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STEM Newsletter

Issue 4: 22th Dec 2020

Rubik's Cube Fundraiser for Greyson

On October 31st, only weeks after his 13th birthday, Greyson Beauregard suffered a traumatic recreational accident, leaving him unable to walk. The challenges Grey and his family now face as they adapt to a new way of life are extensive.  Grey’s family needs help to defray the immediate and long-term costs of medical apparatus, home refitting, a mobility vehicle and the adaptive tools Grey will need to support his daily living and empower his independence.The community is rallying together this holiday season to pave the way to his speedy recovery through fundraising. The kids on Planet Robotics team heard about Greyson and wanted to help.


Planet Robotics will be hosting an online Rubik’s cube workshop during winter break to help generate funds for Greyson on Sunday 12/27 3-5PM and Monday 12/28 10am-12pm. We will provide a 3x3 speed cube, solution guide, and the confidence to master the solve! 


Here's are 3 ways you can support the cause:

  1. Sign up for a slot at our workshop (We will deliver a 3X3 Rubik's cube within Walpole for every donation) : here

  2. Order additional stocking stuffer 3X3 Rubik's cube (Delivered to your home if in Walpole) : here

  3. Send a note of encouragement to Greyson : here


Mathcounts Math Video Challenge


The Math Video Challenge is a project-based team contest that is completely free. Students work in teams of 4 to create a video that shows a solution to a MATHCOUNTS problem in a real-world setting. The program is designed to be flexible so teams can work on videos anytime between the fall (when registration opens) and March 6 (the submission deadline).

See details on MathCounts website https://www.mathcounts.org/math-video-challenge-0


Elementary Science Olympiad


Elementary Science Olympiad (ESO) is the perfect complement to any K-6 science program. Watch Now! "Science Olympiad At Home" Quarantine Edition - videos hosted by Science Olympiad's Elementary Director Shari Haug with instructions on how to make and do Elementary Science Olympiad activities from the comfort of your own basement, kitchen or living room! See the full calendar  of activities  and resources here


Find more information on Science Olympiad website 

https://www.soinc.org/programs/elementary


Museum of Science Boston temporarily closed but open online

Under the directives of Mayor Walsh and the Boston Public Health Commission, the Museum of Science is closed for three weeks starting December 16 and invites all to use its digital offerings at MOS at Home, MOS at School, and free STEM resources through EiE curricula.


EcoTarium’s Noon Year’s Eve Celebration is online this year

The Ecotarium in Worcester is moving its Noon Year’s Eve Celebration online — starting at 11:55AM on December 31 and counting down to Noon. See the link above for downloadable at-home activities and watch the celebration live here.


Audubon Christmas Bird Count

Audubon's 121st Christmas Bird Count will be conducted between the dates of Monday, December 14, 2020 through Tuesday, January 5, 2021. The Christmas Bird Count occurs December 14 to January 5 every year. Look up more information on Audobon website https://www.audubon.org/conservation/join-christmas-bird-count

If you're interested in participating this season, check out the map to find a count near you. A map view of the circles expected to be included in the 121st CBC is available here


Here are some interesting Science articles:

New aquatic robot inspired by sea creatures, transports and cargo


Scientists created a robot that's 90% water with a soft body. It can walk at a brisk pace, pick up and transport freight to a new location, climb up hills, and can pump out chemicals to make the environment more friendly for the organisms. The robot looks similar to a 4 legged octopus. The robot is very small( about 1 cm) and is light. It can be used underwater and underground. It is better to use than conventional machines. The robot moves without complex technology, electricity or hydraulics. Instead, it is activated by light and walks in the direction of an external source that rotates with a magnetic field.


Earth may have started similar to the way it is now


A new study shows that the Earth has been wet since it was formed. Unlike the old theory that the water came with an asteroid hitting Earth but that it has always been there since the moment Earth was formed. Scientists believe the Earth's core building blocks had to do with Earth’s water, they say that “Hydrogen-bearing” material has always been available in the inner solar system at the time the rocky planet was formed. One of the most interesting things they found was that enstatite chondrites which are considered to be dry actually contain a lot of water. It was assumed that the chondrites were formed near the sun making it dry but it collected water from the solar system as it went along.

Issue 3: 14th Dec 2020

Here are STEM activities in the next fortnight:

“STEM Spy” challenging monthly edutainment 

The MobileQuest STEM Center in Cranston, RI is developing STEM Spy to provide engaging learning-at-home during the pandemic. Available in early 2021, it will be a monthly “kit + video” edutainment subscription that challenges kids (ages 6-11) to solve problems in a spy-mission storyline. The kit, which is replenished or augmented monthly, contains materials but no instructions for creating solutions for the challenges that are presented in video segments. STEM Spy is currently being funded on Kickstarter until December 28.

Virtual Planetarium shows in Winter Holiday Break


The Christa McAuliffe Center at Framingham State University will hold live, virtual, interactive sessions during the Winter Break. These shows are usually offered for school classes, and these sessions are for individual and family sign-ups. Register for them by 5PM on December 22.

