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
Our 2nd grade S.T.E.M. students at Allendale Columbia School are learning all about the Engineering Design Process – well before their grade-level Engineering and Robotics unit of study. Second grade teacher, Jennifer Truong, approached us about teaming together with the grade-level teachers and students to implement homeroom Tinker Labs throughout the school year.
From the start, this exciting collaboration has been an enjoyable and engaging experience for students and teachers alike. Engineers use a methodology called the Engineering Design Process when receiving a request or challenge to innovate a solution or improve upon a product.
We first introduced our students to Design Planning, Proof of Concept, and Prototype Development in several ways. One context that proved very meaningful was viewing the video of Bill Gates’ Ice Bucket Challenge. In his video, Gates shares highlights of these important engineering processes to develop his own method for fulfilling this challenge.
We also demonstrated a robotics model that was re-engineered (for better problem-solving) by our summer Middle School S.T.E.M. students, providing a Proof of Concept for prototype development. Before unveiling the proof of concept model, our young students enthusiastically suggested their own ideas – providing very similar solutions! Early learning activities thus far have included: a paper airplane lab in which students test and then modify (re-engineer) original, standardized paper airplanes to fly further by testing/retesting, measuring, recording, and redesigning within specific constraints, etc. Students then moved on to repeating similar challenges, designing and testing their own gliders, twirlers, and stomp rockets.
Our young engineers are doing a great job building their 21st century skills!
Posted in: Lower School, Second Grade
Session 6 of our Summer Camp S.T.E.M. Program at Allendale Columbia School was composed of an enthusiastic class of highly engaged learners.
During this session students worked on building their 21st century skills in precise logical thinking, using data to inform their decisions, and developing analytical problem-solving skills while developing solutions within their respective teams of two. These essential skills are critical in all forms of problem-solving, not just robotics.
Our summer campers demonstrated some of the best teamwork we have seen yet as they collaboratively applied their critical and creative thinking to solve the high-level challenges they were posed throughout their entire camp week!
Posted in: Highlights
After being provided whole-class mini-lessons as well as their own, individual robotics components to work with, a vast majority of our very young S.T.E.M. students chose to collaborate, in teams of two or more, to combine their robotic structures and computer programs!
We enthusiastically taught high-level programming concepts by the second day of camp and students specifically requested to be taught how to program multiple motors, sensors, gear trains, and pulley systems to work with the combined models the campers designed, built, and programmed together.
This was truly a S.T.E.M. educator’s dream – especially in light of the fact that many of the campers had just met for the first time during this week of camp at Allendale Columbia School. Way to go, future engineers in the making!
Posted in: Highlights
On March 15th, eight Allendale Columbia middle school students competed in the local TEAMS competition sponsored by the Monroe Professional Engineer Society at Monroe Community College. The TEAMS program is an annual STEM competition challenging middle and high school students to work collaboratively and apply their math and science knowledge in practical, creative ways to solve real everyday engineering challenges. Working in a team, students completed 40 multiple choice questions in 60-minutes, as well as completed short essays explaining their ideas of engineering solutions based on scenarios presented to them that day.
Based on the National Academy of Engineering’s Grand Challenges, this year’s competition theme is “Engineering Tomorrow’s Cities – Improving Urban Infrastructure.” These one-day competitions are taking place at over one hundred locations nationwide between February 10 and March 22, 2014. Involving more than 10,000 students, schools and groups compete vying for competition day, division, and state rankings and awards.
AC’s middle school team: J.T. Coupal, James Bourtis, Danielle Fuller, Aditi Seshadri, Anjana Seshadri, Gio Marino, James Morrell, and Rotsirohawi Galban scored thirty-five out of forty possible points, earning top honors at this year’s local competition. This score, along with their short answer responses will be sent on to the state level to be judged and considered for national recognition.
Posted in: Eighth Grade, Highlights, Middle School, Seventh Grade, Sixth Grade
“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