Acton-Boxborough (AB) Parent Involvement Project (PIP) hosts K-12 educational enrichment events in


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John Petersen Co-Chair
(978) 263-6144
Dewi Win Co-Chair
Karen Herther STEM Coach &
Co-Chair Emerita
(978) 263-6742

Event Calendar

Find out about our events on the 2014-2015 AB PIP STEM Event Calendar or read our 2014-2015 AB PIP STEM Brochure. Please join us! We encourage new participants and volunteers! Come to a Meeting or drop in to an event.


2014 AB PIP STEM Scholarship Winners

Congratulations to our 2014 AB PIP STEM Scholarship award winners, Stephanie Randolph who plans to attend Boston University and Namrita Murali who plans to attend Carnegie Mellon. John Petersen presented the awards at Acton-Boxborough Regional High. Find out more about AB PIP STEM Scholarships. AB PIP STEM Scholarships
Stephanie Randolph, John Petersen, Namrita Murali

Celebrating Long-time AB PIP STEM Volunteer

Susan KrikorianFond memories accompany this tribute to Susan Krikorian who passed away last week after a long illness. Not only did Sue volunteer for every PIP event, she chaired the SummerSkills fundraiser and brought her cheerful spirit and good humor to every event. We will miss her wit, wisdom and joie de viver. Read the Beacon story about Susan.


PIP welcomes parent and student volunteers. Student volunteers qualify for community service credit and the chance to win an AB PIP STEM Scholarship. To find out more about volunteer opportunities, send us an email at actonpip@gmail.com.

Local STEM News

AB Student Selected as Intel STS 2014 Finalist

Finalist Ajay Saini from Acton-Boxborough Regional High School submitted a science fair project entitled Predictive Modeling of Opinion and Connectivity Dynamics in Social Networks. The Intel Science Talent Search (Intel STS) is the nation's most prestigious pre-college science competition. Intel STS alumni have made extraordinary contributions to science and hold more than 100 of the world's most coveted science and math honors, including the Nobel Prize and the National Medal of Science.

STEM Articles and Videos: Making Math Fun

How to Fall in Love With Math, NY Times Op Ed
The Mad Genius of Vi Hart, Salon
Vi Hart YouTube Videos on Hexaflexagons and Doodling in Math Class: Infinity Elephants

Congratulations 2013 Scholarship Winners

Good luck to this year's AB PIP STEM scholarship winners including Erin McLaughlin, Clark Jacobsohn, Prakhar Sahay and Ethan Sherman. All scholarship recipients have contributed at various AB PIP STEM events over the course of their high school years.

AB Wins Green Ribbon Schools Award

Green Ribbon Schools

On April 22, 2013, the Acton-Boxborough Regional School District (ABRSD) and the Acton Public Schools (APS) were awarded the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Award (ED-GRS) for reducing environmental impact and costs; improving the health and wellness of students and staff; and providing effective environmental and sustainability education, which incorporates STEM, civic skills and green career pathways. ABRSD-APS is one of only fourteen school districts in the US to receive this "first-ever" honor. More

Sharing Biodiversity and Culture

Biodiversity and Culture Project

From September 2010 to January 2012, a 3rd grade classroom at Merriam School in Acton and students at Caserio Helen School in Ilobasco, El Salvador participated in a cultural exchange through school-based projects. The program, Sharing Biodiversity and Culture, was developed jointly by The Discovery Museums in Acton and a Salvadorian children's museum, Tin Marin Museo de los Ninos.

Turning Stem to Steam

The equation for 21st century problem solving:
STEM + Art = STEAM. STEAMInnovation remains tightly coupled with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math: the STEM subjects. STEAM is a movement championed by the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) adding Art + Design to the equation, transforming STEM into STEAM.

Study Jams

Study Jams combines the coolest songs about math and science with over 200 tutorials on topics and concepts like the Universe, Landforms, and Range. Study Jams

Flu View

Want to know more about the flu? The Center for Disease Control (CDC) FluView report provides weekly influenza surveillance and statistics in the United States. CDC Flu View

Is Mars Red Hot?

What would it feel like if you could stand on Mars—toasty warm, or downright chilly? Find out in this 60-second video from NASA. Mars may look hot, but don't let its color fool you.Is Mars Red Hot? Mars is actually pretty cold! In orbit, Mars is about 50 million miles farther away from the Sun than Earth! That means it gets a lot less light and heat.

