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MSMS Devilbotz Rise and Inspire at Lego League Regional Qualifier November 19, 2017

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In just their second year the Devilbotz of Marshall Simonds walked away from their FIRST LEGO League regional tournament with hardware, winning the overall Inspiration Award and Judges Award while advancing one of their four teams to the state qualifier next month.

Coached by MSMS science teachers, Jane Lynch, Jourdan Marino and student mentors from the Burlington High Devilbotz, the team was an formidable presence in the stands overlooking the competition fields and in the “Pit.” Burlington red stood out against other teams from Arlington, Andover, Waltham, Belmont, Scituate, and the hosting City of Newton.

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“Los Chum Buckets” anxiously watch their robot leave the base!

Savage Seven multi tasking!

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On the robotics fields, “Los Chum Buckets” and the “Savage Seven” led the team, with their robots performing multiple challenges in one string of code. Elsewhere, Burlington’s all-female, “Diamond Dragons” excelled in the Core Values challenge, where teams work together under tight time constraints to solve an engineering problem. The Diamond Dragons also earned the “Inspiration Award” as well, given to the team demonstrating extraordinary enthusiasm and spirit.

Diamond Dragons and H2O Flow getting it done ✅ @bhsrobotix #omgrobots

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At the end of the tournament, it was team “H2O Flow” that took the top prize for Burlington, earning a trip to the State Qualifier next month and the “Judges Award” for their problem solving perseverance when told they could not use water in their presentation demonstration (but managed excellent scores anyway!)

Throughout the entire competition the teams demonstrated “Gracious Professionalism” toward each other and their fellow competitors. The event ended with a dance party seemingly led by the Devilbotz and Savage Seven’s, “Jackie the Shark.

Finale dance party with Jackie the Shark at the lead. What a great day for MSMS Robotics! #bpschat

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Congratulations to all of our teams as the MSMS Devilbotz continue to rise in the region as outstanding competitors. Mrs. Lynch and Mrs. Marino were enthusiastic about the great gains the team made this year and hopes to see many return next year when a whole new set of challenges and real world problems await to be investigated and overcome.

Block head!

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Mr. Musselman Honored as one of 2017’s Massachusetts Science Educators of the Year November 6, 2017

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During the MAST conference last week, Mr. Musselman was honored as the “2017 Science Teacher of the Year for Middlesex County.” He sat beside fellow educators from across the state being recognized for outstanding accomplishments. He was acknowledged for his role as the facilitator of the K-8 robotics programs, Burlington curriculum development & implementation, his role as a NSTA curator and the creation of his national NSTA online book on weather and climate. Congratulations, Mr. Musselman!

American Gerbil Society Features Science Center Classroom Pet Program October 12, 2017

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The American Gerbil Society featured the Science Center’s gerbil classroom pet program.  Read about it by clicking the link below.

http://rescue.agsgerbils.org/gerbils-classroom-pets-interview-wendy-pavlicek/

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Creepy Crawly Animal visits October 10, 2017

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October is a popular month for animal visits at the elementary schools. Here are a few pictures from a visit to Mrs. Parnell’s kindergarten class at Pine Glen School. Check out her blog for more pictures.

Science Center Visits the Farmer’s Market October 6, 2017

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The Science Center was invited to the Burlington Farmer’s Market this week. Ms. Pavlicek and high school aides Sam, Hannah and Quentin participated in educating the public about animals. Animals in attendance were a Great Horned Owl, baby alligator, corn snake, gecko and 2 large tortoises. It was a great afternoon and thank you to everyone who helped.

Investigating the Sun with our First Grade Sky Scientists September 27, 2017

Posted by MrMusselman in Science, Student Work.
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Photo Sep 26, 1 09 34 PM

Over the past two weeks, first graders at all of the Burlington elementary schools have been starting their exploration of the patterns we see in our sky by observing their shadows to answer the question: Does the sun move in our sky?

Just about every first grader acknowledges that the alternating day and night we experience is a pattern, but how and why this pattern occurs is often a mystery. To help uncover this mystery, Mr. Musselman has been spending time with each and every first grade classroom outdoors with chalk, clipboards, and some clever use of student feet to observe and measure how student shadows change over the course of the day and how it relates to the sun’s position in the sky.

Students work together (just like scientists!) to trace one another’s shadow.

Early morning shadow measurements at Pine Glen with Miss Jackson’s first graders.

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Then they record the time of day and the length of the shadow by counting how many steps they can take toe-to-toe.

Measuring our morning shadow length with our footsteps.

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Once the measurements have been taken and the time recorded, students add this information to a chart, collecting their data for the day on the chance a rain shower might come and wash their shadow tracings away!

Recording our shadow data into our notebook.

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Later in the day the students record to observe the changes to the length and direction of their shadow. Many students are surprised to see just how far their shadow has moved. They take time in their notebook to describe the new location of their shadow in the sky, sometimes using the cardinal direction they are facing (with the help of Mr. Musselman’s compass app) or by describing an object on the ground that the sun is over.

Afternoon shadow sketches. What happened to the sun?! #bpschat

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Our shadow is a little bit slanted! What does this tell us about our sun?

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The results are in. Our shadow changed and the sun has changed its place in the sky! #bpschat

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Students also take time to observe the shadows of their friends and look for patterns there too. Do all of the shadows appear to be pointing in the same direction? Are all the afternoon shadows shorter or longer than the morning shadows? Are these patterns too? Students answer these questions and make predictions about where they think a shadow might be cast later in the day before wrapping up their day 1 investigations with Mr. Musselman.

On day 2 students return to their shadows once more around the same time they visited the previous day. Is the shadow the same or different? What do we think our shadows will be like at this time during the winter? We will have to investigate more then to find out!

Eagle Scout Raising Funds for Pine Glen Elementary School Garden September 25, 2017

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Every year, several Scouts come to the Science Center looking for potential Eagle Scout Projects that connect with the Burlington Public Schools and community.  The Science Center supports the Scouts with their projects in many ways.  Ethan Rousseau decided on building a school garden at Pine Glen Elementary School, including raised beds and a fence.  Ethan made a video describing his project and the help he needs to get it started. Please support him if you can!

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Classroom Pets September 21, 2017

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The classroom pet program teaches students responsibility and respect for all living things. We offer a variety of all year class pets (hamsters, gerbils, fish) for the K-5 classrooms in Burlington. Pictured below is Mrs. Varrell’s second grade class at Pine Glen School. They are excited to have new animal friends in their classroom.

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New Endangered Massachusetts Snake September 20, 2017

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Introducing the Science Center’s new black rat snake named “Salem.”  Black rat snakes are Massachusetts largest snake.  They are listed as endangered in MA, but are very common in other areas of the United States.  Salem’s owner had passed away, he was found on the property and then given to a local rescue (Rainforest Reptiles Shows Oasis).  Our elder black rat snake passed away this summer and we are pleased to raise a new one and give it a home teaching students in Burlington.  Pictured below is high school student Sam Nicoloro giving Salem some handling time.

Meet a Young Gardener September 18, 2017

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Jake Boossarangsi planted a seed from the science center during his kindergarten orientation last spring at Francis Wyman School.  He did a great job taking care of his plant.  Here is the pumpkin he grew over the summer. Great job Jake, we are very proud of you!IMG_0876