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K-12 education

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The Boston Globe

MIT’s Leap Lab will be hosting a free event for children on Saturday, July 9th. The event will provide kids “a chance to explore the floating wetland on the Charles River through a microscope, learn to paint with algae, and compete in friendly engineering challenges with peers,” reports The Boston Globe.

News 40

The MIT Spokes bike team, a group of six students, has embarked on a 3,800-mile, cross-country bike trip that features frequent stops to offer STEM workshops to middle school students, reports Lexi Schweinert for News 40.  “I think it’s exciting to be doing science,” says fourth year student Simone Lassar. “We’ve tried to make our workshops super hands on so you’re either doing something with your hands or you’re bringing something home with you. So we’ve just tried to make the workshops as interactive as possible.”

The Boston Globe

Instructor Natalie Kuldell writes for The Boston Globe about the importance of creating more workplace learning opportunities for high school students. “Without question, every career decision I’ve made has been influenced by that first summer internship, guiding my choice of undergraduate major, my doctoral thesis, my postdoctoral fellowship, and then my academic and teaching life,” writes Kuldell.

New York Times

Prof. Parag Pathak, U.C. Berkeley Prof. Christopher Waters and University of Chicago postdoctoral scholar Guthrie Gray-Lobe “tracked more than 4,000 students from preschool through high school, comparing the outcomes of those who won pre-K seat to those whose lottery number wasn’t high enough,” writes U.C. Berkeley Prof. and New York Times guest writer David L. Kirp. “Those who attended preschool were less likely to be suspended or become entangled with the juvenile justice system,” writes Kirp.

Popular Mechanics

Researchers at MIT have created a 3D-printable Oreometer that uses twisting force to determine if it is possible to evenly split an Oreo cookie, reports Juandre for Popular Mechanics. “While studying the twisting motion, the engineers also discovered the torque required to successfully open an Oreo is about the same as what’s needed to turn a doorknob—a tenth of the torque required to open a bottle cap,” writes Juandre.

USA Today

A group of MIT scientists led by PhD candidate Crystal Owens has developed an Oreometer, a device used to determine if it is possible to evenly split an Oreo cookie every time, reports Maria Jimenez Moya for USA Today. “One day, just doing experiments, and, all of a sudden we realized that this machine would be perfect for opening Oreos because it already has … the fluid in the center, and then these two discs are like the same geometry as an Oreo,” says Owens.

Gizmodo

MIT researchers have developed an “Oreometer” to test the optimal way to split an Oreo cookie, an exercise in rheology, or the study of how matter flows, reports Isaac Shultz for Gizmodo. "Our favorite twist was rotating while pulling Oreos apart from one side, as a kind of peel-and-twist, which was the most reliable for getting a very clean break,” explains graduate student Crystal Owens.

CNN

CNN reporter Madeline Holcombe spotlights a new study by MIT researchers exploring why the cream on Oreo cookies always sticks to one side when twisted open. Graduate student Crystal Owens explains that she hopes the research will inspire people "to investigate other puzzles in the kitchen in scientific ways. The best scientific research, even at MIT, is driven by curiosity to understand the world around us, when someone sees something weird or unknown and takes the time to think 'I wonder why that happens like that?'"

Popular Science

Graduate student Crystal Owens speaks with Popular Science reporter Philip Kiefer about her work exploring why the cream filling of an Oreo cookie always sticks to one side. “It turns out there’s not really a trick to it,” Owens says. “Everything you try to do will get mostly a clean break.”

VICE

Graduate student Crystal Owens and her colleagues tested the possibility of separating the two wafers of an Oreo in a way that evenly splits the cream filling using a rheometer, an instrument that measures torque and viscosity of various substances, reports Becky Ferreira for Vice. “After twisting Oreos apart with the instruments, the team visually inspected the ratio of creme on each wafer and logged the findings. A number of variations on the experiment were also introduced, such as dipping the cookies in milk, changing the rotation rate of the rheometer, and testing different Oreo flavors and filling quantities,” writes Ferreira.

CBS Boston

Chiamaka Agbasi-Porter, the K-12 STEM outreach coordinator for Lincoln Lab, speaks with CBS Boston about her mission to help inspire young people to pursue STEM interests through the Lincoln Laboratory Radar Introduction for Student Engineers (LLRISE) program. “I think of it as a community,” said Agbasi-Porter, “we are a village that is helping our kids advance and move forward in their careers.”

TechCrunch

Arun Saigal SB ’13, MEng ’13 and WeiHua Li ’BS ’14 MA ’15 co-founded Thunkable, an online platform developed to make building mobile apps easier, writes Ingrid Lunden for TechCrunch. “Saigal said that its initial focus was on consumers, which in itself is another big concept of the moment, that of the creator economy and users – not professional publishers and others – creating the content that the mass market is consuming,” writes Lunden.

GBH

Prof. Justin Reich speaks with GBH’s Meg Woolhouse about the importance of addressing longstanding inequities in the education system. “It’s about creating a more equitable world where,” says Reich, “every kid in Boston has high-speed internet in their house, and has technology access, and has access to high-quality medical care and testing and things like that.”

GBH

GBH’s Basic Black host Callie Crossley speaks with Lecturer Malia Lazu,about how issues surrounding Covid-19, voting rights, economic downturn, police brutality, education, climate change and politics will impact communities of color in the coming year. “What I see is a democracy fighting itself,” says Lazu. "People in power, republicans or democrats, being bought into the idea of democracy more than the people in the democracy.”

The Wall Street Journal

A new working paper co-authored by MIT researchers shows how the transition to remote schooling during the Covid-19 pandemic impacted student achievement, in particular for low-income and minority children, writes The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board. The researchers found “the share of students who scored ‘proficient’ or above declined in spring 2021 compared to previous years by an average of 14.2 percentage points in math and 6.3 percentage points in language arts.”