Recurring Lyme Disease Rash Caused By Reinfection, Not Relapse

"Some doctors thought Lyme disease was a chronic condition that relapsed. Now, there's evidence that recurring cases of Lyme disease may actually be caused by multiple, discrete tick bites and infections." more >>

NEWTON, Ask A Scientist

Visit NEWTON, Ask A Scientist, an online question-and-answer service for K-12 teachers and their students for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12. Operated by Argonne National Laboratories.

U.S. News Ranks Best High Schools for STEM

ABRHS Ranked #7 in Public High Schools

U.S. News & World Report listed 2012 rankings of the Best High Schools for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). Acton-Boxborough High School ranked 7th* Best High School for STEM. *Based on the number of 12th graders who take, and pass, any AP math or science test.

ABRHS Green Flag Award

In an award ceremony on May 4, ABRHS was awarded Green Flag Award the prestigious international Green Flag award—the 4th school in the United States to receive this honor! The award recognized significant success in energy conservation and other green initiatives. See award coverage including an Acton Patch video, Beacon article and Beacon photos. Visit the ABRHS sustainability website for more info.

Children and Nature Network

children and nature

The Children & Nature Network is leading a movement to connect all children, their families and communities to nature. Recommended reading includes an AB PIP STEM Book Club selection, Last Child in the Woods.

Putting the STEAM in STEM

The STEAM movement is the latest K-12 education initiative—adding the Arts to STEM. Recent studies show the "sciences could benefit from a more interdisciplinary, inquiry-based model, incorporating the arts into technical education." Read about STEM to STEAM: Integrating the Arts into Science and Technology Education and The STEAM Movement: It's About More Than Hot Air.

Where Science Meets Art

NSF winner

Discover the artistry behind the 2010 International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge winners as they explain the processes, techniques and thoughts behind their entries. Sponsored by the National Science Foundation.


Find Free Online Tutorials for High School students and teachers including video clips, lecture notes, practice problems and exam questions from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Courses include AP biology, AP calculus and AP physics at MIT: Free OpenCourseWare Material for High School Students & Teachers

Visit Science News for Kids. See the Visible Body and Winking Skull for the latest in anatomy & physiology or the Periodic Table of Videos for chemistry online.

Science & Engineering Sites for Girls

edequity.org/sigt. Early Childhood Science Program.
braincake.org. Math & Science for Girls 11-17.
engineergirl.org. Careers in Engineering.
engineeryourlife.org Engineering for High School Girls.
iwaswondering.org. Women's Adventures in Science.

Upcoming STEM Events

Guest Speaker, Ann Sussman, at AB PIP STEM Meeting

Cognitive Architecture

Thursday December 11, 2014
7pm to 8:30pm

Topic: The intersection of architecture and neuroscience
Location: ABRHS, Room 115N
Price: FREE
Details: Come hear local author, Ann Sussman, discuss her new book, Cognitive Architecture, from 7:00-7:30pm. Learn how our subconscious tendencies affect how we respond to the built environment. Stay for the meeting afterward and find out about AB PIP STEM. For more information, visit AnnSussman.com.

Computer Science Education Week

Monday, December 8–Sunday, December 14
hour of code Hour of Code

Join the AB community in the Hour of Code, an opportunity for teachers, students and families of all ages to try computer programming. The Hour of Code is a global movement reaching tens of millions of students in 180+ countries. Anyone, anywhere can organize an Hour of Code event. One-hour tutorials are available in over 30 languages. No experience needed. Ages 4 to 104.

Family Math Game Night K-12

Family Math Game Night

Wednesday January 14, 2015
Open House, 5pm to 8pm

What: Family Math Games: Domino Math, Sudoku, Set, KenKen©, more.
Location: Sargent Memorial Library, Boxborough
Price: FREE
Details: Find out about Family Math Games.
Volunteer: We need student and parent volunteers!

STEM in the News

Top 5 Science iPad Apps

"A multitude of educational apps for Apple's iPad are helping to make science understandable, visual—and even fun," according to PC Magazine. Here are their favorites.

Finding Math and Science All Around

Visit two new websites from the AB Elementary School Curriculum Coordinators:
Math Matters
Snapshots—Elementary Science and Social Studies


PIP Grocery Bags

3rd Grade Market Math

During this year's Market Math event at Roche Bros. Supermarket in Acton, 3rd graders participated in a Cheese Ball Estimation Contest.

Contest Winners: The cheese ball count from the 3rd Grade Market Math Estimation Contest was 930. Congratulations to Matthew, Liam, and Joan for their winning estimate of 1,000!!

4th Grade Star Party

Star Party

Over 700 students and parents participated in the 2014 Star Party on Monday, March 3, 2014 from 6:00-9:00pm at the Parker-Damon Building. Thanks for attending. Find out more about the Star Party.

