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“Mission Moon” Accomplished as Junior Engineers Share Designs with Burlington Community May 15, 2019

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Several hundred K-5 students, family, friends and volunteers converged on Burlington High’s cafeteria for the first ever locally hosted “FLL Junior Expo”. Over 100 students from all four elementary schools were represented, standing proudly beside their imaginatively designed lunar bases, sharing what they learned about the challenges and their imagined solutions for living on the moon.

Presenters referenced their “Show Me” posters along the way to share their journey of learning over the twelve-week after school program that culminated with the Saturday morning Expo. A number of the Marshal Simonds Middle School Robotics Team members who supported the after-school programs were also on hand to demonstrate the FIRST Lego League “Into Orbit” challenges undertaken during their fall season. The BHS Devilbotz also shared their technician’s “pit” and demonstrated some of the features on their robot from the “FIRST Robotics Competition” season.

Nearly all of the teachers who ran the after-school programs also participated in the event, supporting the students lunar base setup before the exhibit hall doors opened before participating as award announcers and distributors during the closing ceremonies. Teachers and student volunteers also led the line dance many participants enjoyed as the event finale to celebrate the community they had become. The Burlington Science Center is extremely grateful for all of the teachers and volunteers who came together to make this happen. We are already gearing up for next year’s FLL Junior theme: “Boomtown Build” recently unveiled by the FIRST organization that designs the kits and instructional materials in collaboration with LEGO.

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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.

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!

FIRST Lego League Junior Update: October 2018 October 2, 2018

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It has been a BUSY start to the school year here at the Science Center gearing up and registering our six MSMS FLL Robotics teams and its 50+ participants. That said, some preliminary groundwork has been put into place for a really big FLL Junior year too!

As coordinator of the program, Mr. Musselman has tentatively scheduled a Community-wide “Mission Moon Expo” at Burlington High School on the morning of Saturday, April 27th. Details have not yet been paved out, but it may be a morning you want to mark on your calendar. Because this event will not be an official FLL Jr sponsored event, we are not planning on sending any teams to a “national” event as the video linked above suggests happens sometimes. We will be making our event public on the chance that if other teams from nearby communities wish to participate, they will be able to do so. At this time we expect this event to be free to all Burlington teams.

Interest from teachers has been strong, with volunteers tentatively agreeing to run after-school programs at all four elementary schools. It is important to note here that the teachers running after school programs will be the ones choosing the dates, times, and age range of kids that will have an opportunity to register first. The FIRST organization recommends teams of four students, with teams of two adults or more managing multiple teams at once. It is reasonable to assume that a pair of teachers might manage a room of 4 or 5 teams made up of 18-20 students.

We want to provide every student and family interested in this program an opportunity to participate, but we also recognize it is possible that demand may exceed the capacity of our faculty at any given school. To accommodate this and the reality that teacher selected dates and times may not match your own, we are aiming to support community members who agree to facilitate a team with a Science Center loaned WeDO 2.0 kit and this year’s FLL Junior program materials. We will aim to provide space at one of the four elementary schools whenever possible or let families participating on such teams to work together to find locations that work for them. Appropriate safety clearances will need to be met by at least two adults coaching the team or teams.

Despite all of these good intentions, it is possible that not every student will manage to find their way on to a team. We hope that community members will recognize the very rapid organization and scaling up of this program will inevitably run into some growing pains. If you want to support the facilitation of this program (regardless of experience!) as either a team coach / assistant coach, or a volunteer at the planned expo, please reach out to Mr. Musselman via email so that he may add you to a growing list of supportive community members. In addition to running this program between the months of January – April it is Mr. Musselman’s hope that a summer program session modeling this experience (with concluding family expo) might be facilitated in July 2019 as well. More to come on that!

We will aim to continue posting updates on the Science Center blog, but have also created an email listserv that will send out regular updates. The listserv will announce publications to the blog as well as requests for resources and announcements regarding opportunities of interest to the growing FLL Junior community. To be a part of this email list moderated by Mr. Musselman visit https://groups.google.com/d/forum/flljr-burlington (no spam we promise!) Those of you who have already expressed interest to be kept up to date will be invited to join this group via email in the near future.

