Category Archives: NYCitySTEM

This short documentary, “This is What Young People Need” tells the story of NYCitySTEM, our partnership with the NYC Department of Education, which brought hands-on summer STEM education to 400 NYC public school students.

“This is What Young People Need” from Center for K12 STEM Education on Vimeo.

As part of NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering’s commitment to train 500 teachers and our dedication to access to and opportunity for high-quality STEM education, the Center trained 31 DoE teachers in either Robotics or Science of Smart Cities curriculum developed by SoE students. Supported by the Fund for Public Schools and Microsoft Corporation, pairs of DoE teachers and SoE students co-taught NYC 7th and 10th graders over 20 days in all five boroughs.

NYCitySTEM allowed these public school students to spend four weeks of their summer in an inspiring and immersive STEM education program, ending with an exposition attended by parents, teachers, NYU faculty, and community members where students showcased and explained their innovative, problem-solving designs. Through hands-on activities, students learned science, math, and programming concepts while building solutions to smart city design or robot task challenges. The project-based, group work allowed them to experience the engineering process; trial and error, creativity, discovery, the ability to learn from mistakes, and the benefits of perseverance.

Students were surprised by their own newfound passion for and talents in STEM while parents and teachers are eager for more programs like NYCitySTEM. We are grateful for support, encouragement, and trust from Carmen Fariña, New York City Schools Chancellor. NYU SoE looks forward to an ongoing and expanding collaboration with NYC teachers to make it happen.



This summer, the NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering’s  Center for K12 STEM education was able to expand two ongoing programs into public schools across New York City under NYCitySTEM: Robotics and Science of Smart Cities (SoSC). These programs, developed and taught at the Engineering school by undergraduate and graduate students, use engineering principles and problem-solving hands-on activities to teach STEM concepts. By partnering with the NYC Department of Education and with support from Microsoft and the Fund for Public Schools, NYCitySTEM was launched in all five boroughs.


The forty-three NYU students hired as instructors trained NYC teachers in the curriculum which they then co-taught in schools. Hundreds of 7th and 10th graders spent 5 weeks designing, building, and testing robots that could complete tasks or models of smart cities while learning math, science, technology, and engineering concepts. Participants learned how to use microcontrollers, breadboards, resistors, sensors, construction materials, gravel, and soil to meet engineering challenges.


On August 6th, each school held an Expo where participants demonstrated their creations and and explained the science behind their designs.  Smart City models included solar and wind-powered energy, water filtration systems, waste disposal and recycling systems, smart traffic systems, and buildings capable of surviving natural disasters.  Autonomous robots equipped with color sensors were able to follow paths or locate objects.


SoSC classroom activities and curriculum, created at NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering, including instructions and materials needed can be found here.  Robotics classroom activities and curriculum, created at NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering, including instructions and materials needed can be found here and here.

Participants were able to spend their summer thinking about ways to improve the lives of their families and neighbors using creativity and STEM concepts while gaining a new appreciation for the science and math they learn during the school year.  Thank you Microsoft and The Fund for Public Schools for supporting this partnership to provide access and opportunity for hands-on STEM‬ learning to NYC K-12 students.


Teacher Training

This summer, the NYU School of Engineering and the NYC Department of Education are partnering in NYCitySTEM. The initiative pairs NYU School of Engineering students with DoE teachers to provide free cutting-edge STEM programs to 7th and 10th graders across New York City. In preparation for the first week of classes, forty-three undergraduate and graduate students spent the greater part of last week training DoE teachers at the NYU School of Engineering. Teachers learned how to wire breadboards, program sensors, and build line-following, collision avoidance robots. For some teachers, this was their debut experience with STEM education. On Monday, a few teachers appeared apprehensive about their ability to bring STEM into the classroom. However, as the week progressed many teachers reported finding the hands-on activities engaging and accessible. Overall, the training was an edifying experience for the teachers and their instructors. Chris Rogers, a U.S. History teacher from IS 24 in Staten Island, discussed how he would like to bring what he learned into the classroom by having his students experiment with iambic paddles to gain a better understanding of how Morse code shaped history.

DoE teachers were pleased to work with their energetic NYU School of Engineering student instructors. According to Dwight Young, a general science teacher teacher at I.S. 285 in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, his instructors were “very patient, very knowledgeable, and very understanding.” Teachers reported that the training was a refreshingly thoughtful and immersive professional development experience. In particular, one teacher remarked that she “got a chance to build models, to build receptors using sensors, and to do what the children are going to do before actually working with them.”


NYU School of Engineering student instructors reported positively on working with their Department of Education teachers. Instructors reported that the teachers were very engaged, energetic, and excited to become familiar with the STEM curricula. The NYU instructors embraced the challenge of working with the DoE teachers who had no prior experience with STEM subjects. Instructors discovered they had a lot to learn from their DoE teachers. During her training, Science of Smart Cities Instructor Salma Pasha learned how to apply Icebreakers and team building activities to motivate younger students. Another NYU student said that her DoE co-teacher showed her how to give constructive criticism that teenagers would understand.IMG_0584

Although a few NYU engineering students are nervous about their first time teaching, they are also game for the challenge. As Gev Manekshaw, Instructor for the 10th grade Science of Smart Cities class in Brooklyn remarked, “I think a classroom is the most dynamic environment I will ever face.”


This summer’s K12 STEM education undertaking is bigger than ever–the NYU School of Engineering has mobilized an unprecedented 127 STEM experts to the cause, including: 21 professors, 20 PhD Candidates, 34 graduate students, and 35 undergraduate students.

The Center for K12 STEM Education is proud to partner with the NYC Department of Education, Microsoft, and the Fund for Public Schools to launch a new program, NYCitySTEM, the largest school district-based summer 2015 STEM initiative in the U.S. Forty-three NYU-student instructors will work closely with NYC teachers to bring high quality STEM education to nearly 800 middle and high school students across the five boroughs.

During the past few weeks, a core group of 11 NYU School of Engineering graduate students who developed curriculum have been training instructors before they head into the classroom.  Watch our students prepare 12,000 components — from microcontrollers, breadboards and resistors to sensors, construction material and soil — in advance of the program’s launch on July 6.

Meet the Parts from Center for K12 STEM Education on Vimeo.