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Exploring Magnetic Forces with Francis Wyman Kindergarteners May 11, 2017

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Mr. Musselman opens with a “magic”… oops, he meant magnetic ladybug!

Scientific thinking and investigation is a big part of Mr. Musselman’s magnet program for Burlington Kindergarteners. Yesterday it was Francis Wyman’s turn as Mr. Musselman performed three programs to six kindergarten classrooms. During the program students are frequently asked to observe the magnets revealed through the program with their “science observing glasses”, keeping a watchful eye for patterns in the magnets’ properties (such as their poles) and the way in which magnets behaved when close to one another!


These bar magnets poles are attracted to one another!


Unbelievable! The magnetic poles of the same kind repel!

Students put on their “prediction hats” to make educated guesses about which materials would attract to the magnets. Many guessed that all the metals would… but to our surprise only some did!

prediction hats

Prediction hats ON! Which materials in our “pond” will attract to the magnetic fishing pole?

Students also learned the difference between permanent magnets and Mr. Musselman’s incredibly strong but temporary electromagnet! The students were in uproar when four students were unable to out pull the electromagnet in Mr. Musselman’s version of tug-of-war!


Its an electromagnet tug-of-war! Who will win? The kindergarteners or the electromagnet keeping the rope connected?

A special thanks to Mrs. Duncan for sharing these pictures of her and Mrs. Marsh’s classroom. The Science Center is looking forward to developing an updated “Push and Pull” forces unit for Kindergarteners next year. The magnet program is sure to be an exciting part of this new curriculum.

BHS Teacher, Jill Graham Honored with Outstanding Science Teacher Award May 5, 2017

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The Burlington Science Center is proud to honor and highlight the career achievements of Burlington High School science teacher, Jill Graham with the North Shore Science Supervisor Association’s 2017 Outstanding Science Teacher Award.


Jill exemplifies the meaning of an outstanding science educator. She has been teaching in Burlington for  14 years. Jill has taught a variety of different science courses such as biology, env science, oceanography, and general science.  She has taught all levels of these courses from basic instruction to AP.  

Jill advises the Students for Environmental Action club at the high school. The goal of her club is to raise environmental awareness at Burlington High School and in the Burlington community. Jill head spears the recycling program at BHS and works with members of the community for recycling. The club also participates in community outreach programs like bikes not bombs and storm drain tagging.

Jill is also the Director and teaches Science at the Burlington Evening Academy Program.  She has been involved in this program for 13 years and has been the Director for the last 5 years.  This program allows an alternative option for students to fulfill their high school requirements and diploma, while working a full time job due to unique family and personal situations.  Her program fosters student success rather than seeing them dropping out of school.

She also coaches the girls varsity swim team. Go team Graham! and has been an advisor for the senior class for many years.

Jill’s passion and dedication to science and her students are evident when you see her teach.  She is always looking for new ways to implement the science standards to real world applications and current events.  Jill is passionate about being kind to our planet, while also encouraging students to be kind to each other.  Her students always show excitement about her classes and coursework.

Jill Graham is a caring, dedicated and quality science teacher and we are fortunate to have her in Burlington!

Earth Day Celebration at Fox Hill School May 5, 2017

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A celebration of our Earth and all things nature! The Science Center assisted with Fox Hill School’s first Earth Day Celebration. There were madagascar hissing cockroaches, a great horned owl, red-footed tortoises, vegetable and wild flower planting station, an elephant’s foot, a shark’s jaw, a walrus’s tusk, a taxidermy black bear, bobcat, badger and fox pelt, and information about various bird species and plants! Be sure to read about it by clicking on the link below:


Mass Wildlife Open House June 10th April 26, 2017

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A wonderful family outdoor event!  Ms. Pavlicek will be at the falconry table with some birds of prey.  Stop by and say hello!


Join us on Saturday, June 10 from 10 A.M. to 3 P.M. at the MassWildlife Field Headquarters, 1 Rabbit Hill Road, Westborough, MA. (Rain date: June 11)

MassWildlife is hosting an Open House in cooperation with the Town of Westborough’s 300th Anniversary. This event is FREE and perfect for families and wildlife enthusiasts of any age!

  • Free BBQ
  • Archery
  • Kids’ crafts
  • Prizes and giveaways
  • Live animals
  • Equipment and vehicle displays
  • Scavenger hunt
  • Interactive fish and wildlife displays

Name the Hedgehog Contest Winner March 22, 2017

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The Science Center adopted a new African Pygmy Hedgehog for its educational programs in the elementary schools.  We decided to run a town wide 5th grade contest to name the new animal.

And the winner is……………..

Ilex Fowler from Mrs. Jaffe’s class at Fox Hill School.  She chose the name “Rascal.”  Ilex and the hedgehog will be in the Daily Times Newspaper and Ilex also received a certificate and science prize.

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We would like to thank all the students for participating in the contest.  Our hedgehog comes from a wonderful place called Hamor Hollow Hedgehogs in Pelham NH. Please do your research before considering having any pet into your home.

