Archives for April 2016

LEF Grant Brings Robotics to Elementary School Students

By Varsha Thatte  |  LEF Student Ambassador

The future has arrived at Estabrook Elementary School!! Thanks to the Lexington Education Foundation (LEF), elementary-age students now have the opportunity to learn engineering concepts through hands-on instruction in robotics. The use of robotics to teach science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) concepts is gaining wide-spread popularity in the U.S. as a way to help students develop a passion for STEM subjects, and to teach skills such as problem-solving, goal-setting and logical thinking.

Jeffrey Harris, LHS Mathematics teacher.

Jeffrey Harris, LHS Mathematics teacher.

Jeffrey Harris, a Mathematics Teacher at Lexington High School, received an LEF grant to design and implement an after-school robotics program for elementary school students. The grant funds Lego kits for students and training for the teachers running the program.

The program, designed for fourth and fifth graders, has been extremely well-received at Estabrook Elementary School, where it was implemented. “The first six-week session started in the fall and the class got filled quickly. There were 25-30 kids signed up for the whole series. I myself taught robotics for a group of fourth graders. Kids at Estabrook wanted to get involved and were really excited about it,” stated Mark Taggart, a 4th grade teacher at Estabrook.

Jeffrey Harris explains one reason for the program’s warm reception, “Elementary kids did not have the opportunity to learn about robotics until LEF helped us to establish the program at Estabrook. The LEF grant has had a huge impact on the elementary kids. It gave us an opportunity to teach robotics, which will spark their interest in engineering at an early age.”

The curriculum is divided into six sessions. Each session is structured as a conceptual presentation for 10 minutes, followed by a challenge period to be done in small groups. The introduction session starts with brief explanation about Lego and how robotics work. This session is then followed by hardware and software sessions. The hardware session teaches concepts such as using sensors and motors. The software session covers programming objectives and the programming languages used to program the Lego Mindstorms robotics kits.

Mark Taggart, with Lego robots, at Estabrook Elementary School.

Mark Taggart, with Lego robots, at Estabrook Elementary School.

The fifth session tests students’ abilities through an advanced challenge, which incorporates the hardware, software, and engineering concepts from the earlier sessions. The last session is a free build session, which runs like a robotics science fair. During the final session, students think up, design and build a robot of their own, and then present their creation to the entire class.

Kevin Le, a student at Lexington High School who helped to create the curriculum for the robotics program said, “The curriculum we made gives a huge exposure to engineering. Kids will gain problem-solving skills and creative decision-making capabilities.” Also, completing these hands-on projects builds concept understanding and reinforces students’ confidence in their own abilities.

Mark Taggart mentioned that they received many thank you notes from parents, saying their kids learned a lot of interesting, fun, and useful concepts. A parent at Estabrook said, “It was the absolute best after-school program we’ve ever participated in. Thank you so much for bringing that program. It taught my son that he absolutely loves computer programming, which is a big deal for me, since he doesn’t seem to like anything but watching TV! Thank you, LEF.”

Mark’s vision is to take this initiative to greater heights, explaining, “Our next goal is to bring robotics into the regular classrooms, make it a part of the curriculum officially, and extend it to the five other elementary schools.”


The Lexington Education Foundation (LEF) was founded in 1989 to support “better schools, brighter futures” for Lexington Public School students. LEF funds faculty-initiated grants that help address emerging issues and priorities in the district. LEF grants often fund pilot programs that point the district towards the most effective ways to address challenges and improve achievement for all students.Lexington Education Foundation (LEF) is an independent 501(c)(3) charitable organization.  LEF is not affiliated with the Lexington Public Schools. For more information go to or find us Facebook.

Share this:

The Old Guard Performs in Lexington!

Old Guard Promo

Share this:

Patriots’ Day Resources and Activities

24_1_LexVC_WithBuntingLexington Visitors’ Center

Obtain tour brochures, maps and directions to historical sites and events. View diorama of Battle of Lexington. 1875 Massachusetts Avenue, across from Cary Library.
781-862-1450. Public restrooms.


Liberty Ride Tours

Saturday & Sunday 10 am-4 pm
Liberty RideA unique 90 minute trolley tour of the historic Battle Road. Tickets required. Board at the Lexington Visitors Center, 1875 Massachusetts Avenue, Lexington Center.




In Their Own Words

7sm ITOW Redcoats Huzzah (2)Performance
Sunday, April 17th 8PM at Pilgrim Church

Developed by Lexington author Rick Beyers, In Their Own Words is drawn from actual eyewitness accounts of the first hours of the Revolutionary War. Costumed actors speak from primary documents – diaries, depositions, letters and sermons. Real-life characters trace the story from Paul Revere’s ride, to the first shots on Lexington Common, through the Redcoats’ bloody retreat on the day the Revolution began.

Parker’s Revenge & Tower Park – Saturday, April 16th


Parker’s Revenge

Lexington Minutemen gather on the Lexington Battle Green to reenact the second call to arms from Captain Parker with additional dialogue from Reverend Jonas Clarke. Following this event the Minutemen will march to Parker’s Revenge site on Route 2A near the Minuteman National Park Visitors Site for a wreath laying. Freewreath laying and musket salute. FREE


Parker’s Revenge Salute

Parker’s Revenge Ceremonial Salute Marrett Road & Old Massachusetts Avenue. FREE
2:00 pm Parker’s Revenge Scenario Battle Road trail behind Minute Man National Park Visitor Center, Rt 2A, Lexington.


Tower Park Battle

4pm Tower Park Battle The Tower Park battle re-enactment starts near Munroe Tavern at 4:00. British and Colonial Reenactors reenact a Revolutionary War battle, using period-appropriate weapons and tactics. Come early for a tour of Munroe and watch the Redcoats prepare. Tower Park is on Massachusetts Avenue opposite Pelham Road. FREE


Battle Green Guided Tours

Battlegreen Guided ToursBattle Green Guided Tours Official Lexington Battle Green Guides in Colonial clothing offer informal tours, history, visitor information and directions throughout the day. Stand where the local Militia faced the British Regulars at sunrise on April 19, 1775. View one of the oldest war memorials in the country where the remains of 7 of the 8 Militia who died on the Battle Green on April 19th are buried. FREE



Hancock Church Annual Patriots’ Day Handbell Concert

Monday April 18th from 11:15am–12pm

Annual Patriots’ Day Handbell Concert of Patriotic and American music The concert is family-friendly and includes music played on 5 octaves of hand bells and 6 octaves of hand chimes, sure to please all ages: jazz by Duke Ellington, American rag, movie music, spirituals, and patriotic songs. Suggested donation of $3 per person to benefit the Russell School in Dorchester after school music program. Hancock Church, 1912 Massachusetts Avenue.


Share this:

Patriots’ Day 2016 – Schedule of Events

Share this: