Guest Blog by Christine Sapio
On November 17, 2015, 70 students from Coconino High School competed in the Annual Great Cardboard Boat Race. The students were members of the Coconino Institute of Technology program and the Advanced Placement Physics class. The annual race between AP Physics and the CIT II Engineering students has been a tradition since the beginning of the CIT program with the first race taking place in 2003.
Students build boats large enough to hold two people out of nothing but cardboard and duct tape. The boats are limited to a weight of 40 lbs, and the tape could only be used on the seams. Students then calculate the waterline on the boat when fully loaded with two people and placed in the water by using principles of buoyancy. Students then paddle their boats across a full-sized pool using whitewater paddles.
The best overall boat at the Great Cardboard Boat Race is judged based on a number of criteria, including the time it takes to paddle the boat one full lap (50 meters), if the boat could survive three full laps (150 m), how much weight the boat held if it survived 150 meters, and the weight of the boat.
A number of awards were also judged based on performance, including team spirit, most innovative design, and best “Titanic” moment or best sinking.
The winners of the 2015 Great Cardboard Boat Race are:
Hallie Chiaverini & Tayler Dominguez (Santa’s Sleigh) - CIT
Jack Lutch & Tyler Darnell (Ark II) - AP Physics
Most Creative Design
Aster Rich & Jessica Han - AP Physics
Shandiin Miller & Meredith Norine - CIT
Best Titanic (Most Dramatic Sinking)
Richard McCormick & Coby Guerrero - CIT
Drew Stringer & Kelsey Chiaverini - AP Physics
Golden Oars (Fastest 50 m)
Tristen Eddie & Matt Norris - 66 seconds/50 m - AP Physics
Ferry Award (Most Weight Supported)
Aaron Helwig, Ian Russell & Justin Heath – 1370 lbs - AP Physics
Black Pearl Award (Best Boat Overall)
Luke Peterson & Spencer Larson - 54 secs/50 m, 1619 lbs - CIT
Congratulations to all!
7th grade science teachers Carrie Jenkins and Susan Brown, from Sinagua Middle School and Northland Preparatory Academy respectively, have been collaborating for four years on an investigation of macroinvertebrates in Oak Creek and the Rio de Flag near Willow Bend Environmental Education Center.
Carrie and Susan spend hours each fall preparing thirty leaf packs for each site and depositing them in the two environments. They retrieve the packs approximately one month later. Their students then compare the macroinvertebrates they find in the leaf packs from Oak Creek with those from the Willow Bend "pond".
The teachers use online resources from the Leaf Pack Network, a network of citizens, teachers and students investigating their local stream ecosystems. The site has protocols for collecting the samples, resources for macroinvertebrate identification, and a data portal for them to upload their results. Macroinvertebrates are organisms that are large (macro) enough to be seen with the naked eye and lack a backbone (invertebrate). They inhabit all types of running waters, from fast flowing mountain streams to slow moving muddy rivers. Examples of aquatic macroinvertebrates include insects in their larval or nymph form, crayfish, clams, snails, and worms (see photos below). Most live part or most of their life cycle attached to submerged rocks, logs, and vegetation.
After completing their data sheet, students compile their data and upload it to the Leaf Pack Network site. The site has tools for students to compare the data from their two schools, as well as other schools and sites. The students can use the data to determine general stream health. If the overall pollution tolerance value of the organisms is low, the stream is most likely less burdened by contaminants than if the overall pollution tolerance level is high.
This year had some disappointments for the two educators, as the leaf packs in Oak Creek had been purposefully cut away from their anchor so only one pack remained, and the leaf packs in the Willow Bend pond area were imbedded in four inches of ice - making removal difficult. Undaunted, the teachers collected leaf litter along Oak Creek so their students could still look for organisms, and thawed the iced bags in time for class. The Flagstaff STEM community is thrilled to have these dedicated educators!
Coconino High School robotics teams, the CocoNuts and the AstroNuts, hosted the High Altitude Robotics Tournament on Saturday, November 7th. The all-day event included ten FTC (FIRST Tech Challenge) teams. This years challenge is modeled after actual rescue situations faced by mountain explorers and is played by two Alliances (different school teams) of two robots each. Points are scored by: resetting rescue beacons, delivering rescue climbers to a shelter, parking on the mountain, and parking in the
rescue beacon repair zone or floor goal. Robots may also score points by retrieving debris from the playing field, and hanging from a pull-up bar during the last 30-seconds of a match.
