I got an Aeronautics Award

So I just got the below note in my e-mail tonight!  Although many think I only play with robots and LEGOS, before I got into robots, my main focus was astronomy and flying airplanes.  I still teach an aeronautical engineering camp in the summer with the BU College of Engineering and launch rockets with the engineering students at BUA.

I am excited to attend this awards gala with all these big shots from NASA, the FAA, and the DoD.  Autograph books are out, so maybe I will have to get one of those selfie tripod cameras my cousin had on New Year’s Eve.  If you look at the photos from last year’s gala, it looks like a huge awesome deal!

Here is my excitement of the weekend.


Congratulations! On behalf of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) it is my pleasure to inform you that you have been selected as one of the winners of the AIAA Foundation Educator Achievement awards.

The AIAA Foundation presents the Educator Achievement Awards every two years to no more than five classroom teachers who have demonstrated exemplary efforts in exciting students in grades K–12 about the study of mathematics, science, and related technical studies, and in preparing them to use and contribute to tomorrow’s technologies. Through this recognition, AIAA celebrates the “best and brightest” educators for inspiring students.

You and one guest will be invited to AIAA’s Aerospace Spotlight Awards Gala at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, Washington D.C. (annual black-tie celebration honoring achievements in aerospace) on May 6, 2015 where the award will be presented.

My Video is out!

About a year ago I started working on a video for the classroom  with the MIT BLOSSOMS project.   You can watch my video and download the lesson plans here.

It took about a year to produce this.  I was one of several teachers selected last January to produce videos for the classroom.

To quote from the BLOSSOMS website:

BLOSSOMS video lessons are enriching students’ learning experiences in high school classrooms from Brooklyn to Beirut to Bangalore. Our Video Library contains over 100 math and science lessons, all freely available to teachers as streaming video and Internet downloads and as DVDs and videotapes.

Visit the BLOSSOMS Video Library anytime to browse and download lessons to use in your classroom. Every lesson is a complete resource that includes video segments, a teacher’s guide, downloadable hand-outs and a list of additional online resources relevant to the topic. We carefully craft each BLOSSOMS lesson to make your classroom come alive. Each 50-minute lesson builds on math and science fundamentals by relating abstract concepts to the real world. The lessons intersperse video instruction with planned exercises that engage students in problem solving and critical thinking, helping students build the kind of gut knowledge that comes from hands-on experience. By guiding students through activities from beginning to end, BLOSSOMS lessons give students a sense of accomplishment and excitement.

While MIT faculty members and partnering educators in Jordan and Pakistan created the first BLOSSOMS lessons, today educators from around the world create and submit BLOSSOMS modules. We welcome you to join our international online community to learn more about our videos and to engage with educators worldwide who are looking for ways to enrich their students’ classroom experiences and share their ideas.

You can watch the video below.  It is on the MIT TechTV website.



LEGO Discovery Center

I just finished the preface for my new LEGO book, so I decided to treat myself with a trip to the new LEGO discovery center.  I particularly like all of the models in Miniland built by the Master Builder,  Ian Coffey. 

I now have it in my mind to build a model of BU Academy, but with the old Shell Sign on the Top of the Building.

Here are some of the pics from my trip today of the great buildings at LEGO

MiniWorld Boston.



Packt’s $5 eBonanza returns

So I am buying Alejandro a Kindle for XMAS.  I was thinking what should I get for him to download, and I found this offer!  Packt has a huge range of books.  Most of them are primarily e-books.  So this is a great chance to find some winter reading!  And you can even pre-order my new book!


Following the success of last year’s festive offer, Packt Publishing will be celebrating the Holiday season with an even bigger $5 offer.

From Thursday 18th December, every eBook and video will be available on the publisher’s website for just $5. Customers are invited to purchase as many as they like before the offer ends on Tuesday January 6th, making it the perfect opportunity to try something new or to take your skills to the next level as 2015 begins.  With all $5 products available in a range of formats and DRM-free, customers will find great value content delivered exactly how they want it across Packt’s website this Xmas and New Year.

Find out more at www.packtpub.com/packt5dollar






3D Printing

So recently, we at BUA have begun to play with 3D Printing.  Two alums (Craig Broady and Parker Porfilio) work at FormLabs.

We had the Printer up and running at our FIRST LEGO League tournament!

We already printed a part for our robot!  It is an grey box to hold an electronics board to hold our….actually I am not at liberty to say.  Top secret FIRST Robotics electronics thing. :)

Electronics Box

Here you can see them giving a presentation to the BUA Robotics Team on how to use the Form1 Plus 3D Printer.



UAV Here come the drones

The Spring Meeting of the New England Section of AAPT will be on the Drones.   I am in the midst of organizing this meeting.

So are Drones in the news?

A lot of people are getting drones for XMAS according to Bloomberg.

“If you find a drone under the Christmas tree next week, it may also come with a list of U.S. government guidelines for safe flying and even software to keep the device away from airports.

Sales of the small, unmanned aircraft are soaring this holiday season, prompting fears that first-time users could accidentally crash them into people, buildings or even aircraft. Retailers, including Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN), are taking steps to educate buyers of the high-tech toys……The Federal Aviation Administration reported drone safety cases for the first time last month, showing incidents had grown to more than 40 per month.”

What does that have to do with Education?  According the the National Journal the new regulations are inhibiting research at Universities.

“Academics who use drones for their research are pushing back on what they call overly restrictive federal regulations.

Two associations that together represent more than 200 American universities are complaining that the Federal Aviation Administration’s confusing policies on commercial drones are harmful to academic research.”



My new book is almost out!!

I am happy to announce the title –  Learning LEGO Mindstorms EV3 on the Packt website.  This is My second book that is published !!!!


Book Type – Maxi

Print Price (US) – $41.99

eBook Price (US) – $25.99

Expected Publication Date
– 27th January 2015

Laser Weapons

Reuters just recently posted a video of Star Wars like weapons. I had to share this.

You can view an older video of the Laser Weapons from 2010 here.

Back when I was in high school, there was talk of Reagan’s Star Wars program to shoot lasers up at Battle Mirrors and bounce them down into the Soviet Union. It never worked because of atmospheric refraction. But as a senior in college, I got to spend two weeks working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (in 1992) where they had just declassified the Laser Guide Start Program, which was one of the few successful parts of the original Star Wars programs.

Why STEM Education?

Here is a great video posted recently on the LEGO Engineering website where Chris Rogers explains why we need STEM education.  There is a transcript of this video at the above link.

CEEO Grand Re-Opening

On Thursday Leonardo and I attended the Grand Reopening of the CEEO at Tufts. They were having the Ribbon Cutting.


Here, Leonardo was building an EV3 Robot for a non-wheeled robot race

Robot Build

Leonardo Won!  Mainly because his robot went forward and the others went backwards. RobotRace

Here, Leonardo is playing a real live gain of space invaders.  A joystick controls a hovering spaceship driven by an EV3.  This was a project from the intro to programming engineering class at Tufts. Space Invador

These are the trophies that were awarded to those who won the robot races!Trophy

This is what you see when you enter the CEEO.Welcome