Category Archives: Accomplishments

Rookie LigerBots in Winning Alliance at ‘Bay State Brawl’

Yesterday the Newton high-school robotics team, the LigerBots, competed in an off-season event, the Bay State Brawl, at Whitinsville Christian School. The team assigned all rookie students to drive the robot, and after the qualifying rounds this team was selected into a three-team alliance that won the event, going undefeated in the semi-finals and finals.  About 15 students, including 8 rookies, participated in this event with 10 other teams.

LigerBot Delegates Attend FIRST National Advocacy Conference in DC

The Newton LigerBots sent a delegation to the FIRST National Advocacy Conference, June 24-26 in Washington, DC, representing Massachusetts along with the Green Reapers team from Worcester. The 250 conference attendees learned about how bills get passed, how to advocate effectively, what other teams are doing at the state level, and the two STEM-related aims of FIRST’s current advocacy:

  • Reauthorization of the Perkins Act, which supports technical education and STEM opportunities in second careers for those who may otherwise not be able to afford it, and
  • Full funding for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which provides flexible block grants that school districts can use to for high-quality STEM programs both in the classroom and after school.

On the last day of the conference, the LigerBot delegates met with Representative Joseph Kennedy as well as with staff of Senators Warren and Markey, and Representative Capuano to talk about FIRST, STEM, the Perkins Act, and ESSA.

MIT EurekaFest Celebrates InvenTeams, June 20-21

EurekaFest is a two-day celebration of invention and engineering sponsored by the Lemelson-MIT Program and highlighting the results of selected high-school InvenTeams from across the country.  (Newton North HS participated in 2013.)

NNHS Envirothon Team Wins State Title — Again

Newton North HS has once again won first place in the 31st annual Massachusetts Envirothon competition and will represent the state at the North American competition, July 22-28 in Pocatello, Idaho. After a year of intensive preparation and study, the team traveled to the Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park in Uxbridge to compete against 26 other high schools in an all-day schedule of written tests and hands-on activities assessing knowledge of soils, forests, water, and wildlife. Each team also gave a presentation about its research into its own community’s water infrastructure resources and needs, identifying a partnering opportunity and making specific recommendations for action. This is the sixth time in seven years that Newton North HS has won this honor.

LigerBots Compete in BattleCry and Plan Participation in Community Events

This weekend the LigerBots participated in the two-day Battlecry 19 post-season FIRST robotics competition at Worcester Polytechnic Institute with 59 other teams from the region. The LigerBots ended the Qualifying Rounds with a record of 5-3-0 and were invited to join an alliance headed by The Bionics from Billerica. This alliance advanced to the quarter-finals, where they were defeated by the alliance that eventually won the competition.

The ever-community-minded LigerBots plan to bring their robot to events in May and June, including the Newton Memorial Day Parade on May 27Newton Highlands Village Day on June 10, and  Tour de Newton on June 17. The team will also host an evening meeting for all parents and potential coaches (all are welcome!) to learn about FIRST LEGO League (FLL) on Wednesday, June 20, 7-9PM, at the Newton North High School Film Lecture Hall. And the team is starting the process of recruiting new students for the 2018-2019 school year.

A Great Year for the Day Dragons!

It’s been a busy and successful year for Newton’s Day Dragons FIRST Lego League (FLL) team, consisting of four students from Day Middle School and two from Pierce Elementary.  The team won a spot in last week’s FLL World Championships in Detroit.  To prepare for the event, the team completely redesigned, rebuilt, and reprogrammed its robot after the state competition — and had its work reviewed by the LigerBots — and was thus able to achieve significantly higher scores and greater consistency in the World competitions. At the event, the Day Dragons were honored to share their experiences in agile development as part of an Agile FIRST expert panel.  With the help of the law firm of Mintz Levin, the team applied for a provisional patent for its innovations. In addition to community work (e.g., demonstrating its robot at the Lincoln Eliot science fair), the team also visited a Harvard University robotics lab. In the upcoming off-season, the team is preparing for next year and plans to work with the LigerBots in promoting FIRST, STEM, and robotics in the Newton community.

LigerBots at FIRST Robotics World Championship

The Newton LigerBots had their best performance yet at the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) World Championship in Detroit this weekend, finishing 6th out of 68 teams in the Daly division and advancing to the Division Semifinals before falling to the team that won the World Championship. This is the fourth time that the LigerBots have won a spot in the World Championships in its ten years. and each time they have advanced further.

