Now entering our fifth year, The Sage School has hosted an annual STEAM Expo for middle school students showcasing the advanced work and prototypes developed by students, with guidance from leading industry professionals in the Boston area and sometimes across the country and around the globe.
STEAM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, arts, and math. It is considered the next-generation of STEM. At Sage, the school also incorporates humanities and foreign languages into this cross-disciplinary concept.
The STEAM Expo is the culmination of months-long, cross-curricular study in a specific area of focus. Using design, scientific, engineering processes, and extensive research, each team worked daily to create a viable solution to their selected topic.
Students are mentored by faculty and external industry partners currently working in related fields. Held each spring, the Expo is where teams exhibit their prototypes and present their findings in a final ‘pitch’ to a team of judges who evaluate the merit, feasibility, and presentation quality. This simulated real-world business and development environment gives students the practical experience necessary to succeed in future education and careers.
Past STEAM Expos
Corporate Host: MIT’s Microsoft NERD (New England Research and Design) Center
The theme for the 2019 STEAM Expo focused on finding innovative solutions to current challenges relating to “Urban Equity.” The Expo, held at MIT’s Microsoft NERD (New England Research and Design) Center, featured solutions from students in Grades 5 to 8.
Students spent months researching, design testing, and collaborating with corporate and industry partners including MIT Senseable City Lab, Google’s Sidewalk Labs, and the Davis Center at Harvard.
The theme for the 2018 STEAM Expo was “Well-Being” and was held May 7 at the Putnam Club Northeast Lounge at Gillette Stadium. Students in Grades 6 to 8 from The Sage School presented their innovative solutions to current challenges related to health and well-being.
Professionals who partnered with The Sage School are affiliated with local hospitals such as Massachusetts General, Beth-Israel Deaconess, and Sturdy Memorial, as well as with national and global companies such as DRIVN and Field Turf.
Corporate Host: Schneider Electric, Foxborough, MA
Students in Grades 6 through 8 presented their innovative solutions relating to current global and local sustainability challenges. Against the backdrop of Schneider Electric’s own development and research centers, these young inventors showcased their ideas on how to use science, engineering, and research to find balance in the way we live without compromising the environment or socio-economic realities.
Partners for this Expo were: Paige Duncan, Planning Director in Foxboro, State Representative Jay Barrows, Molly Rubenstein, International Development Innovation Network at Olin College, Assaf Biderman of Senseable Cities Lab at MIT, and Joyce Massicotte, Energy 3D Consultant at Next Step Living and Concord Consortium, in addition to experts at Schneider Electric.
A sampling of student projects:
Grade 7 & 8
Mercury Hub – a floating communication device for flood prone areas.
Building Haiti, one quake block at a time.
Calnutrition – Genetically engineered calcium enriched potato.
Flopper – a copper fabric to fight bacterial infection in hospitals.
Solarizing The Sage School
Sustainable Filter for Stormwater
Corporate Host: Wheaton College, Norton, MA
This particular Expo was a year-long project that encouraged study across all disciplines of science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics, as well as humanities. For this project, students started the year with the study of civil rights and refugees across history to better understand their plight. This culminated with a mock Model UN exercise and sharing of ideas which helped students appreciate an international perspective. Students were asked to use the design, scientific, and engineering processes in order to come up with a model of innovative and sustainable solution to a real-time problem that exists in a refugee camp.
In addition to Wheaton College, Harvard and IKEA, corporate partners included the Boston UN Office, Refugee Dream Center in Providence, Freight Farms, OpenAg, and Medical Specialist Distributor.
A sampling of student projects:
Art for Therapy and Identity Preservation: Guide to Creating Arts Performances
Education: Gateway to Freedom, Online Course Education & Vocational Training
Education: Wifi for All (creating sustainable and affordable wifi access)
Health: Mommy Mobile (a mobile clinic for women)
Water: Water Transportation (designing inexpensive and environmentally friendly insulation for water pipes)
Sustainable Farming: Improving Water Retention is Desert Soil
Corporate Host: The Hall at Patriot Place, Foxborough, MA
This year’s theme was the Future of Food Experience: STEAM Solutions from Packaging to Shopping. The Expo showcased students’ original inventions and improvements on current innovations in the field of “smart’ and interactive food packaging. Invited guests included many local professionals in the science fields as well as experts in food packaging who served as mentors during the students’ research phase. They included: Martin Kolewe of Quantum Design and WikiFoods, best known for edible packaging; Lisa Freed of iRobot, and Vicky Wu Davis of Youth CITIES and Cambridge Innovation Center.
Among the 12 teams, projects included:
- “My Cereal Is Calling Me” (interactive cereal packaging)
- “I Like My Apples White” (how to reduce apples’ oxidation in disposable containers)
- “Who Left The Meat Out?” (Chitosan coating to inhibit meat spoilage)
- “The FAAR Project” (augmented reality to help shoppers find products more easily)