Robot Sumo Tournament 2015 – 10 years!

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The 10th Annual Machine Science Robot Sumo Tournament was held at the Museum of Science in Boston on Saturday, May 30, 2015.  Students programmed robots to autonomously move around in the sumo ring and try to push their competitor out of bounds.  Congratulations to the Boston Latin Academy and the John D. O’Bryant School for their success.  Special thanks to all of our volunteers, including several alumni of Machine Science programs, for their time and energy, Draper Laboratories for financial support, and the Museum of Science for generously hosting our event.  Great work everyone!

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TechBoston Academy retains Robot Sumo Tournament title at 2014 event.

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TechBoston Academy (TBA) claimed first-place honors for the second straight year at the 2014 Machine Science Robot Sumo Tournament, which took place on Saturday, May 24, 2014, at the Museum of Science Boston. TBA’s Blue Nova robot narrowly edged Cat Destroyer, a robot built and programmed by a team at Boston Latin Academy. This year’s tournament drew more than 40 competitors from Boston Latin Academy, the John D. O’Bryant School, TechBoston Academy, and Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School. As in past years, a number of Machine Science alumni were on hand to help inspect robots, provide technical support to competitors, and referee the matches. This group included Sam Francois (Worcester Polytechnic Institute), Jamesy Jean-Michel (Boston University), Jefferson Lee (Olin College), Martin Oliver (Wentworth Institute of Technology), Martin Chomicki (Wentworth), and Salvador Cartagena (UMass Lowell). Many thanks to these and other volunteers, as well as the BPS teachers and Museum staff who help to make this annual event such a great success!

Students endure April wind and rain to launch rockets at Madison Park High School.

SONY DSCDespite pouring rain and strong winds, nearly 20 BPS students turned out for the Machine Science/TechBoston Engineering Bootcamp on April 23 and 24, 2014.  Dozens of rockets were launched over the two days, including several examples that successfully deployed parachutes.

Come build rockets at Madison Park High School over the April vacation week!

img_0875Rocket building and launching will be the focus of an upcoming Machine Science/TechBoston/OIIT engineering camp at Madison Park High School on April 23 and 24, 2014. Participants will have the opportunity to design, build, and launch dozens of water rockets, using plastic beverage bottles, tennis balls, strapping tape, and a variety of other materials. Day one will be devoted to optimizing rocket designs for height and stability. On the second day, students will incorporate parachutes into their designs to maximize time aloft.

A flyer and parent permission for the camp can be found here. To apply for the camp, please complete our online registration form.

Urban Science Academy organizes week-long video game design unit.

photo (28)For the second year in a row, more than 100 9th and 10th grade students at the Urban Science Academy in West Roxbury took part during late January and early February in a week-long video game design unit, developing original games intended to foster the development of the teenage brain. The unit, titled “Play Yourself Smart,” challenged students to combine their knowledge of computer programming, mathematics, and human development. Each student prepared a commercial that explained the need, rationale, and design choices for his or her game. On the final day of the unit, students presented their commercials and demonstrated their games for a panel of judges, including teachers, software engineers, educational technology developers, and graduate students. More information about the unit can be found on the project web site.

Students from the Horace Mann School shine in end-of-year rocket contest.

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During late June, Machine Science had the opportunity to assist the Horace Mann School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in running an intramural water rocket competition–the culmination of a multi-week hands-on engineering unit at the school. Students built rockets for the competition under the supervision of science teacher Angela Palo, who attended a Machine Science/TechBoston professional development workshop in July 2012. Angela’s students built a total of eight rockets for the contest, including several rockets with parachutes designed to bring the spacecraft safely back to the ground. Each student completed two launches, with first prize going to the student achieving the longest time aloft. Congratulations to all of the participants and to the staff at Horace Mann for organizing this terrific event. We look forward to doing it again next year!

Robotics Olympics features engineering challenges with space exploration theme.

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Hundreds of Boston Public Schools students ranging in age from kindergarten to grade 8 came together at Wentworth Institute of Technology on Saturday, June 1, 2013, for TechBoston/OIIT’s annual Robotics Olympics competition. “Space exploration” was the theme for this year’s event, challenging students to design LEGO-based robots and other contraptions to complete simulated space exploration activities. For the very first time this year, the Robotics Olympics included robots built by students from the Horace Mann School for the Deaf. Also represented at the Olympics were: the Hurley K-8 School, the Sarah Greenwood K-8 School, the Tobin K-8 School, the John F, Kennedy Elementary School, the Josiah Quincy Elementary School, the Dearborn Middle School, the Curley K-8 School, the Trotter Elementary School, the O’Donnell Elementary School, and Sociedad Latina. Congratulations to all of the participating students and teachers, as well as staff from TechBoston and OIIT for making this such a fun and rewarding annual event.