Help inspire students, bring real-world relevance to what they’re learning in school, and increase interest in Science, Technology, Engineering & Math, as a classroom volunteer with Catalyst.

Catalyst is a bold new plan to radically transform middle school learning to ensure that all children have access to the deeper learning opportunities they crave, and that all teachers have the supports they need to build the skills and networks of our next generation leaders. Work in partnership with an experienced teacher to deliver engaging, high quality learning experiences for middle school students in topics like engineering, computer science, and architecture.

Match with teachers in public middle schools in a location of your choosing.

Match with teachers in public middle schools in California. This fall our partnership will include teachers from:

  • Alum Rock Elementary Schools District

  • Oakland Unified School District

  • East Palo Alto Ravenswood School District

  • Campbell Union School District

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Thermal Energy

Students engineer a heating and insulation system for a model building, using hot water or warm water to simulate furnace-heated water and geothermic source-heated water. Students then research and conduct interviews with building representatives and heating experts to understand the environmental, social, and financial costs and benefits of heating systems. They conclude the unit by creating an informational resource to help community members understand not only the physical science and engineering behind hot water heating systems but also the other factors that contribute to decisions to adopt one system or another.

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Kinetic Sculpture

Students design kinetic works of art (called automata) to convey an idea, observation, or feeling to an audience. Beginning with a focus on sculpture, students explore how art connects people to the natural world around them by harnessing energy, force, and motion. The unit progresses back and forth between simple art themes and STEM content as students apply concepts of force and motion while designing and constructing handmade machines.