Using Models to Investigate Forces & Motion September 27, 2016Posted by MrMusselman in Student Work.
Tags: forces, Francis Wyman, Grade 3, Grade 4, Memorial, modeling, Mr. Musselman, video
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In anticipation of Rocket Day 2016, fourth graders all over Burlington have been exploring forces and their effect on an objects motion. In a new twist on a tried and true “Tug-of-War” lesson, Mr. Musselman introduced PhET models to classrooms at the Francis Wyman and Memorial schools. Using their iPads, students were able to access the free models and explore the cause and effect relationship between the forces being applied by the tug-of-war participants and the effect on the large cart of candy in the middle. Check out these student pictures and videos to see how students constructed their own understanding of forces and motion through this very cool simulation!
Science Center Launches First Round of Curriculum Aligned to Revised MA Science, Technology, and Engineering Standards August 30, 2016Posted by MrMusselman in Science Center.
Tags: curriculum, K-5, Miss Pavlicek, Mr. Musselman
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The beginning of every school year is generally marked with excitement and nervous anticipation. Among the many “to-do’s” teachers meet new students, tweak their curriculum, and develop routines to improve their practice and meet their new students’ needs. This year is no different in Burlington elementary classrooms, particularly as the Science Center rolls out new units (and phases out some older ones) in the first year of a multi-year roll curriculum overhaul designed to align our science curriculum with the Revised Massachusetts Science, Technology, and Engineering Standards.
Numerous teachers have spent hours consulting and collaborating with Miss Pavlicek and Mr. Musselman to “backward design” each unit, pilot investigations and lessons, identify small group reading material and beyond. The results are units designed specifically for Burlington, complete with digital teacher guides, rubrics, and student notebooks importable to student devices and open for community review.
The units are available for anyone to view and use (with a few exceptions to materials with subscriptions purchased solely for Burlington teachers). They can be found by clicking on the tab above on the Burlington Science Center homepage titled, “K-5 Science Curriculum“. As you will see, there are still a number of units to be rolled out. Teachers and administrators can expect this year’s focus to be on receiving and responding to feedback, making necessary changes to the new curriculum to better meet student learning goals, and mindfully developing curriculum for the 2017-2018 rollout.
Aquaponics Lab at Burlington High School August 11, 2016Posted by bsciencecenter in Uncategorized.
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Ms. Pavlicek picked up 10 African Tilapia fish from Salem State College a few months ago to help with the start up of an aquaponics lab at BHS. The goal for this lab is to provide an educational experience for students and to harvest the vegetables and fish for the school cafeteria. The Science Center has been managing the start up of the aquaculture system and assisting with general maintenance over the summer.
Aquaponics is the match of aquaculture (the keeping of fish) and hydroponics (soil-less plant growing). Aquaponics can be done on a large scale or in/outside your average home. The fish produce waste and ammonia. The fish waste is providing a food source (fertilizer) for the plants and then the plants filter the water that returns back into the fish tank. Microbes (bacteria) convert the fish waste to nitrites and then into nitrates. The solid waste is broken down and used for food for the plants.
We started our project with tomatoes, lettuce, beans, peppers and basil. We are still in the beginning/learning stages of the system but have already processed 6 bags of lettuce and a handful of beans! The tomatoes should be ready soon for harvest as well.
Check out BCAT’s news brief below for a close-up view of the aquaponics lab.
This is a collaborative project between Mr. Sullivan (BHS principal), Steve Zarba (system design and building manger), Dr. Conti (superintendent of schools) and the Science Center.
Tags: engineering, Mr. Musselman, programming, robotics, summer program, video
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The Burlington Science Center’s summer robotics program has found its rhythm in its third year of operation. A mix of incoming third, fourth, and fifth graders joined the second session of summer programs at the Memorial Elementary School from July 18th – 28th.
During the first week, students engaged in a series of challenges as NASA Jet Propulsion Lab engineers charged with constructing the next Mars rover. Robots were built to exact “NASA specifications” before being programmed to travel precise distances, take tight corners, use touch and ultrasonic sensors to navigate unexplored terrain and light sensors to detect signs of valuable minerals or follow pre-constructed paths on the colony grounds. Each challenge was scaffolded to challenge the engineers to design robots and programs of increased levels of sophistication.
Along the way our students engaged in questions about what roles could and should robots play in our world both now and in the future. Students created and shared Explain Everything presentations illustrating their imagined worlds in which robots completed chores and cleaned up the environment, expressing both the benefits of a robotized society and the challenges (such as jobs and “money loss” that would be faced as a result.)
Our students’ progress and accomplished feats were documented along the way on the Burlington Science Center instagram page. Check it out directly to see all of the fabulous work captured by our students!
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The Burlington Science Center is proud to honor and highlight the career achievements of eighth grade science teacher, Fred Hickman with the North Shore Science Supervisor Association’s 2016 Outstanding Science Teacher Award.
