Category Archives: Recommendations

FLL Team Seeks Your Response to its Short Survey on Water Use

A Newton-based First LEGO League robotics team of 4-8th graders is conducting research aimed at reducing the amount of water people use on their lawns. They are asking the public to respond to this 8-question survey on water usage to help the team with its research and efforts to save the environment. The note that the Environmental Protection Agency has said, “if the average sized lawn in the United States is watered for 20 minutes every day for 7 days, it’s like running the shower constantly for 4 days or taking more than 800 showers.”

STEM-Related Gift Ideas

We’re starting early this year with a grab-bag of suggestions from friends for STEM-related gifts for the holidays. In no particular order, STEM-infused friends recommend these oldies-but-goodies:

Brandeis Professor Eric Olson recommends a 1971 classic, The Great International Paper Airplane Book. “This book really delighted me as a kid. Some of the designs are really easy to make, others are much more challenging, some are familiar, some are truly bizarre.  It’s a lot of fun.”

LigerBots mentor Jonathan Young recommends:

LigerBots mentor Pam Wright recommends:

Please send your recommendations for STEM holiday gifts to

NNHS Science Team Raises Funds by Raking Your Leaves

The Newton North HS Science Team will rake your leaves to raise funds to pay for its competition fees, supplies, and travel.  Contact team vice president Ethan Gahm at to discuss time and price.  Help the team and get a clean lawn!

NASA’s Advice on Viewing the August 21 Solar Eclipse

The August 21 solar eclipse will be visible in totality from within a 70-mile-wide band across the United States, from Oregon to South Carolina, for a couple of minutes in each location.  From elsewhere — and before and after those brief minutes of totality within that band — the eclipse will be partial and thus will present a danger to anyone viewing the sun without proper eye protection. NASA’s advice on viewing the eclipse safely includes a list of reputable vendors of solar filters and viewers. Avoid off-brand, sub-standard “eclipse glasses” that are reportedly being sold. Since retinas do not sense pain, it’s possible to incur severe damage to eyesight without being aware of it at the time. Watch safely, so you can see future solar eclipses, too — including the one over Newton on May 1, 2079 at 6:06AM!

MetroWest STEM Network: Online Survey of Needs

The MetroWest STEM Education Network (MSEN) invites all interested parties to take a 5-10 minute online survey of needs in STEM education and workforce development. MSEN is a regional network of schools (at all levels), businesses, and non-profit organizations to address STEM education and workforce needs, under the management of the state Department of Higher Education and the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council.

Update on Newton South’s DaVinci Program

Newton South HS’s interdisciplinary STEAM program, DaVinci, is in its second year.  Its first cohort, now Juniors, started the year with computer design, building models of wind turbines, and they are now moving into engineering to build on their models.  Next year, as Seniors, they will undertake longitudinal, year-long, student-driven projects, for which they will present proposals this spring.  Last fall, a new group of Sophomores joined DaVinci and has proven to be highly curious and motivated — thus well suited to the program. Next year’s Newton South Sophomores — and their parents — are encouraged to contact Newton South Science Department head Gerry Gagnon ( to learn more about the DaVinci Program and explore how it may beneficially fit their academic plans.

BostonTechMom Recommends The Discovery Museums in Acton

BostonTechMom continues to offer great advice and reviews, this time with a strong recommendation to visit (or join!) The Discovery Museums in Acton.  The museums are the Children’s Discovery Museum, the Science Discovery Museum, and the new Discovery Woods, suitable for ages 3-10.

“Hidden Figures” STEM Movie Opened This Weekend

Hidden Figures tells the inspiring, true, and highly acclaimed story of three brilliant African American women working at NASA –Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson — who helped develop our space program and served as the brains behind the launch of the first American into orbit.  It opened this weekend nationwide, including at these local theatres.  Here’s an excerpt of the book on which it’s based and the Boston Globe’s review of the movie.

Science Club for Girls Seeks Your Votes to Win Yelp Funding

Science Club for Girls is a finalist for receiving between $2,000 and $5,000 from the Yelp Foundation.  You can vote once each day through December 9 to help SCFG win the top prize — enough to fund one SCFG club for one year.

Boston Tech Mom’s STEM Gift Ideas

Just in time for the holidays, Boston Tech Mom has compiled a list of recommended STEM-oriented gifts in the areas of Toys & Kits, STEM Reading, Maker Movement (DIY), Robotics Team, and Coding Club.