Student Projects Impress at Tech Fair 2012
April 20, 2012, Department of Communications
"You can just feel STEM everywhere you turn..." is how one visitor described the Tech Fair 2012 held on Saturday, April14 at Skyline High School. The 300+ visitors and the 24 judges were very impressed by 70 projects focusing on subjects from endangered species to reducing our carbon footprints, from helping handicapped individuals to learning a language, and from designing a robot that can throw a ball to stopping childhood obesity. The projects ranged from what might be considered hard science to just plain fun. Students across all grade levels designed their own projects to look at ways to solve real world problems and answer important questions with the use of technology. Judge Dionne Deschenne, Chief Operating Officer of the Natural Living Institute, commented that "many of the projects at the Fair were more advanced than those she sees from college students."
The Tech Fair is hosted by the Education Foundation for the St. Vrain Valley. Executive Director Kathy Hall was, "thrilled by the number of visitors to the Fair and extremely impressed by the high quality of the projects presented by even our youngest students."
Tech Fair 2012 judges were so impressed by eleven of the projects for reasons ranging from their depth of research to project presentation they recognized them with Big Byte 2012 awards.
The following teams and individual projects received Big Byte 2012 award recognition:
- Problems Solvers (Grades 1-2) from Alpine Elementary addressed their concern about lost or kidnapped children by developing a bracelet GPS app for children too young to have cell phones.
- Tiger Crescent (Grades 3-5) from Blue Mountain Elementary developed a website to help people find out more about the extinction of tigers and donate money to help reverse the trend.
- Girls Cubed (Grades 3-5) from Eagle Crest Elementary focused on designing a housing solution for a teacher at their sister school in Africa.
- Tanner Nelson - Spiffy Spanish (Grades 9-12) from Erie High developed an easy-to-use website to help students learn Spanish by focusing on immersion and social activities.
- Mallory Granger (Grade 6) from Flagstaff Academy developed a prototype of a machine to solve the problem of needing to sharpen multiple pencils at once during testing periods.
- James Clune (Grade 6) from Flagstaff Academy used robotics to experiment with developing more sophisticated ways to “aim” solar panels at the sun to maximize the capture of energy.
- Max Nieberger (Grade 8) from Flagstaff Academy developed formulas and used spreadsheet technology to “invent” a completely new way of calculating Pi.
- Team Savona (Grades 1-2) from Red Hawk Elementary created a website to post pictures, podcasts and ideas on how to reduce our carbon footprint.
- Tim Finnegan - MAD Team (Grades 9-12) from Skyline High created an iPad app containing the Tech Fair’s judging rubric for use by the judges as they evaluated projects during the Fair.
- Earth Explorers (Grades 6-8) from Trail Ridge Middle researched the impact of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and developed a website that will serve as a resource for students and parents across the school district.
- The Amazing Arm (Grade 6 MESA) from Westview Middle researched the problem of people losing limbs and becoming disabled and used the engineering process to developed a prosthetic arm model.
In addition to the Big Byte 2012 recognition, Tanner Nelson and Flagstaff Academy each received an iPad in recognition of their outstanding performances.
Judge Peggy Morrow, who also teaches computer science at Frederick High School, summed up many visitors’ thoughts about the technology skills of the students at this year’s Fair by saying, "It’s great to see more students at all grade levels, developing skills in the use of technology. Once these elementary students get to higher levels … Look out! … they are really going to be pushing us for more and really achieving."
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