Posted in: Kindergarten, Lower School, LS Birches, The Birches
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!
Teresa ParsonsTeresa 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.
Posted in: Centers for Impact, Eighth Grade, Invent, Middle School, MS Birches, The Birches
by Matt Duver ’20
The Upper School Robotics team’s season came to a very successful finish this past weekend with the Excelsior Region FIRST Tech Challenge Championships at SUNY Polytechnic in Utica. There were 24 teams from all over Western, Southwestern, and Central New York, and our team, the AC Aces, earned the right to compete by being the alliance winners from the Finger Lakes Regional FIRST Tech Challenge competition at St. John Fisher this past December.
In Utica, the AC Aces exceeded expectations and made it to the final match in an alliance with two other schools. Even though we did not win, we received two recognitions – the Finalist Team Alliance trophy, and a finalist for the Promote Video Award, where we made a 60-minute PSA to share with the world what we wanted people to know about FIRST Robotics Competitions. FIRST stands for “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology”, and this is the second year that Allendale Columbia has had an FTC Team. After this past championship performance, the AC Aces ranked 368th out of 4,600 team performances on ftcstats.org. This is quite an accomplishment for a second year team, and we are all proud and grateful to our coaches (Dr. Jeff Lawlis, Mr. Andrew Perry, Mr. James Cotter, Ms. Maya Crosby, and Mr. Artie Cruz), sponsors (Sikorsky – A Lockheed Martin Company, Arconic, and ASP & Associates, Inc.), and Allendale Columbia School
for helping us along the way.
This year’s AC Aces are 11 Upper School students (Matt Duver ’20, Aditi Seshadri ’18, Anjana Seshadri’18, Inho Lee ’19, Kasi Natarajan ’20, Lulu Gao ’19, Alvin Shen ’19, Liza Cotter ’20, Caden Kacprzynski ’20, Luke DioGuardi ’20, and Cameron Perry ’20) who work after school and on weekends in order to prepare an engineering notebook, do educational outreach about robotics, and build a robot for competition. We have only six weeks from the time the competition challenge is announced to competition. In that time, we build and program, work on teamwork, and create an engineering notebook to share with the judges during competition. We are always looking for new members, so we encourage any students that are interested in joining to reach out to Ms. Crosby.
Matthew DuverMatt is a sophomore at AC who has been involved in FIRST Robotics since Lower School. He enjoys robotics, computer science, building computers, and photography.
Posted in: Centers for Impact, Eleventh Grade, Highlights, Invent, Ninth Grade, Tenth Grade, The Birches, Twelfth Grade, Upper School, US Birches
Posted in: Centers for Impact, Eighth Grade, Eleventh Grade, Highlights, Invent, Middle School, MS Birches, Ninth Grade, Seventh Grade, Sixth Grade, Tenth Grade, The Birches, Twelfth Grade, Upper School, US Birches
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.
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.
Posted in: Centers for Impact, Fourth Grade, Highlights, Invent, Lower School, Partnerships
- formulated their own research questions
- identified and recruited an expert advisor from AC or the community at large
- researched current understanding and background on their topics
- written a research proposal in which they designed their own experiments to test their hypotheses
- conducted their research
- performed their own statistical analyses to draw conclusions on their hypotheses.
- written up their findings in the style of a peer-reviewed scientific journal (still in progress!)
- created, revised, and refined the presentations
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Posted in: Centers for Impact, Eleventh Grade, Highlights, Invent, Ninth Grade, Tenth Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School