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This just in! From WPI! Touch-Tomorrow fest!!!


WPI Hosts 5th Annual TouchTomorrow Festival

June 11

Robots, Rockets, and even an Astronaut!

10 a.m. to 4 p.m.


One of the region’s largest interactive science, technology, and robotics festivals is returning to Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) on June 11.

TouchTomorrow is a free, family-friendly festival that features hands-on activities and exhibits designed to inspire children, teens, and young adults to explore the thrill and fun of science and technology.

The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., rain or shine, and includes exhibits presented by WPI, NASA, WGBH, and a wide variety of museums, educational organizations, and companies.

The fifth anniversary festival will feature some favorite NASA exhibits, including the asteroid landscape, the Roll-over Rover, the famous MARCBot IV Rover, and the Mark III space suit. This year NASA is introducing its Virtual Reality chairs with monitors and Oculus glasses that take users on a planetary tour.

Visitors will also have the chance to meet and hear from Charlie Precourt, former NASA Chief Astronaut and veteran of four Space Shuttle missions.

WPI will also welcome back to campus Paul Ventimiglia, Class of 2012 and BattleBots 2015 World Champion. His robot, BiteForce, won the competition on national television and will defend the title this summer when the hit show returns to ABC prime time on June 23. In addition to BattleBots, Ventimiglia has had a number of victories in robotics competitions. In 2009, while still a student at WPI, he led a university-sponsored team in NASA’s Regolith Excavation Challenge. He will discuss what it takes to build an award-winning robot and give an insider’s look at the advancement in robotics.  

For the third year in a row, WGBH will serve as the official media partner for the festival. A national leader in the effort to expand science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education in the classroom and at home, WGBH will host multimedia activities for students and STEM enthusiasts of all ages at TouchTomorrow. A number of popular WGBH characters, including Curious George, will make appearances throughout the day.

Among other activities, attendees at TouchTomorrow may:

Take a photo in a NASA spacesuit,

watch what happens to marshmallow Peeps inside a real vacuum chamber,

explore the Fire Protection Engineering lab and Automation and Interventional Medicine (AIM) lab at WPI’s Gateway Park,

engage in interactive activities—extract DNA from strawberries,

Build a raspberry-flavored solar cell,

help a robot play a musical instrument, and learn about advanced manufacturing technology, including laser cutters and 3-D printers,

talk with WPI researchers who are exploring autonomous vehicle technology, building homes of the future, and developing an exo-skeleton with hydro-muscles and …

see WPI student project work in robotics, game design and animation, architectural engineering, and other areas.

TouchTomorrow follows the NASA Sample Return Robot (SRR) Challenge, a Centennial Challenge competition to be held June 7-11 on WPI’s campus. The challenge—created to drive competition and innovation among individual inventors, students, and private companies—requires teams to design and build an autonomous robotic system that will locate and collect geological samples without human control. For more information on the SRR Challenge and a list of competitors, visit here.

“Every year, TouchTomorrow allows the WPI campus to become a hub of amazing interactive exhibits designed specifically to excite young people, families, and teachers about science and technology,” said WPI president Laurie Leshin. “The festival is the perfect way to cap off the NASA Sample Return Robot Competition.  It is tremendously gratifying to welcome some of the most innovative robotics engineers from across the country to campus; it is also amazing to be able to show people of all ages that science, engineering and technology is amazing, fun, and critical to making the world a better place, and to empower them to envision their own futures in those fields.”

The future …


Successful Strategies in Schools

By John Monfredo, Worcester School Committee member

InCity Times has been a strong advocate for our children in Worcester and has especially attempted to support educational efforts on behalf of those families who have no voice in the decision-making process. One of the questions facing education across the nation is what can be done to help our children learn at high levels. Can poor children and children of color achieve success? Is it possible for schools to help children who face the substantial obstacles of poverty and discrimination learn to read, write and become educated citizens?
As a former Worcester Public Schools principal and a long-time educator, I believe the answer is “yes.” The question is how to do it and is it being done? Robert Gordon, education advisor to U. S. Senator John Kerry, pleads passionately for us to recognize that if we rectify our most glaring and manifest shortcomings, then we can achieve a social miracle. We can have an America where birth doesn’t dictate destiny. Nothing offends democratic ideals more than the fact that a typical African American 12th grader reads at the same level as a typical middle-class or white 8th grader. Nothing is a greater threat to middle-class prosperity than mediocre schools. Continue reading Successful Strategies in Schools

Latest research on math; how you can help your students

By John Monfredo, Worcester School Committee member

As our children explore and discover their environment, they are exposed to the world of math! Mathematics has become increasingly important in this age of technology. Children need a strong background in math. It’s essential that the school and the home work together to strengthen our children’s ability to understand and apply math in their everyday lives. Many school systems are paying attention to improving early-grades math curriculum instruction, for there is mounting research showing that boosting students’ confidence and effort in math can increase achievement.

For children to compete in the 21’st century global economy, knowledge in math is critical. Today’s high school graduates need to have a solid math background, whether they are headed to college or the workforce. To help ensure our nation’s future competitiveness in the global market, our country created a National Mathematics Advisory Panel in 2006. Continue reading Latest research on math; how you can help your students