  • Europa Encounter for ages 10-14 on December 29, 2:30PM-3:30PM. $10 per person or $15 for two.

  • Solar System Explorers for ages 5-8 on December 30, 2:30PM-3:30PM. $10 per person, $15 for two, or $20 for three.

Tufts CEEO Online Design & Engineering Workshops in January


Tufts Center for Engineering Education and Outreach (CEEO) is offering these online Design and Engineering Workshops in January for families that have a LEGO Education SPIKE Prime Kit:



MIT Women in Technology Summer Program for Grade 11, Online for 2021, Apply by Jan. 15

MIT’s Women’s Technology Program is an intensive, four-week summer academic program for girls currently in Grade 11 to explore engineering through classes, labs, and projects (see video). It’s usually a residential program, but in 2021 it will be all online, taught live 10AM-5PM weekdays, June 26 – July 23. In 2021, there is no fee to apply or attend. Separate programs are available for Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (20 students) and Mechanical Engineering (20 students).  Applicants must have strong curiosity about one of these fields (but no direct experience in it yet) and also excel in math and science. Students with backgrounds underrepresented in STEM and/or few other opportunities to explore these fields are especially encouraged to apply. Applications are now available online and are due January 15. For more information, first check the program’s FAQ and then email wtp@mit.edu. See also their Resources page for additional ways to learn about engineering.

TechGirlz: free online workshops for middle school girls

TechGirlz is a non-profit program founded to inspire middle-school girls to explore technology to empower future careers. Affiliated with the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), it runs free online workshops open to girls in Grades 6-8.  Upcoming online workshops include:

  • Python Programming, December 18, 6:30PM – 8:30PM

  • You Can Code!, December 19, 12:30PM – 2:30PM

  • Game Design, December 28-29, 11:00AM – 2:00PM

Model UN Virtual Program on Climate Change

The United Nations Association of Greater Boston will offer two 3-day, virtual Model UN programs, the Virtual Spring Institute in Global Leadership, for students in Grades 7-10 to explore climate change from a global perspective. In the role of diplomats, students will engage in public speaking, negotiation, and team-building activities and use parliamentary procedure to structure the debate and represent the perspective of their assigned country in a full-day Model UN simulation on Climate Change. The programs will be offered February 17-19 and March 15-17, 9:30AM-3PM each day. The cost is $345 for each 3-day program. For more information, email lynn.arsenault@unagb.org.

Here are some astronomy websites that we found interesting

https://stellarium-web.org/

Stellarium is a free open source planetarium for your computer. It shows a realistic sky in 3D, just like what you see with the naked eye, binoculars or a telescope.

Issue 2: 3rd Dec 2020

 Empow Studios is hosting a free webinar for parents on Online learning

Empow Studios will offer a free webinar for parents, Online Learning: Help Your Kids Succeed, on December 3 at 5PM. Register here.

Lincoln Labs’ Science on Saturday: Curious About COVID, Dec. 12  

MIT Lincoln Laboratory is offering its Science on Saturdays programs virtually this year, and registration is NOT required. The programs are free and designed for children aged 5-17, their parents, and teachers. On Saturday, December 12 at 10AM, the program will be Curious About COVID, in two parts:

  • Part 1:  Wide-area Fever Screening will describe the building of a prototype digital imaging system to measure body temperatures of crowds of people.

  • Part 2: Become a Junior Epidemiologist will present an online game to help explain terms such as quarantine, contact tracing, super-spreader, exponential growth, herd immunity, isolation, protect the vulnerable, and flatten the curve.

TechGirlz: free online workshops for middle school girls

TechGirlz is a non-profit program founded to inspire middle-school girls to explore technology to empower future careers. Affiliated with the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), it runs free online workshops open to girls in Grades 6-8.  Upcoming online workshops include:

  • Build Your Own Voice App, December 12, 2:30PM – 4:30PM

  • Python Programming, December 18, 6:30PM – 8:30PM

  • You Can Code!, December 19, 12:30PM – 2:30PM

  • Game Design, December 28-29, 11:00AM – 2:00PM

Model UN Virtual Program on Climate Change

The United Nations Association of Greater Boston will offer two 3-day, virtual Model UN programs, the Virtual Spring Institute in Global Leadership, for students in Grades 7-10 to explore climate change from a global perspective. In the role of diplomats, students will engage in public speaking, negotiation, and team-building activities and use parliamentary procedure to structure the debate and represent the perspective of their assigned country in a full-day Model UN simulation on Climate Change. The programs will be offered February 17-19 and March 15-17, 9:30AM-3PM each day. The cost is $345 for each 3-day program. For more information, email lynn.arsenault@unagb.org.

Girls Scouts virtual STEM Conference

The Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts will hold its 9th annual STEM Conference and Expo for Grades 6-12, this time online, on March 20-21. For more information, contact Eileen Koury at ekoury@gsema.org.

