Science is for Girls, Too
As a principal, I run when I hear the word “diva.” Anybody labeled as such is going to bring big-time drama into my life. Digital Divas on the other hand, now that is worth getting to know more about. Why? It’s science…science, engineering, math, and technology to be more specific. And, it is aimed at girls because they are largely unrepresented in these career fields.
This past week, a group of 7th and 8th grades girls from several schools in our region participated in the Middle School version of Digital Divas at Eastern Michigan University. (A High School version takes place in the spring.) The program exposed students to bio-engineering, drone technology, hands-on building and team projects simulating the real-world application of problem-solving. Our girls put their skills to the test early with a competition requiring students to build a tower capable of holding weight. WLPS took first and second place! Annika Taylor and Lauren Price built the winning tower. Kendall Everard’s group came in second. Kendall was applauded for her leadership and unique creativity in design. Staff members were impressed by the ingenuity and enthusiasm our students showed.
Kendall Everard commented that she learned how much application technology has in our lives. She said building the tower was fun. It involved doing something with limited tools – it was a challenge. Adding that one of her favorite parts of the day was hearing from the presenters and guest speakers. “I liked listening to the people who told their personal stories of success.”
Whitmore Lake Public Schools has an impressive student body, and I am happy our staff could bring the girls to this learning experience. You can check out photos from Digital Divas, HERE. What a great day to be a Trojan.
Go Science and Go Blue!
We are so lucky to have both Eastern Michigan University and the University of Michigan basically just down the road from us. Our close proximity opens up many unique opportunities for our students and staff. And though we always love the chance to get our students’ feet on a college campus, as demonstrated by Digital Divas, it is equally exciting when members of those universities come to our turf to interact with our kids.
Thanks to funding from the National Science Foundation provided to the University of Michigan, a University of Michigan Professor from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Jeremy Semrau, and a WLPS third-grade teacher, Carolyn Otterman, have been working together to develop a series of “hands-on” experiments for our elementary students that they started implementing this fall. As part of the pilot program, students learn the basic principles of the scientific method, experimental design, data collection and data analysis.
So far they have learned about momentum by taking a tennis ball, placing it on top of a basketball and dropping them together, causing the tennis ball to go flying. As part of their third
lesson titled “May the (Electromagnetic) Force be with you!”, every student made her/his own electromagnet from D batteries, insulated copper wire, a large threaded bolt, electrical tape and some paper clips. The more I write about this, I’m thinking I want to go back to third-grade!
This program is not only special because of how it benefits students. While Ms. Otterman has the opportunity to learn from Professor Semrau, Ms. Otterman also shares her expertise on how to engage elementary-aged students in the content and subject as they plan the lessons and experiments. It might be my teacher-nerd coming out, but it is a cool process to observe.
The long-term plan is for Ms. Otterman and Professor Semrau to use this experience as a jumping off point to promote partnerships between the University of Michigan and our Elementary schools to enrich science education for all students. We look forward to seeing how the program grows.
Varsity Volleyball Bringing that #TrojanPride
Our Varsity Volleyball team’s season ended last night with a loss to St. Mary Catholic Central. Out of 188 Class C high schools, our team made it all the way to the sweet 16. And they won their first district title in five years this season. MLive ran a great article about their victory over Lumen Christi and their season. You can check it out HERE.
I commend all the student-athletes and coaching staff on a fantastic season. #TrojanPride
They Raked. They Ran.
Here are the numbers of today’s annual Rake N’ Run community service event where all our middle and high school students headed out into the community to do some work and spread some #TrojanPride. We will be sharing pictures from the event over the next week or so, but I wanted to make sure to give all the students, staff and volunteers a shout-out for their hard work on this chilly day. And also thank our National Honor Society for handling all the logistics.