Monday, March 9, 2015

2015 Science Olympiad Competition


On Saturday, March seventh, fifteen students from Pioneer Middle School competed in the regional Science Olympiad competition held at Waterfront Elementary in Buffalo.  The competition involved participating in twenty different events, covering many different areas of science.  This required a lot of preparation during the months leading up to the competition. 

Some of the events, such as Air Trajectory or Bridge Building, required bringing a project to the competition.  Other events, such as Solar System and Dynamic Planet, involved preparing to take a test or lab practical.

Pioneer placed a respectable eighth place overall.  The team received medals in the following events:
  • Fifth place in Air Trajectory
  • Fifth place in Experimental Design
  • Fourth place in Entomology
  • Fourth place in Invasive Species
  • Fourth place in Picture This
  • Fourth place in Wheeled Vehicle
  • Third place in Potions and Poisons
  • Second place in Write It/Do It
  • First place in Robo Cross
The 2015 Pioneer Science Olympiad Team
Most importantly, the Pioneer group was comprised of great students who diligently prepared for their events, displayed class and professionalism during the competition, and worked together as a fantastic team.  The entire team should be commended for their hard work and accomplishments!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Augmented Reality in Spanish Class

This week, the eighth grade Spanish classes of both Mrs. Pidsadnick and Mrs. Smith visited the library in order to use Aurasma, one of our favorite tech tools.  Aurasma is an augmented reality app that allows videos to be attached to a trigger image.  When an iPad is held up to a trigger image, the Aurasma app then plays the video associated with the trigger image.

For this activity, the Spanish students viewed videos of great destinations in Spanish-speaking countries.  They then answered questions about each of the destinations they "visited" using Aurasma.
Accessing the videos using Aurasma.

Mrs. Pidsadnick offers guidance to students in period 2.

Once the videos were accessed, students could find a comfy spot in the library to watch the videos.

A video of a destination in a Spanish-speaking country.
This was the first time many of the students used Aurasma.  One student even said that it would be great if Aurasma would play videos off of ANY image - not just the trigger images we had set.  Can you imagine how fun that would be?  We hope to see the Spanish students back in the library again soon!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Recycling Never Looked So Good!

During this school year, the high school in our district was fortunate enough to receive some renovations and upgrades, namely to the science wing.  This was extremely lucky for the middle school because we were then the happy recipients of the cabinetry formerly used in the old high school science wing.  The cabinets were then repurposed into library shelving!

Our library's old metal shelving has certainly seen better days.  This shelving was original to our building.  Because they were made of metal, it gave the library more of an industrial sort of feeling rather than the warm feeling we were hoping to create in the library space.
A section of old metal shelving in the nonfiction section.  The metal legs were a tripping hazard!

The old metal shelving was overflowing with books.

It was difficult to house our leveled readers using the old shelves.
Before school ended for February break, all of the books in the areas received new shelving had to be removed, sorted, and boxed.  A special thanks to Mrs. Boberg, Mrs. Wright, and Mrs. Rickerson for tackling this big project!

An example of the MANY boxes it took for this project.
Over February break, the old shelving was removed from the library.  The new shelving was then brought in and assembled.  This was hard work!  The cabinets needed to be stained and many shelves needed to be cut in order for the shelving to be just right.  Thank you to Mr. Fiegl, Mr. Heim, Mr. Lavery, and Mr. Dressel for their help with this part of the project.
Stacks of metal shelving ready for removal.

The beginning stages of the new shelving.
Once we returned back to school after February break, Mrs. Boberg, Mrs. Wright, and Mrs. Rickerson expertly and quickly put the books back in order. 
The new shelving in the nonfiction section.

Another view of the nonfiction area with the new shelving.

The new shelves in the fiction area.  There was even room for our TV!
I hope that you will agree that the new shelves are a major improvement to our library.  There is now adequate space for all of the books, as the wooden shelving holds more than the old metal shelving was capable of.  Perhaps the best part about this renovation is that all of the materials were recycled!  This is one instance where we were happy to get hand-me-downs.

The next phase of the project will involve Mr. Daggett and the art club students.  The new shelving is very tall, so there is space available at the top of each shelf where we can display student artwork.  The art club will be working on small murals (corresponding to Dewey Decimal topic) for the tops of the shelving.  We are looking forward to seeing their creativity and displaying their work here in the library!