Beginning in the spring of 2002, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) will introduce an initiative to develop a new generation of leaders in mathematics and science. MITE2S Saturday Engineering Enrichment and Discovery (SEED) Academy will be an academic-year, Saturday enrichment program targeting African American, Hispanic American, and Native American high school students in Massachusetts. During eight Saturdays each semester, participants will collaborate with their peers to solve a variety of engineering questions. Thus, the students will put their mathematics and science skills into practice.
The main goal of the SEED Academy is to help students cultivate the critical academic and communications skills they will need to be successful in their collegiate and professional lives, and to support students' increased interest in the technical fields. SEED Academy will be free to students, with financial support from corporations, foundations, institutes, and individuals.
The SEED Academy's curriculum will be based on the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks and focus on developing students' problem solving and communications skills in (and passion for) mathematics and science. Working in teams, students will learn and discover by doing.
Each semester, participants will work closely with MIT graduate student instructors to investigate one of seven engineering disciplines (e.g., mechanical engineering, robotics, or aeronautics). In the context of these engineering themes, instructors will introduce mathematics and science principles and help student teams to conduct related experiments, present their findings to their cohort, and prepare written reports. In addition, students will attend college preparatory workshops and develop final projects, due at the end of the term.
Weekly graded homework assignments will help students to gauge their understanding of technical concepts. Also, course grades, input from high school mathematics and science teachers, and the results of statewide standardized tests will be used to establish benchmarks and to measure students' progress.
The first SEED Academy class will begin this month, and each year we'll bring in a new group of 20 ninth-grade students. By 2005, the Academy will accommodate 80 students; the most qualified of whom will "seed" the MIT Minority Introduction to Engineering, Entrepreneurship and Science (MITE2S) summer program, a 6-week summer enrichment program for talented minority high school students.
SEED Academy is pursuing applicants who exhibit a high aptitude in mathematics and/or science, as identified by their teachers, but whose academic potential may not be reflected in their standardized test scores or grades. Applications will be accepted from underrepresented minorities at four Boston and Cambridge high schools: Dorchester High School, John D. O'Bryant School of Mathematics and Science, the Media and Technology Charter High (MATCH) School, and Cambridge Rindge and Latin School. Forms are available from mathematics and science school faulty, or by request from the SEED Academy.