Category Archives: Accomplishments

NNHS Teams Win Honors at ‘Women of Science’ Competition

Yesterday, two teams of Newton North HS students performed well at the 16th Annual Women of Science Competition in Bedford. Of 38 teams competing, team A (Abby Lau, Eve Martin and Dominique Rinfret) placed second, each winning $500 scholarships and science books, and team B (Jane Alandydy, Mari McCarthy and Ali Roberts) won sixth place. Newton South HS also fielded two teams, winning seventh and eleventh places. All 38 teams wrestled with STEM problems celebrating women’s achievements in STEM, under the theme Reaching for the Stars – Celebrating Astronomical Discoveries of Women Astronomers. The event also included a networking lunch with female STEM professionals. Take a look at some of the challenges from this year and prior years!

Update from Science Club for Girls

Science Club for Girls has been focusing on developing a strategic plan and a more robust development model to support expansion of its services. Its mission is to “foster excitement, confidence and literacy in STEM for girls from underrepresented communities by providing free, experiential programs and by maximizing meaningful interactions with women mentors in STEM.”

  • This fall, SCFG is running 12 clubs in three locations in Cambridge: Amigos School, King Open School, and Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House. Each club has three or more mentors who are women undergraduates, graduate students, or STEM professionals.
  • SCFG also has 15 Junior Mentors who are girls in Grades 8-12 — most of whom have been involved with SCFG since Kindergarten — to maintain institutional memory, traditions, and excitement.
  • SCFG is currently conducting a search for a new Executive Director.
  • This summer, SCFG raised $239,000 from individual donors, foundations, corporations and government sources.  You can donate here to continue the work of this organization.

LigerBots Host FLL Newton Qualifier; Teams Win Awards

Yesterday the Newton high-school robotics team, the LigerBots, hosted the Newton Qualifier, one of two competitions for FIRST LEGO League (FLL) teams held at Newton North HS each year. This tournament featured 23 FLL teams from Greater Boston, including six Newton-based teams:  The Day Dragons, Empow Studios, LazerRobotics, Plutonium 238, the Roaming Rovers, and the Supernovas. The Day Dragons won the Champion’s Award, the Roaming Rovers won the Robot Programming Award, and the LazerRobotics won the Inspiration Award.  The Roaming Rovers and Day Dragons qualified for the Eastern MA State Championship, which will be hosted by the LigerBots at Newton North HS on December 15, 9AM-3PM.

Accompanying the tournament was a maker fair featuring exhibits from the Newton Free Library, Green Newton, Einstein’s Workshop, Empow Studios, Droid Builders, SharkNinja, Hatch, Johnson String Instrument and well as LigerBots STEAM activities, including button making, paper airplanes, origami, 3D printing, brush bots, PB&J Robot, and binary beads. An even larger maker fair will be featured at the Eastern MA State Champship on December 15, and the public is again invited to this fun, free event. The LigerBots describe the tone of the event as “sports championship / science fair / family reunion / dance party!”

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.

LigerBot Delegates Attend FIRST National Advocacy Conference in DC

The Newton LigerBots sent a delegation to the FIRST National Advocacy Conference, June 24-26 in Washington, DC, representing Massachusetts along with the Green Reapers team from Worcester. The 250 conference attendees learned about how bills get passed, how to advocate effectively, what other teams are doing at the state level, and the two STEM-related aims of FIRST’s current advocacy:

  • Reauthorization of the Perkins Act, which supports technical education and STEM opportunities in second careers for those who may otherwise not be able to afford it, and
  • Full funding for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which provides flexible block grants that school districts can use to for high-quality STEM programs both in the classroom and after school.

On the last day of the conference, the LigerBot delegates met with Representative Joseph Kennedy as well as with staff of Senators Warren and Markey, and Representative Capuano to talk about FIRST, STEM, the Perkins Act, and ESSA.

MIT EurekaFest Celebrates InvenTeams, June 20-21

EurekaFest is a two-day celebration of invention and engineering sponsored by the Lemelson-MIT Program and highlighting the results of selected high-school InvenTeams from across the country.  (Newton North HS participated in 2013.)

