Edited from the CocoNuts recent Press Release:
The CocoNuts recently traveled to Salt Lake City, Utah and competed in the Utah FIRST Robotics Competition Regional March 12-14, 2015. The CocoNuts were named the Regional Chairman’s Award winner for the 6th time in their seven years of eligibility for this prestigious honor.
The Regional Chairman’s Award is described as “the most prestigious award given at a FIRST Robotics Competition event. It honors a team that best represents a model for other teams to emulate and best embodies the goals and purposes of FIRST. The Chairman’s Award is presented to the team best judged to have the most significant measureable impact on its partnerships, among its participants, and community over a sustained period, not just a single build season. The winner is able to demonstrate progress toward FIRST’s mission of transforming our culture. The recipient team is invited to the FIRST World Championship where it will compete for the Chairman’s Award against the Chairman’s Award winners from all the other qualifying events.”
The CocoNuts would like to thank the Flagstaff community for continuing to support the CocoNuts and our efforts to spread FIRST throughout our region, and to the community members who took the time to write letters for our Chairman’s Award submission.
You can read the full press release here.
Many thanks to the many people and businesses that support the CocoNuts including:
Flagstaff Unified School District #1
WL Gore and Associates
Northern Arizona University
Coconino High School
Northern Arizona FIRST Alliance Partners
Phoenix Analysis & Design Technologies
APS/Phoenix Suns Mini Grant
Northern Arizona FIRST Fanatics
GKC Geoscience LLC
Mr. Steve Sanghi
Friends of Northern Arizona’s Future:
AZ Superbowl Planning Committee STEM Superhero Awards
Findlay Toyota Flagstaff
And the generous and continuing support of the Flagstaff Community.
Kaci Heins, science teacher at Northland Preparatory Academy, recently had all 100 of her 6th grade students work to design and build a payload for a high-altitude balloon. With help from Bruce Sidlinger, and many more (see complete list below), they successfully launched and retrieved the balloon on March 12, 2015.
The balloon reached 102,593 feet, with over 98% of the Earth's atmosphere beneath it!
The highlights for this launch were a suite of sensors to measure UV radiation, infrared, humidity, temperature inside and out of the payload, accelerometers and more. Kaci explained that the sensors were tested many times over and worked fine, until just before the launch when they didn't work. Luckily, they had backup sensors for temperature and humidity so the students are analyzing that data now.
The balloon went through clouds on the ascent and they later learned this was virga, rain that evaporates before it reaches the ground. They hope to address this in the future with some method of collecting water they can later analyze.
Kaci writes: "It was a good lesson for the students to learn that technology can fail...and sometimes at the worst times. Bruce is working on it and we are going to fly again to ensure we get this data. We will also be looking at the downward facing camera images to see how much snow coverage we had that day and to compare precipitation amounts from the previous years. We will continue doing this every year from now on to compare and contrast ground cover. We also sent up some Wisconsin Fast plant seeds on the payload to expose them to the radiation in the upper atmosphere. The students are going to start growing these this week and compare them to a ground truth for our plant unit. It is too bad we don't have radiation data from this flight, but our next flight in April should give us at least some numbers to see what they were exposed to."
Thank you to the many collaborators on this project:
Bruce Sidlinger at Sidlinger Computer Corporation
Arizona Near Space Research
Pat Bledsoe of the Air Force Association
Squadron 201 of the Civil Air Patrol
Coconino Amateur Radio Club
Barney Helmick and Air Traffic Control at Flagstaff Pulliam Airport
Mike Gabrick of the Federal Aviation Administration
NPA Administration and CEC for supporting the project
Captain Planet Foundation for the grant funding for this years launch/projects
On March 5th, there was a free showing of Underwater Dreams at Coconino High School. The screening was a collaboration between the CocoNuts Robotics Team, The Girl Scouts Cactus-Pine Council, STEM City, and Coconino County. County Supervisor Liz Archuleta declared she was "pleased to be a partner and host the movie showing. Underwater Dreams is inspirational and reinforces how education can change lives and community conditions."
This truly was an inspirational movie. Dave Thompson, Viola Science Educator of the Year, who coaches the CocoNuts with Christine Sapio said: "We need to continue building these types of partnerships to help all kids succeed and share the amazing things happening in Flagstaff."
Dave and Christine invited their long-time friends and colleagues, Fredi Lajvardi and Allan Cameron, who just happened to be the "star coaches" of the show, for an engaging question and answer session following the movie.
You can learn more about the movie and the amazing true story it represents here.