5th Grade Market Math

During this year's Market Math event at Roche Bros. Supermarket in Acton, 5th graders participated in a Pretzel Estimation Contest.

Contest Winner: Riley Smith
The pretzel nugget count from the 5th Grade Market Math Estimation Contest was 474. Congratulations to Riley for her winning estimate of 450!

Discover STEM

Find out more about DiscoverSTEM. See Discover STEM 2013 Pictures (courtesy of David McCormick), read the Acton Patch article, An Inside Look at Discover STEM 2013 or check out our 2013 Discover STEM Sponsors.
Discover STEM 2013

Acton Family Science Night Recap

Thanks for attending the Science event at Acton-Boxborough Regional High School. See the Beacon's Wicked Local Video or the Family Science Night Pictures.

STEM Ideas

Innovation Math Challenge

The WGBH Innovation Math Challenge is for educators, student teams, gamers, programmers, and anyone who has a great idea to create fun and engaging math educational media. WGBH Math ChallengeThe WGBH Educational Foundation is seeking up to 100 educational media digital resources (videos, games, interactives, infographics, and manipulatives) for middle school students and loosely aligned with the Common Core State Math Standards. The selected digital resources will be showcased on PBS LearningMedia as part of a middle school math resource collection. Find out more at the WGBH Challenge Website.

What Is Cool Science?

cool science

Cool Science fosters inquisitive behavior (ASK A SCIENTIST), encourages young scientists to get their hands dirty-virtually (CURIOUS KIDS) and offers high school and college students new approaches to cutting-edge science topics (BIOINTERACTIVE). Cool Science shares the skinny (BECOMING A SCIENTIST) and showcases an undergraduate science discovery project that may one day change the way science is taught (SEA).

Nikon's Small World

Small World showcases life as seen through the light microscope. 2012 1st prize winner

Play Species Bingo

Check out ARKive's Games or get out into the wild with fun and free outdoor activities including Species Bingo. Species BingoFun for all the family. Print the bingo sheet and get exploring! There are 24 different examples of animals, plants and fungi for you to find.

Top 10 New Species—2012

Check out the Top 10 New Species—2012, according to the Arizona State University's International Institute for Species Exploration.

Science and Animation

Harvard Media Lab Animated Videos demonstrate topics ranging from cell biology to energy conversion.
The Virtual Cell Animation Collection introduces new concepts in cell biology via video.
Harvard animation

3rd & 5th Grade Market Math Review

Thanks to all who attended 3rd grade and 5th grade Market Math at Roche Bros. Get the Market Math Take Home activities.

2013 Family Skate FUNdraiser Recap

Thanks to all Family Skate participants who donated over $1,500 to support AB PIP STEM, local food pantries and the Connor Brandon Foundation. More.

2013 Star Party Review

Thanks to 4th graders and parents for attending the 11th annual AB PIP STEM Star Party. Photos, Beacon Article and more. Star Party

Family Math Game Night Recap

Thanks for attending Family Math Game Night at the Boxborough Library on January 16. See more pictures.
Family Math Game Night

Acton Nature Guides

Available at AB PIP STEM, EMS & ABRHS School Store

Nature Guide

Looking for a holiday gift for that naturalist? Sponsored by AB Schools, Town of Acton and AB PIP STEM, Acton Naturally, Pocket Naturalist Guides feature species indigenous to Acton. To order, contact actonpip@gmail.com or pick up your copy for $6.00 at EMS (Eastern Mountain Sports) on Route 2A or the ABRHS School Store.

Fun For All at Acton Arboretum Nature Walk

Thanks for joining the AB PIP STEM nature walk at Acton Arboretum with our guide, Tom Tidman, Director of Acton's natural resources department. We identified local birds with our Acton Naturally Guides, collected leaves for art projects and discovered an esker along the trail.
Acton Arboretum Nature Walk
Nature-related Art Projects and Books:
Constructing Fairy Houses
Art in Nature
Look What I Did with a Leaf! (available at Acton Memorial Library)

How Big Is it?

Dimensions is an experimental prototype to bring home the human scale of events and places in history. How far would the Titanic stretch down your street? The Dimensions website juxtaposes the size of historical events with your home and neighborhood—overlaying important places and events on a satellite view of where you live. Certain Dimensions can be transformed into short walks, so you can get a physical appreciation of the distances involved.

Market Math Solar Projects Star Party Green Events Discover STEM Math Games
Increasing Community Involvement in Science, Technology, Engineering & Math Education (STEM) K-12
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