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Summer Robotics Students Launch into a World of Programming and Engineering July 29, 2016

Posted by MrMusselman in Science Center, Student Work.
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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.

Day 1 of our summer robotics program. Assembling the bot to NASA specifications! #bpschat

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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.

Team Red: Nick and Alan complete the Red Line Challenge! #devilbotz2876 #bpschat

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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.)

Mrs. Snyder's robotics crew taking in a quick read on the variety of ways robots play a role in our lives. #devilbotz2876 #bpschat

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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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MSMS Teacher, Fred Hickman Honored with Outstanding Science Teacher Award June 22, 2016

Posted by MrMusselman in Burlington Community.
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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.

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Mr. Hickman and Miss Pavlicek at the MSMS eighth grade end of year assembly

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, 2016

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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.

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This year’s contest is the tomato! When your tomato grows to its fullest potential, bring your entry form and tomato to the Burlington Library for the official weight and stamp. All additional information is provided on the entry form link above.

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Good luck and we look forward to your entries in the fall!

Eagle Scout Adam Jankowski Rehabs Pine Glen Nature Trail June 14, 2016

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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!

Kindergarteners “Protect the Popsicle” in Engineering Challenge June 14, 2016

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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!

Protecting the popsicle with our shade structures. What materials do we need? #elNGSSchat

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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.”

Finally have a nice day for Mrs Duncan's students to test their shade shelters and protect the popsicles!

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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!

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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, 2016

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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, 2016

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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.

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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!

Shadow Show at the Burlington Early Childhood Center April 15, 2016

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Is Mr. Musselman’s hand really this big???

Mr. Musselman recently brought the Science Center’s shadow theater to the Burlington Early Childhood Center for a morning of exploring how shadows form, how shadows can change in size, and where we can find shadows both indoors and out. Students wrapped up their light and shadow explorations by working together to trace and illustrate one another’s shadows! Check out the fantastic work done by these Cub Cadets and Kinderstars!

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Working together to trace our shadows!

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Taking our time to trace our shadows just right!

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Time to add my features!

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“Code to the Future” Camp Enrollment Now Open April 15, 2016

Posted by MrMusselman in Burlington Community.
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Please note that the attached flyer below is not affiliated with the Science Center or the Science Center Robotics summer program. For more information on the Science Center program click here. For a PDF flyer with clickable links of the Computer Coding Camp advertised below click here.

BurlingtonSummerFlyer(2016).ss.pages

Now Enrolling Students in Summer Robotics Program March 31, 2016

Posted by MrMusselman in Burlington Community.
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Summer 2016 marks year three of the Burlington Summer Robotics Program for students enrolling as 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders in the 2016/2017 academic year. Last year’s program was a great success! Student were entrenched in the future, programming EV3 model lego robots to do their bidding, learning the fundamentals behind communication and binary code, and probing guest speakers sharing their work as software and hardware engineers with questions. No matter what the interest and experience, there was a little something for everyone!

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This year’s theme will be modeled closely to last years, challenging students to develop prototypes of robot explorers capable of performing a variety of tasks autonomously on planet Mars! That said, students who participated last year are welcome to attend again this year, and there will be some changes to the ‘MEGA CHALLENGES’ offered during the second half of the program.

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This year’s program runs from Monday, July 18th to Thursday, July 28th. Those who are interested in learning more about the program can get all the details from this memorandum sent out recently to students through backpack mail. Questions about the program may be directed to Mr. Musselman.

To enroll, send a check and the ticket at the bottom of the memorandum and this emergency contact form to Burlington Public Schools, Attention: Rosemary Desousa, 123 Cambridge Street Burlington MA 01803 with the full enrollment fee or at $25 non-refundable deposit.

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