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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.


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!)


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!


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.


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!


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

Energy Units at Full Power! December 6, 2018

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Across much of our district, students are investigating Energy via our adapted curriculum from the Technical Education Resource Center or “TERC” of Cambridge using their, “Focus on Energy” curriculum. Many teachers are sharing their students great work on Instagram and elsewhere. Check out Mrs. Harlow’s students using electromagnetic “hand-crank generators!”

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We love energy!

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Making some great observations @burlingtonsciencecenter

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FIRST Lego League Junior Update: November/December 2018 November 8, 2018

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During the week of November 26th registration forms for the Winter 2019 FIRST Lego League season will be sent home to grade levels of students for which after school programs will be facilitated by Burlington elementary school teachers. Each school has different grade levels and different dates for which this program will be offered. While we have 18 Burlington teachers volunteer to facilitate the program, not all grades will be covered by our educators! Below you will find data outlining the anticipated days of the week, times, and grades offered for each school. In all cases our FIRST Lego League programs begin the week of January 7th and run through the Expo Day on April 27th. Registration for all programs will be filled on a first-come, first-enrolled basis and cost $100 for up to 14 sessions plus the expo.


Fox Hill: Mondays Tuesdays after school, one hour, Grades 1 – 5 (updated 11/27)

Francis Wyman: Thursdays after school, one hour, Grades 1 & 2

Memorial #1:  Mondays Tuesdays after school, one hour, Grades 2 & 3 (updated 11/27)

Memorial #2: Fridays after school, one hour, Grade 5

Pine Glen: Thursdays after school, one hour, Grades K-5. (We are unable to provide coverage between Kindergarten dismissal and start of club. K participants will need to be brought back to school to participate. We regret the inconvenience.)

Those disappointed to see that their child’s grade is not able to be serviced during the winter program have three options to still participate this year:

Parents and guardians may team up with another parent or guardian to facilitate their own team. The Science Center will provide the necessary WeDO kit on loan provided both mentors complete a CORI form and arrange a team of at least four Burlington children. The team will still need to pay a registration fee for the Mission Moon materials but will be able to keep these materials at the end of the program.

Wait and see if enrollment expands to other grades at your school. This assumes the maximum number of enrolled students is not met through planned registration. That said, we do not expect to be under-enrolled at any of the schools at this time.

Register for a re-run of this program during the summer, as part of the summer programming regularly provided by the Burlington Public Schools at the Memorial Elementary School. This program will run during one of the two summer sessions to be decided based on staffing later this winter.

As always, community members are welcome to reach out to Mr. Musselman with questions via email or the Science Center phone number at 781-270-1835.

MSMS Lego League Teams featured on BCAT News November 5, 2018

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Thanks to BCAT for doing this great feature on our FIRST Lego League teams at Marshall Simonds Middle School. The teams, led by Mr. Marino, Mrs. Lynch, Mrs. Shea, and Mr. Walsh are administratively supported by Mr. Musselman at the Burlington Science Center. Their regional competition is scheduled for Saturday, November 17th at Blackstone Valley Regional High School from 8:00-3:00 for those interested in attending!

Sharing Resources and Experiences with “Computerless Coding” at #EarlyEdCon October 15, 2018

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Over the weekend Mr. Musselman shared his experiences and resources with a dozen early childhood educators around developing computational thinking for our youngest learners. His workshop, “Computerless Coding with Young Learners” featured a brief overview around what state and national frameworks say about computational thinking and computer science standards K-12 learning strands before giving educators and opportunity to explore a number of devices the Burlington Public Schools currently have and use at their schools.

PreK and Kindergarten teachers from Burlington to Bourne attended and had the opportunity to explore four different devices, Code and Go Mouse, Cubetto, KIBO, and the junior of them all, the Codepillar!

Teachers appreciated the opportunity to play-test and develop their own understanding of constructing and running “algorithms” using a variety of visual representations each device uses. Many rejoiced when ambitious challenges were completed and everyone felt like they experienced an authentic early childhood learning model, learning by playing!

2018 Pumpkin Contest winners! October 9, 2018

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We would like to announce our winners of the 2018 Pumpkin Growing Contest. And the winners are……
1st place is AJ DiRocco from Memorial School with 116 lbs!!!!
AJ DiRocco 1st place
2nd place is Shayla Kocur from Pine Glen with 87.5 lbs.
3rd place is Sara Milne from Memorial School with 75 lbs. 
4th place is Branin Weymouth from Francis Wyman with 68 lbs.
5th place is Emily Milne from Memorial with 63 lbs.



Congratulations and we are very proud of you all!

All growers who participate in the contest will receive an “honorable gardener”  certificate and goody bag of prizes.  Look for their photos in the lobby of each elementary school this month.

Students learn about the life cycle of plants, gain understanding of how temperature, weather, insects, and other animals affect the growth of the plant and they learn about how pollination needs to occur for the plant to reproduce. 
Gardening connects students physically and mentally to the Earth and nature…it helps them to learn and take part of the process in where their food comes from.

One of the greatest things about these contests is the connection between the younger generations and the older generations. Lots of students grow their plants with their family or grandparents. I hear stories of students walking to their grandparents house every day or the special moments with “Papa Charlie” or “Nana” while tending to their plants. Gardening connects students and humans to the Earth and nature.