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.
Posted in: Centers for Impact, Eighth Grade, Highlights, Invent, Middle School, MS Birches, Seventh Grade, Sixth Grade, The Birches
How do you help students understand multiplication and division of fractions? Eat them! (The fractions, not the students.)
Beth Guzzetta’s fun approach involved having each of her sixth grade math students bring in a family recipe or researched recipe, nut-free, of course, with several students using recipes with other allergy-friendly foods. She then had them calculate the quantities of the ingredients needed to make 23 servings, the number of students in the class, using multiplication and division to reach the appropriate ratios. Then, after that in-class exercise, the students made their recipes at home and shared them at school. (In a concession to practicality, they could round up the quantities for actual baking, since it’s somewhat difficult to accurately divide some ingredients, like eggs, into twenty-thirds.)
We didn’t interview the teachers of the classes that came after math, but we’re pretty sure the students bounced in from Ms. Guzzetta’s class with a new appreciation for fractions (though some were discovering the potential benefits of moderation).
Posted in: Middle School, MS Birches, Sixth Grade, The Birches
This week, our fifth graders completed their individual, design-oriented projects that they created with their eleventh grade partners. Fifth graders were allowed to choose any material and format to create a winter decoration or object. They began the process by brainstorming with their eleventh grade partners, drawing ideas and making lists.
Through the process, the students learned how electrical circuits worked by including batteries, conductive thread, and colored LEDs to allow their pieces to light up. The project required design, science, technology, engineering, and math skills.
A large group of AC educators were involved in helping the fifth graders realize their respective visions, including the Upper School S.T.R.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Research, Engineering, Art, Mathematics) collaborative group leaders Lori Kimbrough Wun, Jeff Lawlis, Artie Cruz, Kelsey Lisi, and Brent Neeley. Also advising students were fifth grade teachers Randy Northrup and Stephanie DePaul-Pragel, Lower School S.T.E.M. teachers Donna Chabak and Sue Sorrentino, and art teachers Mallory Gregor and Amy Oliveri. Design tools that the students employed for their projects included design applications and 3D printing, a Cameo Silhouette printer, hand-constructed patterns and fabric, and sculpture.
Posted in: Eleventh Grade, Fifth Grade, Highlights, Lower School, Upper School
The Allendale Columbia School kindergarten is busy practicing addition. We begin our addition unit by discussing the concept of putting groups of things together by having a “bears picnic.” The kids are given a picnic mat with a honey pot that has a number on it. They work in partners to place two colors of bears on the mat to equal the number on the honey pot. Coming up with different combinations of the two colors of bears allows them to see that different numbers can add up to the same answer. For more of a challenge the kids can also work in groups of three.
When we have worked with the bears for a bit, we move on to “Addition Stars.” This game has partners coming up with a number sentence using two addends that equal a sum of twelve or less. The kids use colored blocks for the addends and a number card to show the sum. If the number sentence is built and read correctly, their team gets a star on the board. The teams may earn another star for that round if their sum happens to be the same as the “secret sum” card that the teacher picks and hides before the round begins. The “secret sum” cards are numbered 0-12, like the student cards, but also have a “lowest sum” and “highest sum” card. The game is played for several rounds each day, for several days, until everyone has a strong grasp of the concept. When we are done with the game and have a solid grasp of addition using manipulatives, we move on to paper and pencil addition.
The kids love the game and are eager to earn stars and bonus stars. They even choose to independently use the game in small groups during free time in the classroom. The kids in the Allendale Columbia kindergarten are indeed “Addition Stars!”
Posted in: Highlights, Kindergarten, Lower School
“When would I ever use this math?” is a frequent question in some math classes, but not Mrs. Guzzetta’s Math 8 classroom. Her students have been very busy learning about and reinforcing the concepts of ratios, scales, percentages, trigonometric functions, Pythagorean Theorem, area and perimeter relationships, slope, statistics, and more during the first few months of school. Upon entering the class in September, students were put in the role of architects as they developed and planned a summer camp.
During the initial planning stages, students analyzed the landscape to design the best zoo enclosure for the space provided while taking into consideration cost, aesthetics, and functionality. This enabled them to develop a better understanding of the relationship between area and perimeter. Once this concept was better understood, students delved into the task of designing a cabin that could house ten campers and one counselor and included a bathroom. Careful analysis was displayed as students tried to win the bid from the camp directors. Last Friday, the budding architects presented their plans to a “board of directors” from the camp to determine which architecture firm would receive the bid. Students used their Google Docs to assist in their presentations, which also included scale models with two roof options and three-dimensional models made on their iPads using the game Minecraft. Lots of STREAM every day!
Math 8 students never wonder when they will be applying the math that they are learning. It is applied every day to various areas. With the closing of the architect unit, students have become secret agents and are learning about coding. Stay tuned to learn what fun math concepts have been incorporated into the coding unit. As Caesar would say, “pdwk lv dzhvrph!” Just ask a Math 8 student!
Posted in: Eighth Grade, Highlights, Middle School
The Allendale Columbia kindergartners have been doing all sorts of activities with shapes lately. They have made pictures by combining shapes, created a picture using one shape as a springboard, used virtual geoboards on the iPads, and found examples of shapes around the classroom. On Friday, we armed them with cameras and sent them out to the playground to see what shapes they could discover. The kids were great “shape detectives” finding shapes in both man-made items and in nature!
Posted in: Kindergarten, Lower School