NNHS Envirothon Team Wins State Title — Again

Newton North HS has once again won first place in the 31st annual Massachusetts Envirothon competition and will represent the state at the North American competition, July 22-28 in Pocatello, Idaho. After a year of intensive preparation and study, the team traveled to the Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park in Uxbridge to compete against 26 other high schools in an all-day schedule of written tests and hands-on activities assessing knowledge of soils, forests, water, and wildlife. Each team also gave a presentation about its research into its own community’s water infrastructure resources and needs, identifying a partnering opportunity and making specific recommendations for action. This is the sixth time in seven years that Newton North HS has won this honor.

LigerBots Compete in BattleCry and Plan Participation in Community Events

This weekend the LigerBots participated in the two-day Battlecry 19 post-season FIRST robotics competition at Worcester Polytechnic Institute with 59 other teams from the region. The LigerBots ended the Qualifying Rounds with a record of 5-3-0 and were invited to join an alliance headed by The Bionics from Billerica. This alliance advanced to the quarter-finals, where they were defeated by the alliance that eventually won the competition.

The ever-community-minded LigerBots plan to bring their robot to events in May and June, including the Newton Memorial Day Parade on May 27Newton Highlands Village Day on June 10, and  Tour de Newton on June 17. The team will also host an evening meeting for all parents and potential coaches (all are welcome!) to learn about FIRST LEGO League (FLL) on Wednesday, June 20, 7-9PM, at the Newton North High School Film Lecture Hall. And the team is starting the process of recruiting new students for the 2018-2019 school year.

A Great Year for the Day Dragons!

It’s been a busy and successful year for Newton’s Day Dragons FIRST Lego League (FLL) team, consisting of four students from Day Middle School and two from Pierce Elementary.  The team won a spot in last week’s FLL World Championships in Detroit.  To prepare for the event, the team completely redesigned, rebuilt, and reprogrammed its robot after the state competition — and had its work reviewed by the LigerBots — and was thus able to achieve significantly higher scores and greater consistency in the World competitions. At the event, the Day Dragons were honored to share their experiences in agile development as part of an Agile FIRST expert panel.  With the help of the law firm of Mintz Levin, the team applied for a provisional patent for its innovations. In addition to community work (e.g., demonstrating its robot at the Lincoln Eliot science fair), the team also visited a Harvard University robotics lab. In the upcoming off-season, the team is preparing for next year and plans to work with the LigerBots in promoting FIRST, STEM, and robotics in the Newton community.

LigerBots at FIRST Robotics World Championship

The Newton LigerBots had their best performance yet at the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) World Championship in Detroit this weekend, finishing 6th out of 68 teams in the Daly division and advancing to the Division Semifinals before falling to the team that won the World Championship. This is the fourth time that the LigerBots have won a spot in the World Championships in its ten years. and each time they have advanced further.

Thirty-three LigerBots students, accompanied by coaches, mentors and parents, made the trip to Detroit to compete with over 400 FRC teams from around the world. The FIRST World Festival also included 128 teams competing in the FIRST Tech Challenge and over 100 FIRST Lego League teams — including the Newton’s Day Dragons, a team of four students from Day Middle School and and two from Pierce.

The LigerBots lost only one of 10 matches in qualifying rounds, achieving third best among 37 New England teams that qualified for the championships. They advanced through quarterfinals and semifinals, but did not move on to the finals. 

Excellence depends on many factors: a robust design, a skilled and level-headed “drive team,” the ability to partner with other teams, and scouting other matches to identify robots with complementary abilities with which to form alliances.

The event included exhibits from colleges across the country, an innovation fair, and exhibits from companies seeking to engage with students interested in STEM.

Newton’s Day Dragons FLL team presented a seminar on “Applying Agile Principles to Your FIRST Lego League Team,” which was well-received, and the students impressed the audience as they took part in a panel discussion following the presentation.

The LigerBots spoke to teams around the world about: how they inspire and engage their community in learning about STEM, their use of 3D printing, and their 3D printed part competition, which they created 3 years ago to celebrate the creative ways teams solve problems with 3D printing.

The LigerBots were excited to be a part of this event,and appreciate the community and corporate support that allowed the team to include as many students as were able to go. Their next competition will be BattleCry, on May 19 at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.