FLL MSMS Devilbotz

First Lego League Junior Update: September 2018 August 23, 2018

Posted by MrMusselman in Burlington Community, Science Center.
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Recently it was brought to the attention of Mr. Musselman that interest has been brewing in having after school programs and opportunities for elementary students around the First Lego League Junior program for students in grades K-5. Last year a call to teachers at all of the elementary schools was put out about possible facilitation of such a program in the fall/winter months of this academic calendar and a handful of teachers expressed interest at each school. It is important to note that none of these teachers to date have committed to facilitating any after school program nor they indicated times for when, which grades, and how many students might be able to participate in such an after school club.

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That said, the Science Center is exploring options for how to best facilitate FLL programs across the district in a variety of ways. This includes supporting teams facilitated by parent and community volunteers outside of the school’s hours and/or facilities. Such support might include loaning of Science Center LEGO WeDO Kits to teams constructed of BPS students, registration for events and/or the hosting of our own FLL Junior Expo sometime in the winter months of 2019.

In any and all forms FLL Junior takes, parent involvement and communication is important for putting together and facilitating a successful FLL Junior team. For this reason Mr. Musselman has put together a simple Google Form in which any parents or other community members and stakeholders might express their interest in being involved with the program. This includes everything from having their children involved in the program, to mentoring or co/mentoring a team, to sponsoring a team or expo.

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If you are unsure about whether or not you want or are able to support an FLL Junior team, consider exploring the resources posted on the FLL Junior website. This includes information about this year’s challenge: MISSION MOON, FLL Volunteer Role Descriptions, Session videos which give overviews of how FLL Junior sessions operate and more.

Mr. Musselman is optimistic about getting FLL Junior up and running this year but will not be able to do it without the support of Burlington community members. If you are interested in having your child participate in a FLL Junior program please make it a family affair and share your interest in the form linked above and here. Mr. Musselman will reach out to all those who express interest sometime in mid-September after the immediate back-to-school tide has ebbed.

Thank you to all of you who have already expressed enthusiasm for the FLL Junior program and the many other programs and offerings the Burlington Science Center and teachers have provided over the years. This year’s summer program saw a doubling in enrollment from the previous year, in part due to the introduction of a younger age program, but also due to the enthusiasm of our students and their families for such programs.

 

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)

MSMS Devilbotz Rise and Inspire at Lego League Regional Qualifier November 19, 2017

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In just their second year the Devilbotz of Marshall Simonds walked away from their FIRST LEGO League regional tournament with hardware, winning the overall Inspiration Award and Judges Award while advancing one of their four teams to the state qualifier next month.

Coached by MSMS science teachers, Jane Lynch, Jourdan Marino and student mentors from the Burlington High Devilbotz, the team was an formidable presence in the stands overlooking the competition fields and in the “Pit.” Burlington red stood out against other teams from Arlington, Andover, Waltham, Belmont, Scituate, and the hosting City of Newton.

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“Los Chum Buckets” anxiously watch their robot leave the base!

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Savage Seven multi tasking!

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On the robotics fields, “Los Chum Buckets” and the “Savage Seven” led the team, with their robots performing multiple challenges in one string of code. Elsewhere, Burlington’s all-female, “Diamond Dragons” excelled in the Core Values challenge, where teams work together under tight time constraints to solve an engineering problem. The Diamond Dragons also earned the “Inspiration Award” as well, given to the team demonstrating extraordinary enthusiasm and spirit.

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Diamond Dragons and H2O Flow getting it done ✅ @bhsrobotix #omgrobots

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At the end of the tournament, it was team “H2O Flow” that took the top prize for Burlington, earning a trip to the State Qualifier next month and the “Judges Award” for their problem solving perseverance when told they could not use water in their presentation demonstration (but managed excellent scores anyway!)

Throughout the entire competition the teams demonstrated “Gracious Professionalism” toward each other and their fellow competitors. The event ended with a dance party seemingly led by the Devilbotz and Savage Seven’s, “Jackie the Shark.

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Finale dance party with Jackie the Shark at the lead. What a great day for MSMS Robotics! #bpschat

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Congratulations to all of our teams as the MSMS Devilbotz continue to rise in the region as outstanding competitors. Mrs. Lynch and Mrs. Marino were enthusiastic about the great gains the team made this year and hopes to see many return next year when a whole new set of challenges and real world problems await to be investigated and overcome.

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Block head!

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