Head to the Microsoft Store this month for free STEM workshops

This month, Saturdays are for STEM.

Each Saturday in May, the flagship Microsoft Store on Fifth Avenue is hosting free hands-on workshops that will have kids delving into robotics and anatomy.

“It’s really meant to give students, as well as parents, a hands-on experience to allow them to see STEM [science, technology, engineering, mathematics] in a new and creative way,” said Chad Ortega, special projects manager at the flagship Microsoft Store in New York, who helps oversee educational programming at the location.

During the three-hour workshop, participants will unleash their creativity and learn how to build a sensorized glove using household items like straws, tape and glue. When worn, the glove, which is connected to Excel, measures basic movements — flexion and extension — of a finger. After perfecting their sensor to accurately mimic a finger, students can then use it to control a robotic finger.

The workshops, which will cover the same lesson each Saturday, are geared toward middle school-aged attendees. Though “anyone regardless of age can attend,” Ortega said. “All of our lessons are geared toward an audience that is willing to learn.”

In addition to getting a lesson in biomechanics and anatomy, such as the names and positions of the bones in the hand, the workshop will provide an introduction to how STEM skills can be applied specifically to the medical field to improve people’s lives.

“The goal was to make something incredibly simple, something that can be created with tools that are readily accessible, but also something that I think is powerful,” Ortega said. “The ability for someone to put your finger up and down is something that many of us may take for granted. Hopefully all attending will be able to see the benefit of this education and how beneficial it is to the medical field.”

For more STEM skills

For students looking to explore STEM beyond the workshop — or teachers interested in finding activities for their classroom — Microsoft offers free lesson plans and activities at aka.ms/hackingstem. “We encourage students to look for ways to continue their education, to empower themselves through technology and through science,” Ortega said.


STEM Saturdays runs every Saturday in May from 1-4 p.m. at the flagship Microsoft Store | 677 Fifth Ave., 212-824-3100 | FREE | to sign up visit microsoft.com/stemsaturdays