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Local Burlington Business Harnesses Student Interest to Bring STEAM to Life
From LEGO Robotics to art with household objects, Einstein's Workshop gives kids everything they need to explore their creativity
Tucked in the southwest corner of town on the way into Lexington is a place unlike anything else you’ll see in Burlington.
Rebecca Rapoport opened Einstein’s Workshop about 10 years ago as a family-friendly maker space—a place where school-aged children could go to explore science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) concepts with some guidance from facilitators. Since then it has grown into a robust business boasting classes, camps, school visits, and even birthday parties.
After working in high tech for years, Rebecca had enough business ideas to be a serial entrepreneur but not the time to execute them. She put her passion for developing young minds to work as a FIRST LEGO League* robotics mentor when her daughter, Allanna Chung, was in elementary school. When the opportunity came to open her own shop where kids can learn and grow their STEAM skills, she went for it.
The shop started as a way to involved more kids in FIRST LEGO Robotics outside of school, and their work stays true to their robotics roots. There is a FIRST league operating out of Einstein’s Workshop, and kids often take basic skills classes that lead to spots on the team. But the Workshop, with 16 concentrations and pages of class offerings, has grown into something much bigger than a robotics league.
After years of building Einstein’s Workshop and a hiatus while her business partner ran it, Rebecca returned recently. During Rebecca’s time away, Allanna had begun working there—a weekend job that has grown into a mother-daughter business partnership as Allanna takes two gap years to support pandemic recovery efforts.
Today, Rebecca and Allanna have distilled their depth of work into a couple of sentences: “Whatever the kids are into, we work backwards,” says Rebecca. Through classes such as Minecraft Architecture (where kids reconstruct the Seven Wonders of the World and then create one of their own), Art with Household Objects, Parent-Teen Computer Building Workshops, Dungeons and Dragons, and much more, they’re “secretly teaching kids math and programming.”
Allanna is in agreement, saying with confidence what parents and educators everywhere have seen: “When the kids are having fun they’re going to be much more receptive to learning.”
In addition to a curriculum supported with FIRST materials, Einstein’s Workshop has many tools, like a laser cutter, 3D printer, 2 full computer labs, and more. They also offer drop-in maker spaces on the weekend where kids can come work with staff support, STEAM camps on those days when kids are out of school for teacher conferences or professional development, and birthday parties where parents can feel like guests and not event planners.
Einstein’s Workshop has programming is for kids of all ages from kindergarten through grade 12 but, like in any activity, Rebecca and Allanna know that older students tend to grow through the program. Currently their enrollment skews young, but they expect to see today’s elementary students grow into tomorrow’s innovative teens.
Explore this local business’s offerings at their website, or drop in to their location at 25 Adams Street, Burlington.
Long-time Buzz readers will recognize FIRST LEGO League from previous stories about Burlington kids working hard and achieving success.