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“e” inc., the planet science learning and action center, based in Boston, is an exciting and dynamic 22-year-old non-profit that has been working across two cities to provide science and action programming at schools, after-schools, and youth teams.


“e” inc.’s ongoing efforts, brings our team of educators to all manner of sites, where they both teach weekly science ideas alongside supporting ongoing action projects.  “e” inc. staff are committed to making a difference for children and youth across local communities, through providing energetic science teaching paired with hands-on action tasks that make a difference.


Now providing science programming in 31 distinct sites, young people across ages are introduced to all manner of fun and fascinating science ideas and activities.  Below are descriptions of “e” inc.’s three central programs.


Kids Green their School (KGTS)

Placed within the science education programs at both elementary or middle school sites, Kids Green their School is a three-layered program that consists of: a) hands-on science learning using one of “e” inc.’s fourteen science curriculums, b) daily action tasks that have students making a difference by lowering electricity use, saving water, saving unused foods, picking up plastics, etc., and c) recording action outcomes daily in individual charts, as well as, writing about their learning and actions in their action notebooks. Each individual school determines what topic they desire for their site across the year. This is then taught across all grades, with one set of lessons provided for K2 to 3rd grade students and another set of more sophisticated lessons for 4th to 6th grade students. This curriculum cycles throughout the building, by grade, from highest to lowest grades. Having all students at a school investigate one science topic across the building allows for a wonderful set of common ideas that all learners in the school now share. Topics available to explore range from a) The Deep Ocean, to b) Backyard Habitats, to c) Alternative Energies, to d) Our Changing Climate, with many more also available.  In total, “e” inc. currently offers 14 distinct science curriculums for schools to choose from.  Each individual school can therefore determine what science information/topic is most needed or worthwhile for their students each year. Learners of all ages love the hands-on nature of the “e” inc. programming, with new ideas and new hands-on activities provided in every lesson. Across the 8-week cycle, students have a chance to build a core set of ideas on one fascinating science topic.  In addition, the “e” inc. teacher at the site involves students in action tasks that they are then asked to do daily. These actions are tracked and learners get excited regarding the changes they are all helping to make in their classrooms. Whether they are lowering electricity by managing lights in their classroom or picking up plastic out-of-doors daily, students gain pride in their efforts to help the Earth.  Lastly, students are pleased with themselves as they take on the mantle of ‘doers’ or ‘actors’ or ‘protectors’ of their planet.


“e” inc. Planet Protectors

After-school programs have been a staple of the teaching world for decades. Under one roof, after-cares are able to solve several challenges that working families face. They provide a ‘relaxed form of care’ that lets children eat, play, and learn in less regimented, yet still secure, spaces. These programs are thoughtful, supportive, yet structured places. From its inception, “e” inc. has had a firm involvement in after-care programs for many years. With currently13-partners in Cambridge and Boston aftercare, and another 3 youth teams meeting weekly, there is a clear set of young people involved in out-of-school-time programs. The typical “e” inc. after-school program is held weekly, across the school year, whether in Boston or Cambridge. These are once-a-week science and action lessons. Afterschool science is parsed into three trimesters, at every site, and is either taught as one science program to 3 sets of students across the year or three different programs to three distinct age groups. Typically, after school is every day and the “e” inc. science program occurs once-a-week. Regardless of age, all team members come to their room, get a snack, and then the science program begins. At the start of lesson #1 all children take a pre-test that tells us what they already know now. Each week’s lesson builds on the one before, and the learners love both the fun of creating and doing new projects and activities, as well as, working on problems together with their teammates. Perhaps we are working with 3rd-graders, re: the solar system. The students might use lamps to represent the Sun and then experiment with the shift from very hot to very cold planets based upon the distance from the sun. Next, we can create the planets on paper, and make a replica of the system to take home. Regardless of topic, all students in after-school receive 11 hands-on lessons per trimester. These lessons are matched to ages and are interesting, filled with investigations, games, art projects, experiments, etc. By the end of the 11-week lessons, if our work has been done well, students 3rd grade to 5th grade at the after-care site are given the same quiz. It is this comparison that then tells the educator what has been absorbed and what may need stronger engagement. The goal of ALL “e” inc. teaching is to help learners: - Be excited by science experiments and involvements, - Want more opportunities to do more science learning and activities, - Want to describe the ideas they have learned about to others, - Work to describe what they saw and what happened - Tell their new ideas to others, - Get involved in a daily Idea or Action that can help the planet, - Remind other kids to continue doing their Daily Task to Help the Earth.


“ChangeMakers” Make a Difference

For 15 years “e” inc. has made a commitment to create two to three youth teams in several local communities. One has always remained at The Gallivan Community Center in Mattapan. Another is currently stationed at The Tobin BCYF Youth program, and then others that have taken hold in different years. What are the hallmarks of these programs? Committed and consistent staff that are open to ideas, supportive of youth voices, interested in what young members need. As a group gets established, staff from “e” inc. come together to assess what the youth want and need. For some groups it was about taking tasks, exploring their neighborhood, feeling a sense of community. For a different team, it was working together on a project that made the group gel. One team began with green-mapping their community. As they got to know each other and did tasks together, they realized that there was an after-school right nearby. The youth wanted to try their hand at teaching, so a relationship was made between the youth and the school. The youth prepared a science lesson each month, and came and taught at the site. This was the highlight of their work each month. And no wonder. The younger students were utterly thrilled to have the older youth there. These programs have brought wonderful outcomes across the years. The work of ChangeMakers began many years ago when a youth site closed unexpectedly and had to disband. The staff at the Gallivan Community Center nearby, wanted to try and continue serving these young people. In came the staff lead from “e” inc. Within a few months, the lead from “e” inc. created a lovely twice-a-week model that had from 9-to-12 local young people starting to connect, cook together in the kitchen, discuss together, investigate the community, and even took a camping trip with the Community Center leaders. These youth teams can take time to come together but on ‘both sides of the aisle’, there is learning and comradery that develops and takes hold. These are the types of outcomes that ChangeMaker Team can make happen.

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