Acera at the 2016 Cambridge Science Festival
It is the Acera school’s mission to drive change in education, share lessons learned from our evolving school model, and make engaging STEAM education available to more students than those who can come to our day program. Working towards these goals, we tried something new this year by hosting several events at the Cambridge Science Festival!
At the Science Carnival on 4/16, many families stopped by to solve our bridge-building challenge and learn about our school. We discovered that the Cambridge Science Festival’s reach goes beyond Cambridge & Somerville. Visitors came from all over the Greater Boston area, and quite a few who had seen us at the Carnival ended up coming to the Innovator Symposium at our school a week later.
More than 220 children and adults joined us for our Spring Innovator Symposium on 4/23–many of whom had never been to Acera before. Being able to share intriguing innovations, science and engineering projects, and even some student experiments in this open format continues to be a great way to break down barriers between tech companies, science labs and the public, and create community around fearless exploration of STEM subjects for all ages.
Bringing Acera to Kendall Square with “Science, Music & the Art of Creative Thinking” at the Broad Institute on 4/22, we tried to advocate for innovation in education in a new way. Hosting one of the bigger evening events of the Festival in such a prominent location, we chose to focus on an education theme close to our hearts: Putting the A back in STEAM, or how art and science are not separate but interwoven approaches to discovery; and how creative thinking connects both in important ways.
Co-sponsored by the Music & Neuroimaging Lab at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital and Harvard University, our event featured
- Psyche Loui, neuroscientist + violinist
- Lisa Wong, pediatrician + champion of the arts
- Gus Halwani, jazz musician + neuroscientist
- Susanna Ogata, Handel + Haydn Society
- Anthony Reynolds, Acera teacher, musician and artist, and the Acera student drummers.
The conversation went from the neurology of creative thinking to how music is fundamental to the mind, to the role art can play in scientific discovery and STEM education. Interspersed were moments of music and live improvisation, as speakers became performers and vice versa, and engaged both our logical thinking and our imagination.
More than 170 people from all walks of life joined us for the night, asked terrific questions, and stayed for a drum circle, drinks and conversation afterwards. (Click here to browse a photo album.)
A huge THANK YOU to the many parents, staff, presenters and students who made Acera’s participation in CSF possible. It was both rewarding and inspiring to learn that events are one good way to inspire conversations about education, and share our experiences and approach with the larger Boston community!