Written by Mary Cotter ’22
Right before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, I was a member of the 9-10 Allendale Columbia TEAM+S team that included Aidan Wun ‘22, Harmony Palmer ‘23, Chris Smoker ’23, and me, Mary Cotter ’22. We competed in the Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics and Science (TEAM+S) competition, earning the title of NYS Champions! Our win would have earned us a position at the National competition, but this was cancelled due to COVID-19.
The TEAM+S competition encourages students to explore the field of engineering through problem solving and collaboration with their teammates. The theme for the competition this year was improving zoos. This encouraged us to delve into research about solutions to common complaints about zoos, the costs of such solutions, and the environmental impact.
Before the competition, our team wrote an essay responding to the prompt: “Your team is tasked with modifying an existing zoo within your state to develop innovations that would maximize economic, environmental, and/or societal benefits.” We wrote about modifying the Utica Zoo by planting native plant species, installing more energy-efficient appliances, and transforming the zoo into a sanctuary.
Zoo animals, including those at the Utica Zoo, have been observed as “anxious and bored” creating a “depressing” experience for visitors, according to Google Reviews. And it’s easy to see the reason for bored animals and bored children. Utica Zoo attendance has declined in recent years, and the Zoo has suffered financially. The Utica Zoo depends on government bailouts, but our essay outlined a few changes that could transform the Zoo into a healthier environment for the animals and a fun and educational experience for visitors.
On the day of the competition, we worked together on a 90-minute, 80-question multiple choice test. The topics of the questions were centered around the theme and required us to divide the questions based on individual strengths in math, biology, technology, and creative problem-solving. Then we completed the engineering challenge in which we created the lightest crane to lift the most weight to the greatest height. We were given limited time and resources to create our crane.
This competition was very intellectually stimulating and forced us to work collaboratively to find the best solutions to complicated problems. It was a fun way to explore the field of engineering.
Learn More About the Invent Center for STEM and Innovation
Posted in: AC in the News, Authentic Learning, Highlights, Invent, Upper School
As News 8 Anchor Adam Chodak said, “You can add that to the list of things I never did in school.” Allendale Columbia’s 7th-grade scientists got out of the classroom and into knee-high water boots to survey a portion of Irondequoit Creek in the hopes of returning more than 160 trout back to nature. Just another Earth Day at AC.
It was all part of a Trout in the Classroom project that AC Science and Math Teacher Beth Guzzetta initiated back in September. She received brown trout eggs from the Bath Fish Hatchery and guided the students through the lifecycle stages of caring for the eggs, watching them hatch, and keeping the fish strong and healthy in a classroom aquarium. Students helped to set up the 60-gallon aquarium and monitored the water quality daily (even over breaks!) to make sure it was safe for the fish. If the students weren’t sure about something, they had to do the research and then make adjustments based on what they learned. Regular water changes were a must, so students learned how to safely complete 25-gallon water changes. (more…)
Posted in: Authentic Learning, Centers for Impact, Highlights, Invent, Middle School, Seventh Grade
Upper School students from AC’s Science Writing & Research class will be presenting the results of their yearlong research projects at St. John Fisher College’s annual Student Research and Creative Work Symposium. AC students have followed all the steps of scientific research and reporting that they will need in college and in many future careers. Come learn from our student scientists!
Student Research and Creative Work Symposium
Friday, April 26th
9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
St. John Fisher College
3690 East Avenue
Rochester, NY 14618
AC Students, Their Topics, and Tentative Presentation Times
- Cassidy Draper – Filtration of nutrients in liquid anaerobic digestate using biochar (9:05-9:25 a.m.)
- Anna Mihalyov – Exploiting evolutionary costs to reverse antibiotic resistance in E. coli (9:25 – 9:45 a.m.)
- Ruilu Gao – The effects of digital devices on memory (9:45 – 10:05 a.m.)
- Noah Levine – The efficacy of therapeutic videos to help children on the autism spectrum to self-regulate (10:10 – 10:30 a.m.)
- James Morrell – A quantitative categorization of voicing differences in pianos of similar make and model (10:30 – 10:50 a.m.)
- Nathaniel Pifer – Potential aerodynamic performance improvements by utilizing shark denticle inspired vortex generators on automobiles (10:50 – 11:10 a.m.)
- Dongming Shen – A comparative study of multi-chip while-light led and phosphor converted white-light led (11:15 – 11:35 a.m.)
- Jin Zitong – How the precision unibody aluminum enclosure influenced the rise of MacBook computers: A comparison of the physical characteristics of computer case materials (11:35 – 11:55 a.m.)
Volunteer as a Symposium Reviewer
If you have experience or expertise in any field that is conducting ongoing research, you can help develop Allendale Columbia’s young scientists as they present their original research. We are looking for adult volunteers to serve as subject experts and feedback panelists. This opportunity is geared toward any AC parent or alumna/us who has experience or expertise within any field that is conducting ongoing research. Please email Travis Godkin at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.
