Cuba, New York – Wednesday, February 16, 2022 – Twenty-two VEX Robotics teams from across Cattaraugus and Allegany Counties will be attending the annual CABOCES VEX Robotics Qualifying Tournament at Cuba-Rushford Middle/High School on Wednesday, February 16. Students will compete with and against teams from Belfast, Cattaraugus-Little Valley, Cuba-Rushford, Ellicottville, Fillmore, Franklinville, Genesee Valley, Hinsdale, Pioneer, Portville, Wellsville, and Whitesville. The middle and high school students will execute the 2021-2022 VEX Robotics Competition game, Tipping Point. The object of the game is to attain a higher score than the opposing Alliance by scoring rings, moving mobile goals to Alliance zones, and by elevating on platforms at the end of a two- minute match.
All teams can take part in the full qualifying tournament and a Skills Challenge. Teams also have an opportunity to participate in a Team Interview as well as be judged on their Engineering Notebook. Teams who earn advancement will qualify to attend the Northern New York State Championship in Syracuse on March 12, 2022.
To prepare for the tournament, students worked together to design, build and program a semiautonomous robot that could quickly and efficiently solve the specific challenges of the Tipping Point game. Teams studied electronics, programming, mechanical systems, animation, 3D CAD, computer-aided machining, web design, and materials fabrication. An equally important set of skills is learned through competition: communication, negotiation, project management, time management, and teamwork.
The tournament is possible because of a collaborative effort between Cuba-Rushford school and CABOCES. CABOCES ISS (Professional Development, Learning Resources, and Student Programs), along with the CABOCES Tech Support team and iDesign Solutions worked together to plan a successful tournament. Additional support and guidance, which was invaluable, came from Ben Mitchell from the REC Foundation. All details about the upcoming tournament are available at https://www.robotevents.com/robot-competitions/vex-robotics-competition/RE-VRC-21-6698.html#general-info
The CABOCES Qualifying Tournament is one of a series of VEX Robotics Competitions taking place internationally throughout the year. VEX Competitions are the largest and fastest-growing competitive robotics program for elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, and college-aged students around the world. VEX Competitions represent over 24,000 teams from 61 countries that participate in more than 1,650 VEX Competition events worldwide. The competition season culminates each spring, with VEX Robotics World Championship, a highly anticipated event that unites top qualifying teams from local, state, regional, and international VEX Robotics Competitions to crown World Champions. More information about the VEX Robotics Competition is available at RoboticsEducation.org, RobotEvents.com, and VEXRobotics.com. To find out how to become involved in VEX Robotics in the CABOCES region, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 716-376-8323.
About the REC Foundation
The Robotics Education & Competition Foundation manages the VEX Robotics Competition, which thousands of schools participate in around the world each year. REC states that one million students are reached worldwide through all the VEX robotics programs, classrooms, and competitions.
The REC Foundation seeks to increase student interest and involvement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) by engaging students in hands-on, sustainable, and affordable curriculum-based robotics engineering programs across the U.S. and internationally. Its goal is to provide these programs with services, solutions, and a community that allows them to flourish in a way that fosters the technical and interpersonal skills necessary for students to succeed in the 21st Century. The REC Foundation develops partnerships with K-12 education, higher education, government, industry, and the non-profit community to achieve this work so that one day these programs will become accessible to all students and all schools in all communities. For more information on REC Foundation, visit www.RoboticsEducation.org.
By: Jean Oliverio, CA BOCES Student Programs
If you made it to your first day on the job without missing a turn, either you grew up here, or you can thank Gladys West. Even though the navigation technology is relatively new to everyday citizens (I specifically remember first placing a GPS monitor on my dashboard in 2008 in preparation for a trip to Washington D.C.), GPS technology has been under construction since the 1970s. Now I wonder what we ever did without it! Even after muscle memory has been committed to all the dips and turns on my 35-minute drive, I still set the map up on my phone every morning, maybe as an extra sense of security. (And how could I ever find the nearest Tim Horton’s without GPS?)