The winning alliance was composed of the Mogollon Rim Jaegers from Heber, and the AstroNuts from Coconino High School. The InFALAbles from Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy were also in a Finalist Alliance and won the coveted THINK Award.
The complete list of award winners as well as pictures from the event taken by CocoNuts senior Candace Manygoats are available on the official CocoNuts Press Release here.
The next event is the Flagstaff FIRST Lego League Qualifying Tournament on December 5th at Coconino High School. Thirty teams of elementary and middle school students will compete in this year’s game, Trash Treks Challenge, which explores the fascinating world of trash. From collection, to sorting, to smart production and reuse, there is more to your trash than meets the eye! Each event needs numerous volunteers! Judges, referees, people movers, robot inspectors, registration volunteers, and more! Please volunteer your time to help continue making FIRST in Northern Arizona a resounding success! Visit www.usfirst.org/volunteer to sign up as a volunteer.
Barnes & Noble bookstores hosted Mini-Maker Faires the weekend of November 6th - 8th. Scott Hathcock and Amanda Kristinat from the Greater Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce taught a coding workshop at our local store.
The Chamber has been actively involved in increasing technology education in Flagstaff through two summer camps (see blog post here) and a Hack the Class initiative at Flagstaff Junior Academy and Killip Elementary School that is expanding to other schools as well.
Guest Blog by Dave Engelthaler, Originally published for the Northern Arizona Leadership Alliance in the Flagstaff Business News - November 10, 2015
As hopefully most readers know, Flagstaff declared itself as America’s first STEM Community in 2012. STEM (the ubiquitous acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) is commonly discussed in our schools, in academia and in workforce development as a goal for literacy in the 21st Century. In Flagstaff, we have a wealth of STEM resources in our businesses (e.g., Gore & Assoc., SenesTech, Machine Solutions, Northern Az Healthcare, etc.) and research institutions (e.g., Lowell Observatory, TGen North, Museum of Northern Arizona, etc.), let alone NAU and Coconino Community College. In the fall of 2012, Flagstaff Forty, now known as the Northern Arizona Leadership Alliance, initiated a community conversation and ensured a community commitment to using these resources to support and improve our local schools’ ability to achieve STEM literacy for all students.
Over past several years, our STEM City has grown in stature and success. We are continually held as a model for community leadership and collective action on STEM. The reasons are numerous but some of the highlights include: having a community board dedicated to advancing all STEM in the community; having the annual celebration of the STEM Teacher, Leader and Student of the Year; the Superbowl of STEM Event held annually in NAU’s Skydome, which brings out nearly 10% of the city’s population; Flagstaff’s Festival of Science, the longest running one of its kind in the nation; and most importantly the abundant activities and interactions between students, teachers and local scientists and engineers, which end in unparalleled STEM learning opportunities and radical inspiration of hundreds to thousands of our students.
Now, we are moving to the next level of community engagement – coordinated community impact. Rather than just one-on-one interfaces with STEM businesses and classrooms, we have now moved to a model of having multiple businesses work with academia and multiple schools on a coordinated program to educate and enrich both the students and the community. Through the leadership at NAU’s Center for Science Teaching and Learning, the National Science Foundation has recently awarded a three-year $840K grant to build a yearlong Bioscience course for Flagstaff high schoolers. NAU has brought together TGen North, North Country Healthcare, the County Public Health department, Flagstaff Unified Schools District, the Coconino Association for Vocations Industry and Technology (CAVIAT) and the STEM City Center to build a real-world problem solving bioscience course for CAVIAT students, 44% of which are Native American. The vision for this program encompasses outlying county schools as well. Where else would high school students get to work closely with doctors, nurses, epidemiologists, and genomic scientists on development of a tool to detect and track influenza-like illness in their schools and neighborhoods? Where else but our STEM City. The Northern Arizona Leadership Alliance strongly encourages all community members to join the movement towards a stronger, more sustainable 21st Century economy but supporting STEM literacy.
Find more information here!
Flagstaff STEM Coordinator