3 Middle-School Ambassadors Set to Attend ‘Envision the Future’

IMAG2799Three middle-school girls representing Newton are set to join 45 of their peers from 17 Massachusetts communities at Envision the Future, a residential STEM program at Bridgewater State University, July 20-24, under the auspices of the Southeastern Massachusetts STEM Network.  Shown above are Newton’s ambassadors:  7th Graders Abigail Brooks (Brown MS), Deanne Harris (Oak Hill MS), and Dumebi Okonkwo (Day MS), who were selected based on written applications and interviews.  Last Thursday they met with program supporters in Newton to discuss what they expect to encounter:  Challenging STEM activities, career exploration with STEM professionals, meeting women role models, and connecting with other girls with similar interests.  Attending the discussion were representatives of the John M. Barry Boys & Girls Club of Newton (which will fund scholarships for the students), NewtonSTEM, and the Newton Free Library, as well as Newton School Committee representatives Margaret Albright and Angela Pitter-Wright.  Representatives of Wellesley Public Schools, which is sending two students to the program, also participated in the discussion.  A key aim of all supporting organizations will be to replicate various STEM-promotion activities of Envision the Future in their communities next year.  Newton and Wellesley were invited to participate based on the sponsors’ interest in replicating these activities in their communities.

Want to Start a FIRST Lego League Team? The LigerBots Can Help

IMAG2774Last Wednesday evening, coaches and student leaders of the LigerBots high-school robotics team held an information session for a standing-room-only crowd of Newton parents (and kids) who want to start (or join) a FIRST Lego League (FLL) robotics team.  FLL teams, consisting of 2 to 10 students in Grades 4-8, supported by 2 adult coaches, compete in the fall season by a) building and programming a LEGO robot to complete assigned missions and b) researching and presenting results for a project based on the FLL theme for the year.  This year’s theme is Trash Trek.  Most teams fill up quickly, so parents looking for teams for their children should consider coaching.  Technical expertise is not required, and there is considerable help available from LigerBots high-school students (who are eager to cultivate interest in FIRST among younger students) and from other FLL coaches, many of whom are in an online discussion group.  If you’d like to learn more about coaching an FLL team, or if you’d like to connect with other FLL teams in Newton, visit ligerbots.org/fll.php or email fll@ligerbots.com or fll@newtonstem.org.

Chuck Hurwitz Retires from LigerBots, the FIRST Team He Founded

The Newton TAB reports that Chuck Hurwitz has retired from the his position as head coach of Newton’s award-winning Ligerbots, the FIRST FRC team he created in 2009, spanning both Newton high schools.  He continued to lead the team after he retired as head of the Newton South HS Science Department in 2012.  He now remains on the board of the Latino STEM Alliance and remains committed to helping underprivileged students create FIRST Robotics teams.  Congratulations and many thanks to Coach Hurwitz!

Summer Computer Camps for Children and Teens

Besides NewtonSTEM’s list of summer STEM activities, parents may want to look at this list of summer computer camps for children and teens published by the Commonwealth Alliance for Information Technology Education (CAITE) at UMass Amherst.  Thanks to School Committee member Margaret Albright for noting this.

BU’s U-Design Summer STEM for Middle Schoolers, July 13-17

Boston University’s U-Design summer STEM program has openings for students in Grades 7-9 in two of its workshops — Robo-Alley and Flight School 101 — running July 13-27, 8:30AM-4PM, at BU’s College of Engineering.  Workshops of up to 20 students will explore design, experimentation, and invention.  Cost is $425 and limited scholarships may be available for those in need.  Register online.  For more information, call 617-353-6919 or e-mail u-design@bu.edu.

Newton Library: Super-Cold Science, July 6

The Newton Free Library will host a Museum of Science educator presenting Super-Cold Science on July 6, 3-3:30PM in the Druker Auditorium to enable everyone from Grade K and up to explore what happens to everyday objects when they are super-cooled by an intensely cold liquid.

Mass. DESE Survey on Sci/Tech/Engineering Assessments, due July 10

The Massachusetts Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education invites educators and members of the public to complete a 10-15-minute survey about upcoming revisions to the MCAS assessments for Science and Technology/Engineering.  Responses are due by July 10.  If you have questions about the survey, contact Darin LaSota at dlasota@doe.mass.edu.

Newton Library: STEAM Expo, July 18

The Newton Free Library will hold its second annual STEAM Expo on July 18, 1-4PM.  Seventeen exhibits and workshops, both inside and outside the library, will be available for “tech enthusiasts, traditional crafters, artists, musicians, educators, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers and students” including — digital saxophone, bone analysis, lasers, robot maze, Drumlin Farm animals, Newton Community Farm, and SCRATCH programming.

Southeastern Mass. STEM Resource Fair at Bridgewater, July 24

The Southeastern Mass. STEM Network will hold its third annual STEM Resource Fair on July 24 at Bridgewater State University (Rondileau Campus Center, 19 Park Avenue, Bridgewater).  Parents, educators, and representatives of business, government, and community organizations are invited.  The fair includes exhibits of STEM education resources as well as presentations by participants in the Envision the Future STEM program for middle-school girls.  (Three girls from Newton will be attend Envision the Future.)  Free online registration opens on July 1.

LEtGO Your Mind: Robotics Day Camps at Lasell College, July 20-24

LEtGO Your Mind, which offers LEGO-based robotics programs throughout New England, will hold two summer day camps at Lasell College in Newton the week of July 20-24, 9AM-3PM.  Register online by July 12 for: