A remorseful Goldilocks asks for the help Mountain School students after accidentally breaking baby bear’s chair. Mountain School’s helpful 2nd graders tapped into their engineering skills to provide the best chair they could for baby bear. Students were provided with minimal materials including index cards, paper, cardboard rolls, Popsicle sticks, tape, and their imaginations.
Students worked in teams exploring different ideas on how to build the best chair before beginning construction. Once students started constructing their chair, they put their heads together to delegate jobs and utilize all the skills that individual team members had to offer. Once construction was done they entered the final test: “How would baby bear like his new chair”? Baby bear tested the chair to see if he fit comfortably and the team met all of their goals. By the end of the day baby bear had many comfortable chairs to last him a lifetime thanks to Mountain School’s 2nd grade students!
Written by Crystal Routhe
The Killip Elementary Lunch with an Expert program continued on January 30th. The expert visiting was Colonel Ron Morris who served in the Army for 29 years. The Colonel brought along with him two JROTC students from Coconino High School.
This was the biggest Lunch with an Expert yet, with 67 fifth grade students attending. The students learned about what it takes to join the Army and the JROTC program at Coconino High School. Students were able to ask questions about Colonel Morris' experiences in the Army and learned that he was able to live in 23 different countries during his service.
Thank you to Colonel Morris for participating in the Lunch with an Expert program. If you are interested in learning more about this program, please contact email@example.com
Ms. Melissa’s 4th grade class explored the Lake Mary watershed with assistant research professor Kevin Grady from NAU’s school of forestry. Together they learned the impacts of fires on watersheds and the importance of conserving watersheds for generations to come. Mountain School students explored our watershed searching for signs of drought through finding insects, looking at the health of the ponderosa pines, and analyzing understory vegetation. Students also planted ponderosa pine seeds that they found in at Lake Mary and will continue to learn how our native pine trees develop and thrive.
By engaging in hands on activities with the different components that make up a watershed, interacting with professionals, and becoming more aware of how parts of an ecosystem interact with each other, students learned a little more about what makes our home town watershed tick!
Written by Crystal Routhe.
NAU’s forestry club came to aftercare to teach 3rd through 5th graders about different components that make up our ecosystems. Hayden Siros, a forestry student at NAU, started her lesson by talking about tree rings and how they are made. Students then discovered what stories trees can tell us through their tree rings such as their age and how much precipitation the forest has gotten through the trees lifespan. Students made their own tree cookies which displayed tree rings and represented their own lives. Students deciphered how their trees grew up based on the rings they drew.
Aftercare students also explored the life of a water droplet by how it moves through the water cycle. Students moved from station to station as their water droplet changed form. Students explained how they thought the water was able to change form and built water molecule bracelets that represented the water droplet that they were following. By engaging in interactive activities with both the water cycle and the life of a tree, students learned the importance of valuing and respecting the natural world around us!
Written by Crystal Routhe
NAU’s Girls Teaching Girls program has returned to Killip for another semester of lively STEM activities for Killip’s 3rd-5th grade girls. We are lucky to have 6 mentors from the program visit throughout the week, providing a great variety of exciting opportunities for participants.
One of the earliest projects the girls did was learn about the impact of oil spills by simulating their own oil cleanup. Students picked toy sea creatures to place in tubs of water as oil was poured in. Given a variety of tools-- pipettes, sponges, brushes-- the girls were able to gauge just how difficult cleaning up a real life oil spill is, and how harmful oil spills are to aquatic life.
Girls Teaching Girls participants learn about the effects of oil spills.
Most recently Girls Teaching Girls members utilized their engineering and chemistry skills to create bottle rockets fueled by vinegar (acetic acid) and baking soda (sodium bicarbonate). This was a great learning experience, as teams took turns changing the ratios of the baking soda and the vinegar to determine the most successful recipe for blasting off.
Girls Teaching Girls members work together to design bottle rockets.
Girls Teaching Girls members create an explosive mixture of vinegar and baking soda for their rockets.
Other meetings this semester encompass discussions on disability, including learning differences and invisible disabilities, as well as testing engineering skills through designing gumdrop-toothpick towers, and learning about the water cycle and cloud permeability. Students closed the semester by demonstrating how to make slime at the winter Showcase by combining craft glue (polyvinyl acetate) with borax (sodium borate) to create this popular non-Newtonian fluid and Maxwell solid.
