Baltimore Online Algebra for Students in Technology (BOAST) Program

Program Description

The Baltimore Online Algebra for Students in Technology (BOAST) Program is a free asynchronous online program designed to help students think like an engineer by solving math intensive engineering challenges. It is an out-of-school time (OST), fully online program designed to support students’ algebra skillsAlthough online, students will be supported by a nurturing instructor as they work on fun engineering challenges. Any 9th, 10th, or 11th grade student who has passed their Algebra I course with a C or better and attends one of our partner schools is invited to apply. 40 students will be randomly selected to participate in the program. Email [email protected] for more information. School leaders, click HERE for more info.

Watch this short 3-minute video for details.


Student Application – is currently closed. 

The BOAST student application for SY22-23 will open on May 31, 2022.

The deadline to apply was 11:59 PM Wednesday, October 13, 2021.


    • Free, online, out-of-school time (OST), asynchronous program teaching students to solve math and engineering challenges:
      • Bridge Building: Students will propose a new location for a bridge, then use scale calculations to sketch and build an accurate scale model of the bridge. 
      • Vitamin Design: Students will test and apply the principles of mass transfer in the diffusion of sugar as a mechanism for medication release.
      • Technical Rescue: Students will build pulley systems and measure forces required to lift the load and design and build a prototype system for a rescue scenario.
      • Business Optimization: Students will use systems of equations to design and optimize a packing and shipping set up for a business selling STEM material kits.
      • Machine Learning: Students will select variables and k-values to test KNN calculations on a large sample weather data set.
      • Soundproofing: Students will design and build a soundproofing device to target specific frequencies.
      • Urban Heat Islands: Students will collect temperature data in the field and model the cost of improvement options to optimize a solution for an urban heat island. 
      • AppLication: Students will create an app that would be helpful for one of the previously completed Engineering Activities.
    • Guidance by remote instructors through virtual office hours
    • Inspirational role model videos from local engineering professionals and students
    • 3 free field trips to engineering sites throughout the school year
    • Access to mental health professionals
    • Program runs from 11/1/21 – 5/27/22
    • 9th – 11th grade Baltimore City Public Schools students
    • Achieved a C grade or better in Algebra 1
    • Have an emerging interest in engineering careers
    • A desire to strengthen math skills
    • Click here for the list of eligible schools for SY21-22
    • The application opens Tuesday, June 1, 2021
    • The deadline to apply is 11:59 PM Wednesday, October 13, 2021
    • You’ll need your student ID number when applying
    • Students will be notified of enrollment decisions on Monday, October 18, 2021
    • 2-4 hours per week throughout the school year
    • Students will participate in three 10-week sessions:
      • Session 1: 11/1/2021 – 12/23/2021
      • Session 2: 1/3/2022 – 3/11/2022
      • Session 3: 3/14/2022 – 5/27/2022
    • Asynchronous (learning can take place anytime)
    • Access to a dedicated space in your school
      • solve engineering challenges
      • have access to computers
      • work in groups or independently
    • Access to an in-person resource coach
    • Learning can take place anywhere with internet access
    • Materials and tools will be provided to help solve engineering challenges
    • Students are expected to use a Chromebook to access the curriculum
    • A chance to win $1,000 for the highest performing school
    • Preferred status when applying to STEM programs such as Engineering Innovation and Building STEPS
    • Strengthen math skills
    • Expose students to engineering fields
    • Potential to establish professional relationships
    • Learn about new and emergent technologies
    • Identify a staff member to provide support who will be hired and paid by JHU
    • Provide a dedicated space for students to work in such as a computer lab or with access to a laptop cart
    • Maintain secure storage for student kits and in-progress projects
    • Recommend at least 8 interested students (students will have a 50% chance of being randomly selected to participate in the program; see Research Information below for more details)

Research Information

In addition to algebra-for-engineering programming for high school students, BOAST has a research component. With this research, we would like to find out whether participating in BOAST helps students improve math skills, gain more interest in engineering, or develop career goals in STEM (STEM is short for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.) We hope that this study can help more students who are interested in STEM careers reach their goals. By participating in the research, students can help contribute to the success of others in the future. Depending on what school students go to, they can be part of one of two research groups. Students in Group One will participate in algebra-for-engineering lessons and other activities. Students in Group Two will have access to videos of STEM professionals. If they agree to be a part of this study, they may take part in one or more of the following research activities: 

  • Participating in a one-on-one 30-45 minute interview 
  • Taking a survey at the beginning and the end of the school year
  • If you are in Group Two and do not participate in the algebra-for engineering lessons, you will receive a $15 gift card each time you complete the survey.

Throughout the research, students’ information will be kept private. Student names will not be included in the data used in the research. Also, all the data will be kept very secure. Anything students do or say during the research study will be completely private, and it will never be shared with anyone else — not with parents, teachers, or other students.  The research is being conducted by Rachel E. Durham at Notre Dame of Maryland University and Michael Falk at Johns Hopkins University. We are inviting the BOAST participants to participate in the research, but it is completely voluntary. No one can make students take part of this research study, even if they participate in BOAST lessons or other BOAST programming.  If you have any questions about the research study or about what participating means, please contact Rachel Durham at 443-627-1147 or email her at [email protected]She would be very happy to answer any questions about the research study, or about BOAST. 


BOAST is Supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DRL-2005790.

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