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

Posted by MrMusselman in Burlington Community, Science Center.
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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.

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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.”

suunflower

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.

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

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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.

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Good luck and we look forward to seeing your flowers!

Welcome back! September 2, 2014

Posted by bsciencecenter in Uncategorized.
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Ms. Pavlicek and Mr. Musselman wish you a wonderful school year! Welcome back!

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Shifting to the Next Generation of Science in Burlington Elementary Schools August 28, 2014

Posted by MrMusselman in Science Center.
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BScience Next Generation

The Science Center opened the 2014-2015 school year with grade level presentations outlining the coming changes to the entire elementary school science curriculum. The changes outlined are a result of the Massachusetts Department of Early and Secondary Education’s release of their draft revised standards for Science, Technology, and Engineering, expected to be finalized and moved forward for public adoption during the 2015-2016 school year.

During this presentation Ms. Pavlicek outlined the reasons for the DESEs move to revise the standards and the significant changes the new standards will require to the way science is taught across K-12 classrooms. Mr. Musselman then outlined the five year plan designed to introduce new units one at a time, while providing professional development for teachers to better prepare them for the type of “science practice” work expected to be done with students in their classrooms. During the curriculum development and review process, the Science Center will be including teachers in the process of identifying key learning goals, developing curriculum to reach these goals, and assessments that teachers will be able to use to determine students mastery of the standards or “performance expectations.” Modifications have been made to each grade level’s curriculum, year-by-year, starting in the fall of 2016 to ensure that students do not experience gaps in their science learning and that a well.

Also introduced to the teachers was Science A-Z, a resource associated with Reading A-Z that will provide teachers with leveled readers across the curriculum and for their grade level. The Science Center and Mobile Learning teachers Diana Marcus and Jenn Scheffer will be helping teachers integrate these resources into their 1:1 classrooms.

The fifth-grade presentation has been embedded into this blog above. To see the presentations shared at every grade level follow this link to the Burlington Science Folder sharing the August PD presentations.

Volunteeer at the Burlington Community Gardens! August 21, 2014

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SummerSTEM: Engaging Students through Programming and Robotics July 18, 2014

Posted by MrMusselman in Science Center.
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Today marks the end of a wildly successful pilot of the Burlington Programming/Robotics SummerSTEM camp, spawned after the well received “hour of code” earlier this year by me and Francis Wyman’s IT Specialist, Ben Schersten. With the focus on learning basic strategies and methods applied by computer programmers and robotics engineers, our two-week course primarily utilized “Hopscotch,” an iPad app using “Blockly” computer language, and a dozen Lego NXT kits funded through a grant a few years ago at the Francis Wyman Elementary.

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Mr. Schersten sharing the html code of his website.

With relatively little direct instruction students went from being relative novices in computer language and coding concepts, to mechanical and software “engineers”, problem solving everything from coding miscues to optimal gear placement on the robots axles. Many students integrated the use of sensors to build robots that avoided walls while attempting to maneuver balls from one side of the room to the other. Receiving only rough, open-ended guidelines for much of the camp, students seemed to work tirelessly on their projects, some even groaning when recess or snack brought a “mandatory” break and in some cases coming to camp 10 to 15 minutes early to get a little “extra time” with their Hopscotch program.

To emphasize the importance of robotics and computer science in their community, we spent one day on the second week on a field trip to two robot companies in the area, Harvest AI and iRobot. Their kids were wowed as the Harvest prototypes, “Shaq” and “Skip” endlessly carted potted plants to their watering and sunlight destinations. Our hosts were kind enough to show us the electrical wiring inside one of their other bots and the display sharing the hundreds of lines of commands being used by the bots as they made their way around the warehouse. At iRobot we received a historical tour sharing the evolution of iRobot’s most popular models and learned about how robots were best used when doing jobs people classified under the “Three D’s: Dull, Dirty, or Dangerous.”

Along the way students also dabbled in Scratch, exploring how different coding platforms still use the same skills and concepts. During the first week students also participated in a few Computer Science Unplugged activities, teaching students about how computers use binary numbers to compute numbers, compress image files, and debug programs where the code is translated in error.

With the Burlington school system further investing into its LEGO Robotics infrastructure, Ben and I are looking forward to expanding the robotics camp and programming opportunities available to our students in the future!

Mr. Musselman and Mr. Schersten would like to thank Harvest AI and iRobot for graciously hosting us, and our student volunteers from the high school and middle school who volunteered their time and talents to share and work with our students!

Planting at the Burlington Community Garden June 23, 2014

Posted by bsciencecenter in Burlington Community.
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Matster Garnder, Peter Coppola, and the first grade classrooms at Francis Wyman School spent the morning planting at the Burlington Community Gardens behind their school.  Their excitment was evident as the students came rushing to tell me about their future gardening adventure.

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Mr. Coppola gave the students a tour of the different areas within the garden.  He explained the difference between the leased plots for families/residents vs. the area designated for people who are in need of food assistance (food pantry garden).

Mr. Coppola then talked to the first grades about moving about within the garden.  He demonstarted the differnce between the row (where we can walk) and the bed (where we can not walk).  He also introduced the basic tools the students would be using for their planting.

Mr. Coppola explaining the difference between a bed and a row

Mr. Coppola explaining the difference between a bed and a row

Each class had the opportunity to introduce sprouted plants intto the soil and the opportunity to plant seeds directly in the ground.  Mr. Coppola described the steps on how to correctly place each plant into the ground.  Each student was given a small shovel for digging and a watering can for watering.

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Mr. Coppola describing the steps on how to plant in the soil

First graders at their planting beds

First graders at their planting beds

Some of Francis Wyman’s fourth grade classrooms also planted items at the garden the following week.

The Science Center currently supports plant science and sprouting seeds throughout several grades in the elementary schools.  We aspire to connect gardening with the science curriculum over the next few years.  The community garden is a great way  to extend the learning from the classroom into the outdoor environment.   It is an important tool for children to learn how we get produce and where their food originates from.  Our goal is to help connect our youth with nature, provide them with a meaningful outdoor experience and to educate them about ways they can help conserve our environment.

If you are interested in leasing a plot or volunteering, please contact the science center at pavlicek@bpsk12.org or Peter Coppola at petercoppola@rcn.com

 

 

Squid Dissections at Memorial School June 12, 2014

Posted by MrMusselman in Science Center.
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Squid Dissection 1 Mem
The fifth graders at Memorial did a fantastic job with a science investigation that is widely considered a “right of passage” for students entering the Marshal Simonds Middle School next year. The squid dissection is an opportunity for students to use their observation skills to explore the similarities and differences between human and animal body systems. Teachers guide students through the steps and thinking scientists go through when exploring an organisms insides (and outsides!)

Check out some of the short Vine videos Mr. Musselman took while guiding the students through the dissection by clicking on the pictures!

 Squid Dissection Mem 2

Squid Dissection Mem 3

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