Learning in a New Light Showcased at Innovation Day

Posted on March 8th, 2019 by Allendale Columbia School

Innovation Day on March 15th is dedicated to all the new and unconventional ways students, teachers, and the AC community teach and learn, shaking things up from how it’s always been done. Anchored by a pitch competition for prospective young entrepreneurs and a science fair, the event will include interactive workshops, speakers, a gallery walk, and performances.

The Pitch Competition, hosted by the AC Center for Entrepreneurship, offers students a chance to become entrepreneurs. Students in Grades K-12 will pitch a new service or product business to a panel of judges and be awarded. For example, Dante Colaprete shared that his peers often borrow his fidget squeeze balls, and he realized there was a market for these items. His business with Jacob Weishaar creates a variety of fidget options for young people to help them focus better in classrooms. Another pair of students, Achanti (or Amora?) Thongjang and Mackenzie Opira identified that much of the pollution and trash being sent to landfills and recycling centers could be used to create one-of-a-kind DIY items that they would like to produce and sell. Amy Oliveri, Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship, shared, “It’s amazing to work with young people who are so passionate and excited to not just make money but to help others. It is this social innovation and entrepreneurial mindset that is going to make an impact both locally and globally!”

Part of the AC Innovation Day event line-up will be a mini Science Fair, hosted by the AC Invent Center for STEM and Innovation, modeled after the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). We kicked off interest for this part of the day by showing the movie Science Fair back in February. The movie follows the path of nine high school students from around the world who competed against thousands of other global students at the 2018 ISEF competition. “This movie is meant to be inspiring, and it is – it really gets at the core reason why science is fun – the pure curiosity that these students have, and the drive to take things apart, to answer questions, and to invent,” said Maya Crosby, Director of the AC Invent Center. All sixth-graders and eighth-graders along with three groups of fifth-graders will participate in the Science Fair. Upper School students from the Science Writing and Research and Projects in Computer Science courses will also participate in Science Fair. Students are doing projects as varied as how to make light without electricity, whether cat and dog behavior is determined by neuroanatomy, creating a machine learning algorithm for financial trading, and a data analysis project on the sound profiles from different piano models. Some of these students have also challenged themselves to compete at the regional level at the Rochester and Finger Lakes ISEF Affiliate Fair happening at the Rochester Museum and Science Center on March 16th.

Students in all Grades K-12 will present at least one workshop on topics like dying fabric with food; which is better for memory: computer screen or paper; and antibiotic resistance.

In the 2nd grade, students are creating a business to help save bees. They have a logo, designed by Peyton Leuzzi, Grace Frassetto, and Ainsley Previte, and their business is called Pollen Paradise, (name created by Eli Rubelmann and Coleman Wilmot). Their goal is to create and sell handmade bee items to raise money and awareness to save the bees. They are creating items to sell such as headbands, bee magnets, slime, dog biscuits, hats, and more. Customers will also be able to learn sign language when they visit! All AC students, parents, and teachers are invited to view and purchase the second graders’ handmade items to help save the bees.

The students from Making an Impact: Social Entrepreneurship are going to be selling t-shirts that were hand screen-printed by members of our partner community center, Entreamigos, in San Pancho, Mexico. The class goal is to raise enough money from the sale of these shirts to fund a 3-week summer camp for 15 Mexican children. Students have been doing all the planning for this. They also plan to do three other pop-up shops around Rochester to sell shirts.

Please join us next Friday, March 15th, from 8:20-11:20 a.m., for what will be a very exciting event showcasing all of the innovative work in which AC students participate.

“I am looking forward to seeing the creative work and ideas that our young entrepreneurs, scientists, artists, and innovators have produced,” said Mick Gee, Head of School, “and invite you to join us for a special day.”



Amy Oliveri

Amy Oliveri

Amy has been a part of the Allendale Columbia Art Department since the fall of 2010 and serves as Director of the AC Center for Creativity & Entrepreneurship. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Illustration and a Concentration in ASL as well as a Master of Science Degree for Teachers in Art Education from the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Maya Crosby

Maya Crosby

Maya earned her Bachelor of Science Degree at the University of Rochester, where she studied science and communications, and then worked in biotech and scientific publishing. While at the University of Maine for a Master of Science degree in marine microbiology, she loved being a teaching fellow so much that she shifted her focus to fostering science education and experiences for all students. After several years of teaching science, computer science, and technology, she became the Director of Innovation and Technology at Lincoln Academy in Newcastle, Maine. She also brings experience as a Developmental Biology and Microbiology Instructor at Bowdoin College, an Education Coordinator at the Gulf of Maine Foundation, a Science Editor for Blackwell Science, and a Research Technician for ImmuLogic Pharmaceuticals.

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Posted in: Entrepreneurship, Highlights, Invent

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