Gladys West was a hard-working, rural farm-girl from Virginia. She walked 3 miles each day to a one-room school, where she knew she had to learn as much as she could to get out of the blistering, back-breaking harvest work on her family’s small farm. She graduated top in her class, which earned her a scholarship to college.
After graduating from Virginia State College, West became a teacher. While teaching, she also earned a master’s degree in mathematics. The U.S. Navy recognized her talent in this field and hired her to do computer programming and coding. Although she earned her place in this prestigious program, at the time it was not common for a woman, especially a woman of color, to do such work. Amid a backdrop of the Civil Rights Movement, West felt the need to work extra hard to prove herself and provide a path for those that would follow.
In the late 1970s, West became the project manager for Seasat, collecting and processing data from satellites to monitor the oceans. Her detailed mathematical calculations helped to depict an accurate model for the true shape of the Earth – a slightly squashed sphere with many crevices, high points, and vast ocean basins. This information was the groundwork needed to create GPS.
GPS stands for Global Positioning System. It is a system of satellites that provides location and time information anywhere on or near the surface of Earth where there is an unobstructed line of site to four or more GPS satellites. Mainly used in the military in the early 1990s, the benefits of civilian use were soon realized and full capabilities of GPS were made available to the public by the year 2000.
Today we use GPS without even thinking. We ask our phones to find the closest gas station, it is used in emergency and disaster communications, self-driving cars cannot function without GPS. More efficient crop management, geotagging (referencing location on photos we take with our phones), and recreation such as hiking or Pokémon Go! all rely on GPS.
In the spirit of having a little fun with GPS, try your hand at Geocaching. This inclusive pastime not only utilizes the tech we all have at our fingertips, but it gets us outside and interacting with our world.
Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunt using a GPS-enabled device (a smartphone will do!). Geocachers navigate to a specific set of coordinates and then attempt to find a cache (container) hidden at that location. Caches can be found all over the world and almost anywhere you can imagine. They vary greatly in size and appearance – everything from large, plastic tubs to tiny camouflaged film canisters. Inside a cache there is usually a logbook for you to record your name and date of discovery and a number of items, trinkets, or souvenirs (treasures!). The rule is that you can take an item from the cache if you like, as long as you leave something of equal or greater value in its place. When you are finished, put the cache back exactly where you found it.
All you need for geocaching is a smartphone and a sense of adventure!
To get started, take a minute to head to https://www.geocaching.com/play to make an account. This site also has extensive geocaching information, videos, and tutorials. Once you have an account, you can download the free geocache app to your phone. This app will give you basic access to all geocaches with a difficulty rating of 1.5 and below (on a scale of 1-5). This rating will be easy enough to get you started.
There’s a treasure out there waiting for you, thanks to Gladys West!
By: Kelli Grabowski, CA BOCES Learning Resources
Canva is a free graphic design platform that's full of templates to create posters, presentations, videos, infographics and just about any graphic you can need. A drag and drop interface makes customizing the thousands of templates simple and easy while giving you the freedom to make them your own. Canva's wide array of features allow you to edit projects like a pro, even if you have little or no experience.
Many of us have used Canva personally and professionally, but recently we have been given the opportunity to explore Canva for Education. As soon as this became Ed Law 2D compliant (Thank you, Ryan McGinnis) districts immediately became eager to try it out and see how it can be used for both teachers and students.
Cattaraugus Little Valley jumped on board right away and tried it out with students and noticed the benefits to learning and student ownership that it can bring. Dave Conner, 7th grade social studies teacher used Canva for students to brainstorm and ultimately create/present their upcoming projects. They began with a simple template that was already on Canva.
Dave began with the above template, then was able to edit and make it match the exact needs he had for his project and his students. When the template was ready and to his liking, he could deploy it (assign it via Microsoft teams) directly to his students so they could have and edit their own copies. Dave could then review each students work and give them with feedback.
This is just one simple example, but as these students become more comfortable, they will be choosing and creating their own graphic pieces. I think of the many times our student clubs need to promote things such as school events or showcase things they have done. Rather than us, adults doing that for them they can now take ownership and create them themselves. To me, that student voice and ownership is the most important and useful part of Canva. If you haven't checked it out yet, take a look at Canva for education! This is a link to a helpful blog post of ideas for using Canva in the classroom!
By: Chelsea Skalski, CA BOCES Professional Development
6th-grade science teacher, Mrs. Cole, and 7th-grade science teacher, Mr. Pleakis, recently paired up for an exciting microscope experiment. As part of the 6th-grade, Lab Aids “Ecology Unit,” students had the opportunity to learn about the microorganism Paramecium and observe its feeding and searching behaviors. First, students watched the Paramecia on the large monitors in the new science lab. After that, students prepared slides with a drop of the solution that contained the Paramecia along with some food particles, and then they observed their behavior; students loved the up-close view. At the end, the students recorded their observations in their science notebooks. The investigation was a huge success.
By: Anne Mitchell, CA BOCES Professional Development
Nationally teachers of second and third graders are seeing an increased need for Phonological and Phonemic Awareness instruction. Phonological Awareness is the ability to hear and manipulate sounds within words in larger units such as onset, rhyme, and syllables. Although very similar, Phonemic Awareness is the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate individual sounds (phonemes) in spoken words. This skill is typically mastered by second grade, however, due to the pandemic and different platforms of learning over the past two years, students are now lacking these basic reading skills.
The Olean City School District has been working diligently to find a solution to close these Phonemic Awareness gaps while also choosing a curriculum that would align with their Phonics program by Wiley Blevins titled From Phonics to Reading. After a lot of research and consideration they chose Heggerty to explicitly and systematically teach Phonological and Phonemic Awareness to students. Heggerty contains daily lessons that are meant to be around 12 minutes. Each lesson encompasses Phonological and Phonemic Awareness skills such as rhyme repetition, onset fluency, blending words, phoneme manipulation, alphabet knowledge, and language awareness.
Over the past few months, I have had the privilege in training teachers in Pre-K and Title I reading to implement Heggerty with their students. Pre-K has implemented this program for several weeks with all their classroom students. Title I is beginning to implement Heggerty with their students and will benchmark students on a six-week cycle to adjust students through data meetings in the hopes that some students may close the gap by the end of the year.
If you feel like Heggerty may be a good fit for your district and would like further information, please contact me at Janelle_Freer@caboces.org
By: Janelle Freer, CA BOCES Professional Development
As we continue to navigate the new normal of Covid and “learning loss” (or as I heard it rephrased, “unfinished learning”) we’ve worked with other coordinators and teachers to develop and purchase some math intervention kits. As students continue to struggle with memorizing math facts and then using those facts in practice, it’s obvious that something isn’t transferring.
Over the summer, math specialist Graham Fletcher joined our Summer Math Institute and shared his knowledge of Building Fact Fluency Through Mathematical Storytelling, Harnessing the Power of the Purposeful Task (3-Act Tasks), and Demystifying the Fraction Rules We Teach. His sessions were well received, and he promoted new math kits he was working on.
Those kits are now on our warehouse shelves. Building Fact Fluency: A Toolkit for Addition and Subtraction and then another for Multiplication and Division are available to book for our teachers, instructional coaches, specialists, and interventionalists.
The Addition and Subtraction kit helps students learn their math facts by developing deep, conceptual understanding and procedural fluency at the same time. This comprehensive, research-based toolkit provides everything a teacher needs to help students develop number sense on the way to fluency—from cards, games, and videos to online resources, a facilitator’s guide, and hundreds of highly-engaging activities and tasks.
Research-based and standards-aligned, the Multiplication and Division toolkit invites students to think strategically about mathematics through multiple, rich, real-world contexts. These accessible contexts allow students to see how number facts connect to a wide variety of mathematical situations, explore the properties of the operations, and build a foundation of strategies they can draw from efficiently and with confidence.
LET’S BOOK SOME KITS!!!! Go to our resources page here to look at the new kits, older kits, and streaming resources. Keep checking back as we add more items to assist teachers in their craft and students in their learning.
By: Alexandra Freer, CA BOCES Learning Resources
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