Category Archives: Recommendations

Support Newton Ligerbots at FRC Worldwide Championships!

The Newton Ligerbots have just learned that they have qualified for, and received a coveted invitation to, the top high-school robotics competition worldwide — the FRC World Championships in St. Louis, April 23-26.  This culminates their award-winning season of engaging, fun competitions that celebrate excellence in design, collaboration, and STEM while building leadership, self-confidence, and communication skills.  This team — spanning both high schools — needs your financial support to make the trip.

Can you, as a loyal, committed NewtonSTEM reader, provide some financial support to help the Ligerbots attend this worldwide event?  The team registration fee alone is $5000.  Travel costs for students and adult coaches/chaperones will be about $15,000 for a bus plus $9000 for rooms.  The team has already secured grants totaling almost $12,350 from NDEP, PTC, Textron, FedEx, and Newton Public Schools, specifically for this competition.  Ligerbot students’ families are ready to pay substantial amounts to make this happen.  But there’s a gap because not all families can afford the cost.

You can make a tax-deductible contribution to the Ligerbots’ success — in any amount, large or small — through the Newton Schools Foundation:

  • Online:  Click the “Donate” button at ligerbots.org/support to use PayPal or credit card;
  • By check:  Send it to “Newton Schools Foundation”, 246 Dudley Rd., Newton, MA 02459 (with “Ligerbots Championship” in the memo line); or
  • By phone:  Call the Newton Schools Foundation office at 617-559-6120 with your credit card and say your donation is for the Ligerbots Championship.

Thank you, NewtonSTEM readers, for your concrete support of STEM education excellence!

See Newton Ligerbots in Action This Weekend

Newton’s award-winning FIRST Robotics team, the Ligerbots, will compete this weekend in the Northeastern University District Qualifying Event on March 28-29.  If things go well, the team will be invited to 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.  More info here.

Strategic Partner PTC Discusses How FIRST Inspires Engineers

Robin Saitz, senior vice president of PTC, recently joined a brief panel discussion on NECN (video) about how the FIRST robotics program inspires students to become engineers and gives them broad experience in design, collaboration, and other skills.  PTC is a FIRST Strategic Partner.  Robin also explained how FIRST is the cornerstone of the company’s Creating Shared Value program benefiting PTC, its employees who volunteer for FIRST, the students who are inspired to become engineers, and PTC’s customers who hire them.

Message from a STEM Undergraduate

Alona Meirav graduated last year from Newton South HS and is studying Chemical Engineering at University of Colorado Boulder.  She sends this message back to high-school students considering — or not yet considering — a STEM major. Continue reading

Deadline Extended for Biogen Idec STEM Grant Applications

Biogen Idec Foundation has extended the deadline to Friday, January 17 for teachers and schools to apply for Ignite the Power of STEM grants.   A total of $50,000 — up to 25 grants of $2000 for teachers or $5000 for schools — will be available to support science education programs and projects run by elementary, middle and high schools in Massachusetts.  Applicants must be full-time professional personnel from Massachusetts public school districts or charter schools that had at least one individual registered or in attendance at the Massachusetts STEM Summit on November 13, 2013.  (Newton Public Schools had several teachers and administrators in attendance.)  Programs should be designed to: Continue reading

Local STEM Shopping in Newton: Green Planet Kids

Green Planet KidsThere are several excellent shops in the area that have lots of science and engineering gifts. If you like kids, toys, art, science, engineering, math, puzzles, games, or anything fun, get over to Green Planet Kids at 22 Lincoln Street in Newton Highlands.  This little store is jam-packed with the best toys, art activities, and STEM related kits.  All the items are hand-picked by the owner, Annabelle Ship, and she knows every item she stocks.  I’ve frequently seen someone ask about something, and Annabelle will give them the ins and outs of that particular toy or kit, and then introduce a couple of alternatives. Continue reading

Biogen Idec Foundation Grants for STEM Education

At the Massachusetts STEM Summit, the Biogen Idec Foundation announced the availability a total of $50,000 in mini-grants for schools and non-profit organizations in the greater Boston area to support science education.  Applications are due December 31, and awards — up to $2000 per teacher or $5000 per school — will be made by February.  Applicants must be tax-exempt, non-profit agencies.  Details are here.

Newton North Science Team Raising Funds Through Odd Jobs

The Newton North Science Team is raising money for team expenses by doing small jobs such as leaf raking, snow shoveling, wall painting, wallpaper removal, etc.  Hours are fairly flexible and prices are negotiable.  The money raised helps to offset team expenses including competition registration fees, textbooks, and materials for “build-ahead” events.  The team pays for all tools and materials that are used for the Science Olympiad competition, including carbon fiber, wood, metal, saws, drills, screws, etc.  The final cost for one academic year for the Olympiad alone is usually between $2000 and $3000. Please contact the team about fundraisers at yongyizhao@gmail.com.

Rep. Kennedy to Lead Mass. STEM Council, Cites Newton Program

U.S. Representative Joseph Kennedy has succeeded Lt. Gov. Tim Murray as chair of the Massachusetts STEM Advisory Council.  Rep. Kennedy sits on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology and is supporting IL Rep. Bill Foster’s bill to create a national STEM grant program for school districts.  In a succession ceremony, Kennedy highlighted a partnership he observed between the Brown Middle School in Newton and Boston University where engineering students taught seventh graders for credit about the physics of a wind turbine and led them in a competition to design a turbine on a budget that produced the most energy.

Goldie Blox: New Engineering Toys for Girls

Recently funded through Kickstarter, a new toy company, Goldie Blox, is receiving lots of attention and will deliver its first product in February, 2013.  It’s a construction toy and book series starring Goldie, a kid inventor who loves to build.  The kit combines spatial and verbal skills and is aimed for girls 5 to 9 years old.  The second and third sets of the series, to be released in the spring, will introduce more engineering principles, new characters, and more construction pieces.  You can pre-order sets, track the company’s production progress, and see what’s new at www.GoldieBlox.com.  See videos on Goldie Blox’ Youtube channel.