BALLSTON SPA — More than 150 Ballston Spa students participated in the district’s annual Elementary Science and Engineering Fair Jan. 23, 2016. Participants included students in kindergarten to fifth grade representing all four of the Ballston Spa Central School District’s elementary schools. [Read more…]
Explore the (impolite) science of the human body. Discover digestion, play with organs, and much more … with interactive games, larger-than-life exhibits and hands-on fun! [Read more…]
BALLSTON SPA-The elementary school PTAs’ OF Ballston Spa held the annual Super Science Saturday in the Wood Road Elementary School Cafetorium on Saturday, Jan. 25. [Read more…]
BALLSTON SPA-Ballston Spa Central School District’s FIRST® Tech Challenge Team 6945, also known as “System Overload”, will compete in the Hudson Valley Qualifying Tournament at Albany Academy , a robotics competition, later this morning. [Read more…]
BALLSTON SPA — Ballston Spa Middle School students kept busy this summer and learned more about opportunities in science and technology at a five-day Technology Enrichment Program offered by Hudson Valley Community College.
They completed their week with demonstrations for parents and the community on Friday afternoon, including a solar car race with model cars they designed and built during the week. [Read more…]
BY JENNIFER FARNSWORTH
Little did Ballston Spa High School Robotics team captains Mike Mahoney and Jake Torrey know that a certain someone, or something, named Rosie, would have such a profound effect on their life. The captains and their teammates will travel this weekend to WPI in Massachusetts to compete in the annual FIRST, or For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, Robotics team competition.
Mahoney and Torrey, along with their teammates, are excited to show off Rosie, the 120 pounds and five feet tall robot that will compete against 35 teams from the northeast, Hawaii, Brazil, and the United Kingdom.
Cindy VanWyk, Chemistry teacher and FIRST Robotics Team adviser, said last fall, students and engineer mentors worked together on basic engineering principles applicable to robots. In January, the FIRST organization announced this year’s challenge, “Logo Motion” and Ballston Spa’s team went to work designing a robot.
“Logo Motion” requires a robot to hang inflatable tubes on pegs with the ultimate goal of putting the tubes in an order resembling the FIRST logo.
“Our team is very much student driven and run, with extensive support from our community, both engineering and non-engineering mentors and teachers. Our team slogan, “Be the Force!” comes from ‘Be the force of change.’ FIRST robotics is a life changing varsity sport of the mind, the hardest fun you will ever have,” said VanWyk.
Torrey said his team has completely changed who he is and has redefined his friendships. He said when he first began he only knew several students on the team. He said through the long hours of building, he gained an appreciation for each person‘s skills.
“Teamwork is the most critical element in a project such as this, and no one person can accomplish a task this immense. Conflict and consensus are the two terms that can best describe how the season went. Deliberation and challenging different design processes is how a much more refined and professional product is achieved,” said Torrey. “We would come together, put feelings aside, reach a consensus and move on. Looking back on the season, we truly have a great team, where no one is ever put down and everyone has something to offer. The team bonded over the 14 hour days, and in the end, we all knew each other very well.”
Torrey said he and co-captain Mahoney took a very methodical approach, being very detail oriented to avoid problems later on when they actually built the device. Mahoney said one goal of this year’s competition was to bring in elements of the FIRST Tech Challenge, a competition for middle school students, and to create a “minibot” to be deployed from the main robot and race its way to the top of a pole in the field.
“From there, our team spent days designing and refining our ideas, carefully weighing the pros and the cons of each decision until we finally had the whole robot laid out in front of us. For six weeks and upwards of 300 hours total, the whole team came together to work harmoniously on the fabrication of our robot, affectionately named Rosie,” said Mahoney.
There are six teams in the capital region competing in FIRST Robotics including teams from Shenendehowa High School, Albany High School, Hudson High School and Shaker High School. Mahoney said his team is excited to see what area schools bring to the table.
Mahoney said he cannot put what the experience has meant to him into words. He said with such an emphasis being put on science and math, he feels this program is cutting edge.
“This program’s worth to me is immeasurable. There’s a ton of satisfaction that comes with it, when you can come into something not knowing what to expect and then you can leave it knowing ‘Yes, I had a part in making something like that!’ All of my technology courses through high school definitely laid the foundations for my success in FIRST Robotics, too. It’s one of those moments when you go through school asking yourself if you will ever really use the things you learn and then you finally get to use them,” said Mahoney.
The 2011 season is expected to include more than 2,000 teams competing in more than 40 regional events. Participants are eligible to receive more than $12 million in scholarships from some of the finest science and engineering schools in the country.
Ballston schools and the Children’s Museum of Science and Technology are bonding on the molecular level this year.
In an effort to enhance the second grade science curriculum focusing on molecules, the two entities are working together to give students a chance to hear from educators at the museum and to enjoy the traveling Molecularium, “a computer generated animation show for digital dome theaters that makes molecular science fun,” according to information from the district..
Museum staff have been working with the students from each elementary school in the district.
“The collaboration with CMOST has been a great opportunity for our second graders,” said Jeffrey Palmer, Milton Terrace South Elementary School principal. “The students have been fully engaged in the lessons about matter and they are extremely excited about their next session[s]. The partnership with the museum helps us bring relevant [Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics] activities to the students of Milton Terrace South and nurture the 21st century skills our students need to be successful in today’s world.”
Students in Sue Cinella’s second grade class said they look forward to the activities during the museum staff’s Tuesday visits.
“I thought it was cool how small an atom is from the paper strip experiment,” indicated Morgan Leggieri.
Classmate, Robert Robichaud, said he gained a better understanding of how the elements exist as different forms of matter
“I learned from CMOST how solid, liquids and gases move,” Robichaud said.
Some students see science as a potential career, and said CMOST can help prepare them for a career.
“I think that CMOST is good because it will help me when I am older and a scientist.”
All second grade families in the Ballston Spa Central School District are invited to the museum for an evening of science exploration, and dinner, according to information provided by BPCSD.
The event is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan.11 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the museum in Troy.
The district has become a regional leader in the development of STEM learning in K-12 education, especially in the creation of partnerships with businesses, non-profit organizations and higher education through a “Partnership for Innovation in Education” program, through which the district has developed a variety of new courses, curricula and enrichment opportunities for students.
Information can be located at http://cmost.com/index.php, on the district Web site at www.bscsd.org or by contacting Diane Irwin, K-12 science coordinator for the Ballston Spa Central School District, at 518-884-7150 ext. 2317.