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2014 Sunflower Contest Winners! October 22, 2014

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This past spring, each student in Burlington K-5 had the opportunity to plant and sprout seeds in their classrooms.  The students then took their sunflowers home to be planted.

 We are pleased to announce the winners of The Burlington Science Center’s Largest Sunflower Contest!   Each winner receives an award certificate, prizes and picture in the newspaper.

Suflower Height:  Benjamin Parrillo (Grade K) Pine Glen School

Plant Height: 150 in. / 12.5 feet

benjamin parillo 1st height

Largest Seed Head:  Amber & Camryn Hill (Gr. 4 & 2) Memorial School

Flower Head:  18 & 17 inches wide

Camryn & Amber Hill 1st seed head

Camyrn Hill 1st seed head

We would like to acknowledge the runner’s up finalists!

2nd & 3rd Place Sunflower Height:

Brady McGonagle (Grade 5 Fox Hill School)  144 inches / 12 feet

BMcGonagle-2nd height

 Bryan & Scott Bottiglio (Grade 6 MSMS & Grade 4 Francis Wyman) 142 inches / 11.8 feet

Bottiglio bryan & Scott 3rd height


2nd & 3rd Largest Seed Head:

Nataleigh Barrucci (Grade 6 MSMS)  Seed head diameter: 16 inches

Barrucci-2nd seed head

 Alex Burke & Tommy Hayes (Grade 2 & 5 Francis Wyman School) & Sonali Patel (Grade 2 Fox Hill School)

Burke 3rd seed head2


Tommy Hayes 3rd seed head


We would like to congratulate all of the students who participated of our sunflower contest! Each participant received an honorary gardener award and goody bag of prizes.  We are very proud of yourhard work!  Photos of students and their sunflowers will travel into the lobby of each school for a week.


A Poem About Our Class Pet October 9, 2014

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Poem by Ella and Emma 4th graders in Mrs. Visocchi’s at Pine Glen School



Class pet of 213

Lover of carrots, hay and bouncing

Who feels passionate about lettuce, anxious to hop, and is excited to be back with Mrs. Visocchi

Who needs to play, jump and get exercise

Who gives our room excitement, energy and a thrilling feel

Who fears getting stomped on, coming out of his cage, and who fears being alone

Who would like to brighten up the classroom, go in and out of his cage whenever he wants, and see Snoopy dance

Resident of Burlington





Science Night at Fox Hill School October 3, 2014

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The Science Center and Fox Hill’s PTO held “Science Night” Thursday evening for Fox Hill School Elemntary School.  This free event for students and their families was centered around science fun and exploration.  The Science Center had several activities going on throughout the evening, all which focused on the them of “night-time.”

Ms. Pavlicek and the Science Center aides shared a variety of nocturnal animals, which included cockroaches, taranula, snakes, salamanders, hedgehogs, geckos and an owl.   Families could get a close-up view, ask questions and even get a chance to touch or hold some of the animals.



There was a “mystery matter” activity where students made observations and predictions about whether the unique substance was a liquid or a soild.




Mr. Musselman was demonstrating the use of a telescope while students were able to look through the scope at an image of the the moon.



There were several science arts and crafts areas where students could create and take home something to remember.  These included creating their own constellation using stars with chalk and a glow-in-the-dark north star/big dipper poster to hang in their bedroom.



Families could practice their engineering skills while designing and building a straw rocket.  Rockets were launched from a  starting line and tested for how far they could fly.


A special highlight was the blow-up planetarium shows which were hosted by retired Mr. Papadonis! What a treat!


The high school robotics team shared information and recruited volunteers for after school robotics clubs at the elementary schools.


It was a great event and fun was had by all! We would like to thank the Fox Hill PTO, Jamie Jaffe, David Daley, Cambridge College volunteers, Mrs. Hogan and Wesley, crossing guard Mrs. Welch, Science Center aides, and Mr. Papadonis for all their help.

What’s “Bean” Going on at the Burlington Community Garden September 24, 2014

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First grades at Francis Wyman visited the Burlington Community Garden with Peter Coppola this month to harvest the beans they planted this Spring at the end of the 2014 school year.  The students were very excited to see how much the beans had grown over the summer.  Mrs. Farmer shared the story and pictures and are highlighted below.

beans collecting

beans collecting 2

The first graders left a trail of bean pods walking back to the school. In the early 1800s the U.S. Government relocated the Cherokee Indian Nation from Georgia and Tennessee to Oklahoma. Along the way these native Americans dropped seeds; one of them, a bean grew and way saved by settlers and today it is known as the Cherokee trail of tears.


trail beans

The first graders then took the bean plants back to the classroom and removed the beans from the plants.


beans 2

beans 3

Next they will let the bean pods dry out and then pack the beans in jars. Rice will be added to the jars to help keep the beans dry.   These beans will be planted in the spring in the Community Garden so that next year’s first graders can then harvest the beans from those plants.  Awsome!!

Be sure to check out the original post on Ms. Farmer’s blog here and for more pictures of the bean harvesting.

Special thanks to Mr. Coppola for his work with the first grades.

