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Articles in Edwards Elementary

Fifth grade students tout benefit of Invention Convention

AMES–Fifth grade inventors in the Ames Community School District, like Payton Stewart, Grace Schmitt and Kayley Birkland, are honing life skills that will last well beyond the Invention Convention on January 25.

Payton said the inspiration for her invention, for example, came from wanting to solve the problem of her family’s increasing water bill.

“We were using too much water brushing teeth and would leave water going,” she said. “It’s been fun taking our own journey through all this cool inventing process to solve problems.”

Grace said she learned not to give up even when it was hard to get her project-mates together and to manage her time to  complete her invention.

“At school, we are learning what it means to persist when things are hard,” she said. “Persistence was helpful. We didn’t get together for a long time and I thought maybe we’d have to give up.  My plate was too full, but then we got together and we made a plan and got straight to work and we accomplished a lot.”

Kayley said she learned the value of taking the risk to try ideas that might fail.

“We weren’t sure if we should use plastic, cardboard or metal (for our materials). We knew whichever we chose, there was risk involved. If we chose metal, we didn’t know if we had time to send it to my grandpa to weld it,” she said.  “So I talked to my dad, and he helped us make a plan, so then I had confidence that it would turn out great.”

Extended Learning Program teacher Ariane Schmidt said the event is open to all district fifth graders.

“Inventors will be judged on inventiveness, the diagram, the model or prototype, the log and the oral presentation,” Schmidt said.

The young inventors will put their projects on display beginning at 4:15 p.m., Monday, Jan. 25, at Edwards Elementary School, 820 Miller Ave., for parents and friends to view and experts to judge.

At around 4:50 p.m., inventors and visitors will move to the Gymnasium for a science presentation while the judges continue to deliberate in the display area. Judges will present awards around 5:45 p.m. in the Gymnasium.

UPDATE: Student received medals for the following inventions:

Snoozeless Pillow, Alicia Nicolas
The Nail Catcher, Samuel Vis.
Dugout Doctor, Ali Frandsen and Piper Kirsch
Seed Saucer, Karin Grevstad-Nordbrock.

S.E.W.S., Mia O’Connor-Walker.

Adjusta Tub, Ryan Maland and Connor Johnson

The Coop Collector, Jackson Hufford.
Tunes Tie, Allie Enyart and Mia Vogel.
No Slip Hanger, Lauren Powers and Maddie Swartz.
EZ-Pour, Adam Lee and Owais Samman.

Photo gallery

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Enrollment dates announced for kindergarten and preschool

  • Kindergarten Enrollment is Wednesday, Jan. 20 from 8:30 a.m.-noon and Thursday, Jan. 21 from 2-7 p.m. at Northwood Preschool Center
  • Preschool Enrollment is Wednesday, Jan. 27 from 8:30 a.m.-noon and Thursday, Jan. 28 from 2-7 p.m. at Northwood Preschool Center.

AMES–The youngest learners in the Ames Community School District will get a head start on enrollment with on-site events at Northwood Preschool Center this month.

Kindergarten enrollment sessions have long been a tradition for Ames Schools, and this year, Northwood Principal Brandon Schrauth is providing similar sessions for preschool enrollment.

“We want to reach as many families as possible because early childhood education is so important,” Schrauth said.

It’s important for families to attend the sessions to provide the documentation the District needs to plan for programming and to form a connection with the District before school starts in August, Schrauth said.

“Gathering paperwork and completing online forms is a necessary step in getting enrolled in kindergarten or preschool,” he said, “but it’s just as important to meet families and answer any questions they have.”

What to expect at Preschool Registration

  • Parents and guardians may enroll children in preschool who will be 4 years old by Sept. 15, 2016.
  • Parents and guardians who meet certain income guidelines may enroll children in the Early Success 3-Year-Old Preschool Program who will be 3 years old by Sept. 15, 2016.
  • Parents and guardians will complete an information form online, a Home Language Survey, a Health History form and an “Ages and Stages” questionnaire.
  • Parents and guardians should bring the child’s original birth certificate, or duplicate with raised seal; student physical report and immunization records; and adoption or guardianship papers, if applicable.

Learn more.

What to expect at Kindergarten Registration

  • Parents and guardians may enroll children in kindergarten who will be 5 years old by Sept. 15, 2016.
  • Parents and guardians will complete an information form online, a Home Language Survey, and a Health History form.
  • Parents and guardians should bring the child’s original birth certificate, or duplicate with raised seal; student physical report and immunization records; proof of residency (lease, mortgage, house title, or utility bill with current address); and adoption or guardianship papers, if applicable.
  • If the student did not attend Northwood Preschool or one of its Statewide Voluntary Preschool Partners, parents will be asked to complete an “Ages and Stages” questionnaire.

