First Graders Seek to Save Amazon Rainforest

Posted on May 4th, 2018 by Allendale Columbia School

by Annie King and Stephanie Williford

As part of a Project Based Learning (PBL) unit focusing on the Amazon Rainforest, Allendale Columbia’s first graders continued their research on the rich biodiversity of this amazing natural resource. We have been studying the rainforest and its creatures all year long and have discovered many troubling facts about the 28,000 species that live there.

This information gave us the idea to begin our campaign to raise $1,200 so that we can adopt 30 acres of land in the Amazon Rainforest — the same size as our Allendale campus! Allendale Columbia’s 1st grade Rainforest Rescuers launched their own GoFundMe page with the hopes of raising $1,200 for the Amazon Aid Foundation. After just 4 hours, they had raised $555, and they have already surpassed their goal! This group’s love and passion for the Amazon Rainforest is truly making an impact on our world.

Our 1st graders are truly experts about many of the animals in this area. We Skyped with Sarah DuPont, the president of Amazon Aid Foundation. The first graders worked hard to come up with thoughtful questions for Sarah, and she was impressed with their commitment to saving the Amazon Rainforest. Sarah was also able to teach us much about the challenges facing the Amazon Rainforest and the crucial work her organization is doing.

In math, we continued working on measurement this week by practicing drawing lines and crafting bookmarks to spread the word about the plight of the Amazon Rainforest. The bookmarks will be going on sale soon so stay tuned!

Next Thursday, May 10th, the first graders will be performing a puppet show they wrote based on the book The Great Kapok Tree by Lynn Cherry, and they will be singing a song they wrote based on nursery rhyme titled The Rainforest Grows All Around.
Kristin Cocquyt

Ann King

After pursing her passion for teaching, Ann became a long-term substitute at Allendale Columbia before beginning to teach first grade full-time at AC. Prior to beginning her teaching career, Ann was in the financial industry as an Assistant Vice President, Financial Analyst, and Corporate Trainer at two different regional banks. Ann earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Economics from Penn State College and her Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education from Roberts Wesleyan College.
Kristin Cocquyt

Stephanie Williford

Stephanie joined Allendale Columbia in the fall of 2012. She holds an associate's degree with a concentration in Psychology, a bachelor's degree in Psychology with a concentration in Inclusive Education, as well as Quad-Inclusive Teacher Certification for grades 1-9. Prior to coming to AC, Stephanie served as a kindergarten teacher at Children's Creative Learning Center and supervised the Child Care and Preschool Summer Fun Camp at Pittsford Recreation Center.
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Posted in: Entrepreneurship, First Grade, Global Engagement, Highlights, Lower School, LS Birches, The Birches, Uncategorized

AC Senior’s Medical Neural Network Research Wins Regional and State Science Fair Awards

Posted on March 23rd, 2018 by Allendale Columbia School

by Rui “Tony” Zhou 

I participated in the Terra Rochester-Finger Lakes Regional Science & Engineering Fair last Sunday and the New York State Science and Engineering Fair at New York Hall of Science last Monday. It was an extremely rewarding experience not just because I won many awards.

My project involves creating a Deep Convolutional Neural Network that detects and analyzes lung nodules in CT scans, that is, using the lasted Artificial Intelligence techniques for Computer-Aided Diagnosis. I started this project last summer, at a lab in Tsinghua University, the top-ranked university in China. Then I continued with this project though AC’s Science Writing and Research Class. Currently, I’m still adjusting and optimizing the neural network structure in an effort to create a system that can better assist doctors and radiologists. The fundamental motivation for me in doing this research lies in its hope to fight against regionalized healthcare because this is a system that is applicable to most CT scanners throughout the world. We hope to bring more accurate diagnosis, and, thus, reduce the misdiagnosis rates while increase the earliness of lung cancer diagnosis.

Despite the excitement of doing two science fairs in 48 hours, it was an eye-opening experience to meet and talk with other young researchers, and I was kindled by their passions and how they are striving to improve the world we live in though their own efforts.

 

Kristin Cocquyt

Rui Zhou

Rui, or Tony, as he is known around school, is a senior from Jiangsu, China, who has enjoyed the numerous STEM opportunities at AC. While he's waiting for his college decisions, he's sure he will be majoring in computer science next year.
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Posted in: Centers for Impact, Eleventh Grade, Entrepreneurship, Global Engagement, Highlights, Invent, MS Birches, Ninth Grade, Tenth Grade, The Birches, Twelfth Grade, Upper School, US Birches

Student Scientists Explore Caves (Not Quite Live)

Posted on March 16th, 2018 by Allendale Columbia School

by Teresa Parsons

Did you know that 175 minerals are found in limestone caves? Did you know a troglobite in an animal that spends its entire life in a cave? Most troglobites lack pigmentation and have small or no eyes at all! These are just some of the things Mrs. Guzzetta’s 7th grade life science and my 6th grade earth science class learned together by participating in CavesLIVE.

