Reach Center

STEM is all around us. It’s in the natural world, the built environment, and the communities where we work, learn, and play. Reach is a long-term initiative that seeks to connect youth to more STEM outside of schools, particularly in rural parts of Maine. We leverage community resources to support youth ages 10-18 and their families to link them to STEM opportunities through three major efforts:

Maine State Science Fair 2017 ResultsIn 2014, Reach joined the Jackson Laboratory in coordinating and sponsoring the Maine State Science Fair, a statewide event for high school students. We’ve since tripled participation and now offer college scholarships and STEM summer camp experiences. Visit our MSSF page to learn more about participating as a student, teacher, judge, or sponsor.

Family Code Night MaineIn 2017, we brought Family Code Night to Maine, exposing over 1,500 elementary-aged youth and their parents to coding through fun, collaborative puzzles. In 2018, we piloted a drone version of Family Code Night for middle schools, which combined coding with awareness of real-world drone applications. Reach also promotes Scratch Day and Hour of Code in schools and afterschool settings.

The Family Code Night movement has grown and is now called CS is Elementary. Reach is encouraging K-5 schools to participate. Learn more at our CS is Elementary page. For information focused on CS in the classroom, visit MMSA’s i2i Project page.

Reach has convened stakeholders in computer science education over the last several years. A new coalition, called Computer Science for Maine, launched in December to deal specifically with expanding and improving CS education in Maine. Visit our publications page to read more about our efforts.

Reach convenes people and organizations with common interests around STEM education. Past convenings include energy education, STEM internships, STEM competitions & challenges, New England science fairs, and rural science fairs. If you have an idea for a convening, please reach out to us.

Although Reach’s focus is largely out-of-school, we strive to support STEM teachers who want to increase student learning and interest through richer experiences in the classroom. Our STEM Schools Summer Meetups give STEM teachers a chance to share what they do with each other. Reach also shares the latest research on STEM Schools, including findings from University of Chicago’s Outlier project and George Washington University’s OSPrI.

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During this pandemic educators have been forced to reinvent the way they reach kids and all of us here at MMSA have been working hard to shift our programming, professional learning opportunities, and research to overcome this incredibly difficult challenge for educators across Maine and the nation.  

Your support is a crucial component of our efforts to continually expand STEM education programs during these uncertain and challenging times.

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