Category Archives: Accomplishments

The Ligerbots Arrive at FRC World Champships

The Newton Ligerbots, represented by 23 students and 14 coaches/mentors/parents, have arrived in St. Louis with their robot for the FRC World Championships.  Thanks to corporate sponsors and all others who donated funds to make this possible.  Sure enough, the team has been assigned to the Newton Division (not Archimedes, Curie, Einstein, or Galileo).  According to the schedule, matches will run from Thursday at 9AM to Saturday afternoon.  Events will be live-streamed at http://science.ksc.nasa.gov/robotics/first/st-louis-2014/.  See online for match results, team standings, and awards.  Besides the competitions, the students and adults may attend the FIRST Championship Conferences presented by teams, coaches, mentors, and sponsors on an amazing range of topics.  Good luck to the Ligerbots and best wishes for inspiration, perseverance, collaboration, and Gracious Professionalism!

Newton Ligerbots Succeed at Northeastern, Qualify for New England Finals

Last week at the Northeastern University District Qualifying Event, Newton’s award-winning FIRST Robotics team, the Ligerbots, won the Team Spirit award and captained the three-team alliance that won second place overall.  The Ligerbots won 8 of 12 qualification rounds and then, with two alliance partners, won second place through 7 more matches.

Winning the previous WPI competition through a grueling 19 rounds took a toll on the Ligerbots’ robot, including a bent chassis and broken arm!  To prepare for the Northeastern competition, the team fine-tuned their robot, improvising solutions during scheduled access periods.

The Ligerbots will now move on to the New England FRC Regional Championship at Boston University on April 10-12.  The team is already considering any shifts in game strategy or adjustments to the robot/programming they may want to employ for this competition.  Come cheer them on!  All FIRST competitions are open to the public, free, and a blast to watch.

What makes FIRST unique and successful is the collaboration among students (46 from Newton North and South High Schools), coaches (Chuck Hurwitz, John Fitzpatrick), mentors (many!), and sponsors (PTC, Raytheon, NDEP, McVittie Tax Advisors, At Once Inc., Whole Foods, Newton Schools Foundation, and the Newton Public Schools).
Ligerbots at Northeastern, 2014

NNHS and NSHS Excel at Massachusetts Science Olympiad

Congratulations are in order!  Last Saturday, when 44 high schools from across Massachusetts competed in the Massachusetts Science Olympiad at Framingham State University, Newton North HS Science Team placed 2nd and Newton South HS Science Team placed 4th statewide.  Together the Newton teams won first-place medals in 7 of the 20 competitive events (NNHS 5 + NSHS 2).  Overall, NNHS won 13 medals and NSHS won 4.

The 20 competitive events are chosen each year to reflect current science in genetics, earth science, chemistry, anatomy, physics, geology, astronomy, mechanical engineering and technology.  The Olympiad emphasizes hands-on, group participation, inquiry/process skills, and content knowledge.  Students compete in groups of two or three and must cross-train to be prepared for the event schedule that is released later in the year.  Well-rounded, collaborative teams excel in events such as: Continue reading

Newton Ligerbots Win WPI Regional Qualifying Competition

Newton’s FIRST Robotics team, the Ligerbots, was one of three teams collaborating to win  the two-day NE FIRST District Qualifying Event at Worcester Polytechnic Institute this week, competing against 38 other teams from across New England.  The Ligerbots also won the event’s Creativity Award, sponsored by Xerox to celebrate ingenuity and originality in design, use of components, or strategy of play — in this case, the unique way that the Ligerbots’ robot employed a set of pistons in its design.

The Ligerbot’s next competitions will be the Northeastern University District Qualifying Event on March 28-29 and the New England FRC Regional Championship at Boston University on April 10-12.  All FIRST events are free, open to the public, and a blast to watch.

Continue reading

Farewell and Many Thanks to Norma Sullivan!

Oak Hill Middle School math/science teacher — and NewtonSTEM board member — Norma Sullivan is retiring this month from the Newton Public Schools, after a career of inspiring many, many students.  She has taught in Newton since 1987, first in fifth grade at Memorial-Spaulding Elementary and since then in sixth grade at Oak Hill.

“I firmly believe that you get the [STEM] hook for kids when they’re in the fifth, sixth, and seventh grade.  That’s the age when I can maybe change their thinking.  I look at it as three pillars – Science, Math, and Technology — that support Engineering, and you have to know the pillars to understand Engineering.  If the kids can learn these things for a reason and they know it’s meaningful, then they’ll buy into it more than learning these skills in isolation.” Continue reading

Team of NNHS Junior Kavish Gandhi and Lexington’s Noah Golowich Win $50K Siemens Scholarship in National Finals

Congratulations to Newton North HS junior Kavish Gandhi and his Lexington teammate, Noah Golowich, who have won a $50,000 scholarship by achieving second place nationwide in the prestigious Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology. Last month, the team won the Siemens Region Three Finals and the right to compete in this week’s national finals in Washington, DC.  You can see a video of their 12-minute presentation, Partition Regularity of Linear Homogeneous Equations and Inequalities.

