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Summer of “FIRST”s for Robotics Summer Programs July 22, 2018

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2018 brought several firsts to the Burlington Public School annual robotics summer programs, directed by Burlington Science Specialist, Mr. Musselman. New students, new teachers, new kits, and a whole new set of challenges meant to build student capacity around computer science skills, physical robotic machinations, and most importantly, teamwork!

Over 80 students ranging from ages 8-12 participated in two different programs built on the core values of the For Innovation and Recognition of Science and Technology or “FIRST” organization: Discovery, Innovation, Inclusion, Team Work and Fun. For all participants that meant morning meetings and energizers centered on working together.

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Core values challenge! Can we flip the sheet without anyone falling off? #bpschat

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Incoming second and third-graders participated in a program using new, “We-DO” LEGO 2.0 kits, featuring programming and design challenges that encouraged students to develop robots that were able to perform tasks such as grabbing, pushing, seek and find, and signaling communications. Facilitated by Mrs. Anderson and Ms. Scheffer these students followed a program of design, improve and share, coming together each day to highlight successes and failures they learned from.

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More rad racers from yesterday in @jlscheffer’s robotics classroom. #bpschat

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These students also used new, “Code and Go” mice designed to develop student spatial awareness and understanding of how algorithms control devices to perform specific tasks and challenges.

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Code and Go challenge at Robotics Camp #bpschat

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More code and go challenges

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Incoming fourth through sixth-graders participated in a “FIRST LEGO League Bootcamp,” a program mirrored off of the global competition that includes dimensions of research, robotics, and team cohesiveness. Using last year’s “Hydrodynamics” challenges and obstacles, these students developed solutions to these challenges using the EV3s while learning about water and the global issues surrounding fresh water scarcity and the technical challenges behind cleaning and filtering water.

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Pieris’ robot pulls through with seconds to spare!

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Now it’s Mrs Sheppard’s classes turn to filter!

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When all was said and done, the program had doubled in size from previous years and students were making impressive gains on challenges not seen in previous years. Much of this can be attributed to our fabulous staff and volunteers from the MSMS Devilbotz team. The Science Center would like to thank Mrs. Anderson, Ms. Scheffer, Mrs. Sheppard, Mrs. Snyder, Mrs. Visocchi, and Mrs. Lynch for their support over the course of the two week program and especially our MSMS Devilbotz. Thank you for your continued support!

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

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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.

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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)

Using Models to Investigate Forces & Motion September 27, 2016

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Students at Memorial using force and motion simulations! #bpschat

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In anticipation of Rocket Day 2016, fourth graders all over Burlington have been exploring forces and their effect on an objects motion. In a new twist on a tried and true “Tug-of-War” lesson, Mr. Musselman introduced PhET models to classrooms at the Francis Wyman and Memorial schools. Using their iPads, students were able to access the free models and explore the cause and effect relationship between the forces being applied by the tug-of-war participants and the effect on the large cart of candy in the middle. Check out these student pictures and videos to see how students constructed their own understanding of forces and motion through this very cool simulation!

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Constructing explanations for how different forces effect the cart's motion. #bpschat #ngsschat

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Connecting STEM and American History Through Water Wheels February 12, 2014

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water wheel 2014

Across all of the Burlington elementary schools, third graders visit the Boott Cotton Mills at Lowell National Historic Park as a keystone piece of their social studies curriculum. While there the students learn about the conditions that made Lowell such a great place to cradle the American industrial revolution and get a chance to see and feel what living in and around the mills at the time would have been like.

With Social Studies and Science sharing a block of time, the teachers at the Pine Glen school used the Lowell Mills experience to develop a relevant engineering challenge for their students: constructing water wheels that work!

In the week following the students trip to the Mills, Mr. Musselman from the Science Center introduced the challenge by sharing a short video of the simple machines at work in the Boott Mills and a brief presentation explaining how they were connected to a system of canals and water wheels beneath the mills. The following days were spent using the design process in to accomplish the students engineering goals of developing a water wheel that would rotate many times under the flow of a two-liter bottle of water.

Students impressed with a variety of water wheel designs, some that worked better than others. While students worked independently to create their first water wheel “prototype,” students watched one another’s test runs to glean valuable knowledge and experience about which design flaws to avoid, and which to emulate in their own water wheel improvements.

Many of the products were held on to and stored by the Science Center to use during this year’s National Science Teacher Association’s conference in Boston where Mrs. Jane Lynch, Mr. Musselman and a few Pine Glen students will be sharing their experience with fellow science teachers from across the state and country as they challenge themselves to build water wheels of their own and bring the experience back to their classrooms!

Students Explore the Science of Static Cling with Digital Simulations! December 17, 2013

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Students in Mrs. Doherty and Mrs. Cunha’s classrooms turned to their digital devices to shed light on the invisible world of electric charges. Using free simulations available on the web from the University of Colorado’s PhET program, students first observed how balloons are attracted to sweaters after they are rubbed together in real life with the help of a charged Mr. Musselman before turning to the school’s iPad cart.

iPad static electricity exploration

Making the invisible more concrete with the help of online simulations that model static charge behavior.

With initial observations already made, Mr. Callahan helped students use Qrafter to quickly link to the balloon and sweater simulations online. From there they were asked to simply “explore” and record any surprised they discovered as they recreated the experiment, and toggled options on and off such as introducing a second balloon to the experiment and a wall that the balloon surprisingly appeared to “stick” to as well!

Qreator screen

Mr. Callahan introduces students to Qrafter and using QR codes. Thanks, Dan!

Towards the end of class the students gathered on the rug and shared their most notable observations. Mr. Musselman recorded them on the board, emphasizing important vocabulary words such as charge, attract, repel, positive, and negative. Students did an excellent job, with Mr. Musselman leaving very impressed at the keen observations and conclusions students were able to draw about electric charges!

Static Charged Notes

Sharing what we learned. We could have gone on and on but we ran out of time!

Reverse Engineering Flashlights October 31, 2013

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With most of the Memorial School’s third graders turning themselves into ghouls, fairies, and superheroes tonight, the third grade teachers and Mr. Musselman recognized a perfect opportunity to integrate some STEM and safety into their halloween plans!

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Students “reverse engineered” simple flashlights to explore how they worked. Besides looking into the circuitry of the flashlight and how the parts worked together to make the flashlight turn on and off, students also explored the design properties of the “reflector” to better understand how the flashlight takes a light source like a bulb and focuses the light into one direction.

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At the end of the day students put the flashlight together and had a great tool to use tonight as they trick-or-treat through their neighborhoods!

Lighting the bulb!