Posted in: Eleventh Grade, Ninth Grade, Tenth Grade, The Birches, Twelfth Grade, Upper School, US Birches
By Travis Godkin, Upper School Science Teacher
If you have experience or expertise in any field that is conducting ongoing research, you can help develop Allendale Columbia’s young scientists as they present their original research.
AC offers a course in the Upper School called Science Writing and Research. In this course, some of our most experienced and talented students are asked to take their learning and apply it to original research. This opportunity of doing original research is often relegated to later years in college or graduate school, so it gives our students an early opportunity to contribute to the body of scientific knowledge in an area in which they are curious or have a passion. (more…)
Posted in: Eleventh Grade, Highlights, PACK, Twelfth Grade, Upper School
by Elizabeth Cotter ’20
On March 9th, I was a member of a team of six Allendale Columbia students, with Riley Leibeck ’20, Mary Cotter ’22, Sasha Furdey ’19, Nate Pifer ’19, and Cassidy Draper ’19, who competed in the Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics and Science (TEAM+S) competition, claiming victory over McQuaid.
The TEAM+S competition encourages students to explore the field of engineering through problem solving and collaboration with their teammates. The theme for the competition this year was The Engineering Brain. We had to learn about cognitive neuroscience, artificial neural networks, the intersection of artificial intelligence and biology, and more. (more…)
Posted in: Centers for Impact, Eleventh Grade, Highlights, Invent, Ninth Grade, Tenth Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School
Allendale Columbia won the Terra School Award at Terra Science and Education’s Rochester Finger Lakes Regional Science and Engineering Fair (TRFSEF) hosted by Rochester Museum and Science Center (RMSC). Thirteen AC students also received recognitions at the event, including the right to advance to higher-level competitions.
Sixteen AC Middle and Upper School students submitted 11 projects, the most of any participating school, which resulted in the award that comes with a check for $2,000 for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) initiatives. The students packed up their AC Innovation Day Science Fair projects and took the displays the next morning to RMSC. After setting up their projects and passing a Display and Safety check (science can be “messy”, after all), the students went to a lunch keynote address by Maria G. Korsnick, President/CEO of the Nuclear Energy Institute.
“Science Fair is inspiring and invigorating, because all these students are excited about science, every student, from fifth graders who are doing behavior projects with their cats and a dog to senior research projects that have to do with cancer diagnosis and research and machine learning, really high-end stuff,” said Maya Crosby, Director of the AC Invent Center for STEM and Innovation, and Director-in-Training for TRFSEF. “But everybody who is here is excited about their project and can’t wait to talk about it with the judges who are coming around. That curiosity all packaged in one room is really inspiring; that’s the great part.” (more…)
Posted in: Authentic Learning, Centers for Impact, Eighth Grade, Eleventh Grade, Fifth Grade, Highlights, Invent, Lower School, Middle School, Ninth Grade, Seventh Grade, Sixth Grade, Tenth Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School
Do you believe in empowering students to think like explorers? In building geographic competence across disciplines? In inspiring students to be global thinkers who can change the world? If so, you are a perfect candidate to become a National Geographic Certified Educator.
Join a professional development program for formal and informal Pre-K through 12th-grade educators working to inspire the next generation of explorers, conservationists, and global citizens. Enjoy professional recognition and development; join a community of like-minded educators and build relationships at National Geographic, and access exclusive National Geography resources and perks.
Take the first step in becoming a National Geographic Certified Educator by attending a workshop on Wednesday, March 27th, 3:30 – 5:00 p.m., for Phase 1 of the certification process, led by Allendale Columbia School teacher and Nat Geo Certified Facilitator Beth Guzzetta. There is no charge for participation in this wonderful program or to become a Nat Geo Certified Educator with access to the many free resources.
To register, email Tony Tepedino.
Students throughout Allendale Columbia School don’t just learn about other parts of the world, they become global citizens, learning alongside their peers in other parts of the world. That’s just as true in Lower School.
Last year, AC first-graders explored the Amazon rainforest and ran a successful fundraising campaign to become stewards of a section of the rainforest equal to the size of AC’s campus. Building on that experience, AC’s Head of Lower School, Michelle Feiss, brought in Paul Hurteau, Executive Director of OneWorld Classrooms and a former Upstate New York teacher, who thrilled current first- and second-graders with stories of his experiences teaching students in Ecuador, complete with photos of the people and wildlife, poems, and artifacts from that rainforest community.
Posted in: Authentic Learning, Centers for Impact, Eighth Grade, Eleventh Grade, Fifth Grade, First Grade, Fourth Grade, Global Engagement, Highlights, Lower School, Middle School, Ninth Grade, Partnerships, Second Grade, Seventh Grade, Sixth Grade, Tenth Grade, Third Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School