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
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
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
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
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.
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.
- 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.)
- 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 email@example.com.
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.
Newton’s high-school science teams continue to excel. Last Saturday, Newton North placed 2nd and Newton South placed 3rd overall in the Massachusetts State Science Olympiad at Framingham State University, competing with more than 40 school teams across the state.
Newton North’s 20-member Science Team placed an average of 6th in all 21 of its events, medaling 1st in studying events for Materials Science, Rocks and Minerals, and Forestry. The team also placed in the top 5 in all of the Olympiad building events: Maglev, Gravity Vehicle, Boomilever, and Robot Arm. In its Trial Events, it also placed well, setting a good standard for future years. North Science teacher Tatyana Osipenko, the team advisor, proctored the Experimental Design event, in which Newton North came in 13th. The team plans to participate in MIT Trivia and the MA Envirothon, and it will organize the Science Initiatives Competition in the upcoming weeks.
Newton South‘s team, with more than 40 active members, averaged between 6th and 7th place, claiming Top Three in 10 out of 21 total events. The members received gold medals for Maglev and Robotic Arm, silver medals in Forensics, Thermodynamics, Rocks and Minerals, and Water Quality, and also received bronze medals in Material Science, Physics Lab, and Technical Problem Solving Material Science. In 8 additional events, the team ranked within the Top 10. South Science teacher Dr. Jordan Kraus, the team advisor, organized the event Anatomy and Physiology, in which Newton South placed 2nd. South’s trial team, consisting of young and growing members of the team, placed 3rd in the event Endangered and Exotic Animals.
Blue Lobster Bowl: On March 3, Newton North sent three teams to the Blue Lobster Bowl, Massachusetts’ regional marine sciences quiz bowl at MIT. The full-day competition covers chemistry, biology, engineering, history, ecology, climate change, and weather. North’s A team placed 3rd of 16 teams, and its B team placed 7th. The C team entered in a non-official bracket and placed 2nd. Newton South’s team placed 8th.
West Suburban Science League: Newton South’s Science Team placed first in the West Suburban Science League. At one of the five West Suburban meets, the team tied its best single-meet score, with three first-place events and one second. Newton North placed 4th with 302 points, its best score since 2007.
National Science Bowl: Newton South’s team recently traveled to Connecticut and placed 5th of thirty-two at the regional event of the general science competition, the National Science Bowl. Newton North’s team tied for 9th place.
Both the North HS and South HS Math Teams have qualified for the upcoming competition of the Massachusetts Association of Mathematics Leagues. This required consistently high performance in the five monthly Greater Boston Mathematics League meets. The North Math Team is currently ranked second in the Greater Boston Math League, and its A team won the last meet, in Canton.
At the Harvard-MIT November Tournament, a state-wide competition, North’s team placed 6th and South’s team placed 10th. South’s team placed 2nd in a high-stakes speed round at the end of the tournament.
Several members of both the North and South teams did well in the American Mathematics Competitions and will go on to compete at the state level.
Come see the Ligerbots — Newton’s FIRST robotics team — compete against 41 other teams from around the world in the FIRST Regional Tournament hosted by Worcester Polytechnic Institute, on March 7-9. FIRST is a program designed to inspire high school students to pursue higher education and careers in STEM. In this tournament, over 40 teams will compete from all over the world. Each team has 6 weeks to build a robot to compete in the same game.
Leanora McVittie, Ligerbots CEO, reports: Continue reading