Girl Scout Meeting with Ms. Pavlicek March 7, 2017

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Ms. Pavlicek visited with the Girl Scouts at Pine Glen school to discuss animals and pets. She discussed animal safety, responsibility and discussed many aspects of owning a pet.  Ms. Pavlicek brought a live hawk and discussed bird of prey roles in nature.  Scouts got to touch taxidermy parts such a talons, wings, tails and feathers.

2017 Summer Robotics Program now Enrolling Students March 7, 2017

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The Science Center is teaming up with the Burlington Public Schools Summer Program to host its first ever “FIRST Lego League Competition Bootcamp”. This is a BRAND NEW program unlike our previous summer robotics programs. The program will run from July 10, 2017 – July 20, 2017, (8 five-hour weekday sessions).

Students entering grades 4, 5, and 6 in the 2017/2018 school year are encouraged to join in this challenging, multi-disciplinary program where students will participate in a mock version of the 2016 FIRST Lego League competition, “Animal Allies” and work in teams to construct and program LEGO robots that navigate obstacles and complete challenges.

Students will also explore how humans and animals currently depend on and impact one another and imagine how robots could play a role in improving this relationship in the future. This summer program is an excellent primer for students who might be interested in participating in FIRST Lego League teams, including the Marshall Simonds Middle School “Devilbotz” in the future.

Burlington is offering its students the opportunity to attend a two-week session (Monday through Thursday). Tuition is $250.

Time: 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Place: Memorial Elementary School

Transportation: Arranged by parents

To enroll your child, fill out and return the tear-off on this registration form by April 21, 2017 with a non-refundable deposit of $25.00 (the deposit is applied to tuition). Also include the health and release form linked here. The tuition balance is due by June 19, 2017. Space is limited – please register as soon as possible.

Hedgehog Kindergarten Programs March 2, 2017

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Each winter, the Science Center visits 18 kindergarten classes to present about habitats, adaptations and characteristics.  “The Mitten,” a book written by local author, Jan Brett, is a favorite read-a-loud book in Burlington.

Ms. Pavlicek references the story book and has a giant mitten to post illustrations from the book.  She connects their habitats with geography of the world.  The hedgehog is a particular animal character in the book that isn’t native to the northeast US.  Ms. Pavlicek brings the live hedgehog out to visit during the end of the program.  Students and teachers are amazed by this unique creature.

Our hedgehog comes from a wonderful place called Hamor Hollow Hedgehogs in Pelham NH. Please do your research before considering having any pet into your home.

Pine Glen’s Bridge Engineers February 3, 2017

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“Twenty One Elephants and Still Standing” by April Jones Prince

Second graders at Pine Glen have been ‘building’ an understanding of how engineers select materials for specific purposes through their new “bridge engineering challenge.” Before being introduced to the challenge teachers read the core book, “Twenty-One Elephants and Still Standing” a picture book documenting how P.T. Barnum seized the attention and awe of New York City by marching  his circus star elephants across the newly constructed Brooklyn Bridge, proving to the masses the bridge was safe and his circus was in fact, “The Greatest Show on Earth.”

Using the pictures in the book and images from other bridges around the world, students discuss what materials bridges are made of and why learning that this “research” will be handy before they get to work building their own model bridges!

We used wood because it was strong and rigid! We used cups to lift the bridge over the gap. #bpschat

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The criteria for a successful bridge is simple: The bridge must be 45cm long and hold the load of 5 circus elephants. All groups use the same type and quantity of materials before engaging in the challenge.

Pine Glen engineers sharing the properties of their bridge! #bpschat

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More successful bridge building in Mrs. B's room! #bpschat

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Along the way, teachers assess student understanding of the thinking engineers need to do before partaking in construction projects like bridges by asking them to share their thinking about which materials they chose to use and why. Students later evaluate whether or not the bridge meets the expected “engineering solution criteria” (Was it long enough? Did it hold the animals?) before documenting their bridges and learning in their Explain Everything digital notebooks.

Successful bridge, documented with Explain Everything! #bpschat

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The Science Center is excited to see students engaging in this kind of learning being built into each and every new science unit across our K-5 schools and classrooms. Keep an eye on this blog for future updates on what new investigations and challenges our students are embarking on!

Beekeeping Presentation at Garden Club January 30, 2017

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Ms. Pavlicek was invited to do a presentation on beekeeping and the environment at the Burlington Garden Club monthly meeting yesterday.  The presentation was titled “Bee-ing Mindful of our Environment.”  She presented information about bee biology, bee social structure, basics of beekeeping, troubles bees are facing in our world, and ways we can help bees and our environment.  This included local wildflower, herbs and tree species to attract pollinators and information about the harmful chemicals we use in our lawns and gardens.

Ms. Pavlicek is a local beekeeper and brought her beekeeping supplies and materials to share with the club.  She also had her own local honey for purchase.  She also informed the club about her new fourth grade science unit on plant & pollinator structure and function.