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Articles from February 2018

Read-a-Thon Celebration

In January, elementary schools across the District organized read-a-thon events in collaboration with their PTOs. “The goal is to get students to develop a passion for reading by specifically targeting time for reading outside of the classroom,” said Sue Lawler, principal at Sawyer Elementary.

A kick-off evening event often started the two- week book push in most schools. Sawyer Elementary invited parents to attend a family reading night themed “reading under the big top,” while Mitchell Elementary hosted a “book tasting” evening with parents. Once it began, families kept track of minutes read outside of the classroom and students received an incentive every time they read for those minutes.

The momentum continued throughout the read-a-thon to encourage students to read. Students at Mitchell Elementary made a fun video titled “Wild About Reading” to promote reading where students wore masks they made in class. The culimating read-a-thon event celebrated student reading. Students were cheered and given high fives as they filed into their gymnasiums for an assembly. At Sawyer Elementary, the guests of honor were Smyles from the Ames Public Library, and Cy from Iowa State University.

“We had an overwhelming majority of our students participate this year, and our total minutes continues to grow each year. Next year we want to look for more opportunities to get the kids excited about reading!” said Lawler.

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Earthquake Science Challenge

Students in Mrs. Andrews’ sixth-grade science class have been analyzing and interpreting data on earthquakes in order to forecast future events. As an extension to this area of study, students have learned about the development of technologies to mitigate the effects of earthquakes on structures.

They designed “skyscrapers’ following specified criteria using a variety of materials. Students also had to work around certain constraints and varying budgets in order to incorporate base-isolators, cross-bracing, footprint size, tapered geometry, and the occasional pendulum.

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Boys Swim Team Wins First State Title Since 1982

Boys Swim State Champions

In his 20th year of coaching, Dan Flannery finally got the state title that has eluded him. The Ames High boys swim team won the 2018 State Championship, their first since 1982.

The Little Cyclones were ranked #1 in the state for much of the year and went through the regular season undefeated before losing at the District meet to Ankeny. Going to state is nothing new for this senior heavy team; they’ve been there the last 4 years. But going in with a legitimate chance to take the title is new, and something this team has spent their high school career working toward.

This was the first year that the University of Iowa has hosted the Iowa High School Athletic Association Boys State Swimming Meet at their new pool. This year the meet was held on February 10. Throughout the season, the boys team took on the motto “swim like it’s 1982.” With former Hall of Fame and Ames High coach Mike Wittmer, who led the 1982 Little Cyclones to a state title in attendance, they did just that.

The meet got off to the start that Ames needed. The 200 Yard Medley Relay team of seniors Dalton Lillibridge, Misho Mahrous, Nick Matthews, and junior Ethan Johnson, set a new school record of 1:33.83 as they won the state title in the event. The winning time is currently under All-American Consideration. It got the Little Cyclones out to an early lead, but after the second event, Ames fell behind West Des Moines Valley for much of the meet.

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I.O.W.A. STEM Teacher Award

Teresa Green STEM Award

Teresa Green, K-5 Technology Teacher at Edwards Elementary, was recently selected as the North Central Iowa Region’s recipient of the 2018 I.O.W.A. STEM Teacher Award. The award is established through the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council and sponsored by Kemin Industries. It recognizes “exceptional dedication toward increasing student interest and achievement in STEM fields and careers in innovation.”

Green is a 30 year veteran teacher (25 in the Ames CSD) who started as an elementary music teacher. She got her Masters of Curriculum and Instructional Technology degree from Iowa State University, and today is a the K-5 Technology Teacher at Edwards Elementary.

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Little Inventors at Edwards Elementary

Little Inventors Graphics

If you have not heard of “The Real Video Game,” a “Work-o-Tron,” the “Desk Fluffinator,” or an “Allergy Protector,” you will someday. These are some of the many inventions that third graders at Edwards Elementary have come up with as a part of a Little Inventors project.

It is another collaboration between 3rd grade Edwards teachers, and Sara Nelson, an Iowa State University College of Education professor. Nelson has collaborated with Edwards Elementary teachers a lot in the past, most recently with 3rd grade teacher Patti Allen, whose relationship goes back nearly a decade.

The catalyst for the idea came when Patti and Sara were looking for STEM education ideas, and they encountered an article about Little Inventors (www.littleinventors.org), a group based out of the United Kingdom that showcases student ideas. Sara contacted the group via Skype and they have been in contact ever since.

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Juicebox Interactive