Artisan’s Asylum Webinar: How YouTube Inspires Curiosity about Science

Artisan’s Asylum will present a webinar, Experiments and Explosions: How YouTube Inspires Curiosity about Science, on December 8, 6:30PM-7:30PM, to explore what sort of planning, building, and testing makes some STEM videos so compelling and popular. The cost is $15. Register here.

Planet Robotics Junior FLL Information Webinar Dec 11,5-6pm register here 

  1. Junior FLL session will run from Jan- March, one class(60 min) every week.

  2. Showcase will be in a remote setting this season, we will be compiling a video submission about our team's project. There might be a zoom call for judging for the Junior FLL showcase. Junior FLL showcase date has not been announced yet.

  3. Junior FLL tuition will be $125. It will include an Engineering Notebook, PLAYMAKERS edition LEGO's and the team T-shirt.

  4. Families will need to purchase their own LEGO WeDo2.0 kits( about $225 on Amazon)

 Here are some Science news that we found interesting

RMIT University of Australia has prototyped robotic skin 

In early September of 2020, the innovative team had already finished the prototype for an electronic ‘smart skin’.  This machine is fully sensitive, like human skin. This smart device is designed to mimic how humans react to pain. This device resembles a thin sheet of plastic, but when applied, can be revolutionary. These small gadgets are also looking to be the future of skin grafts.  These patches on the skin are still evolving into better products, using the latest technology like stretchable electronics, brain mimicking memory features, and temperature reaction coatings. 

Meteorite study suggests Earth may have been wet since it formed

A new study shows that the earth has been wet since it was formed. Not that the water came with an asteroid hitting Earth but it has always been there since the moment Earth was created. Scientists believe the Earth's core building blocks had to do with Earth’s water, they say that “Hydrogen-bearing” material has always been available in the inner solar system at the time the rocky planet was formed. One of the most interesting things they found was that enstatite chondrites which are considered to be dry actually contain a lot of water. It was assumed that the chondrites were formed near the sun making it dry but it collected water from the solar system as it went along.



Issue 1: 16th Nov 2020

  • Woods Hole Data Jam: Grades 6-12 Analyze data and present findings  through Art. The Northeast U.S. Shelf Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) program at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute is again hosting Data Jam, a competition in which teams of middle- or high-school students graph, analyze, and interpret a set of data (already gathered by Woods Hole scientists) and creatively present their findings as a compelling, data-based story that is communicated to the general public through art, music, dance, or other medium of expression. The competition is available in three different levels: Easy, Moderate, and Challenging. Each team needs a teachers or other adult as an advisor, and advisors must register their interest. Projects must be submitted online by February 15. For more information, see the Contest Essentials page or contact Annette Brickley at abrickley.edu@gmail.com.


  • Science Olympiad launches mySO for grades 6-12: Science Olympiad runs annual STEM Olympiad tournaments for middle and high school students and has recently launched a new, nine-month program, MySO, for all students in Grades 6-12 who love STEM and want to stay engaged in learning. MySO offers free STEM session videos and lesson plans with new topics each month, such as epidemiology and space. Students may also purchase $10 admissions to monthly STEM Showdowns to compete in these topics with other students nationwide in Division B (Grades 6-9) or Division C (Grades 10-12).



  • Planet Robotics Junior FLL Information Webinar Dec 11,5-6pm register here 

  1. Junior FLL session will run from Jan- March, one class(60 min) every week.

  2. Showcase will be in a remote setting this season, we will be compiling a video submission about our team's project. There might be a zoom call for judging for the Junior FLL showcase. Junior FLL showcase date has not been announced yet.

  3. Junior FLL tuition will be $125. It will include an Engineering Notebook, PLAYMAKERS edition LEGO's and the team T-shirt.

  4. Families will need to purchase their own LEGO WeDo2.0 kits( about $225 on Amazon)

  • All About Atari 8-Bit Programming  Tuesday November 24, 2020  7:00 PM until 9:00 PM at Rhode Island Computer Museum The Atari 8-Bit computers such as the Atari 400 and 800 were affordable, fun, and capable machines for their time. Despite the 1 megahertz CPU, scarce memory (between 4 and 128 KB), programmers, especially game developers, could get a lot out of these machines. You can learn a lot about computer programming and computer architecture by programming these older machines. Because they have simpler architecture than modern computers, you can even program them in machine language with little pain. In this workshop, Arduino Cookbook co-author Brian Jepson will show you the many ways you can program an Atari 8-bit, in BASIC or Assembler: -Using an emulator running on a computer, Raspberry Pi or mobile device -With a web-based emulator (assembler/C) -Using a Twitter bot -On a real Atari computer This event will be streamed. 

  • Interesting space articles from Physics.org 

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If you know of a STEM event happening, that you would like to see included here, please email us at planet.robotics2018@gmail.com