LigerBots Host a FIRST Lego League Qualifying Tournament

Yesterday at Newton North HS, the Newton LigerBots hosted a qualifying tournament for 28 FIRST Lego League (FLL) teams, including five FLL teams from Newton:  The Angiernauts, the Innovators, the Newtronics, the Snowy Owls, and the Tacocats.  The event included robot games, the teams’ presentations of their research projects on this year’s FLL theme (Trash Trek), and a mini-Maker’s Faire featuring Einstein’s Workshop, iRobot, the Newton North HS Greengineers, the Russian School of Math, Rise Robotics, Robosail, JumpSmart, (a new STEM venture by students from Babson and Olin Colleges), a 3D printer demonstration, and others.  Outside, there was a working demonstration and explanation of blacksmithing by Prospect Hill Forge.  Congratulations to all participants, but especially to the LigerBots for their community contribution of careful planning, promotion, and execution of a successful event.


MIT Edgerton’s ‘Science on Saturday’ for Grades K-12, Dec. 5: Nuclear Science and Engineering

MIT’s Edgerton Center holds free Science on Saturday programs five times a year for elementary, middle, and high school students — as well as their parents and teachers.  On December 5, the program will be focused on Nuclear Science and Engineering.  Kids under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.  The program includes a one-hour presentation at 10AM followed by hands-on activities at 11AM.  No pre-registration is necessary but seating is limited and first-come, first-seated.  It’s held in MIT’s Kresge Auditorium, 48 Massachusetts Ave. in Cambridge.

NPS Calculus Project Receives Belmont Savings Bank Grant

The Newton Schools Foundation received a $4,000 grant from the Belmont Savings Bank Foundation to support The Calculus Project, an NPS program to narrow achievement gaps in mathematics by increasing the number of low-income African American and Hispanic American students enrolling in and completing Calculus in high school.  The grant will support four students in the program.  This grant is part of a charitable endeavor in which the Belmont Savings Bank Foundation has distributed $30,000 to various Newton non-profit organizations according the results of a poll of Newton residents.

Come to LigerBots’ FIRST Lego League Tournament, Nov. 21

As part of their support of younger robotics teams, the Newton LigerBots are hosting a FIRST Lego League (FLL) qualifying tournament at Newton North HS on Saturday, November 21, 9AM-2PM.  The event is free, open to the public, and an exciting family event for spectators.  Come see the robot games and the teams’ presentations of their research projects.  There will also be a mini-Maker’s Faire.

FIRST is an international non­profit youth organization aiming to create a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology leaders.  Participation in FLL enhances students’ independence and personal growth while highlighting skills needed for teamwork and leadership.

NNHS Science Team Raises Funds by Raking Your Leaves

The Newton North HS Science Team will rake your leaves to raise funds to pay for its competition fees and supplies for building and studying.  Contact team vice president Nick Zhang at to help the team and get a clean lawn!

Buy Tickets for MIT’s Friday-After-Thanksgiving Chain Reaction, Nov. 27

Each year, on the Friday After Thanksgiving, the MIT Museum hosts a hugely collaborative Chain Reaction in which simple or complex contraptions built by participating teams are joined into one massive Rube-Goldberg-esque chain reaction viewed by over 1500 attendees.  (See videos from 2013 and 2014.)  This year, the 18th annual F.A.T. Chain Reaction will be on November 27, 1-4PM, and will be based on the theme “18th Century.”  The public can view contraptions and talk with teams 1PM-3PM, and the chain reaction will start at 3:30PM.  Buy tickets here.  There’s still time to register a team to participate by building a link in the chain.

Register for Science on Saturday (Robotics) at MIT Lincoln Labs, Dec. 12

Registration is now open for two Saturday-morning sessions of Science on Saturday, on December 12 at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory (244 Wood Street in Lexington).   The topic will be Robotics, presented by members of Robotics Outreach at Lincoln Laboratory (ROLL).  All children (5-17 years) must be escorted by an adult, and every adult must be escorted by a child or children.  Children under 5 are not admitted.  Admission is free but each person attending must be registered.  Space is limited, so register online soon for either Session 1 (9AM to 10:30AM) or Session 2: 10:45AM to 12:15PM).  Adults must bring government photo identification.  See other rules on the registration pages.

Newton’s 1st ‘Envision the Future’ Program: Success!

Yesterday about 100 middle- and high-school girls gathered at the Newton Free Library for inspiring, informative conversations with 16 mentors — women scientists and engineers in a variety of STEM fields and careers — in Newton’s first Envision the Future program.  One mentor said of the student attendees, “If the students I met today are the next generation of STEM, I’m confident we’re in very good hands.”  Many thanks to these mentors for their dedication and their ability to connect and inspire.

In between conversations, the attendees viewed a documentary, Big Dream, which tells the stories of seven young women as they face challenges pursuing STEM careers.

This event was sponsored by the John M. Barry Boys & Girls Club, the Newton Free Library, and NewtonSTEM. Thanks to Cabot’s for ice cream, Fresh City for drinks, Crimson Petal for flowers, Microsoft and Iron Way Films for the film, and the LigerBots for volunteer help and inspiring conversation.



Science Club for Girls: Fundraiser for Junior Mentor Program

SCFG-junior-mentorScience Club for Girls has a terrific program of near-peer role modelsJunior Mentors in Grades 8-12 work with younger girls, helping them to dream big and get excited about STEM — because the younger students naturally look up to the older ones.  It’s also a leadership program in which the Junior Mentors get to work on job preparation, teamwork, and communication skills.  A challenge grant until December 9 will match donations 3:1 to fund this program for a year:  If you and others donate a combined total of $5,000 then it will be matched to yield $20,000 — which will fund 90 Junior Mentors working with 600 younger girls for a year.  See the crowdfunding video to see how vital these near-peer role models are.  Science Club for Girls is growing — with six more K-5 clubs, a new middle-school STEMinistas site, 30 more Junior Mentors, a new high-school Technovation team, and a doubling of high-school STEM research internships.  Your tax-deductible donation can be part of it.

13 Seats Remain for ‘Big Dream’ STEM Event for Grades 6-12, Nov. 14

Middle- and high-school students are invited to attend a free STEM event on Saturday, November 14, 2PM-4:30PM, in the Newton Free Library’s Druker Auditorium.  Meet and talk with 16 women scientists and engineers. View an inspiring documentary, Big Dream, which tells the stories of seven young women as they face challenges pursuing STEM careers.  Discuss the issues the film raises.  Ask questions.  Get answers and new ideas.

Space is limited and registration is required.  If it’s full, sign onto the wait list and look for an email on Friday.

This Envision the Future event is sponsored by the John M. Barry Boys & Girls Club, the Newton Free Library, and NewtonSTEM. Ice cream provided by the generosity of Cabot’s.  For more information, contact Liz Rowland at 617-796-1380 or