Category Archives: Recommendations

Free, Helpful, and Easy: Newton Library’s STEM Survey

Please take a few minutes to help the Newton Free Library by completing their short Technology Survey on STEM interest and awareness.  You may respond for yourself and/or for your children.  (Please take the survey before you read about all the Library’s STEAM programs, which might skew the results by increasing your awareness and interest!)

Presidential Awards for Excellence in Math/Science Teaching: Nominations Close April 1

Anyone may nominate a teacher for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).  This year, teachers of Grades 7-12 are eligible.  (Next year, Grades K-6 will be eligible.)  In addition, teachers must have five years STEM teaching experience and be full-time employees of public or private schools/districts.  Nominations close on April 1.  Winners will receive a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation and recognition at events in Washington, DC.

Calling All of Newton’s FIRST Lego League Coaches — Former, Current, and Potential

Josh Gahm, parent-coach of the Cabot Elementary School caBOTs, is working with NewtonSTEM to create a forum for FIRST Lego League (FLL) coaches in Newton.  If you’re a current or former FLL coach — or if you’re interested in becoming one — please email FLL@newtonstem.org to let us know who you are.

FLL promotes inspiring, educational robotics competitions among teams of children 9-14 years old worldwide.   For several years, various FLL teams have sprung up in Newton, hosted by elementary and middle schools, after-school programs, or parents in their homes.  There’s a continuing need for more FLL teams in Newton, judging from inquiries received by NewtonSTEM.  The constraint seems to be the number of adults volunteering to coach.  You don’t need to be a STEM expert to coach; you need a knack for managing small groups of children.  Paul Barbone, former parent-coach of the Oak Hill FLL MegaOHMS, has written a very informative memo for new coaches, Introduction to Coaching a FIRST Lego Team (PDF).  Let’s get focused on how we can recruit and support new FLL coaches.

Message from a STEM Undergraduate

Here’s another in our series of STEM-related reflections by recent Newton high-school graduates. Dan Ehrlich, who graduated last year from Newton South, is a freshman studying applied math at NYU.

Biology. Chemistry. Oceanography. Geology. Astrophysics. One by one, the sciences were crossed off my list of potential college majors. In middle school, I thought for a while that I would be a scientist. I would discover the cure for cancer (little did I know that there were multiple types), or design autonomous underwater vehicles and explore the ocean depths. I would be a theoretical chemist or perhaps a neurologist who understood the brain so well that he created an artificial intelligence. I wanted to work on the frontiers of science. I wanted to change the world. I knew I would be a scientist before I had even picked up my first biology textbook.

Two things happened in high school, however, that dissuaded me from these dreams: Continue reading

Nominations Open for Mass. STEM Teacher of the Year

Each year, The Hall at Patriot Place and Raytheon together recognize a full-time, certified, K-12 STEM teacher in public or private school as their Massachusetts STEM Teacher of the Year.  Anyone may nominate a teacher by February 28, and nominated teachers must submit their part of the application by March 17.  The winner’s school will receive $5,000 for STEM education, and the schools of the four other finalists will each receive $1,000.  See details here (PDF).

Information Session for Potential ‘Einstein in the Classroom’ Volunteers, Dec. 9

The Cambridge Science Festival will offer Einstein in the Classroom to mark the 100th anniversary of the publication of the Theory of General Relativity.  The program will bring college physics students and professors into Grade 7-12 classrooms for engaging activities about Einstein’s work, in two sessions in February and March.  Topics to be to covered include relativity, spacetime curvature, the life cycles of stars, the relative sizes of the objects that occupy the observable universe.  There will be an information session — for anyone interested in volunteering or learning more about the program — on Tuesday, December 9 at 5:30 at the MIT Museum, 265 Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge.  For information, contact Peg Legendre, K-12 coordinator for Cambridge Science Festival and Science on the Streetat plegendre@gmail.com.

Help ‘Science Club for Girls’ Win $20K Challenge Grant by Dec. 31

Science Club for Girls has raised $13,000 and needs to raise an additional $7,000 by December 31 in order to win an all-or-nothing challenge grant from The Amelia Peabody FoundationRead the reviews of this local non-profit and consider making a donation.

NNHS Science Team Raises Funds for its Expenses via Yard Work

The Newton North HS Science Team raises funds — for team expenses including travel to science competitions — by raking leaves and shoveling snow for anyone in the Newton area.  You set your price — by the job or by the hour.  Contact Team VP Amy Huang at amyhuang25@gmail.com.  By hiring Tiger Science, you support the team while making your yard look even better than it does now.

Help the Newton Ligerbots by Ordering at Bertucci’s on May 14

On Wednesday, May 14, Bertucci’s in Newton Corner is sponsoring a fundraiser to support the Ligerbots, Newton’s award-winning robotics team.  Print out this coupon and bring it with you that day, and Bertucci’s will donate 15% of your eat-in or take-out purchase to the Ligerbots.   Each year, the NNSH/NSHS Ligerbots students build a robot to accomplish a new task and compete in the FIRST Robotics Competition.  This year, the team made it all the way to the World Championships in St. Louis.  Celebrate with some great pizza or Italian food.

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!