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two pictures show students engaging in hands-on STEM activities in their classrooms
December 15, 2021

ACTON, MA—Discovery Museum and Natick-based MathWorks announced today their continued partnership to bring the Museum’s Traveling Science Workshops (TSW) to classrooms throughout the region and beyond. This is the twelfth consecutive school year that MathWorks has invested in the program.

“Learning environments changed drastically during the last school year due to the pandemic, and Discovery Museum’s commitment to delivering hands-on STEM learning, no matter whether students were in their classroom, at home, or a mix of both, was critical support to provide to teachers,” said Kevin Lorenc, director of corporate communications at MathWorks. “We were proud to be part of the adaptation of the program in 2020, enabling virtual delivery to close to 15,000 students, as well as the return to in-person workshops this school year.”

“MathWorks’ continued and generous support of TSW enabled us to develop a virtual curriculum when schools needed it most, and now to continue to bring hands-on STEM to students in whatever way works for their classrooms,” said Neil Gordon, Discovery Museum CEO. “MathWorks believes in the importance of early STEM learning for kids and continues to help us to bring it to them—wherever learning may happen.”

Traveling Science Workshops is a state aligned, curriculum-based program that brings hands-on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) concepts into pre-K through grade 8 classrooms throughout the region. The in-person, classroom-based program was re-developed for remote learning to meet the changing needs of the 2020-2021 school year, when many students were attending school remotely from home and some classrooms were a mix of in-class and remote students.

Prior to the pandemic, TSW—now entering its 30th year—grew significantly. Discovery Museum was on track to deliver in-class workshops to more than 46,000 students in 2,100 classrooms during the 2019-2020 school year before schools closed in March, a 26% increase over the prior year and the tenth year of sustained program growth. In 2020-2021, with the switch to remote and hybrid learning, the Museum was able to serve close to 15,000 students virtually. Teachers now have the option to book in-person or virtual workshops for the 2021-2022 school year.

Additionally, when students were at home at the end of the 2019-2020 school year and teachers had to adapt to remote learning, Museum educators developed free resources to support STEM learning. Teacher Resources for Distance Learning—easy-to-use, curriculum-aligned, hands-on STEM explorations that students can do with materials found around the house—continue to be free to all.

TSW is the only classroom-based program of its kind in Massachusetts. Age- and grade-appropriate workshop topics support state science curriculum standards and the new Science, Technology, and Engineering standards. The set of 23 workshop topics include Force & Motion, Chemistry Lab, Earth Science, Light & Lasers, Sound, Magnets, Green Engineering, Dinosaurs, Weather & Climate, Bubbles, and Physical Changes of Matter, among others. Fun, hands-on discovery activities demystify science concepts, strengthen problem solving skills, and reinforce the scientific method. Classroom teachers and parents receive follow-up activities to reinforce learned concepts.

In addition to supporting Traveling Science Workshops, MathWorks also supports First Friday Nights Free at the Museum, and MathWorks employee volunteers help the Museum complete valuable hands-on projects each year.

About MathWorks

MathWorks is the leading developer of mathematical computing software. MATLAB®, the language of engineers and scientists, is a programming environment for algorithm development, data analysis, visualization, and numeric computation. Simulink® is a block diagram environment for simulation and Model-Based Design of multidomain and embedded engineering systems. Engineers and scientists worldwide rely on these products to accelerate the pace of discovery, innovation, and development in automotive, aerospace, communications, electronics, industrial automation, and other industries. MATLAB and Simulink are also fundamental teaching and research tools in the world’s universities and learning institutions. Founded in 1984, MathWorks employs more than 5,000 people in 16 countries, with headquarters in Natick, Massachusetts, USA. For additional information, visit mathworks.com.  

About Discovery Museum

Discovery Museum is a hands-on museum that blends science, nature, and play, inspiring families to explore and learn together. The museum and its Discovery Woods accessible outdoor nature playscape and 550sf treehouse blend the best of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) learning on a beautiful 4.5-acre campus abutting 180 acres of conservation land in Acton, MA, about 20 miles west of Boston. Originally founded in 1982 and expanded to two museums in 1987, the museum reopened in a single, 16,000sf accessible building after a complete renovation and expansion in early 2018. Hands-on, open-ended exhibits developed by professional educators inspire curiosity and exploration, providing a fun and engaging experience for children and adults to discover their world together. Serving families and schools from towns throughout the region, the museum is devoted to informal education that enhances classroom learning. Discovery Museum is committed to accessibility, and is a proud recipient of the 2017 Massachusetts Commonwealth Award, the only winner in the Access category, and a 2018 LEAD® Community Asset Award from The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. For more information please visit www.discoveryacton.org. Discovery Museum is a community-supported non-profit organization. Discovery Museum programming is supported in part by a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

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