Thirty-three LigerBots students, accompanied by coaches, mentors and parents, made the trip to Detroit to compete with over 400 FRC teams from around the world. The FIRST World Festival also included 128 teams competing in the FIRST Tech Challenge and over 100 FIRST Lego League teams — including the Newton’s Day Dragons, a team of four students from Day Middle School and and two from Pierce.

The LigerBots lost only one of 10 matches in qualifying rounds, achieving third best among 37 New England teams that qualified for the championships. They advanced through quarterfinals and semifinals, but did not move on to the finals. 

Excellence depends on many factors: a robust design, a skilled and level-headed “drive team,” the ability to partner with other teams, and scouting other matches to identify robots with complementary abilities with which to form alliances.

The event included exhibits from colleges across the country, an innovation fair, and exhibits from companies seeking to engage with students interested in STEM.

Newton’s Day Dragons FLL team presented a seminar on “Applying Agile Principles to Your FIRST Lego League Team,” which was well-received, and the students impressed the audience as they took part in a panel discussion following the presentation.

The LigerBots spoke to teams around the world about: how they inspire and engage their community in learning about STEM, their use of 3D printing, and their 3D printed part competition, which they created 3 years ago to celebrate the creative ways teams solve problems with 3D printing.

The LigerBots were excited to be a part of this event,and appreciate the community and corporate support that allowed the team to include as many students as were able to go. Their next competition will be BattleCry, on May 19 at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

MSSEF Showcase of Exhibits and STEM Expo at MIT, May 5

The Massachusetts State Science & Engineering Fair will host its annual Showcase of Exhibits and STEM Expo at the MIT Johnson Athletics Center Ice Rink on Saturday, May 5, 12:30-3PM. This free event highlights 3 “Best of the Best” research and innovation projects by 400 high school students across the state. An awards ceremony, 3:30-5PM at MIT’s Kresge Auditorium, will recognize winners of a total of $500,000 in scholarships and prizes.

LigerBots: Onward to the FIRST Robotics World Championships!

This week, the Newton LigerBots will compete against 400 other teams worldwide at the FIRST Robotics World Championships, in Detroit, April 25-28, having qualified for this by winning awards and designing a reliable, effective robot during this season of competitions.  The team needs to raise $5,000 for the competition registration plus about $15,000 for travel (two days each way by bus). You can help out by making a tax-deductible donation.

LigerBots Excel at FIRST Robotics Greater Boston, Qualifying for New England District Championship Event, Apr. 13-14

The Newton LigerBots excelled today at the FIRST Robotics Greater Boston Event at Revere High School, where the team advanced to the finals as part of the second alliance before being eliminated in the final match. The LigerBots ranked sixth out of 42 teams in regular competition play and also took home the event’s Engineering Inspiration Award. One of the team’s student leaders also moved forward as a finalist for the Dean’s List Award. (See photos.)

The LigerBots have now qualified for the New England District Championship at Boston University, April 13-14, based on their robot’s success on the Power Up playing field and garnering the Engineering Inspiration Award and Imagery awards at district-level events. The New England Championship, like all FRC events, is free and open to the public and will be live streamed. Everyone is invited to cheer with the team in the stands and be escorted by a LigerBot on a “pit tour” of all the competing FRC robots.

The Engineering Inspiration Award celebrates the team’s outstanding success in advancing respect and appreciation for engineering within its school and community. The judges said, “[The LigerBots exemplify] coopertition. With 30 outreach events this year alone, this team sets the standard for not only getting STEM into their local community, but worldwide. From science fairs to 3D printing, fixing school equipment to creating their own internal grant system, this team is truly an inspiration. On top of all that, this team taught us all how to be safe this year with their award-winning animation video.” The LigerBots will be eligible to compete for the next level of this award at the New England District Championship.

In addition to the team-wide awards, outstanding individual LigerBots have received several awards this season. At the Revere event, Newton North HS sophomore and LigerBots CMO Douglas was named a Dean’s List Award District Championship finalist. The Dean’s List Award celebrates outstanding student leaders with exemplary passion for and effectiveness at attaining FIRST ideals. He and Coach Igor, whose nomination for the Woodie Flowers Award was presented in March at the North Shore Event, will be considered for the same awards at the next level at the New England Championship.

If all goes well at the District Championship, the LigerBots will qualify for the FRC World Championship in Detroit, on April 25-28, and will then immediately need to raise significant money for the $5,000 competition fee and travel expenses. The LigerBots are supported solely by corporate sponsors and individual donors. If you’d like to help the team, you can donate online via Paypal or the LigerBots website, which also has information about donating by check.