Category Archives: Accomplishments

NNHS Science Team: Barnes & Noble Fundraiser to Support Their Success, June 21

The Newton North HS Science Team won second place in the State TEAMS competition and will be one of two teams representing Massachusetts at the national competition in Washington, DC.   The team is holding a booksale event to introduce rising freshmen to the high-school team and to raise funds for its trip to DC:

During a Mystery Architecture Competition at Barnes & Noble bookstore in Burlington on Saturday, June 21, 1-5PM, the team hopes to talk with rising freshmen about high-school life and the Science Team.

Barnes & Noble will contribute a share of all in-store sales in their Burlington store on June 21 — as well as all online sales at www.BN.COM/bookfairs.com during June 21-26 — for purchases made with the Science Team’s book fair ID (#11384203).

Help the NNHS Science Team Attend Two Summer Competitions

The Newton North HS Science Team seeks financial support for trips to two competitions this summer:

To make a donation to help the NNHS Science Team attend these competitions for which they have qualified on merit, you may send a check (to “City of Newton” with “NNHS Science Team” in the memo line) to:

Amy D. Picard Winston, Department Head
Science and Technology/Engineering
Newton North HS
457 Walnut St., Newton, MA 02460

NNHS’s Steve Chinosi: One of 24 ‘Inspirational Teachers of the Year’ Recognized by MIT

Newton North HS teacher — and Chief Innovation Officer and coordinator of Newton’s Innovation Lab and Greengineering program — Steve Chinosi has been named one of twenty-four MIT Inspirational Teachers of the Year, selected worldwide from nominations by current MIT students.  The award “recognizes outstanding secondary school teachers who inspire in their students a love of learning, encourage them to pursue excellence, and give them the skills and enthusiasm they need to make a positive difference in the world.”

Local Maker’s Success at MIT’s Edu DesignShop

Kevin Osborn — a key driver in helping local libraries develop programs in the Maker movement — saw a recent NewtonSTEM notice about MIT’s Edu DesignShop and decided to apply.  He was one of 100 selected (out of over 230) for this two-day workshop to “learn about ‘design thinking’ and use it to design for a systemic change in education.”  The wide-ranging participants — from a fourth grader to a 62-year-old policy maker — were grouped in interdisciplinary teams of four, and each team was challenged to identify and develop an idea for improving education.

At the workshop, Kevin was assigned to a team with a Bronx English teacher (Paul Allison), a Creative Tech director at a private school (Jonathon Schmid), and an MIT Sophomore (Victoria Dean).  Alternating among sessions of sketching, brainstorming, prototyping, and hands-on development, the team struggled to find common ground.   In the end, however, the team was excited to present its vision of Connecting Makers with Educators to develop projects that can span subjects and incite student creativity.  They got others excited, too:  Kevin’s team was one of four winning teams awarded $1000 to help develop its idea further.

Newton South HS Math Team Excels

The Newton South HS Math Team came in third place at the Massachusetts Association of Mathematics League state meet in April, qualifying the team to participate in the New England Association of Mathematics Leagues, where they finished in first place! Team participants for both meets were: Evan Zeng, David Cao, Andrew Shaughnessy, Jason Ma, Jae Lee, Margalit Glasgow, and Daniel Shaar.

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.

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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