Category Archives: Accomplishments

Newton 4th-Grade Destination Imagination Team Wins Spot in Global Finals

[photo] Top: Luca Dalzell (Team Mascot)
Middle: Briana Shu (Cabot), Roaa Ben-Aiad (Bowen)
Bottom: Henry Goldstein (SSDS), Neharika Jayanth (Burr), Mia Dalzell (Bowen)

A Destination Imagination team of Newton 4th graders has earned top honors in the state and will represent Massachusetts in the Destination Imagination Global Finals in Knoxville, TN over Memorial Day weekend.  This is the 5th year in a row that Newton students have won this honor!  This team won by engineering a structure weighing 28 grams yet holding 720 pounds — more than held by any other team’s structure in the state.  The team of students from Bowen, Cabot, Burr, and Solomon Schechter also had to create and present a performance, including a technical component, to a panel of judges.

Destination Imagination (DI) is a global creative problem-solving competition for teams of up to seven children in Grades K-12 to collaborate on solutions to unique STEAM challenges. Students work independently from parents and learn life skills such as communicating and listening, empathy towards others, being a problem solver, and making connections across complex ideas.

Newton DI was formed eight years ago and has been growing ever since, with 17 teams participating this year. Matthew Miller, founder of Newton DI, says, “In DI, parents are not allowed to be a part of the solution. As a result, we see participants taking risks, learning new skills, and stepping outside of their comfort zone. The best feeling in the world is when a parent at the end of the season tells me that they have never seen their child any happier.”

Mass. Science Olympiad Results: Newton North 2nd, Newton South 3rd

Congratulations to the Science Teams of Newton North HS and Newton South HS for placing 2nd and 3rd respectively among 51 high school teams in the preliminary results of this year’s Massachusetts Science Olympiad held at Framingham State University. Each team competed in 25 events throughout the all-day event.Acton-Boxborough placed first, as it has since 2009, when Newton North last came out on top.

LigerBots Compete and Receive Awards at North Shore Event

The Newton LigerBots participated in their first 2018 district competition this weekend, the North Shore District Event at Reading Memorial HS.  During the opening ceremonies, the team’s award-winning Safety Award Animation was shown, and on the second day of competition team CTO Cam played the national anthem on his trumpet. The LigerBots participated in competitions for FIRST awards as well as the FIRST Power Up competition. At the end of regular competition matches, the team was ranked 10th.  The LigerBots were selected by the Bionics from Billerica to be on Alliance 6, joined by Terminal Velocity from Burlington. The LigerBots also scored a record-setting high score of 861 for this game.

The LigerBots were recognized with several awards:

  • The team received recognition for winning the 2018 FIRST Safety Animation Award, sponsored by UL, for the team’s Safety Animation video, which will be played at 160 FRC competitions worldwide this year.
  • Team mentor Igor Tepermeister was named a Woody Flowers Nominee at this competition, advancing to the next level of competition. This award recognizes an outstanding individual motivator for excellence in communicating and challenging students to communicate clearly and succinctly.
  • The team received the Imagery Award, given in honor of Jack Kamen, Dean’s father, for his dedication to art and illustration and his devotion to FIRST. This award celebrates attractiveness in engineering and outstanding visual aesthetic integration of machine and team appearance. The judges said, “This award rewards [the LigerBots’] ability to do hard work, great design, and agility. Their planning is professional, and their presence is essential. For these reasons and their elegant bots, the Imagery Award goes to Team 2877, the LigerBots.”

The LigerBots’ next competition will be at the Greater Boston District Event on April 7-8 at Revere HS (101 School St., Revere), and the events on the final day are free, open to the public, and a blast to see.

Cabot Elementary Celebrates 18th Annual Invention Invasion!

Last Friday evening, students — as teams and individuals — displayed their inventions and results of scientific inquiry at Cabot Elementary School’s 18th annual Invention Invasion — an event sponsored by the Cabot PTO and faculty. This year, the event also featured Night Skies’ Starlab inflatable planetarium for shows every 20 minutes. 

NNHS Ecology Trip to Nicaragua

For the second year in a row, Newton North HS students visited Nicaragua over February vacation to study tropical ecology and sustainable living through the NNHS Global Education Program’s Nicaragua Ecology Trip.  Led by North North HS biology teacher Anndy Dannenberg and Brandeis University ecologist Dr. Eric Olson, the group of 11 students spent two nights on an organic farm (where even human waste is expertly composted), visited an ecolodge (that uses photovoltaics and wind for power and captures rainwater for irrigation and clothes washing), and then spent several days in “community tourism,” boarding with four host families in a small coastal fishing village. The group sighted all three species of monkeys found in Nicaragua, including the elusive spider monkey. A key focus of the trip was studying spiders, to the dismay of some arachnophobes in the group. Other topics of study included:

  • How to recognize and survey for jumping spiders (family Salticidae)?
  • How do hummingbird and “buzz” pollination syndromes work?
  • What allows mangrove trees to thrive in low-oxygen salty mud?
  • How can we access the forest canopy using a mix of caving and rock climbing techniques?
  • How can a non-native invasive tree become an employment opportunity for underemployed fishermen?
  • How many meals of rice and beans can be eaten before one longs for dietary diversity?

Here’s Chronos, the LigerBots’ 2018 Robot

The LigerBots — Newton’s citywide high-school robotics team — has completed the design and construction of Chronos, the robot that the team has created for the upcoming 2018 FIRST Robotics Competition season. You’ll be able to see Chronos in action at these competitive events (which are part of the full schedule of full schedule of FRC competitions, all open to the public):

With sufficient skill and luck, the LigerBots may qualify for the New England District Championship, as well.  Stay tuned.  In the meantime, here’s a short introductory video:

Bigelow’s Mary Buttiglieri in Massachusetts Hall of Fame for Science Educators

Congratulations to Bigelow Middle School science teacher Mary Buttiglieri, who is one of three educators statewide inducted into the Massachusetts Hall of Fame for Science Educators this year. As noted in the Newton TAB, achievements of this inspired and inspiring teacher include initiating the school’s Science Night and an after-school Girls in Science club.

NNHS Science Team Wins 1st Place at Harvard Invitational Tournament

Congratulations to Newton North HS’s Science Team for winning first place last Sunday in the first annual Harvard Science Olympiad Invitational, among 34 high-school teams competing. The NNHS team placed first in 6 of the tournament’s 23 events.

LigerBots Win Worldwide Recognition for Safety Video

Congratulations to the LigerBots — Newton’s robotics team spanning both high schools — for placing first in a worldwide competition to create a short animated video explaining and supporting safety guidelines of FIRST robotics competitions.  Winning the 2018 FIRST Safety Animation Award, sponsored by UL, is a highly visible achievement, as the team’s safety video will be seen by about 500,000 spectators at various FIRST robotics competitions worldwide throughout the 2018 season. On the LigerBots blog, the team describes the inspiration and challenges of creating this engaging, informative video based on the theme of this year’s competition, Power Up.

Correction: Winning FLL Team is from F.A. Day Middle AND Peirce Elementary

In last week’s FIRST LEGO League Eastern Massachusetts Championship, hosted by the LigerBots, the Day Dragons — the team that won the event’s top honor (the Champions’ Award for the best overall performance in each aspect of the competition) — consisted of four 7th graders from F. A. Day Middle School and two 5th graders from Peirce Elementary School.  Last Sunday’s NewtonSTEM post lauded the Day students, and we now heartily congratulate the award-winning students from Peirce, as well!