A big thank you goes out to NAU’s Girls Teaching Girls program; Killip is looking forward to an another exciting semester collaborating with them!
Written by Lee A. Haferkamp.
Killip teachers worked closely with their students to integrate materials learned in class with discoveries made at the Arboretum.
Killip Elementary School first grade students visited the Arboretum at Flagstaff as part of their ongoing fall Problem Based Learning unit focused on the life cycle of plants. Family members and teachers worked alongside students as they identified baby plants by leaf and stem details, juxtaposing their information with adult plants to identify matches.
Students had a fun time seeing how young and adult plants can be alike in many ways yet different in others. The first graders concluded their visit by stopping by the butterfly exhibit to witness a few of the many pollinators in the Flagstaff region. Check out their work below!
A Killip first grader studies unidentified Baby Plant C to collect data used for adult plant identification of Red Cinquefoil (Potentilla Thurberi).
Killip first graders analyze the leaves and stems of unidentified Baby Plant B to be used for adult plant identification, Golden Columbine (Aquilegia Chrysantha).
Killip first graders sketch pictures of unidentified Baby Plant A to be referenced when matching with adult plant, Coral Bells (Heuchera).
Written by Lee A. Haferkamp
The students at Killip Elementary have been busy in the garden this fall with growing, harvesting, field trips, and on-site events!
The Learning Garden at Killip Elementary in early August.
The school year kicked off with students from all grade levels enthusiastically maintaining the garden during their recess time, Fit Kids, and the after-school Garden Club. The students diligently watered and weeded the garden until the harvest rewarded their efforts. In late August, the Killip School Garden produced abundant peppers and kale to make kale salsa samples for the whole school (supplementary tomatoes were graciously donated by Kate Waters of Agave Maria Botanicals). In addition to garden care, students learned about compost from Forestdale Farm co-owner, Rylan, and implemented this knowledge by collecting compost in the cafeteria.
Fifth grade students and NAU partners following the field trip.
In October, the 4th- and 5th-grade students had the opportunity to deepen their garden exploration with a field trip to the SLUGG garden hosted by NAU’s Sustainable Communities program and Farm-to-School First Year Seminar, and with a garden redesign project. On the field trip, students explored the ecology of soil, medicinal plants, various pollinators, and garden design. The students also learned from Marina Vasquez of NAU’s Applied Indigenous Studies program about the history of tortillas and had the chance to prepare their own tortillas in the NAU Hogan. The garden redesign took place during Fit Kids class time where students utilized the Engineering Design Process to problem solve and plan their Experimental Garden. This multi-month planning period ended with 12 student representatives presenting to the principal, Joe Gutierrez, and a funder from NAU about the goals and potential benefits of their garden project. The students were awarded funding and will be building a 140-square-foot, U-shaped raised garden bed in the spring!
Community partners, Marina Vasquez, Caleb Eckery, and Molly Carney, help students prepare tortillas during the Harvest Festival.
Finally, the annual Fall Harvest Festival in early November culminated a season full of productivity and fun in the Killip Garden. This year’s festival took place in the gym with 10 food sampling stations, several games, crafts, and participation from students, staff, and volunteers alike. With over 150 after-school students of all grades participating in this year’s Fall Harvest Festival and donations from 12 community partners, it was a great way to celebrate the growing season!
Kindergarten and 1st grade students prepare their Plant Part Garden for winter during recess.
The Killip Elementary garden is supported by FoodCorps. Community partners that offered donations for the Harvest Festival include AZ Health Zone, Coconino County Extension Office, Flagstaff Family Food Center, Flagstaff Foodlink, FLG Terroir, FoodCorps, High Altitude Home Brew Supply, NAU Farm-to-School class, NAU Sustainable Communities, Master’s Program, Root Public House, and Whole Foods.
Written by Brooke Kahl, FoodCorps AmeriCorps Service Member
Meet Lisa Winters, an inspiring young woman whose childhood love for nature would lead her on the path to becoming a mentor for America’s 1st STEM City, also known as Flagstaff, Arizona.
