Spotlight on the STEM Center at RIC – events set for Feb. 16, 17 and 18  

As the curtain rises on RIC Theatre’s production of “Breaking the Code,” the STEM Center at RIC is providing three days of events closely connected to the play, which centers on British mathematician Alan Turing, who played an instrumental role in cracking the code used to coordinate air and U-boat attacks. Turing also laid the theoretical foundations for and helped develop the first digital computers.

Placing an emphasis on recognizing the links between STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) and the arts (STEAM) is important, said Mary Sullivan, director of the STEM Center at RIC.

“We recognize that the creativity attributed to the arts is critical in STEM fields,” Sullivan said “Both the arts and sciences use similar processes to observe, develop a question, form the problem, work through to a solution, share the solution with peers, reexamine, and ultimately arrive at a solution."

Added Sullivan: “The sciences are enhanced by visualization; the subject of many artistic enterprises is often centered in the sciences. Products that utilize both are better than those that consider only one.”

Computer Science Events, Thursday, Feb. 16

Teaching Computer Science by Programming Smartphone Applications with App Inventor

• 5-6:20 p.m. at R.I. STEM Center, Henry Barnard School, Room 214

This event will feature a demonstration and talk by Ralph Morelli, Trinity College and Chinma Uche, Hartford Academy of Mathematics & Science

The two, who currently teach “Computing on Mobile Phones,” will demonstrate App Inventor. This programming system utilizes a drag-and-drop-programming environment that makes it easy for learners to create mobile apps for Android smart phones.

Inaugural Meeting of the Rhode Island Computer Science Teachers Association
• 6:30- 7:45 p.m. in Donovan Dining Center

The CSTA supports and promotes the teaching of computer science and other computing disciplines. This session begins the dialogue to improve Rhode Island’s “report card” in computer science education. Buffet Dinner is available for $10.

Rhode Island College Theatre production of “Breaking the Code”
• Feb. 15 – 18, 8 p.m.; Feb. 18 and 19, 2 p.m.

The RIC Mainstage Theatre presentation of “Breaking the Code” by Hugh Whitemore is a deeply moving story centers on British mathematician Alan Turing, a key figure in cracking the Nazi's Enigma code during World War II and regarded as the father of Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence. 2012 is the hundredth anniversary of his birth. Directed by RIC’s Michael Ducharme.
Cost for General admission is $15. Some complimentary tickets to the play on Feb. 16 are available for attendees of the Inaugural Meeting of the CSTA.
Register for any events on Feb. 16 at

MIT Media Lab presentation “Addressing Skill Gaps through Media,” Friday, February 17
• 9 a.m. -3 p.m. at RI STEM Center, Henry Barnard School, Room 214

The Rhode Island Defense Industry Skill Gap Study commissioned by the Defense Industry Partnership (DIP) identified the need for recruitment into engineering, computer science and information technology programs.

This DIP colloquium addresses that need through a program developed at the MIT Media Lab and the MIT Scheller Teacher Education Program (STEP). STEP works with in-service teachers to change their practices and helps bring the “MIT Experience” to the classroom via new technologies.

The morning program presents an overview of three innovative educational environments and then focuses on one, SCRATCH. The afternoon session will be a hands-on SCRATCH workshop.

Register at

MIT Media Lab Presents SCRATCH Workshop, Saturday, Feb. 18
• 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. at RI STEM Center Henry Barnard School, Room 214

SCRATCH is a programming language that makes it easy to create interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art, and share the creations on the web.

Through creating and sharing SCRATCH projects, programmers learn important mathematical and computational ideas, while also learning to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively.

Attendees of this daylong workshop will consist of pairs, one adult and one student, age 9 and up. Pairs could be parent and child, teacher and student, mentor and mentee.

There is no fee to attend this workshop but registration is required. Register at