Connect communities to light the imaginations of students and inspire them to be the next generation of makers and doers.
What Big Idea Week Does
1. Teaches students to see real-world problems as opportunities for innovation.
Big Idea Week builds students' curiosity and confidence by giving them the tools to bring their own ideas to life. The program encourages students to see the world through the eyes of an entrepreneur -- as problem solvers, risk takers and innovators.
2. Supports development of 21st-century skills.
The project-based curriculum introduces students to 21st-century careers and teaches standards-aligned skills, from critical thinking and creativity, to collaboration and communication. Throughout the week, students practice researching, writing, public speaking and more.
3. Creates important community connections.
Many students have heard of Twitter but have never met an app developer. Big Idea Week bridges that gap. The program tightens community relationships between public schools and the local workforce, as students and mentors engage in an exchange of ideas and inspiration.
4. Instills responsibility in the tech sector.
Big Idea Week gives the New York City tech and design industry an opportunity to take social responsibility more seriously, and give back to their local communities in a meaningful way. The program allows STEM professionals to serve as role models and mentors, bringing the curriculum to life.
Companies of participating mentors
Special thanks to:
Julia Guo, Alicia Ademerovich, Natalie Be'er, Mike Zuckerberg, Brittany Nugent and Allison Sims for branding and website design; Shannon Carroll and Elizabeth Warren of Vivid Story; Photographers Tory Williams and Rowa Lee
Big Idea Week started as a collaboration between the Dumbo Improvement District and Alex Rappaport, a co-founder of Brooklyn-based education company Flocabulary. With funding from a city initiative called the BID Challenge, they set out to develop a program that would build a bridge between Dumbo startups and PS 307, an elementary school a few blocks away.
From the start, Alex wanted to turn the traditional idea of a career day on its head, and give students a full immersion into the entrepreneurial mindset. With the help of the Dumbo BID and Flocabulary's curriculum team, Alex brought together an all-star crew of STEM, media and design professionals and launched the inaugural Big Idea Week in May 2013.
The program returned to PS 307 in 2014, and expanded to ten schools in Brooklyn and Queens in 2015. In this most recent iteration, Big Idea Week engaged 40 mentors to reach 500 NYC students.
What started as a way to strengthen a community has now become a model of project-based learning, connecting STEM to real life and teaching young students about entrepreneurship, 21st-century skills and careers, and new verticals of success. After seeing the impact the curriculum has had in NYC, Big Idea Week is now offering online resources to help schools all across the country host their own Big Idea Week programs.