By ANNE VARI
Pine Lake Prep’s robotics team is ready for another season of competition, not just in robotics, but with a new team video set to the tune “Harlem Shakes.” At W.A. Hough High School this year, a new computer app is being used to help check orchestra members‘ pitch. Also, Beginners Day for incoming kindergartners is coming up in May at Davidson Elementary School. Woodlawn School students beat their teachers Tuesday in a student-faculty basketball game. And Cornelius Elementary recently named its teacher of the year and assistant of the year. Read on for stories and photos from local schools.
KINDERGARTEN ENROLLMENT OPEN AT DES
Registration is now open for rising kindergarteners at the Davidson Elementary School office, and early student registrants will receive a free DES Tiger T-shirt!
Be sure to mark your calendars for DES Beginner’s Day on Thursday, May 2. Doors open at 8:45am and the program runs from 9 to 10:30am. Parents and rising kindergarteners get to experience a fun morning at the school and learn about a typical day in the life of a DES kindergartener. Children get to visit a kindergarten class, the cafeteria, and a school bus.
Call the DES school office at 980-343-3900 with any questions.
DAVIDSON ELEMENTARY SECOND GRADERS GO COUNTRY
On Tuesday, Feb. 26, Davidson Elementary 2nd graders gathered in the gym and put on an upbeat and entertaining country western music performance. Led by music teachers Denise Mayes and Ashley Hamrick, the kids sang, danced and played instruments including the cowbell, tambourine, and kazoo.
The music teachers made a point to give a special thank you to all the 2nd grade teachers, Michelle Beaver, Principal Dana Jarrett, Assistant Principal Molly McKinney and the custodial staff for making the performance possible. They also thanked the parents for sharing their children each day and acknowledged the children for the fantastic effort.
PINE LAKE PREP’S ROBOTICS TEAM KICKS OFF SEASON
The deadline for robots to be “bagged and tagged” for the official 2013 FIRST Robotics competitive season was Feb. 19 at midnight. But the unofficial competition had already begun with a “Harlem Shakes” video competition sponsored by the robot parts supplier, AndyMark.
Teams were asked to produce and post their creative team videos, and the team with the most views by Feb. 26 was the winner. Pine Lake Preparatory’s FIRST Robotics Team SPORK 3196 didn’t win the contest, but their video on YouTube shows that this team is as creative as they are hard-working.
The team recently participated in the FIRST Palmetto Regional, the first competition of the 2013 season. Each year teams have a six week window in which to build a robot designed to perform various tasks specified in the “challenge.” This year, the task was to shoot discs in goals and to climb to the top of a pyramid. Team SPORK decided to build their robot to climb to the top of the pyramid rather than to shoot discs. This is a much more challenging engineering feat and it is also a higher risk strategy due the risk of damage to the robot from a possible 10-foot fall from the top of the pyramid.
Team SPORK took home the General Motors Industrial Design Award, which celebrates form and function in an efficiently designed machine that effectively achieves the game challenge. This award is based on the judges’ review of the team during the competition, looking at factors such as the robot’s scoring ability and defensive characteristics. Winners of this award achieved superior on-field performance with well-designed robots and skilled robot operators.
The robotics team is made up of 39 students who attend Pine Lake Preparatory, North Carolina’s largest K-12 charter school. Their goal in participating in FIRST Robotics is to showcase their talent while gaining skills in programming, web design, engineering, computer graphics, entrepreneurial business, mentoring, and more.
In FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), high school-aged students from around the world design and build robots to perform a specific mission during an intense six weeks in January and February. The teams then compete in Regional and International competitions in March and April. FIRST Robotics Team 3196’s has had amazing success, especially for such a young team. Last year the team was a Dean’s List winner at the World Championships.
Pine Lake Preparatory, through their Junior Engineering, FLL, and FRC clubs and teams has transformed their school culture to celebrate learning STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) subjects. Over ten percent of Pine Lake’s students participate in after-school engineering or robotics activities, and the participation is rapidly increasing each year.
FIRST Robotics Team 3196’s sponsors include Ingersoll Rand, Nitro Manufacturing, Newell Rubbermaid, United Technologies, PTC, AeroDyn Wind Tunnel, EnergyUnited, MSC Industrial Supply, Time Warner Cable, Stock Car Steel & Aluminum, Niagara Bottling, Southpaw Custom Graphics, Hayward Industries, and Pine Lake Preparatory.
CORNELIUS ELEM. TEACHERS OF THE YEAR
Congratulations to first grade teacher Carol Kinne, who was selected as Cornelius Elementary’s 2012-13 Teacher of the Year, and Carol Gentry who was named their 2012-13 Teacher Assistant of the Year. Principal James T. Garvin says, “These two staff members daily are committed to all students and their learning at Cornelius Elementary. They think systematically about what they teach and what students learn. They are committed to our learning community through numerous extracurricular activities with our school and PTO events, and supporting and implementing our school’s mission and vision.”
CORNELIUS BOOK FAIR CONTINUES ONLINE
If you missed the book fair at school last week or didn’t find the book you were looking for, you can still support the Cornelius Elementary Spring Book Fair by going to the link below. All books purchased on-line will contribute to the Spring Book Fair profits. The online book fair is open until Tuesday, March 11, 2013 at bookfairs.scholastic.com/homepage/corneliuselemsch
HOUGH MUSIC STUDENTS GRADED WITH NEW APP
Hough High (and Bailey Middle) Orchestra Director Bill Myers no longer needs a tape recorder to listen to a student’s pitch. In his classes at Hough High School, Myers uses a new form of technology, the SmartMusic App, which changes the way students practice and learn their instruments. The interactive tool allows students to play along with the music onscreen and provides immediate feedback on their performance. Myers uses the app to grade 50 percent of the student’s assignment, while his trained ear provides the other half.
The House of Education Committee is working to pass House Bill 127 requiring that students have arts education credit for graduation beginning with the freshman class of 2016. In Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, the goal is to integrate technology similar to the app Myers uses to support inspired learning and technology.
WOODLAWN TEACHERS CAN’T MATCH STUDENTS ON COURT
Woodlawn School, off Presbyterian Road north of Davidson, sent its faculty up against the boys and girls basketball teams Tuesday night, and the students won, 28-20.
The girls played two quarters and then the boys two quarters. Pace (and emotions) picked up quite a bit when the men were on the court. The faculty struggled to get shots to drop and the students converted turnovers into points to pull out the win.
See a gallery with more photos from the event on Facebook.
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