Fred has been teaching at MSMS for 16 years as a biology and physical science teacher. Prior to pursuing a career in education, he was an environmental scientist and vice president for environmental research at Tetra Tech in Pasadena, CA. During that time, he managed high-level environmental impact studies concerning the deployment of strategic and defensive missile systems for the United States Air Force and Army.
As a teacher, Mr. Hickman has been a leader in understanding the importance of the science standards and their reinforcement within the classroom. Fred has designed numerous lab experiments in physics and chemistry for eighth grade students that are now used as the basis for physical science study within the department. Fred’s classroom instruction is centered around student lab investigations and exciting teacher demonstrations. He also serves as a mentor to the other MSMS physical science teachers.
Fred has also taken on an “unofficial” capacity as a member of the MSMS music instructional staff. Fred is a model for aspiring scientists and musicians alike, performing with several organizations including the Metrowest Symphony Orchestra with his bass clarinet and the Shriners Swing Band with his baratone saxaphone.
Above all Fred has been a quality science teacher who cares about his students and their success. Thank you Fred for your continued outstanding service to the town of Burlington and its students!
Burlington Science Center Tomato Contest June 20, 2016Posted by bsciencecenter in Uncategorized.
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Every other year the Science Center holds a growing contest for grades K-5. Every student in Burlington receives, plants and sprouts a specific plant in their classroom. The plants are then sent home to be grown at their own garden.
This year’s contest is the tomato! When your tomato grows to its fullest potential, bring your entry form and tomato to the Burlington Post Offce for the official weight and stamp. All additional information is provided on the entry form link above.
Good luck and we look forward to your entries in the fall!
Eagle Scout Adam Jankowski Rehabs Pine Glen Nature Trail June 14, 2016Posted by bsciencecenter in Uncategorized.
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Eagle Scout Adam Jankowski finished his Eagle Scout Project this spring, with guidance from the Burlington Science Center. The conservation trail behind Pine Glen Elementary School had become overgrown and run down over the past years. The elementary classrooms were unable to use the trail due to unsafe and non-passable conditions.
Adam and his volunteers trimmed, cleared and labeled the nature trail. They filled in deep holes and made sure the trail was safe for students to enjoy. Adam also built and installed 6 post beam nature signs, which includes information about local plants and wildlife found along the walk.
With the help of Adam and his volunteers, the Science Center was able to conduct nature walks with several Pine Glen classrooms this spring. We appreciate all his hard work and dedication to the schools and the natural world. Great job Adam!
Tags: engineering, Francis Wyman, Grade K, Mr. Musselman, Pine Glen, video, weather
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Mrs. Duncan and Mrs. Parnell are wrapped up their year long investigation of weather and temperature with a challenge putting students engineering skills to the test! Our newly developed “Protect the Popsicle” challenge pits students love for these summer treats against the ultimate source of light and heat energy, the sun!
Students in both classes investigated how heat causes many kinds of matter to melt before investigating the many kinds of shade shelters humans already use to stay cool, particularly in the summer sun!
Students then designed and constructed solutions to the challenge of keeping a popsicle frozen in the sun with the help of a shade shelter. Students then considered how to test the shelters, ultimately deciding it would be best to put them out in a sunny spot outside because “we want to be challenged.”
The results were analyzed both qualitatively and quantitatively. Teachers poured what had melted after roughly 10 minutes into a graduated cylinder and kept the frozen contents in the plastic sleeve before asking students to consider how they could tell which shade shelters worked the best. Students were able to determine that their shelters worked well because “more freezepop was left in the plastic” than Mr. Musselman’s control popsicle left out in the sun. Then students counted up from their amount of melted popsicle to Mr. Musselman’s with the help of unifix cubes and other counters to determine the difference between the sunny and shaded popsicle!
Thanks to Mrs. Duncan and Mrs. Parnell for working on developing and piloting this new kindergarten engineering challenge! We are excited to share it with all of the Kindergarten teachers next year! Check out Mrs. Duncan’s blog post for even more information and pictures on how the challenge went.
Science Center at Boy Scouts Expo June 2, 2016Posted by bsciencecenter in Uncategorized.
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The Burlington Scouts hosted an annual Expo event, which recognized the achievements of all scouts and offered information and recruitment opportunities for new members. The event included outdoor activities, games, exhibits, food, campfire, skits and much more. Ms. Pavlicek presented a live animal demonstration and allowed for close up encounters with animals afterwards.
Science Center High School Aides Celebration May 22, 2016Posted by bsciencecenter in Uncategorized.
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The students of Burlington High School can volunteer their time during a study period to work at the Science Center throughout the school year. They work with a variety of animals including mammals, reptiles, amphibians, insects, birds, fish and other invertebrates. Each year we celebrate their hard work and dedication to the Science Center.
Student work in the center includes the handling of live animals, maintenance and care of animal living spaces, diet preparation, assistance with school programs, and the packaging of Science Center classroom materials.
Students often view their experience as a place to connect with animals, gain experience in an area they are considering for college/career and share a common respect with other peers who work with live creatures. We appreciate all their hard work and dedication.
We also honored our seniors. We wish them well in their future endeavors!