Lisa grew up in Michigan fishing and exploring with her father, during which time she became intuitively aware of the world around her with an innate desire to explore and protect nature. She became very interested in telling the story of not only how things survive but also our part in the maintenance and retention of it all. Lisa’s journey took her from her home in Michigan to her first university in Indiana and finally to Utah State University where she received her degree in Aquatic Ecology. Following college Lisa took a job working for Arizona Game and Fish as a biologist in the Grand Canyon where her office included a raft and fishing pole in order to study the marine habitat of the mighty Colorado River. She would later take on an internship with Grand Canyon Trust as a Citizen Science Coordinator where she remains employed to this day.
As Lisa became involved with Grand Canyon Trust she had a chance encounter with Kathryn Wertz, a 6th grade teacher at Sinagua Middle School in Flagstaff. She expressed to Kathryn how fun it would be to bring her fish into the classroom to help better educate the students as to the life and sustainability of not only the wildlife but also the environment around them. Lisa wanted to not only share her interest in science with the children but to also help foster developing young minds on an exploration of discovery, connecting the dots for responsible management of the ecosystem. Lisa believes very strongly in keeping a child’s sense of curiosity alive so they continue to learn. She credits an environmental educator for doing just that for her when she was a kid in school searching for killdeer eggs and becoming inspired herself.
Lisa is very adamant about bridging people with nature and teaching them about protecting it. Her passion lies in expanding the knowledge base on policy and decision making in the real world with an understanding of the effects on our natural environment as being part of this process. She strongly believes it is important to take these steps with young minds and help to integrate this knowledge early in life so they may carry it on into their adult lives as stewards of the spaces around them.
Lisa recognizes Mindy Bell, former STEM City Coordinator and long time STEM educator, as an important influence and mentor who has an undying passion for STEM Education. Mindy is admired for her ability to connect people and build a shared vision of a successful and thriving Flagstaff community. Lisa is thankful for not only a wonderful mentor but thankful to live in Flagstaff, a science literate community where people and fields of science intersect uniquely and with great impact.
Lisa reflects on a particular moment in the classroom that helped to encourage her continued involvement as a classroom mentor while working with a group of 1st graders at Haven Montessori Charter School. She had brought in some fish to do a different style of teaching which in turn made quite a mess. With water all over and a few remaining students helping to clean up, she had an encounter with one little girl who looked up at her in the midst of the chaos and told her she wanted to be a fish biologist someday.
When asked what advice she would share with students Lisa had some great things to say. She recommends they follow their curiosity in what excites and drives them such as she has for her love of the outdoors. She also suggests not to be afraid to dig into a subject they like and unpack it. Take a leap of faith and do something they enjoy so it doesn’t feel like just a job later on in life.
The advice Lisa would give to others looking to become a fellow mentor is to not be intimidated by the amount of work it takes because it is worth it. It is also good practice as scientists to communicate their work to the general public and what better way to start than with 6th graders, who Lisa claims are not near as terrifying as a person may think.
You can learn more about Lisa and her work with Grand Canyon Trust here: https://www.grandcanyontrust.org/staff/lisa-winters
Written by Molly Brown incoming NAU Journalism student
Water is Life Mural of the Eastern Wall of Grand Canyon Spirits. Photo taken by Amber Benally
This fall The Grand Canyon Trust collaborated with Flagstaff High School, Mural Mice Universal, The Beehive Collective and Grand Canyon Spirits to bring together over 60 student artists to vision and install Flagstaff’s newest public art piece “Water is Life,” proving that young people, their voices and their visions have deep impact and weight in a rapidly evolving world.
In September of this year, Flagstaff High School art students Savannah Bell, Rebecca Encinas, Zia Kypta-Keith, Robin Bradley, Cecily Shaddy, Sherrissa Brown, Theresa, Ethan Johnson, Samantha Woody, Ava Steele, and Cynthia Begay attended a five day artists workshop retreat at Kane Ranch near the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Brought together by the Grand Canyon Trust’s Youth Leadership Program, and co-facilitated with the Beehive Collective, the students were tasked with creating a collaborative piece showcasing the past, present and future of water justice on the Colorado Plateau.
Leonard Selestewa shares and teaches about his farm, life and history
To begin to process the pieces, students visited mine sites and met with Grand Canyon Trust’s Roger Clark, Grand Canyon Trust’s and Haul No’s Sarana Rigg’s and Leonard Selestewa, a Hopi Farmer whose livelihood has been continually affected by coal mining on Black Mesa. These connections and stories charged students with delivering a message of the history of injustice, subsequent resistance and possibilities for the future of water justice on the Colorado Plateau to the public.
