science Senior VP of STEM Learning), participated in a panel for the “Day of AI” at the Museum of Science. The Day of AI originated as a celebration of curricula created by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (“MIT”) RAISE (Responsible AI for Social Empowerment and Education) for educators with minimal to no technology background.

Led by moderator Dr. David Sittenfeld (Museum of Science Director of the Center for the Environment) and joined by Dr. Robert Parks (MIT RAISE curriculum developer), the panel featured a great discussion about the importance of STEM education and the development of practical STEM curricula. The conversation was followed by student presentations tied to climate and artificial intelligence, and capped off an amazing day of speakers and panelists from the Museum, NASA, MIT, and the City of Boston.


Student presentations. Credit: B. Logan.

STEM for Students Now to Safeguard the Future

The panel’s focus on STEM education was one of great importance to Dr. Cunningham. In 2003, she founded the Museum of Science’s EiE (Engineering is Elementary)—a groundbreaking, award-winning engineering and STEM curricula for PreK-8 students. Sixteen years later, she established EiE’s successor, YES (Youth Engineering Solutions). Both programs were created to educate the next generation of engineers and problem solvers.

“We want to tap the talents of every single person in school now, in our communities,” said Dr. Cunningham to the audience. “Through different ideas and different perspectives, we’re going to get better solutions…” The issue is, “How do we start young enough that every child has a chance to both understand the world around them, but then also move towards the shaping of the future?”

To address this, YES and EiE offer free and paid STEM resources for educators—with a focus on engineering, computer science and computational thinking concepts. Artificial intelligence curricula are in development. With teachers from every state having used YES and/or EiE resources, Dr. Cunningham and her PK-12 team at the Museum of Science are doing their part to equip students with the tools they’ll need to tackle the environmental and technological challenges society faces. Knowing students are being well prepared early on serves as a great motivation.

Said Dr. Cunningham, “For me, it’s the opportunity to always hear from young people and see the creativity and the different perspectives, as well as the awareness right now that this generation—your generation—has about things that need to change. So, it’s the next generation that gives me hope.”

Watch the full panel discussion below (video is cued to start around 45 minutes in):

To learn more about the Museum of Science’s Day of AI, please visit the website here.

To learn more about the work of Dr. Robert Parks and MIT’s RAISE program, please visit the RAISE website here.

Written by YES Staff

Topics: Create a Generation of Problem Solvers, Museum of Science, Climate Change, High school, Artificial Intelligence (AI), STEM Education, STEM Learning, YES Curricula, Day of AI, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), STEM in the Future, Technology

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