Their research is in the area of Ramsey Theory, which Gandhi described in the NNHS Newtonite as “‘focused on finding patterns and order in sufficiently large systems’ with applications in theoretical computer science, communications networks, cellular networks, positional board games, and molecular structures.”  They conducted their research through the MIT Program for Research in Mathematics, Engineering, and Science, mentored by mathematics Ph.D. candidate Laszlo Miklos Lovasz.

Kavish says that he became interested in mathematics at a young age, simply from spending time outdoors and taking note of naturally occurring patterns. He has participated in numerous mathematics competitions.

“My favorite subject is mathematics because of its inherent beauty.  Plus, the feeling that I get after I struggle and then finally, the jigsaw pieces snap together, and I solve a math problem, is unmatched in any other subject… Math is the best!” — Kavish Gandhi

NNHS Junior Kavish Gandhi Named National Finalist in Siemens Competition

Newton North HS junior Kavish Gandhi and his Lexington teammate, Noah Golowich, were the winning team in the Region Three Finals of the Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology this weekend at the University of Notre Dame.  Their team earned the $6,000 regional team scholarship and is now one of six teams invited to the National Finals in Washington, DC, on December 7-10, to compete for scholarships ranging from $10,000 to $100,000.

For this competition, Gandi and Golowich presented their research on Ramsey theory, which Gandhi described in the NNHS Newtonite as “‘focused on finding patterns and order in sufficiently large systems’ with applications in theoretical computer science, communications networks, cellular networks, positional board games, and molecular structures.”  They conducted their research through the MIT Program for Research in Mathematics, Engineering, and Science, mentored by mathematics Ph.D. candidate Laszlo Miklos Lovasz. Continue reading

Newton North HS Wins Second in North American Envirothon

Mass. Envirothon Team: Malini Gandhi, Kaija Gahm, Kavish Gandhi, Ying Gao, and Eliana Gevelber.

As reported in Village14.com, the Newton North High School Envirothon team, which won the state championship in May to represent Massachusetts across the continent, has since won Second Place overall in the North American Envirothon competition in Bozeman, Montana.  Sponsored by Canon U.S.A., the Envirothon is North America’s largest high school environmental education competition.  Congratulations to the team and advisor, and thanks to all who donated to support the team’s travel expenses.

Be sure to read what NNHS science teacher Anndy Dannenberg, the team’s faculty advisor, said of this accomplishment: Continue reading

NNHS InvenTeam Selected to Present at MIT, June 20-21

The Newton North High School InvenTeam is one out of four teams chosen to present at the Lemelson-MIT Program’s 2013 EurekaFest.  The public is invited to the presentations by 2013 InvenTeams and Lemelson-MIT Collegiate Student Prize Winners in the Kirsch Auditorium MIT Stata Center (32 Vassar Street, Cambridge) on Thursday, June 20 2PM-4PM.  The 2013 InvenTeams will exhibit their invention prototypes at the InvenTeams Showcase on Friday, June 21 5PM-7:30PM in the Stata Center.

NNHS Science Team Seeks Donations & Sponsors for National Meets

The Newton North HS Science Team has had a stellar year of competitions and has qualified for two national competitions: one in Florida at the end of June and one in Bozeman, Montana, in August.  The team is now preparing to compete and seeking to raise approximately $10,000 to offset the expenses for these trips.  Newton community members can help in two ways.

  1. Donations can be sent to the NNHS Science Team c/o Amy Winston,
    Department Head for Science, NNHS, 457 Walnut Street, Newton, MA 02460.
    (Checks can be made out to the “City of Newton” with “NNHS Science Team” in the memo line.)
  2. Corporate sponsors are being recruited and will be acknowledged on the team’s banners and t-shirts for these competitions as well as through local media after the competitions.  Companies and organizations interested in being sponsors should contact Ms. Winston at amy_winston@newton.k12.ma.us.

The NNHS Envirothon team finished first in a statewide competition last month, coming in first place in all ecostations (Soils, Wildlife, Water, and Forestry) and second place in its Current Issue presentation on the condition of Newton’s ailing urban forest and street trees.  In all, the NNHS Science Team participated in seven competitions this year and placed in the top ten in each.