Learn more.

The Ames Public Library will provide story time, and representatives from busing and school meal services will be available to provide information. Other community organizations with early childhood services will be onhand. District Family Ambassadors, who are parents of current students, will be available to give support and supervise a playroom for children aged 2 and over.

Northwood Preschool Center is at 3012 Duff Avenue.

For both preschool and kindergarten, the District will provide information later in the spring giving details of classroom placement and events to welcome families.


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Blanket drive helps Edwards students learn about giving

Second grade students at Edwards Elementary School collected 53 new and gently used blankets to help keep Ames citizens warm this winter.

Teacher Terri Boeding said the project, now in its second year, helps students learn the value of giving to others.

“We want students to learn to be compassionate and to care for people in need,” she said.

Boeding said since classrooms are full of students from all backgrounds who celebrate various holidays, teachers and students looked for a way to promote generosity while still being sensitive to a differing customs and beliefs.

“A basic human need of keeping warm during cold weather led us to this cause,” she said.

Teachers also wanted to respect the wide range of students’ families’ financial situations, Boeding said.

“So we welcomed new or used blankets,” she said. “Many students brought in clean comforters, baby blankets or throws from home, while others purchased new ones”.image002

Students say the blanket drive gave their families a chance to work together in the spirit of giving.

Brayden Crosser, for example, said he helped his grandmother make a blanket for the project.

“I wanted to make a blanket to give to the homeless people of Ames and do a project with my grandma,” he said.

Ian Helgersen said when he told his family about the blanket drive and how he wanted to help people who didn’t have warm homes, his family responded generously.

“I went to Target with my family and we bought three blankets,” he said.

Sophia Kyveryga said, “I told my mom that I wanted to get a blanket to give to the homeless people of Ames.  We bought one from TJ Max.”

Sophia’s mother, Natalia Rogovska, was so grateful, she sent an email to Boeding thanking her for “teaching our kids to be compassionate.”

Edwards second grade teachers are Boeding, Kelly Hansen and Heather Werner.

Boeding said the blankets were delivered to Youth and Shelter Services.

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Edwards students learn to innovate using basic materials and technology

Sammy Hernandez (L) and Lizzy Witcher adjust cables connecting circuits for their foot-pad-operated math game at the Edwards FAB Faire, May 14.

Sammy Hernandez (L) and Lizzy Witcher adjust cables connecting circuits for their foot-pad-operated math game at the Edwards FAB Faire, May 14.

AMES–Students at Edwards Elementary School are discovering at an early age that Imagination combined with knowledge and resources can lead to innovation. They’ve worked for the past two months learning science, technology, engineering and computer basics for research, development and design.  After presenting their projects at the school’s first ever FAB Faire May 17, some of them are already envisioning what they want to be when they grow up.

Third grade students Davison Juhnke and Colin Wellman, for example, are setting their sights on careers in engineering, based on their success building an electronic  drumset.  Their teammate Mahad Mian sees the potential “to own businesses.”

Teacher Teresa Green said third grade students used an invention kit called a MaKey MaKey  to learn basic circuitry and create a unique project.

“The assignment I proposed was to use the Makey Makey—which turns everyday objects into touchpads—and the conductive material of their choice to create an alternative input device for their computer.”Colin said, “I learned that aluminum foil is conductive, so we used that to make our drum set.”  Connected to the Makey Makey set and the Scratch software program, the aluminum foil drumsticks and drum heads demonstrated the Makey Makey’s capability to work with computer code software, Green said.

“Students worked with Scratch earlier in the year as an introduction to computer programming, learning to write the code in Scratch and then wire up the MaKey MaKey to serve as the controller,” she said.

Adapting a concept from Cool Math for Kids, an online program, Lizzy Witcher and Sammy Hernandez, also in third grade, used the MaKey MaKey to combine math practice with physical activity in a foot-pad-operated math game.

“We decided feet were as good as hands for pressing buttons,” Sammy said.

Learning to troubleshoot design flaws was also an objective of the assignment, Green said.

Lizzy said she and Sammy figured out they needed to use alligator clips to achieve conductivity, for example.

Green said first and second grade students focused on research and design applying Newtonian physics and using basic materials like recycled cardboard.

Will Stevens, in second grade, created a ski ball arcade game from recycled cardboard. After he conducted research at a local arcade, he put his design prototypes through several revisions,  with help from his dad, before he got the angles and proportions just right.

“It’s not as easy as it looks,” he said.

Green said fourth graders worked with more advanced circuitry tools  and fifth grade students worked with modular robotics.

A highlight of the evening was a presentation by the Junior First Lego League teams, she said.

Minigrants provided by the Ames Education Foundation helped fund the projects.

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