The Flagstaff Junior Academy Math Team rocked the Math League Championship Qualifying Round in Prescott on February 25, 2015. Evan Belt-Moyer, Ben Andrews, Nikolai Shade and Marlee Stephens, the four members of the team, had a great time doing math for three hours and felt strongly that FJA should participate again next year. The FJA team was only beat by one other team at this competition. In addition, Marlee's scores brought her qualification for participation in the State Championship in May.
Congratulations to Elii Chapman, 5th and 6th grade math and science teacher at Flagstaff Junior Academy, and her super math team!
For more information on Math League, see www.Mathleague.org. The website has many sample math problems. You can also check out Math Counts, another site that offers online math support for students and teachers. www.mathcounts.org
Elii is currently looking for math tutors to help all of her students with their mathematical endeavors. Contact Mindy if you are interested in helping tutor math at Flagstaff Junior Academy.
Elii Chapman is the 5th and 6th grade science and math teacher at Flagstaff Junior Academy. Elii engages in numerous hands-on studies with her students. She recently became a beta tester for Foldscope.
What is Foldscope? Taken from their website: Foldscope is an origami-based print-and-fold optical microscope that can be assembled from a flat sheet of paper. Although it costs less than a dollar in parts, it can provide over 2,000X magnification with sub-micron resolution (800nm), weighs less than two nickels (8.8 g), is small enough to fit in a pocket (70 × 20 × 2 mm3), requires no external power, and can survive being dropped from a 3-story building or stepped on by a person. Its minimalistic, scalable design is inherently application-specific instead of general-purpose gearing towards applications in global health, field based citizen science and K12-science education.
Ten thousand beta testers in over 130 countries were chosen to receive 50,000 Foldscopes. As a chosen tester, Elii received 12 Foldscopes. She invited FJA students and their parents to form a family Foldscope Club, and they met on April 11, 2015 to build the foldscopes.
Foldscopes were designed when Manu Prakash and his bioengineering team at Stanford University asked the questions, "What happens to the world if every single kid carries a microscope in his/her pocket? Moreover, what can we achieve in science, medicine, and industry with improved access to microscopes around the globe?"
Foldscopes can be attached to smart phones and the camera function can then take photographic images seen through the scope. These images can be uploaded to the Foldscope image site. The Foldscope Club also has a Pinterest site where you can see some of their images.
Congratulations to Samantha Thompson, Curator at Lowell Observatory, and Rich Krueger, science and engineering teacher and robotics coach at Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy. Thompson and Krueger have been selected for the SOFIA Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors program. Later this year, they will take flight alongside scientists on NASA’s flying observatory.
The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) is a modified 747SP jetliner equipped with a 100-inch telescope. Flying at altitudes between 39,000 and 45,000 feet, the craft collects data from the infrared portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. One of the instruments on SOFIA is the High Speed Imaging Photometer for Occultation (HIPO), a device built by astronomer Ted Dunham and his engineering team at Lowell Observatory. Lowell director Jeffrey Hall said, “Lowell Observatory has long been involved scientifically with SOFIA, so it’s very appropriate to have one of our staff members take part in the ambassador program.”
The Thompson/Krueger team was just one of 14 chosen from a highly competitive, nationwide field of educators. Each team of ambassadors will work with a professional astronomer to experience airborne astronomical research first-hand. Afterward, the educators share what they learned with their classrooms and local communities. Thompson said, “We will create one exhibit here at Lowell and one that travels around to STEM fairs, the Festival of Science, schools and elsewhere.” Because these displays will be shown at both informal (Lowell) and formal (schools) education sites, they will reach a wide range of audiences. Plus, Krueger’s students will gain valuable firsthand experience. Krueger said, “When we take the exhibit to Wheeler Park and classrooms, my students will go and help teach the concepts in the exhibits.”
Thank you to Kevin Schindler, Lowell Observatory, for allowing me to borrow heavily from his post at www.lowell.edu!
Russ Kasch began Marshall Elementary School's first science fair 28 years ago. For those of you keeping count, this is longer than the Flagstaff Festival of Science has been around! Above, Russ is with Janelle Reasor, Marshall's Art and Science Coordinator, who will have to take over the reins when Russ retires this spring.
Russ has led the science fair every year since inception. He has grown the fair by including all students, and enriched the process by having the science fair judges interview all the 4th and 5th grade students on their scientific investigations.
Thank you to the following Marshall Art and Science Magnet Elementary science fair judges: Dr. G Kent Colbath (GKC Geoscience LLC), Karen Haubensak (NAU Department of Forestry), Jeff Jenness (Museum of Northern Arizona), Roy Lopez (US Forest Service), Candyce Martinez (Marshall Magnet), Maria Mather (Museum of Northern Arizona), Steven Rossi (National Park Service), and Jamie Sanderlin (US Forest Service).
STEM City offers sincere congratulations on this successful and sustained endeavor, and wishes Russ the very best in his retirement!