Mass. Secretary of Education Matthew Malone visits MIT

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The state’s education chief speaks with high-school science teachers on campus.

Matthew Malone, Massachusetts secretary of education, visited MIT on August 13 to speak with high-school science teachers and others on campus as part of the BioBuilder Educational Foundation’s professional development workshop.

BioBuilder offers educational resources for middle-school, high-school and college students and educators to explore biological engineering and synthetic biology. Founded by Natalie Kuldell, instructor in the Department of Biological Engineering, BioBuilder emphasizes hands-on activities and inquiry-driven lab work. Through its summer workshop series, BioBuilder presents classroom, lab and design activities that teachers can bring to their science classrooms.

Malone supported BioBuilder when, prior to being appointed secretary of education in January, he served as superintendent for the Brockton Public School system in Brockton, Mass. BioBuilder launched a partnership with Brockton High School in 2012 through funding support from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center. As a result of this partnership, BioBuilder provided the school with lab equipment, supplies and teacher training.

Malone said that the opportunities for “tech tinkering” provided by BioBuilder and other like-minded programs are an important component of science education.

“When we think about what this program does … it’s about hands-on, practical learning, about how we engage young people in inquiry, and about being able to either make something, test something, or force something to happen, and then analyze it and come up with conclusions,” Malone said.

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