CavesLIVE is a distance learning program made possible through many partnerships, including the National Forest Service, the USDA, and the National Parks Service. Students watched a 40 minute video allowing them to virtually visit different caves and learn from many different types of scientists the importance of caves. After, students were able to submit questions to a panel of scientists.

On Wednesday, March 14th, a panel of scientists presented a live webinar from Luray Caverns in Virginia to answer student questions. Some 6th grade students were able to join me during lunch, hoping to hear their questions answered. Risa Carlson, an archaeologist, answered Owen Palomaki’s question “What is the coolest part of a cave you explored?” with this response: 

“Many years ago I was called into a cave because two beautiful stone tools had been found on the floor of the cave passage. When I paused to set my light down on a ledge, I saw small pieces of charcoal right where I was going to put MY light. I realized that people long before me had chosethe same spot to rest their light while they explored the cave. I radiocarbon dated the charcoal and it was 3,300 years old!”

Students learned how important caves are in providing fresh drinking water, and that astrobiologists use cave environments to help understand how humans might one day visit Mars.

Kristin Cocquyt

Teresa Parsons

Teresa joined the Allendale Columbia team as a Middle School STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) teacher after spending 15 years in the engineering industry. She was a product engineer, then she transitioned into marketing and business development. As a business development manager, she created and provided product training, and it was in that role that she discovered her passion for teaching. Teresa earned a Master of Science Degree in Education from Nazareth College, and also holds two bachelor's degrees in Interdisciplinary Engineering/Management from Clarkson University and in Physics from the State University of New York College at Geneseo.
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Posted in: Centers for Impact, Highlights, Invent, Middle School, MS Birches, Seventh Grade, Sixth Grade, The Birches, US Birches

AC Team Gets 3rd in Regional Science Bowl

Posted on March 8th, 2018 by Allendale Columbia School

AC Middle School Science Bowl team.

The U.S. Department of Energy held its Western New York Regional Science Bowl Competition on March 3rd at St. Christopher’s School in Buffalo, New York. Allendale Columbia sent a team of Middle School students to participate for the 13th year in a row in this past-faced and intense academic competition. The National Science Bowl (NSB) is a science and math competition using a quiz bowl format with buzzers. The competition has been organized and sponsored by the United States Department of Energy since its inception in 1991.

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Posted in: Centers for Impact, Eighth Grade, Highlights, Invent, Middle School, MS Birches, Seventh Grade, Sixth Grade, The Birches

Kindergarteners Present MLK, Oceans at Performance and Art Show

Posted on January 25th, 2018 by Allendale Columbia School
Kindergarten students put on a small Ocean Performance and Art Show on Thursday, Januaary 25th. In the Curtis Performance Center, the children sang some ocean songs they were taught in music class with Lynn Grossman. They also sang a few songs inspired by their study of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., that they were taught by their Kindergarten teachers Amy Mealey and Barbie King, including a recitation of a portion of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and the song “We Shall Overcome” with sign language (see the video below). Then the children took their parents on an ocean scavenger hunt to find all their wonderful ocean creature art projects from their Ocean Adventure Project Based Learning unit.
Kindergarten MLK/Oceans Collage
Additional photos and videos are available in this Google Photos Album.
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Posted in: Kindergarten, Lower School, LS Birches, The Birches

AC Fourth Grade Studies Biodiversity in STEM PBL

Posted on October 26th, 2017 by Allendale Columbia School

Fourth graders at Allendale Columbia School spent a couple of days in Allens Creek as part of their study of ecological biodiversity, their latest Project-Based Learning (PBL) unit in the Lower School STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) program.

While some students scoop, Ms. Russell brings a rock to shore that is harboring several small stream creatures.

While some students scoop, Ms. Russell brings a rock to shore that is harboring several small stream creatures.

Working with visiting expert Maureen Dunphy Russell, a STEM/AG Educator from Cornell Cooperative Extension of Monroe County, students learned how to stir up the creek bottom and harvest the biological samples with downstream nets. They then separated the critters for identification, with crayfish attracting their enthusiasm the most. The students also found snails, mayflies, aquatic flies, scuds, minnows and an aquatic worm. “I love working outside and learning all about the nature that is around our campus,” declared student Jordyn Ahl.

“Students crave outdoor education,” STEM teacher Donna Chaback says. “While ecological biodiversity is usually an older student topic, our fourth graders have been doing a great job on it.” The creek study complemented walking studies of the AC campus’s forest, grassland, and freshwater ecosystems, during which they collected and preserved leaves and took photos of trees, plants, leaves, and signs of animal life. “So far, they have done an initial tree survey, performed soil tests, and worked in the creek,” Mrs. Chaback added. “Next, they will begin researching their findings and interviewing some key personnel.”

These hands-on studies helped reinforce the importance of biodiversity, and how each species, no matter how big or small, plays a role in the overall health and sustainability of the local and broader ecosystem.

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Posted in: Centers for Impact, Fourth Grade, Highlights, Invent, Lower School, Partnerships