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Lego League Bootcamp Full of Success (and Meaningful Failures!) July 31, 2017

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Over thirty students from all four Burlington elementary schools participated in the Science Center’s FIRST Lego League Bootcamp session as a part of the Burlington Public Schools summer programming. Students took on the robotics challenges from last year’s FIRST Lego League Challenge, “Animal Allies” using the board, challenges, and LEGO elements used by the MSMS Robotics team in the fall of 2016, Also on board were three volunteers from the team as well as a mentor from the BHS Devilbotz. Mrs. Sheppard and Mrs. Anderson co-operated the camp with Mr. Musselman and hope to use some of the elements and LEGO kits themselves in the coming academic year in their classrooms or after-school clubs.

About to begin scoring round 1 of our FLL boot camp!

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A look through the Burlington Science Center instagram feed over the past two weeks will reveal all of the great fun students had succeeding (and failing!) at their challenges. Students learned the importance of using sensors to guide robots toward their goals and experienced first-hand the challenges of cooperating with peers to coming to a consensus on how to approach a challenge with many possible solutions!

Working on our pollinator challenge at the @burlingtonsummerprogram

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Mr. Musselman is also pleased to announce that next year the Science Center will be expanding its role in the community by developing a EV3 LEGO Robotics library loan program, available to all Burlington students. Contact Mr. Musselman after September 15th to schedule a loan of one of the center’s EV3 LEGO kits.

Scenes from FLL boot camp @burlingtonsummerprogram

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The Science Center would also like to thank the BEF for their continued support of Burlington Public Schools robotics programs and the Science Center specifically. Thank you for all that you do!

Our great robotics programs would not be possible without the support from the @burlingtonedfoundation. Thank you!

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Now Enrolling Students for FIRST Lego League Summer Bootcamp! May 11, 2017

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Students from the MSMS Devilbotz team undertaking the same “Animal Allies” challenges boot camp participates will tackle this summer!

Burlington is hosting a FIRST Lego League “bootcamp” this year for students entering grades 4, 5, and 6th grades in the 2017/2018 school year. Participants will engage 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.

Tuition for this summer session is $250. Transportation is to be arranged by parents.

To enroll your child, print out, complete, and send this flyer with required information completed to Burlington Public Schools, Attention to Rosemary DeSousa at 123 Cambridge Street by June 1st, 2017. Also include the health and release form linked here and a non-refundable deposit of $25 (the deposit is applied to tuition). The tuition balance is due by June 19th, 2017. This is the second announcement for this program and attendance is already at two-thirds capacity so register as soon as possible! Additional questions can be directed to Mr. Musselman (musselman@bpsk12.org) or Mrs. DeSousa (desousa@bpsk12.org)

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

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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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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.

Robotics Summer Program: A Great Success! August 4, 2015

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Dr. Conti stopped by to see some of our awesome prospecting robots in action! #bpschat

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For the second year in a row the Burlington Science Center has conducted a summer robotics programs through Burlington’s annual summer school programs. Incoming fourth and fifth grade students of roughly equal amounts attended, some with previous robotics experience but many with none at all! To help guide our “roboteers” on their journey a number of high school and middle school volunteers were enlisted to support the camp’s efforts. Perennial summer science teachers, Christine Sheppard and Elana Snyder were also back to assist with much of the logistics and to learn more about the basics behind robots for themselves! The theme of the camp was to construct a robot that could undertake several different kinds of challenges on the mysterious exo-planet, “Taboor-3.” In several cases the goals for our robots could be seen in some of the jobs of NASA’s own Spirit and Opportunity robots on Mars. Students were introduced to the idea that robots have historically been designed to perform tasks that fit under at least one of the 3Ds: “Dull, Dirty, and Dangerous.”

Morning Robotics Club meeting where students are captivated by video from recent FIRST Challenge.

A photo posted by Burlington Science Center (@burlingtonsciencecenter) on Jul 23, 2015 at 5:25am PDT

The first two days presented steep learning curve’s as students navigated their way around the LEGO Mindstorms programming software and learned how to use and manipulate the block code system to get the robot to do what they wanted it to. Students recognized the importance to detail in programming as small differences in code or robot wiring inevitably had dramatic impacts on robot behavior in their field tests. By the middle of the first week though students were able to start putting together some impressive bots capable of meeting robust challenges initially many considered to be unobtainable. Using the sensors on the Lego EV3 sets students were able to automate robot behavior, developing “Roomba-like robots” that traversed the oddly shaped foire of the MSMS 2nd floor without bumping into walls or falling down stairs.

These ladies are doing a great job completing their roomba challenge! Anusha from @bhsrobotix has been a big help! #OMGrobots A video posted by Burlington Science Center (@burlingtonsciencecenter) on Jul 23, 2015 at 8:04am PDT

Robotics Camp: To the edge and back! Yikes!!! #bpschat

A video posted by Burlington Science Center (@burlingtonsciencecenter) on Jul 27, 2015 at 9:56am PDT

Later students added light sensors capable of detecting “valuable green minerals” on the floor and alerting robot operators by sending alert signals to their users.