Flagstaff High School artists sort through ideas and concepts with the Beehive Collective’s Tyler Bee at Kane Ranch
Students spent days visualizing their ideas, concepts and stories with concept maps, lists and sketches, finally narrowing down their ideas to create a mock-up for the mural. Throughout the fall over 70 students worked with Mural Mice Universal to install the piece and today the 39’x13’ Water is Life mural can be seen on the East facing wall of the Grand Canyon Spirits store (982 N. Fort Valley Rd.).
Zia Kypta-Keith paints the elder and storyteller, Horney Toad Chacter on Water is Life Mural
On October 24th community members gathered to listen to the story of the mural, told by the student designers, collaborators and contributors. They described their process, motivation and meanings behind their work and left the community with a call to act now! The students left the audience to reflect on the role of young leaders in their communities. Declaring that they are the future and can accomplish the seemingly impossible when given the chance.
Savannah Bell, Rebecca Encinas, Zia Kypta-Keith, Robin Bradley, Cecily Shaddy,
Sherrissa Brown, Theresa, Alexis Talayumptewa, Ethan Johnson, Samantha Woody, Ava Steele, and Cynthia Begay unveil the Water is Life Mural with Mural Mice Universal Margaret Dawer, R. E. Wall and Shiloh Dog. Photo by Erin Ford
Funding for this project was provided by Cecily Maniaci, owner of Grand Canyon Spirits, BBB Revenues from the City of Flagstaff, and the Flagstaff Arts Council.
Written by Chelsea Griffin, Youth Leadership Program Coordinator at Grand Canyon Trust
Jillian Worssam, founder of the Scientists in the Classroom program and 8th grade science educator at Sinagua Middle School, has been connecting her students to STEM mentors for more than ten years. Carrie Jenkins, 7th grade science educator, has also been connecting her Honors students to mentors for the past several years. The teachers pair each student to one mentor so the student becomes an expert in their mentor's field. Each month the students correspond with their mentors via e-mail and complete an interactive project enhancing their understanding of authentic science in the global world. Students use a variety of media and complete mp3 interviews/recording, research papers, powerpoint presentations, climate change movies, climate change games, and a capstone project based on their mentor's research.
Mentors Dave Engelthaler, Nancy Riggs, Cheryl Miller and Ruby Hammond standing proudly with their Honors Students
Many thanks to the teachers for managing this large project each year, and also to the many STEM mentors - who come from many countries including Norway and Russia, as well as from all over the country and Flagstaff too! The STEM professionals cover a huge variety of STEM fields, and almost all have PhD's or M.D.'s or other advanced titles! Thank you all for sharing yourselves and your work with these dedicated students!
7th Grade Honors Student Mentors: John Chadwick, Harrison Graham, Kaitlin Graham, Robert Greene, Kenton Harman, Kendra Hart, Alan Kasprak, Melanie Kelly, Sarah Kessans, Jilene Oakley, Doug Paget, Ryan Porter, Uzma Tahir, Benjamin Tanner, Ben Trapp, Jason Wilson, Lisa Winters, and Brian Wooldridge.
8th Grade Honors Student Mentors: Ana M. Aguilar-Islas, Carl Ballantine, Ellie Broadman, Druex Chappel, Emily Davenport, Sara Eldred, Rebecca Ellerbroek, Dave Engelthaler, Mark Foster, Ari Friedlaender, Jeffrey Hall, Ruby Hammond, Jennifer Herrmann, Renee Jordan, Roger Pat Kelly, Brian Klimowski, Tracy Layton, Laura Levy, Brandon Lurie, Jason Mansour, Lisa Markovchick, Clayton Marr, George Matsumoto, Michael Mayo, Christina Mehle, John Metcalfe, Moses Milazzo, Cheryl Miller, Peter Nef, Matthew O’Neill, Yvette Ortega, Nancy Riggs, Paul Stevens, Allen Pope, Karin Wadsack, Jonathan Whitefield, Adam Wlostowski, Lindsey Wright, and Yulia Zaika
Apologies if we missed any mentors! Thank you all!