Yesterday, Newton’s award-winning high-school robotics team, the LigerBots, hosted a FIRST Lego League (FLL) qualifying tournament at Newton North High School for 34 FLL teams of students in Grades 4-8 from all over eastern Massachusetts, including eight teams based in Newton. From 9AM to 2PM, teams competed in robot matches and research presentations based on this year’s FLL theme, City Shaper (see video), after which there was a dance party and an award ceremony. Judges scored the teams on their design, research project, and robot performance. Eleven teams — including Newton’s Roaming Rovers, City Snakes, and Day Dragons — were awarded “golden tickets” to advance to the state championship. The LigerBots also hosted a Maker Fair, where students of all ages could see and interact with local STEAM experts and have hands-on experience applying science and engineering skills and concepts.
On December 14, the LigerBots will again host the Eastern Massachusetts FLL Championship tournament at Newton North HS, with more teams and more fun! That event will include a Maker Fair with local companies, more hands-on activities, and a Girl Scouts STEAM workshop. It’s all free and open to the public.
Two Destination Imagination teams represented Newton at the Global Finals in Kansas City, MO two weeks ago, and both teams did very well among teams from 15 nations around the world. At the elementary level, the Newton Noodle Nibblers placed 6th out of 60, and at the high-school level, team tiny.cc/2rb22y (that’s the team’s clever name, and not a link to its website!) placed 12th out of 60. Both teams competed in the Medical Mystery (Scientific) challenge, in which they:
Researched the human body and medical conditions that affect the human body,
Created and presented a story about a medical mystery that affects a human character,
Designed and built a representation that shows the medical mystery and at least one symptom, and
Presented an action or scene that is shown from two or more perspectives at the same time.
McGauley’s project, “The Parallel Between Rising Shark and Seal Populations off the Coast of Cape Cod,” reviewed and analyzed published literature to identify causes of the increasing shark populations.
Hartman’s project, “Identifying EEG Correlates to Intentional Motor Movement,” used a homemade electroencephalography machine to analyze how human brains process tasks.
The Newton Ligerbots previously qualified for, and competed this weekend at, the FIRST Newton England District Championships at WPI, ranking 34th of 64 teams at the event. The LigerBots finished the season with an offensive power ranking of 29 out of over 200 teams in New England.
Samantha Rosenberg, the team’s chief technical officer and a junior at Newton South High School, won a Dean’s List Finalist Award, given to student leaders who have led their teams and communities to increased awareness for the FIRST Robotics program and its mission to inspire students to pursue studies in science, technology, engineering and math, all while achieving technical expertise and accomplishment. She will compete for the Dean’s List Award at the FIRST World Championship in Detroit during the weekend of April 24-27.
Dr. Noa Rensing of West Newton, one of the team’s co-head coaches, won the Woodie Flowers Semi-finalist Award at the Central Massachusetts District Event. Mentors are nominated by students and the award is given to a mentor who has given them the best understanding of the challenges, opportunities, and satisfaction involved in the discipline of engineering and design.
Congratulations to the Science Teams of Newton North HS (in photo) and Newton South HS for placing 2nd and 4th respectively among 55 high school teams in the preliminary results of this year’s Massachusetts Science Olympiad held at Framingham State University. These are preliminary results, to be finalized in the next two weeks. Each team assigns one or two students to compete in each of 25 events throughout the all-day competition. Newton North won first place in five events and second place in four:
In recent weeks the Ligerbots, Newton’s dual-high-school FIRST robotics team, has been very busy:
During a six-week designated “build season,” the team designed and built Thanos, a brand new robot for this year’s competition, Destination: Deep Space. This entailed working six days a week as well as through the February school break.
Five team members and a mentor participated in the two-day FIRST Southern New England Advocacy Conference (SNEAC), learning about legislative advocacy for FIRST and STEM initiatives and then practicing what they learned in meetings on Beacon Hill with Newton’s legislators and/or their staff.
This weekend, the team participated in its first FIRST competition of the season, the Southeastern Massachusetts District Event, in Bridgewater. The team joined an alliance that made it into the semi-finals.
On March 3, Newton North HS sent three teams to the Blue Lobster Bowl, Massachusetts’ regional marine sciences quiz bowl at MIT, and Newton South HS sent one. The full-day competition — a Regional Competition of the National Ocean Sciences Bowl — covers chemistry, biology, engineering, history, ecology, climate change, and weather. North’s A team placed 2nd of 15 teams, its B team placed 8th, and its C team placed 9th. South’s team placed 6th.
Burr Elementary School held its STEAM Fair on Friday evening, sponsored by the Burr PTO. It was a fun, non-competitive opportunity for students to learn about the scientific process alongside many of the Burr community parents who are involved in STEAM fields. By adding “A” for “Art” to STEM, the STEAM Fair encouraged students to engage in a broader range of creative projects, including baking, color exploration, and sound waves. Empow Studios hosted a gaming and robotics table, and parent demonstrations included an experiment in color and light. At the popular Reverse Engineering table, students took apart non-working electronics and appliances to explore how their parts work together.
Oak Hill Middle School teachers Maureen Stewart and Jessie Cadigan sent this about the school’s Girls Who Code program:
The Girls Who Code group at Oak Hill has been meeting weekly since October. We are very fortunate to have a parent volunteer, Raktim Sinha, who offered to start the group and share his knowledge of coding. The intent of GWC is to explore coding while teaching the girls self-reliance and problem-solving in a collaborative and fun environment. It has a wide interest with many girls joining across all three grades. The girls started by learning basic concepts using Scratch and now have moved on to Python. Interspersed with the coding lessons, the girls are also exploring ideas around what it means to be “courageous” and “creative.” They are currently brainstorming project ideas that they will focus on for the rest of the year.