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Articles from April 2017

Team Neutrino qualifies for FIRST Robotics World Championships

Team Neutrino, a Story County- based FIRST Robotics Competition Team whose members include Ames High School students, won the Chairman’s Award at the 2017 Minnesota North Star Regional held April 5 – 8, which qualified the team for the World Championships in St. Louis, April 26 – April 29.

Tianxin Xu, an Ames High School 11th grader who is the Team Neutrino’s outreach and public relations lead, said the team was most honored to receive the Chairman’s award because it’s given to the team that “best exemplifies FIRST values in spreading STEM in their community and developing a sustainable program.”

”FIRST stands for “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology” and aims to promote STEM among students,” Xu said. “Aside from building robots and competing, we spend our offseason doing outreach events and leading camps, to spread the message of FIRST and get kids interested and involved in STEM.”

Team Neutrino was started in 2012 and was originally affiliated with Ames High School and now is partnered with Iowa State University, Xu said. Most team members come from Ames High School with other students from Nevada and Ballard High Schools.

“Our team is currently working with four elementary schools and the middle school to mentor other FIRST teams for younger students (FIRST Lego League Jr. and FIRST Lego League),” she said.

The team is no slouch at building and competing, however, Xu said.

“We had six weeks to design, build, and program a large, 120 pound robot,” she said.

According to the competition’s rules, after six weeks, the team robot was required to be bagged.

“To simulate a real-world situation, we weren’t allowed to touch it anymore until the competition,” she said.

At the Minnesota North Star Regional, after 80 qualification matches, the team finished ranked second out of 60 teams.

“Continuing on to the elimination matches, we finished as semifinalists. It was so close!”  Xu said. “We were also a finalist for the safety award!”

According to the competition’s press kit, the Chairman’s Award is the most prestigious award.

“For this award, we submitted an essay and an executive summary comprised of 500-character responses to 13 questions,” Xu said. “At the competition, we gave a presentation.”

To  create a functioning robot and meet their annual team expenses, Team Neutrinorequires  resources, which come from grants and in-kind donations from sponsors. Sponsors include John Deere, Quality Manufacturing, Danfoss, CIT Signature Transportation, Monsanto Fund, Interstate Batteries, Ames Electric Services, Iowa 4-H Foundation, and Emerson. John Deere is the team’s largest financial sponsor, and this year paid for the team’s Champs registration fee, donating a total of $13,000 this season.

Team Neutrino also partners with the Iowa State College of Engineering, Boyd Lab, and Story County 4-H.

Visit these links to learn more:
Game animation
Robot Reveal
Team Neutrino

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Ames High School Spring Play announced

The Theatre Department presents “Love/Sick, 7 p.m., April 28 and 29.

Sometimes we find who we are in a relationship; sometimes we lose who we are in a relationship. Sometimes we get what we want in a relationship, and sometimes the relationship is not our destiny. These are the themes the Ames High School Theatre Department will explore when it presents John Cariani’s “Love/Sick.” Following the popularity of “Almost Maine”, “Love/Sick” is nine vignettes that examine the lifecycle of love in various relationships. Beginning the evening is a one-act pre-show, “The Fifteen Minute Hamlet,” by Tom Stoppard.  Nine actors will recreate Shakespeare’s most infamous play in fifteen minutes.

Shows start at 7 p.m., April 28 and 29, in the Ames High School Auditorium.  Tickets are $4 for middle school aged children and younger and $5 for high school aged students and adults.

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Fourth, Fifth Grade Scholars to shine in Quiz Bowl


Fourth and fifth grade students from the Ames Community School District will showcase their knowledge at the Sixth Annual Elementary Quiz Bowl Final Competition, Thursday, April 6.

The Quiz Bowl Final is the culmination of months of planning and collaboration. Ames High School students Nicole Kreider and Lydia Spurgeon, as part of their participation in the Ames Community School District’s Extended Learning Program, worked with Extended Learning Program teachers Vicki Taylor, Mark Royer, Ariane Schmidt, Julie Skaar, and Nicole Kuhns, and other high school volunteers to write questions, organize meeting dates, and administer Quiz Bowl competitions at all five Ames elementary schools.

Meeting monthly before school, district-wide teams participated in elimination rounds at each school.  Based on those standings, each building’s top-scoring team earned a slot in the final competition. The next three highest-scoring teams were selected at large to complete the field of finalists.

ELP Director Nicole Kuhns said the competition continues to gain popularity and participants each year.

“The Quiz Bowl gets students excited about learning and gives them a chance to have some fun showcasing their knowledge,” she said.