Burlington Lego Robotics Club Fall 2014 Update September 19, 2014

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Students from this past summer's robotics program.

Over the summer, the Burlington Science Center was pleased to hear its calls for investment had been heard by city administration, and resources for the kits and tools needed for middle school and elementary school level “robotics clubs” would be made available. The news was met with great delight, but also uncertainty as only the Burlington High School has a formal robotics club engaged in competitions. With the school year now a few weeks underway, plans have emerged and new initiatives are underway that will expose a younger generation of Burlington students to the world of robotics previously unseen.

For starters, a Robotics Club is already underway at MSMS. The club is being run by science teacher, Jourdan Marino and plans to host its first of ten weekly meetings after school next Tuesday. Student volunteers from the “BHS Robotix” team are participating as mentors and there is potential for parents to also be involved in supervision and participation. See below for details.

Given the nature of the FIRST Lego League competition, registration costs, and regulations, teams will not be registered this fall at the elementary or middle school level. There are, however, conversations ongoing with elementary teachers and administrators regarding running after school robotics clubs at each of our K-5 schools sometime during the academic year. These clubs would be run in similar fashion to those previously run at Francis Wyman. You can review this blog post from a previous year for a better idea of what these clubs look like. It is likely most of these programs will run in the spring when the high school robotics volunteers are done with their own competition season and can be regular mentors within these clubs to the students involved.

Boys with robots from summer programIdeally, all of these clubs (MSMS included) may be nurtured into FIRST Lego League teams prepared to participate in the fall of 2015. Along with these after school clubs, we hope to provide a summer offering to kids that mirrors FIRST Lego League challenges in July 2015 and provide info sessions / workshops for parents interested in volunteering to run these programs in the fall. Parent / community participation is key to the FIRST Lego League effort as these teams tend to meet at a minimum of once a week for a few hours or twice a week for 90 minutes or so to achieve their goals. Again, we will not be reaching for this until next fall, but hope to put down some foundational work in the spring and summer so that we may pique student interest and give all involved a better sense of what such a club and competition involves.

For more about FLL please visit their website where they have lots of information for prospective coaches and participants.

If you have additional questions or are interested in volunteering with one or more of these robotics clubs, do not hesitate to contact Sean Musselman at the Science Center by email or by phone. Our office number is 781-270-1835.

Burlington Knights of Columbus Donates 3D Printer to Burlington Science Center September 16, 2014

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On Monday evening of September 15th, the Burlington Knights of Columbus voted and agreed to donate over $4000 to the Burlington Science Center for the purchase of a new 3D Printer and accompanying hardware and software. The generous donation is a boost to the school system that has already had some success using 3D printers at both BHS and the Marshall Simonds Middle School.

The funds will go to the purchase of a Makerbot Replicator and a Microsoft Surface PRO computer equipped with the necessary 3D printing software required to use the printer. The printer will be installed at the Marshall Simonds Middle School under the helm of science teacher, Jourdan Marino, whose work with students last year to create a 3D printed arm for a Medford child born without one brought local attention to Burlington and caught the eye of Knights of Columbus members within the local organization.

Makerbot Replicator

The Science Center would like to personally thank Knights of Columbus members Charles McLean and Arthur MacDonald for their personal involvement in procuring the funds and interest in the work being done at the Burlington schools using 3D printers. The Science Center will share more information on 3D printing developments at MSMS and BHS along with many other engineering and technology initiatives across the district.

Baby Snapping Turtle September 11, 2014

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This baby snapping turtle was found in the middle of the road by the mail carrier yesterday.  It was still covered in sand as it had just hacthed form its nest in search of water.  If you look closely you can still see the yolk sac on the plastron (bottom side) of the turtle’s shell.

photo 2-3


photo 1-4

Yolk sac on plastron (bottom shell)

It takes about 3 months for snapping turtles to hatch from their nest.  The temperature of the egg in nest determines whether it is a male or female. To learn more about Common Snapping Turtles click here.

Science Center Newsletter 2014-2015 September 8, 2014

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The Science Center 2014-2105 newsletter is now available. Check it out below.

Calling all Sunflowers! September 5, 2014

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Last spring, the Science Center gave each student in the town of Burlington an opportunity to sprout and take home their very own sunflower plants and participate in our “Largest Sunflower Contest.”


Here are the details:

-All entries are due by September 30th!

-Please take a photo of you with your sunflower and attach it to your entry form or send your photo to pavlicek@bpsk12.org.  (You do not need to bring in your flower to school but we encourage you to dry out the head and keep the seeds to plant for next year)

-Measure both the height of your sunflower -from the ground to where the flower begins.

photo 1-4

-Measure the diameter of the seed area only-exclude the petals of the flower.

photo 2-3

Next week, classroom teachers will receive the contest entry forms.  Click here to print and fill out an entry form.  You can send the form and your picture to the Science Center via mail or pavlicek@bpsk12.org or ask the classroom teacher to put it through the office mail.


Good luck and we look forward to seeing your flowers!

Welcome back! September 2, 2014

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Ms. Pavlicek and Mr. Musselman wish you a wonderful school year! Welcome back!



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