  A video posted by Burlington Science Center (@burlingtonsciencecenter) on Jul 27, 2015 at 6:13am PDT

Students learned the basics behind binary code, learning how to right their name through a series of on/off switches. Once this skill was mastered a guest engineer (Mr. Snyder!) joined us to talk about his work with semiconductors (the switch systems of robots) in wearable technology like Fitbits and Apple watches. He was even kind enough to bring in a prototype to explore along with several other circuit boards.

Engineer Steve sharing our robotics club how a gyroscope and accelerometer work in real time. #askascientist A video posted by Burlington Science Center (@burlingtonsciencecenter) on Jul 28, 2015 at 5:37am PDT

  Examining circuit boards and a wearable prototype!   A photo posted by Burlington Science Center (@burlingtonsciencecenter) on Jul 28, 2015 at 5:50am PDT

In the final two days students were given the choice to participate in one of three “MEGA Challenges.” Some students chose to participate in the “Mini-Golf challenge” where robots were designed to automate the striking and/or dropping of a marble placed in various different positions to simulate “tees” onto a small target (the hole) for points.

Surprise twist on this golf shot! A video posted by Burlington Science Center (@burlingtonsciencecenter) on Jul 30, 2015 at 9:18am PDT

Other students selected the “Butler-Bot challenge,” a technically difficult scenario where students were asked to build a robot that would travel from a “bedroom to kitchen” and use some sort of capture device to pick up a bottle of water and return it to the bedroom.

  Mission accomplished! So impressive!!!   A video posted by Burlington Science Center (@burlingtonsciencecenter) on Jul 30, 2015 at 9:38am PDT

The third and final challenge rested more on student ability to collaborate and work together to construct a robotic “dance team.” In this scenario, students had to first select and choreograph a dance before coding the robot to get them to dance synchronously with one another.

Getting closer! A video posted by Burlington Science Center (@burlingtonsciencecenter) on Jul 30, 2015 at 8:04am PDT

As you can see, not all challenges were fully accomplished… But that’s ok! From day 1 students were reminded that failure is a big part of the design process, and that we learn and grow the most by paying attention to our failures and finding ways to improve on them. By camp’s end we could see that this message had been fully understood as all of our students left with smiles and a sense of pride and accomplishment, no matter what the final results of their robots!

Summer Robotics “Gearing Up” – Register Now! April 14, 2015

Posted by MrMusselman in Burlington Community, Science Center.
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Students entering grades 4 and 5 for the 2015/2016 school year may participate in this new program spun from the popular “Robotics Clubs” that are being run for the first time in several of our elementary schools this year. Students will primarily learn how to construct and program robots constructed from the LEGO robotics EV3 kits and complete challenges that will explore the basics behind robot design and programming. Along the way students will also have an opportunity to meet professionals in STEM careers volunteering their time to introduce important ideas around robotics design and may also discuss simple ethical dilemmas faced by inventors using robots not previously used.

Burlington is offering its students the opportunity to attend a two-week session (Monday through Thursday). Tuition is $250. To register for this camp complete the following registration and emergency form and send to Rosemary Desousa at 123 Cambridge Street, Burlington.

Dates: July 20, 2015 – July 30, 2015, (8 five-hour weekday sessions)

Time: 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Place: Memorial Elementary School

Transportation to and from camp: Arranged by parents

Science Center Summer Program Preview June 14, 2013

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The Burlington Science Center’s first ever summer program is not far away! We wanted to give students and their parents a warm welcome and quick introduction to what sorts of projects we’ll be exploring during the final two weeks of July. Please share the introductory video below with your enrolled students. In the video you will hear a call for recyclable supplies that will play important roles in researching, planning and constructing some of our personally designed technology. We hope that everyone can come with most of the listed items (not the end of the world if you can’t, but it would help us cut down on our environmental footprint!)

Ms. Marsh and Mrs. Sheppard from the Fox Hill Elementary School have been kind enough to join us during our engineering adventures this summer. They both have tremendous experience with “STEM” centered learning, and will be fabulous mentors to our program participants. In addition to these teachers we  have two high school volunteers who will be supporting classroom activities as assistants to the teachers. We are still looking for one more high school volunteer so if your child has an older sibling who might be interested in such volunteer work please have them contact the Science Center immediately!

A field trip has been planned to the Mill Pond Reservoir and its water treatment facility to give students an opportunity to experience how real-world water filtration techniques are applied to the reservoir water to make it safe and drinkable. A field trip form will be required to be completed beforehand, the likes of which can be downloaded and printed here. Please print and bring on the first day of summer school. If you can not print the form we will have some forms on hand at the school for you to complete after initial registration and check in.

One additional heads up: the classrooms sent out for each student in the original letters home have been revised. On the first day of the program second graders will report to Mrs. Sheppard, third graders to Ms. Marsh, and fourth graders to Mr. Musselman. We will rearrange and hand out the official classroom assignments from there.

Please contact the Science Center at 781-270-1835 and ask for Mr. Musselman if you have any additional questions. We look forward to a fantastic two weeks of planning, designing, building, and improving with our students!