Ames High School is hosting the Quiz Bowl Final Competition. Doors open at 5 p.m. Registration begins at 5:15 p.m. in the Multipurpose Room. Following a brief orientation at 5:15 p.m., the competition rounds will begin, with awards at 7:30 p.m.  This event is open to the public.

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Ames High School team takes second place at State Science Olympiad


The Ames High School team finished in second place in the Iowa State Science Olympiad competition held March 25 at Coe College in Cedar Rapids.

First place medals:

  • Sarah Song, David Kim and Andres Cordoba for Experimental Design

  • Katie Fukushima and Sarah Song for Invasive Species

  • Jason Chen and Victoria Kyveryga for Astronomy

  • Hannah Huang and Jasper Shogren-Knaak for Hovercraft

  • John Kim and Jinal Amin for Wind Power

Second place medals:

  • Philip Ma and Victoria Kyveryga for Hydrogeology
  • Jason Chen and Sarah Song for Dynamic Planet
  • Andres Cordoba and Jason Chen for Electric Vehicle

Third place medals:

  • Shria Chug and Hannah Huang for Disease Detective
  • Jinal Amin and Katie Fukushima for Forensics

The team is coached by Peg Barbour, Mary Glenn and Kerri Marsh.

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Ames Middle School team takes first place at State Science Olympiad

SciencolympiadlogoThe Ames Middle School team finished in first place in the Iowa State Science Olympiad competition  held March 25 at Coe College in Cedar Rapids.

First place medals:

  • James Lin and David Jiang for Invasive Species
  • Steven Tian and Henry Tang for Towers
  • Eddie Wei, Henry Tang and Jerry Han for Experimental Design
  • Emily Poag and Steven Tian for Meteorology
  • Quinn Harbison and Jixiang Li for Bottle Rocket
  • Quinn Harbison and Sivani Manimaran for Microbe Mission
  • Sophia Cordoba and Henry Tang for Ecology
  • David Jiang and Quinn Harbison for Disease Detective
  • Eddie Wei and Rishabh Swamy for Road Scholar
  • Seth Durbin and Emily Poag for Wright Stuff
  • James Lin and Jerry Han for Optics
  • Ziad Ibrahim and Sivani Manimaran for Fast Facts
  • Seth Durbin and Jerry Han for Rocks and Minerals

Second place medals:

  • Emily Poag and Anyang Yu for  Crimebusters
  • Emily Poag and Anyang Yu for Write It/Do It
  • Steven Tian and Ziad Ibrahim for Scrambler
  • Sophia Cordoba and Jixiang Li for Dynamic Planet
  • Eddie Wei and Jixiang Li for Wind Power
  • Anyang Yu and Rishabh Swamy for Mission Possible

Third place medals:

David Jiang and Quinn Harbison for Anatomy

The team is coached by Peg Barbour, Mary Glenn and Kerri Marsh.

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Pancake printer interfaces with food, technology and art

Student and pancake printer

Ames High School freshman Cole Malone points out features of a pancake design he programed for a 3-D printer.

Cole Malone has a passion for figuring out how things work. The Ames High School ninth grader typically applies his grit and creativity—and engineering and design skills—to science, math and art classes. In his spare time, he’s likely pondering animation design or gaming software. But when he had the opportunity to try out the Ames High School’s new  3-D pancake printer, Malone couldn’t resist the challenge.

Yes, there is such a thing as a 3-D pancake printer. Carol Van Waardhuizen, who teaches Family and Consumer Science classes at Ames High School, arranged to purchase the pancake ‘bot with a Perkins grant (provided under the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act of 2006) as a way to introduce her students to technology in food preparation.

“I was researching food trends for 2017,” Van Waardhuizen said. “I learned that even Barilla has a 3-D printer to make pasta. I wanted my students to have a chance to learn how computers interface with food and design.”

Malone, who’s part of Van Waardhuizen’s Housing and Interior Design class, said accomplishing the learning goals between computer interface and food and design required solving problems in physics, thermodynamics, software programming and common logic.

To print his pancake designs, in the shape of houses with intricate features, he had to find drawing software to add to the pancake ‘bot’s menu. He  had to make sure the air pressure in the feed hose was set to deliver the batter at the correct speed and volume, that the viscosity of the batter was compatible with the design, and that the darker colored batter printed first so the lighter colors wouldn’t burn on the griddle.

“I think it’s most important for people my age to learn how to solve problems quickly, to figure out what works and discard what doesn’t work,” he said. “In engineering and science and design, you need to know the basics and then keep working to solve things.”

Despite the high tech process, Malone remembered, in the end, the art of pancake making depends on at least one basic principle.

“No matter how fancy the design, when a pancake bubbles, it’s ready to flip, he said.”

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