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Boy Scouts visit the Science Center January 16, 2018

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Burlington Cub Scout Pack 555 visited the Science Center last week.  The center helped the scouts work towards several badges. Topics included composting, plant observations, and endangered vs. extinct animals. The Scouts also learned about the Science Center and how we service the schools and town of Burlington.  The Scouts also received a tour of the center, including the aquaponics lab and live animal center.


Winter Sky Wonderings: Observe Orion! January 8, 2018

Posted by MrMusselman in Burlington Community, Science.
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As we know, the winter nights are long and can be cold, but they also present opportunity to connect with student sky explorations and the patterns of nature!

The January and February sky offers fantastic views of the constellation, Orion – easily identified by his bright, three star belt. Orion chases Taurus the Bull, a V shape constellation that can be seen when scanning up and to the right of Orion. These constellations will be visible in the Southeast sky at nightfall before rising higher in the sky as they slowly march South as night passes. These constellations take a path similar to that of the sun across our sky, a pattern you can connect to with your child by observing the constellation at two different times in the night with a point of reference (such as a tree or street lamp) to indicate that the constellations location in the sky has moved.

Night sky image from: http://www.astronomytrek.com/step-4-interesting-facts-about-orion/

If Orion is still hidden by trees early in January just wait 2-3 weeks. Orion will be even higher and more south in the early evening hours as winter marches on. Orion is a seasonal constellation that can only be seen during one half of the year. During the summer months Orion is high in the sky during the day time!

The use of printable star charts or apps that chart the sky using augmented reality technology can also enhance your sky exploring experience. We hope that you will brave the cold and enjoy what the night sky has to offer with your child!

2017 Name the Alligator Contest Winner January 2, 2018

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We would like to announce the winner of our “2017 Name the Alligator Contest.”  The winner is Madelyn Price from Mrs. Scott’s class at Francis Wyman School.  She picked the name “Elbert.”  Madelyn had her photograph taken for the front page of the Daily Times newspaper and received a goody bag of science prizes.  Congratulations and thank you to all the students who participated.



Instant Snow Holiday Experiment! December 15, 2017

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Mrs. Pavlicek, Mr. Musselman, and Mrs. Hogan would like to wish you and your family a merry holiday break! We will see you in 2018 with even more great science experiments and activities.

Please enjoy your “Instant Snow” experiment, which was delivered to all elementary level students. Teachers can send each student home with the materials to perform the experiment or complete the activity as a class at school! Please be sure to watch our video in your classroom or at home to investigate your instant snow experiment.

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.


“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.


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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

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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!