What's different?

What does Spokes offer that's different from what students already learn in high school? High school is incredibly important to lay a strong foundation, and all of us agree we wouldn't be where we are without the dedicated support from our high school teachers. But too often students ask, why does this matter?


Coming to MIT, one of the biggest differences from high school we noticed was the emphasis hands-on learning and application to real-world problems. In our workshops, we combine these two aspects to show what a future in STEM might involve. Our workshops show techniques and teach concepts that are used by people in research and in the industry, including some topics taught in our freshmen year! Our hope is that our workshops show students why STEM does matter and inspire them to investigate topics that matter, find answers to questions that matter, and build solutions to problems that matter.

Design, Test, Repeat!

Instructors: Leah Yost and Caralyn Cutlip

This workshop will focus on a mechanical engineering concept known as rapid prototyping, where engineers make quick prototypes out of basic materials (cardboard, foamboard, construction paper, straws, etc) in order to quickly test lots of ideas. Students will work together to make a quick prototype of a toy which other groups can then test. A discussion of why rapid prototyping is useful and the next stages of design would follow the activity.

Intelligence: from the Brain to Self-Driving Cars!

Instructors: Evan Tey and Edgardo Letona

This workshop will dive into the brain, intelligence, and artificial intelligence. We’ll talk about how sight, memory, and learning work, and how we’re using this to make self-driving cars, smart computer assistants, and TV show recommendations! We’ll do some hands-on modeling of brain and computer systems and show live demonstrations of artificial intelligence in action.

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Decoding DNA

Instructors: Maile Jim and Bill Kuhl

This workshop will explore the role and influence of DNA in who we are. We will start by explaining how DNA is transcribed into RNA, then translated to protein, which is used throughout our bodies for many functions. Then we will have students extract their own DNA from their cheek or a strawberry. We will end with a game and discussion on common genetic diseases and how they stay present and spread in a population.

Fun with Chemistry

Instructors: Devin Seyler and Erin Leydon

This demonstration-based workshop will show how exciting and dynamic chemistry can be. Demonstrations will involve connecting the theory behind chemical reactions with tangible results to show students the impacts of chemistry in everyday life as well as exciting applications.

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