Category Archives: Accomplishments

LigerBots Win Award at Hartford District Championship

At the FIRST New England District Championships in Hartford this weekend, the Newton Ligerbots again won the Innovation in Control award, as they did in a similar event in Boston recently.  The award is sponsored by Rockwell Automation to celebrate “an innovative control system or application of control components – electrical, mechanical, or software – to provide unique machine functions.”

Mass. Science Olympiad Results: NSHS #2, NNSH #4 Statewide

Congratulations to the Newton South HS Science Team and the Newton North HS Science Team for placing second and fourth, respectively, among 61 high schools in the Massachusetts Science Olympiad at Framingham State University on March 19.  Each team competed in 26 events throughout the all-day event.

NSHS: U.S. Semi-Finalists in 1st Time in Moody’s Mega Math Challenge

In its first-ever participation in Moody’s Mega Math Challenge, Newton South HS’s team (Bhavik Nagda, James Rao, Ayush Upneja, Erik Uhlmann, and Yifan Xu) achieved the semi-finals, ranking between 7th and 12th place overall among 1,084 entries nationwide.  In this challenge, each team did research, analysis, mathematical modeling, and writing over a single 14-hour period to produce a 20-page research paper for grading by a panel of judges.  The task this year was to create a mathematical model to help determine the best business model for a car-sharing service in a given region/city/town.  The NSHS team’s work won $1500 in scholarship funds.   The team’s faculty coach, Steven Rattendi, noted that the students took the initiative in starting and leading this endeavor.  Congratulations to all!

NSHS/NNHS Students Awarded Statewide NCWIT Honors in Computer Science

Students from Newton North HS and Newton South HS have won statewide recognition in the annual Aspirations in Computing program of the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT).   In a ceremony at Wellesley College last weekend, Newton South sophomore Hannah Cole was named a Massachusetts winner and national runner-up, and Newton North junior Winnie Chan was named a Massachusetts runner-up.  NCWIT recognizes high-school women for achievements, aptitude, dedication, and leadership in computer science.  Read about the trajectories of these stars: Continue reading

LigerBots Win Entrepreneurship Award and Reach Quarter-Finals at WPI District Competition

The Newton LigerBots robotics team competed this weekend in its first FIRST district qualifying event for the season, at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, reaching the quarter-final rounds and winning the coveted Entrepreneurship Award.  This award recognizes a team that has “developed the framework for a comprehensive business plan to scope, manage, and achieve team objectives.”  The LigerBots team wrote and executed its full business plan, winning the admiration of the judges.

The LigerBots were ranked 11 overall in this district qualifying event, and its robot was the highest-scoring robot for the autonomous (pre-programmed) part of the competition.  This competition revealed some mechanical issues with the robot’s design, and the team knows what it needs to work on before its next competition, on April 2-3 at Boston University (Agganis Arena, 925 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston — see schedule).


NewtonSTEM at 5 Years: Your Feedback and Suggestions?

NewtonSTEM was launched five years ago as a clearinghouse of information about STEM-related achievements, events, opportunities, and resources that are relevant to the Newton community.  Now with over 800 posts, almost 1,000 on the email list, and over 600 Twitter followers, it’s as good time as any to ask:  What’s most helpful?  What’s not?  What should be added?  What suggestions do you have?  Please send comments to

Horace Mann Science Night

Horace Mann Elementary School held its 8th annual Science Night last Friday.  These kids get it!  It’s a blast to hear them explain what they have learned.


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.


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.

Newton South’s DaVinci Program Launches for Sophomores

The Newton South HS Lion’s Roar has published an article on the launch of DaVinci, the school’s flexible, interdisciplinary STEAM program that started for a cohort of sophomores last week.  The students will study Biochemistry (over two years), Theory of Creativity, and a new Math 2 course — all in an open, project-based, collaborative environment.  Lab space, including movable furniture and whiteboards, was funded by the Newton Schools Foundation and the PTSO.  Each year, as students progress through the program, another cohort of sophomores will be added.