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“Mission Moon” Accomplished as Junior Engineers Share Designs with Burlington Community May 15, 2019

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Several hundred K-5 students, family, friends and volunteers converged on Burlington High’s cafeteria for the first ever locally hosted “FLL Junior Expo”. Over 100 students from all four elementary schools were represented, standing proudly beside their imaginatively designed lunar bases, sharing what they learned about the challenges and their imagined solutions for living on the moon.

Presenters referenced their “Show Me” posters along the way to share their journey of learning over the twelve-week after school program that culminated with the Saturday morning Expo. A number of the Marshal Simonds Middle School Robotics Team members who supported the after-school programs were also on hand to demonstrate the FIRST Lego League “Into Orbit” challenges undertaken during their fall season. The BHS Devilbotz also shared their technician’s “pit” and demonstrated some of the features on their robot from the “FIRST Robotics Competition” season.

Nearly all of the teachers who ran the after-school programs also participated in the event, supporting the students lunar base setup before the exhibit hall doors opened before participating as award announcers and distributors during the closing ceremonies. Teachers and student volunteers also led the line dance many participants enjoyed as the event finale to celebrate the community they had become. The Burlington Science Center is extremely grateful for all of the teachers and volunteers who came together to make this happen. We are already gearing up for next year’s FLL Junior theme: “Boomtown Build” recently unveiled by the FIRST organization that designs the kits and instructional materials in collaboration with LEGO.

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Scout collaborates with Science Center on “Pets” Merit Badge May 1, 2019

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Lucas Meyers from Marshal Simonds Middle School completed his “pets merit badge” as part of the Scouts Program. Lucas collaborated with the Science Center to achieve this award. His project included a care journal, informational video training methods and personal reflections about his pet dog named Penny. Congratulations and we are very proud of you!

BPS Second Graders Tackle Beach Erosion on Plum Island April 26, 2019

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As a part of all BPS second graders new “Earth’s Changing Surface” units, students have been exploring how wind and water change our Earth’s surface and investigating engineered solutions. Solutions such as beach grass and sea walls are commonly found along the U.S. coastline and play a particularly important role for the residents of Plum Island in Newburyport.

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It was a wet and windy day at Joppa Flats yesterday, but we’ve learned so much about our constantly changing coastline! 💨 🌊

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To act on our student learning and support Plum Island’s population of both people and wildlife, second graders from all four elementary schools participated in a field trip to Plum Island to learn more about the beach ecosystem and lend a helping hand to the fight against beach erosion by planting dune grass in sections of barren dunes on the north side of the island. The planting location was selected in coordination with the Joppa Flats Mass Audubon team, directed by Lisa Hutchings and resident volunteers of Plum Island and many surrounding communities.

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Students from Pine Glen Elementary try their hand at planting new dune grass bundles on the backside of a sand dune. The dune grass’ root system will help stabilize and support the dune in the years to come!

While half of a school’s second graders attended the field trip, the half remaining at home participated in a full day of science investigations, including searching for the source of the Merrimack River using Google Earth, an erosion scavenger hunt of the school grounds, and the use of the Science Center’s state of the art Landform Model Sandbox, a tool using a digital projector to create an “augmented reality” experience demonstrating landforms, watersheds, and flooding!

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Picking a place to live in our augmented reality sandbox. Here comes the flood rains! #bpschat

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The Science Center and Mass Audubon were both thrilled with the results as were the residents of Plum Island. Our students were even featured in a news article from the Newburyport News! The Science Center looks forward to continuing this collaboration with Mass Audubon in the years to come.

Burlington High School Wellness Day March 14, 2019

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The Science Center Participated in Burlington High School’s “Wellness Day” recently. This was opportunity to put aside the typical high school schedule and allow students to take classes and workshops of their choice. Teachers and staff ran a variety of workshops of their choice, which included cooking, surfing, coloring for relaxation, instrumental jam session and much more! The Science Center offered 4 sessions called “Animal Adventures,” where students got up close and personal with a variety of creatures. This was offered to students whom do not typically work in our center. We received great feedback and enjoyed sharing our love our animals together.

Elbert the Alligator Makes A Snappy Surprise at BEF Trivia Night March 7, 2019

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Burlington Science Center employees and supporters, past and present were on hand at the Burlington Education Foundation’s annual BEF Trivia Night. Participating as team “Reality Bites” Miss Pavlicek and Mr. Musselman brought along Elbert the Alligator to partake in the evening’s festivities. Elbert made his presence felt at all of the team’s competitor tables, including the School Committee’s!

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The BEF regularly supports the Science Center’s endeavour to bring “Science to Life” by seeding our programming great and small, including the Science Center starlab, infrared camera, and chick hatching incubator equipment. Miss P and Mr. Musselman thank the BEF for their continued support and a wonderful night out with the Burlington philanthropic community!

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Investigating Magnetic Forces with Francis Wyman Kindergarteners February 13, 2019

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It’s not a magic show… it’s a magnet show! Investigating how magnets behave when they come close together. #bpschat #sci4allss

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With Francis Wyman Kindergarteners launching into forces investigations during the final push to February break, Mr. Musselman visited the school’s five K classrooms to perform magic … (ahem!) magnet programs. The program introduces students to many different scientific ideas and practices through investigations and demonstrations that surprise and create wonder within the students about magnetic materials and their properties.

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What patterns do you see in these magnets?

Mr. Musselman starts the program with a quick tour of the common shapes magnets come in before asking to students to identify patterns (things that repeat or are the same) between the magnets introduced (Hint! The S is on the backside of the ring magnet!)

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Opposite poles attract… but what happens when we bring the same poles together?

Students then investigate what happens as magnetic poles “pull toward” or “attract” one another when they are different, but appear to “push” or “repel” away when they are the same!

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Annie “fishes” for magnetic materials while Mr. Musselman constructs the data chart with help from the audience.

Students also investigate and chart what happens when different materials are brought toward magnets and wonder why some materials seem to attract to the fishing pole magnet while others do not.

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The neodynium magnet has surprising strength!

Six Kindergarteners are later put to the test to determine if they can out-pull the incredible force of Mr. Musselman’s electromagnet before a final investigation of three different magnets and their properties to determine which magnet is the strongest!

Special thanks to Mrs. Cook and Mrs. Guanci for a number of the pictures and video taken during today’s programs!

Elementary Students Shoot for the Moon with new LEGO Robotics Program January 24, 2019

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Students at all four elementary schools have set their sights for the moon with the launch of the FIRST Lego League Junior Mission Moon program. The program is now in its third week and over 140 students are participating in the program, learning about the conditions on the moon and the challenges humans face for sustained survival on its surface.

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Fox Hill’s Mission Moon engineers getting to business building their lunar rovers and resource shelters! #bpschat

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Students have formed collaborative teams of three and four to embark on their adventures and recently completed their first robotics challenge of the program, constructing a lunar rover and a supply storage device or facility where critical materials could be deposited and stored. Students are supported by their teachers and several volunteer mentors from the Marshall Simonds Middle School robotics team.

The program wraps up on April 27th at BHS for the Lego League Junior Expo, where all participants will have an opportunity to share what they learned with family and community members.

High School Aides & Winter Wonderland January 11, 2019

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The first grade classes at Pine Glen Elementary School participate in “Winter Wonderland.” This full morning experience includes activities and stations from all subjects in school.  Each year they ask the Science Center to bring some live animals to share with the students. This year we brought some of our high school aides to interact and educate the first grade students. They brought a snake, gecko, hedgehog and a pair of turtles.

Name the Boa Constrictor Winner! January 2, 2019

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We obtained a new boa constrictor for our educational programs. We decided to hold a 5th grade contest to come up with a name for our educational ambassador.  The winner is Gavin Petrone from Francis Wyman School. He picked the name “Sage.” Congratulations!

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Winter Vacation Experiment-Solar Beads! December 20, 2018

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Every year the Burlington Science Center gives a winter vacation experiment to every K-5 student. This year we are giving out “solar beads,” which will allow students to learn about the sun and UV light. Each package of beads goes home with an information sheet and a link to our educational video explaining the science behind the beads. Students can make a bracelet, keychain or other craft project with their beads.

Have a great winter break and we look forward to seeing you in the new year!

Mrs. Pavlicek, Mr. Musselman and Mrs. Hogan