Rookie LigerBots in Winning Alliance at ‘Bay State Brawl’

Yesterday the Newton high-school robotics team, the LigerBots, competed in an off-season event, the Bay State Brawl, at Whitinsville Christian School. The team assigned all rookie students to drive the robot, and after the qualifying rounds this team was selected into a three-team alliance that won the event, going undefeated in the semi-finals and finals.  About 15 students, including 8 rookies, participated in this event with 10 other teams.

Apply by Oct. 23 for STEM Pathways: One-Day Training in Synthetic Biology for Grades 10-12, Nov. 3

This Tuesday is the deadline to apply for a one-day Training Session in Synthetic Biology in a real, synthetic biology environment. It’s offered to students entering Grades 10-12 (ages 16 and older) by STEM Pathways — the synthetic biology outreach program of the Living Computing Project — and the DAMP (Design | Automation | Manufacturing | Prototyping) Lab.  It will be held 10AM-4PM on November 3 on the Boston University campus. Apply online by 8PM on October 23. Include the name, email, and phone number of a teacher, mentor, or coach as a reference. For more information, email, or call Rohin at 617-299-0816.

Register for Northeastern’s Building Bridges Program, Nov. 30

Every other year, Northeastern University’s Center for STEM Education offers its one-day Building Bridges program to enable high-school students to explore Northeastern’s College of Engineering. Faculty and students from all the school’s departments explain various engineering disciplines, career paths, high-education opportunities, and research opportunities. Activities may include:

  • Design and Test a Bridge
  • Implantable Biomedical Devices
  • Design and Build and Electronic Night Light
  • Synthesize Slime
  • Streamline a Sports Utility Vehicle
  • Computer Aided Design and Manufacturing
  • Computer chip Design and Fabrication
  • Simulate an Earthquake

Parents and families are encouraged to explore the campus while students participate in the program. This year the event will be on November 30 from 9AM to 2:15PM. The cost is $15, including lunch. Registration is open now.

High-School Students: Register by Oct. 26 for MIT Splash, Nov. 17-18

MIT’s Splash program runs each year on the weekend before Thanksgiving — this year, on November 17-18 (10AM-9PM on Saturday, and 9AM-6PM on Sunday).  Splash gives students in Grades 9-12 the opportunity to take a wide range of mini-courses and participate in walk-in activities.  BostonTechMom has this informative post recommending MIT Splash.  This year, over 300 courses will be offered in the areas of ScienceComputers & ProgrammingEngineering, and Mathematics — plus other stuff. The cost is $40 regardless of the number of courses taken, and generous financial aid is available.

The first phase of registration is now open until October 27 for students to specify their preferences for classes.  Classes will then be filled by lottery, treating equally all those who register anytime in the first phase of registration.  Lottery results will be available by October 31. MIT notes, “To get a full schedule, we recommend ranking at least 3 classes and starring at least 10 classes per time block. All class choices will be entered into the lottery. This is not first-come first-served; classes will be assigned after student registration is closed, so take your time.”

Boys & Girls Club Seeks Volunteer to Run LEGO We Do ‘Mighty Mechanix’ Program for Elementary Students

The Boys and Girls Club of Newton seeks a volunteer who is passionate about fostering skills with youth, to help implement the Mighty Mechanix program this winter and spring. It will require one hour per week on a day of the week to be determined. This program will use LEGO’s We Do 2.0 curriculum, which is designed to engage and motivate elementary students’ interest in learning science and engineering using motorized LEGO models and simple programming. Please reach out to the Club’s Education Director, Cassie Soller ( to express interest or get more information.

High-School Students: Register Now for Boston College Splash, Nov. 4

Boston College will hold BC Splash on Sunday, November 4, 10AM-4PM.  Splash is a one-day, student-run program in which undergraduates and graduate students teach mini-courses for students in Grades 7-12. There’s also an optional one-hour session for groups of Splash students to talk with current BC undergraduates. There’s a $5.25 fee for the day, which includes a pizza lunch.  Registration is required, is first-come/first-served, and is open now until just before midnight on November 2. For more information, email or call at 617-297-7524. STEM-related classes in the course catalog include:

  • Fundamentals of Experimental Molecular Biology
  • An Introduction to Einstein: The Special and General Theories of Relativity
  • Egg Drop!
  • Exploring all 2 METERS of your DNA: An Introduction to Genetics and Genomics
  • The Big Bad World of Bats!
  • Coding in Python: Where to Begin?

Weston Observatory Colloquium: Teaching Inquiry-Based STEM Through Seismology, Oct. 24

The Weston Observatory, Boston College’s center of geophysical research, offers periodic colloquiua open to the public. The next one will be on October 24, 7-9PM, on AS1s, EQ1s, Raspberry Shakes, and More: Teaching Inquiry-Based STEM Through Seismology, presented by the director of the observatory, Dr. Alan Kafka. The observatory is at 361 Concord Road in Weston. Seating is limited and reservations are required. Email to reserve a seat. It’s interesting to peruse the news gathered by the observatory about seismologic events near and far.

Think Big: Grades 6-12 Meet STEM Mentors, Oct. 27

Middle- and high-school students are invited to Think Big! at the the Newton Free Library on Saturday, October 27, 2PM-4:30PM, to meet local STEM professionals and talk informally (over ice cream from Cabots!) about challenges, satisfactions, and career paths in the wide range of STEM fields. Come meet the LigerBots there, too! It’s free and space is limited, so register now. It’s sponsored by the Newton Free Library, NewtonSTEM, and the John M. Barry Boys & Girls Club. You can see what earlier Think Big! events were like in November 2015 and March 2018.

Magic Math Fest for Grades 4-5, Oct. 27

Bryan Chiang, an eighth-grader at Dexter Southfield School, has created a free Magic Math Fest for students in Grades 4-5.  It will be held on October 27, 12PM-1:30PM, at the Brookline Public Library (361 Washington Street, Brookline Village). It will be filled with math-related games like Magic Square, math magic tricks, logic games, and more. Bryan created this as a community project because he loves math. Pizza, drinks, and prizes will be provided. Space is limited to 30 students, so sign up here. For more information, email

Local Events for National Chemistry Week, Oct. 21-27

The theme for this year’s National Chemistry Week, October 21-27, is “Chemistry is Out of This World.” Celebrate it at the following local events (for which museum admission is required):

October 21 at the Museum of Science:

  • Prof. Bassam Shakhashiri of the University of Wisconsin-Madison will conduct engaging demonstrations in Cahners Theatre (2nd floor, Blue Wing) at 1PM and 3PM, as he delivers the ever-popular Phyllis A. Brauner Memorial Lecture.
  • Guest educators will conduct hands-on activities related to geochemistry, space exploration, and more between 11:30AM and 3:30PM. Mix chemicals to propel mini rockets, make oxygen by water hydrolysis, compare the elemental composition of the Earth with that of other planets, and explore “icy orbs” like the worlds explored by NASA in the outer solar system.

October 27 at the Boston Children’s Museum:  Volunteers from the American Chemical Society New England Chapter will host hands-on activities on the Common for all ages, 11AM-4PM. Explore the chemistry of exploring space and how rockets work.