Crazy Year For Maple Sugaring

Posted on March 17th, 2017 by bguzzetta

It sure has been a crazy start to the maple sugaring year! The weather was up and down, but never up or down long enough to get the sap moving, so we put off tapping but the students were getting antsy. They finally convinced Mrs. Guzzetta to tap one tree to monitor the week before February break.

Needless to say, we barely collected any sap that week, but the weather forecast for break was drastically different and we knew that we were in for a good week so we tapped a few more. Once the vacation week began, the weather got balmy, and the sap started flowing fast and furious. Two eighth grade club leaders came in one day to help tap more trees for a total of about thirty taps. A third club leader, a veteran of three years, was a big help as he came in twice, once with his cousins, to collect the sap that was flowing.

Even with their help, Mrs. Guzzetta was kept busy collecting once or twice a day in order to stay on top of the flow as it appeared that the season was going to be short. By the end of the week we had about 80 gallons in storage and another 15 or so lost to accidental spills or ants.

When the students came back from break, their collecting started back up on a more regular basis. A couple of students were able to help out during their Citizen Science project time as their project pertained to our maple sugaring project, and others stopped in to collect when they could. One of Mrs. Guzzetta’s sixth grade advisees organized the other advisees and collected during advocacy. During this time, the students had their first encounter with a sugar hungry chipmunk who was found patiently sitting in a bucket of sap waiting for the students to rescue him.

Mike Wheeler, whose son is a leader in the maple sugaring club, coordinated with Mrs. Guzzetta and happily volunteered his time, resources, and knowledge to work with some of the club members to build a sugar shack. He oversaw the club members as they sawed, drilled, hammered, and constructed their very first sugar shack that they will reconstruct each year during the sugaring season. This is a huge upgrade from their pop up shelter with no walls that provided minimal protection from the elements. More on this exciting project coming soon.

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Posted in: Highlights, Kid Kudos, Middle School

5th and 11th Graders Collaborate on Multidisciplinary S.T.R.E.A.M. Project

Posted on December 17th, 2014 by klapa

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.

STREAM Blog Post Photo

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Posted in: Eleventh Grade, Fifth Grade, Highlights, Lower School, Upper School

AC 6th Grader Excels at Central New York Science and Engineering Fair

Posted on April 1st, 2014 by klapa

LizaOn Sunday, March 30 Allendale Columbia 6th grader Liza Cotter competed in the Central New York Science and Engineering Fair held in the SRC Arena and Events Center in Syracuse. Liza’s project on “Using Gyroscopic Sensors in Robotics Competitions” was awarded Honors and a Lockheed Martin Science and Technology Award. Liza used her experience on Allendale Columbia’s “AC Aces” Lego Robotics team as a platform to go a step further with her own research and experimentation for this competition.

The Central New York Science and Engineering Fair is an outreach program of the Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science and Technology and is sponsored by Lockheed Martin, the Technology Alliance of Central New York, Syracuse University, Lemoyne College, and Time Warner Cable.

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Posted in: Kid Kudos, Middle School, Sixth Grade

Upper School Students Advancing to National Science Bowl as Middle School Teams Prepare for Competition

Posted on February 20th, 2014 by cdixon

After winning the regional competition at RIT, a team of Allendale Columbia Upper School students earned a spot at the National Science Bowl. This is the first time Upper School students have competed in the Science Bowl on behalf of AC. Coached by Dr. Jeff Lawlis, the team will compete against students from across the country at the National Science Bowl taking place in Washington, D.C. in April. The Democrat and Chronicle recently highlighted the success of this team; click here to view the article!

AC will send three teams to compete in the Regional Middle School Science Bowl taking place on March 8. Coached by Tina Duver, the teams hope to build on our students’ success at last year’s competition, as AC Middle School students earned a spot at Nationals and finished in the top six for the Engineering Design Document competition.

The Department of Energy (DOE) created the National Science Bowl in 1991 to encourage students to excel in mathematics and science and to pursue careers in these fields. More than 225,000 students have participated in the National Science Bowl throughout its more than 20 year history, and it is one of the nation’s largest science competitions.


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Posted in: Eighth Grade, Eleventh Grade, Highlights, Middle School, Ninth Grade, Seventh Grade, Sixth Grade, Tenth Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School

Rising AC Architects!

Posted on December 11th, 2013 by bguzzetta

“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!

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Posted in: Eighth Grade, Highlights, Middle School

Owl Pellets – A Collaborative Project

Posted on December 6th, 2013 by erineder

Last week, our kindergarteners partnered with seventh grade life science students to study owl pellets. The kindergarten brought the owl pellets back from a field trip to Mendon Ponds Park to visit Wild Wings, a non-profit organization that cares for injured birds and runs educational programs.

The seventh graders, under the direction of AC science teacher Beth Guzzetta, prepared identification sheets and other information that was helpful for the project. They also loaded an owl pellet app from Carolina Biological Supply Company to use on their iPads. The app not only has skeleton diagrams and owl natural history, but also an interactive database where the kids could add their findings and look at what others have found in owl pellets from different regions of the country.

After the kindergarteners and their seventh grade partners dissected the pellets and extracted the bones, they set about laying the bones on the identification chart. They taped the bones down and then constructed paper plate owls and read books together. It was a great experience for all!

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Posted in: Highlights, Kindergarten, Lower School, Middle School, Seventh Grade