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Fox Hill First-Grader Wins Telescope in “Sky Observation” Challenge June 1, 2018

Posted by MrMusselman in Burlington Community, Science Center.
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Mr. Musselman, Elise Hom, and her brand new Vivitar 50x/100x refractor telescope!

First-grader, Elise Hom was presented with her very own Vivitar refractor telescope yesterday during the K/1 lunch period at Fox Hill School. Between March and April, first graders from all over Burlington participated in the “Observe your Sky” challenge. These sky scientists observed and recorded whether or not the sun was still present in the sky when they went to bed and when they woke up in the morning. Students who recorded observations for a month submitted their data tables to the Science Center, which were then entered into a raffle. Elise’s name was picked and is the first winner of what will become an annual competition!

The Burlington Science Center would like to thank Northern Bank for their generous donation of the telescopes and the seventy-plus students representing all four elementary schools who participated. While these students may not have won the telescope they did collect data like real scientists and uncover the changing amounts of daylight hours during the spring season!



Science Center Aides Celebration May 29, 2018

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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!

Earth Day Celebration Day May 23, 2018

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The Science Center participated in Fox Hill’s second annual Earth Day Celebration. Fox Hill Librarian/Media Specialist Patrick Murphy planned this engaging, hands-on, school-wide learning experience. The theme of the day was “Small Actions With a Big Impact.” The purpose of the event was to teach students simple, yet powerful ways they can be stewards of the planet, help wildlife, connect with nature, combat climate change, grow a garden, help save bees, the benefits of recycling, and how to help make Fox Hill a green school.  Mrs. Pavlicek & Mrs. Hogan educated students on the live animals (owl, snake, tortoises, falcon).

The Earth Day celebration has a strong connection to our science curriculum.  First graders learn about plant and animal parts and functions, second graders go more in depth and learn about animals and their habitats, third graders study forces and motion, fourth graders explore the Earth’s changing surface, and fifth graders examine the Earth’s place in the Universe. The Earth Day event brings these curriculum concepts to life for our students and sparks even more curiosity to study science and the planet.

Ethan Rousseau builds raised beds At Pine Glen School for Eagle Scout Project May 7, 2018

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Ethan Rousseau decided to build raised garden beds at Pine Glen Elementary School for his eagle project. Ethan researched and designed the beds. He also asked and received several donations for materials/supplies. He was able to finish his project within 2.5 months. The goal of his project was to provide an area for students to learn about growing plants and agriculture. We are very proud of Ethan and would like to thank him and his volunteers for their hard work and dedication to the Burlington Community.

Lisa Screnci-Hughes honored with Exemplary Science Teaching Award May 4, 2018

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Second grade teacher, Lisa Screnci-Hughes of Francis Wyamn Elementary School was honored by the Science Center and the North Shore Science Supervisors Association (NSSSA) with the “Exemplary Science Teaching Award.”  This award was presented during the NSSSA’s end of year banquet at the Danversport Yacht Club.  The Burlington Science Center is a member of the NSSSA and nominated Lisa for her outstanding hard work and dedication to the sciences as a classroom teacher and to developing our new science curriculum. We are so proud of her!  The Science Center appreciates her passion for teaching and her dedication to the students of Burlington Public Schools!

Pictured below (left) is Lisa with Director of the Science Center, Wendy Pavlicek-(right) with principal Nicole MacDonald-(below) with past Science Center Director John Papadonis

Girl Scout Troop Cleans Up Pine Glen School Conservation Trail May 2, 2018

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Girl Scout Troop 69030 contacted the Science Center about cleaning up the Pine Glen Elementary School Conservation Trail.  We were thrilled that the scouts wanted to help out with making the world a better and cleaner place.   They saw wild turkeys and a garter snake.  The girls rakes leaves, cleaned out brush and branches and also picked up any trash on the trail.  The girls were also working toward one of the requirements of the Junior Girl Scout Way badge! They did wonderful job and we are very proud of them! A special thank you to scout leader Akiko Coram for guiding the girls through the process.  Thank you all for your hard work and dedication to nature and to Burlington.

2018 Pumpkin Growing Contest April 26, 2018

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Every other year the Science Center holds a growing contest for Burlington’s elementary students.  This year’s contest is the largest pumpkin!  Every classroom K-5 receives a greenhouse growing kit from the center so each student can sprout their own plants to take home.

photo 2-4

The Science Center will send out entry forms to take home with your students.  All pumpkins will be weighed in the FALL by the Burlington Post Office and will receive an official stamp from the post office.  The pumpkin cut-off “weigh date” will be Friday, September 28th.  All entries must be turned into the Science Center by Friday, October 5, 2018.  Please include a photo of your pumpkin! You can get the entry form and information here.

We will award prizes for the top 3 heaviest pumpkins.  All growers who participate in the contest will receive a certificate and goody bag.  Good luck and don’t forget to take a picture of your plant for us to share! (no matter how big or small it is)

Her are some pictures from our last sunflower contest in 2012.


Modeling Changes to Earth’s Surface: Where Would You Build? April 11, 2018

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Pine Glen fourth graders got an opportunity to play waterfront developer during their stream table investigation this week. After creating what was discovered to be a model stream/river and beach, students were given the opportunity to decide where they would build homes on the landform site.

Oh my delta!

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More modeling…

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Some went for big risk, big reward while others took a more conservative approach. In the end many realized that the power of moving water was a force to be reckoned with! Along the way they considered how their small scale model might provide evidence for how larger landforms such as canyons and deltas form on our Earth’s surface.

Some amazing Pine Glen geologist explaining the changes to their earth surface model. #bpschat #elngsschat

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Enroll Now in LEGO Robotics Summer Programs! April 9, 2018

Posted by MrMusselman in Burlington Community.
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Scenes from FLL boot camp @burlingtonsummerprogram

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Spring has sprung which means summer registration for our LEGO Robotics programs are now open! Along with an improved FIRST LEGO League Bootcamp program now in its fourth year running, we will be offering a new “WeDO Robotics program for incoming second and third graders. Programs are facilitated by Mr. Musselman, Burlington elementary teachers, and middle school age mentors from the MSMS FLL Robotics Team.

Diamond Dragons ready to roar! #bpschat #OMGrobots @bhsrobotix

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Both programs will operate during the first week of the summer programs offered through the Burlington Public Schools at Memorial Elementary. Space is limited so enroll now. A nominal, but non-refundable deposit must be submitted with your registration form to hold your spot. Open the registration forms below for more information regarding dates, cost, and other registration details.

FLL Bootcamp Summer Flyer (Grades 4-6)

WeDO Robotics Summer Flyer (Grades 2-3)

Emergency Contact and Medical Form (required for both programs)

Exploring Ever Changing Habitats on Plum Island April 4, 2018

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Students overlook the Parker River Wildlife Refuge salt marsh at low tide.

To support second grade’s life science curriculum transition to habitats this spring, the Science Center coordinated field trips with the Mass Audubon Society for all of our grade two classrooms to the Joppa Flats Education Center on Plum Island. These programs are facilitated by a mix of Mass Audubon educators and volunteers who are passionate about introducing our youth to the often overlooked, but invaluable Parker River Wildlife Refuge, and estuary at the mouth of the Parker and Merrimack River home to a diverse and abundant amount of wildlife.

Students started on the salt marshes of the Parker River, investigating the organisms that make their home in the habitats thick sea hay and the role the ebb and flow of the tides play in bringing life to and from the ocean and the marsh. They slopped through porous ground and vegetation, hunting for “coffee bean snails” and other creatures that make their home in the detritus layers of the marsh as its native ducks would.

Ducking around in search of coffee bean snails! Our spoons are like duck bills!

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A short bus ride away, students clambered over sand dunes that had overcome the  boardwalk during the March storms on their way to the beach. They mimicked the behavior of piping plovers making nests on the island’s beach and dunes while learning about how their nesting grounds are protected by the reserve during their nesting season. Students caught a glimpse of the reconstruction efforts of the sea walls along the islands more developed area before learning about how the sand dunes interlocking roots create natural barriers for the salt marsh and land further inland.

The boardwalk is covered in sand! What caused this sand to cover our path?

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What is the human impact on this habitat?

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Modeling piping plover nests!

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All the while students braved the elements, with stronger winds and cooler temperatures than those found in Burlington. Our students were very engaged and we look forward to making connecting between these habitats and those they will explore closer to home later in May when they investigate the many habitats found at the Mill Pond Reservoir.