May Term Produces Authentic Learning – Part 1

Posted on June 1st, 2018 by Allendale Columbia School

Every year at the end of the spring semester, Middle and Upper School students at Allendale Columbia complete their usual curriculum and begin May Term. May Term exists to provide educational opportunities outside of the normal structures of the school year to support intellectual discovery, encourage collaboration, and foster community involvement.

Here are some May Term highlights so far this year:

  • Students learned about honey bees, built a beehive, planted flora that bees love, and installed a starter colony of bees at the school garden in the “Buds and Bees” course led by Mrs. Guzzetta and Mr. Costanzo. Students will continue to monitor the hive and harvest honey in the fall.
  • A panel of judges from the AC Kitchen and maintenance evaluated student culinary creations in a Master Chef-type competition, with students presenting the science behind the creation of those food items in the “Science of Cooking” course led by Ms. Crosby and senior Gio Martino.
  • In “Human Impacts on the Environment”, AC students worked with students from the World of Inquiry School 58 at a Water Quality Summit in Rochester to understand the Genesee River ecosystem, which was featured on WROC and WXXI. Mrs. Lisi and Mr. Godkin led this session.
  • In “Life Underwater”, students explored the flora and fauna in Corbett’s Glen with Mrs. Guzzetta.
         
  • Students visited the Women’s Rights Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls as part of “Nevertheless, She Persisted” (above) with Mr. Neeley

Other topics included:

  • Positive Psychology
  • The Great Outdoors
  • Console Wars: The History of Video Gaming
  • Be Here Now: Mindfulness as a Practice
  • What do you want to be when you grow up?
  • What would Susan and Frederick Think? The Legacy of Rochester’s Agitators
  • Muse: Making a Magazine
  • Bilingual Theatre
  • Building, flying and using drones for media production
  • Nicaragua
  • Music with Kids
  • Confidence & Courage: Dare to Show Up, Be Seen, & Be Brave
  • Wheelin’ Through Rochester’s History
  • Stigma and Mental Health: Issues and Interventions
  • Ornithology Science and Art
  • Ableism
  • Exhibition Night Planning
  • Grow Your Own Food
  • Social Impact Filmmaking
  • Day Trading and Cryptocurrency Lab
  • Making Community Service a Way of Life
  • 2019 College Workshop
  • The AC Genome Project
  • Innocence and Guilt: Learning about the Law

We’ll have additional updates as May Term progresses. Everyone is also welcome to participate in an interactive May Term Exhibition Night where students will discuss their projects on Thursday, May 7th from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.

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Posted in: Centers for Impact, Eighth Grade, Eleventh Grade, Entrepreneurship, Global Engagement, Highlights, Invent, LS Birches, Middle School, MS Birches, Ninth Grade, Partnerships, Seventh Grade, Sixth Grade, Tenth Grade, The Birches, Twelfth Grade, Upper School, US Birches

AC CodeX Club Teams Compete at Lockheed-Martin Code Quest

Posted on April 27th, 2018 by Allendale Columbia School

by Elizabeth “Liza” Cotter ’20

On Saturday April 21st, six Allendale Columbia Upper School CodeX club members traveled to sunny Owego, NY, to compete in the 6th Annual Lockheed Martin Code Quest competition.  Code Quest is a 2.5 hour computer programming event where teams of up to three students are challenged to solve a collection of 15-20 questions.

Here’s a question from the 2017 competition:

The home keys on a keyboard are imperative to quick typing if you are a touch typist, but what if you are off just one key? Imagine you accidentally placed your left index finger at D instead of F and your right index finger at H instead of J. 

Translate the following messages as if you were retyping it with the wrong home key finger placement.

Example:
Hickory dickory dock    Guxjiet suxjiet sixjm

(If you find problems like this interesting, ask Mrs. Crosby or me for more information about Code Quest and other programming competitions!)

The day started with the competition, which included some difficult problems that required teamwork, persistence, and attention to detail. The most significant item I learned that day was the importance of asking a well-thought-out question when clarification is needed.

We also went on a great tour of the Lockheed Martin plant, including an up-close look at US Navy Seahawk helicopters. While inside the hangar, we learned about the stages of production that each helicopter goes through. The best part was standing in the soundproof chamber of the hangar. We all got to ask questions about the helicopters and about Lockheed Martin and have a closer look at a possible future career path!

AC’s “hACkers” Aditi Seshadri ’18, Anjana Seshadri ’18, and Liza Cotter ’20 competed in the “Advanced” Division. AC’s “Aces” Luke Dioguardi ’20, Matt Duver ’20, and Cameron Perry ’20 competed in the “Novice” category where they won 3rd place and an excellent trophy to add to the AC STEM trophy case!  Even though all six of us are members of the CodeX club, we were all relatively new to programming competitions. This made the competition all the more challenging, and a little scary, but everyone agreed that it was a fun event and that we should return next year.

 

Kristin Cocquyt

Elizabeth Cotter

Liza is a sophomore at Allendale Columbia School. She enjoys being on the Cross Country, Swimming, and Track teams at AC, as well as participating on the Robotics team, Math team, and TEAMS (engineering) team. She spends her (minimal) free time cooking, petting her cats, and watching Emma Chamberlain videos with her sister Mary.
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Posted in: Centers for Impact, Eleventh Grade, Highlights, Invent, MS Birches, Ninth Grade, Tenth Grade, The Birches, Twelfth Grade, Uncategorized, Upper School, US Birches

AC Teams Take 1st Place in TEAM+S Competition

Posted on March 23rd, 2018 by Allendale Columbia School

by Danielle Fuller, Aditi Seshadri, and Anjana Seshadri

A total of 17 students from Allendale competed in the annual TEAM+S (Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics and Science) competition on March 3rd. The 9/10 team and the senior 11/12 team both won first place at this regional competition. For the senior 11/12 team, this win was particularly significant because they toppled 3-year champion McQuaid. (more…)

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Posted in: Centers for Impact, Eleventh Grade, Highlights, Invent, Ninth Grade, Tenth Grade, The Birches, Twelfth Grade, Uncategorized, 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

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

Physics of Sledding

Posted on January 19th, 2018 by Allendale Columbia School

by Teresa Parsons

We’ve seen many Lower School students sledding on AC’s slopes during recess, but 8th grade classes? With snow still covering the campus, my 8th grade science class took learning outside the classroom by studying the physics of sledding this past week.  Going outdoors and studying real-life scenarios can make Newton’s laws of physics come alive much more solidly than studying them in a textbook.

As the class transitioned between a unit on forces and their next unit on energy, this activity was a perfect fit to reflect on the forces present, see the relationship between potential and kinetic energy, and learn how to use a new app that will be utilized for future labs.

Students took videos of their sledding in the Playground Physics app developed by the New York Hall of Science. Back in the classroom, students used the app to trace their path of motion. By inputting the mass of the sledder and a known distance, the app calculates the potential energy, kinetic energy, and speed as they sled down the hill. Do these values make sense? How do they compare to the problems we solve as homework? How does the speed of two people on one sled compare to the speed of just one person? Ask an 8th grader to find out!

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, Eighth Grade, Invent, Middle School, MS Birches, The Birches