An estimated 60,000 students create zero-waste solutions with Mass STEM Hub as part of Massachusetts STEM Week Challenge

Solutions to be featured at showcase event where over 150 industry professionals will provide feedback to students’ applied learning projects

Over 400 schools and an estimated 60,000 students in grades K-12 in the Commonwealth are solving real-world problems as part of the Project Lead The Way (PLTW)STEM Week Challenge. Students are creating zero-waste solutions relevant to their communities and can seek expertise from STEM professionals to help design their solutions. The PLTW STEM Week Challenge, sponsored by the One8 Foundation and Mass STEM Hub, culminates in a showcase event at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston on Friday, Oct. 25. Students will present their work to over 150 industry professionals from Dell Technologies, MassDEP, and TD Garden, along with over 40 other companies, Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. Additionally, students who do not attend the showcase are invited to submit their projects online for virtual review and judging by STEM professionals.

PLTW, the leader in applied learning STEM curriculum, worked with Dell Technologies, MassDEP and TD Garden professionals to create content and project curriculum that 1,600 teachers are using with students to investigate zero waste and develop solutions to help achieve it. Student projects are tailored per grade span and include: 

  • prototypes to extend usability of food resources (Grades K-2);
  • solar-powered devices to conserve energy usage (Grades 3-5);
  • “extractinators” to capture microplastics from bodies of water (Grades 6-8); and
  • approaches to a more sustainable product life cycle for electronics (Grades 9-12).

STEM professionals from BAE Systems, Microsoft, National Grid, Wayfair and many other organizations, will provide authentic feedback on the solutions and show by example the future impact students can have in STEM industries like energy, IT, defense, and manufacturing.

“Our administration has been proud to partner with schools, colleges and educational institutions across the Commonwealth to provide students with the tools and skills they need to succeed in STEM industries and beyond,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Massachusetts STEM Week and the STEM Week Challenge allow students the opportunity to develop hands-on skills and experience, and I am grateful to Lt. Governor Polito for her leadership on this initiative in her capacity as Co-Chair of the STEM Advisory Council.”

The STEM Week Challenge takes place Oct. 21 through Oct. 25 during Mass STEM Week, a statewide effort to boost the interest, awareness and ability for all learners to envision themselves in STEM education and careers. Partners from Dell Technologies, MassDEP, and TD Garden have provided real-world context, problems and experts to bring the STEM Week Challenge to life.

“Massachusetts STEM Week and the STEM Week Challenge is an exciting chance for students throughout the state to partner and collaborate with industry stakeholders to develop real-world experience and education to see themselves in STEM,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “Our administration is thrilled to partner with the One8 Foundation, Mass STEM Hub, and Project Lead The Way on these initiatives to showcase STEM across the Commonwealth and expand STEM learning opportunities for students and teachers alike.”

To prepare for the STEM Week Challenge teachers were trained on the zero-waste themed curriculum developed by PLTW. The trainings were run by PLTW and master teachers from across the country who have implemented PLTW STEM curricula in their own classrooms. During the training, teachers learned about PLTW’s approach to applied learning and took on the role of a student, completing some of the activities that their students are tackling during the Challenge.


“Students and teachers have engaged in PLTW’s hands-on applied learning experience as part of the STEM Week Challenge. Students were challenged to solve problems regarding zero waste that are relevant in their own communities, and now they have the opportunity to showcase their solutions to education, government, and business leaders,” said PLTW President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Vince Bertram. “This is an exciting opportunity for students to share their solutions, and the high-demand skills they’re developing, such as effective communication, collaboration, and persevering through challenges. These skills are transportable across industries and will serve them well no matter what career path they choose.”

The showcase event at the Reggie Lewis Center takes place Friday, Oct. 25 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Industry judges will select winners of the STEM Week Challenge in several categories both at the showcase event and from online submissions.

For more information please visit

About Mass STEM Hub 
Mass STEM Hub is a program of the One8 Foundation and its mission is to provide schools with access to and support for the next level of STEM education and applied learning that engages students and prepares them to succeed in a rapidly changing, high tech world. Mass STEM Hub has helped scale Project Lead The Way’s K-12 curriculum in engineering, computer science and biomedical science to over 45,000 students in Massachusetts enabling students to learn how to take theory to practice with real world problem solving. Visit to learn more.

About PLTW 
Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is a mission-driven organization that is transforming the learning experience for millions of PreK-12 students and thousands of teachers across the U.S. PLTW empowers students to develop in-demand, transportable knowledge and skills through pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science. PLTW’s teacher training and resources support teachers as they engage their students in real-world learning. Approximately 11,500 elementary, middle, and high schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia offer PLTW programs. For more information on Project Lead The Way, visit

Mass STEM Hub Press Contact: 
Kaileigh Higgins 
Matter Communications on behalf of Mass STEM Hub 
[email protected]

PLTW Press Contact: 
Lauren McConnell 
Director of Media Relations 
[email protected]

News Image