An Islip Middle School team's design of transportation in a futuristic city won top honors at a regional engineering competition in Manhattan, making it eligible to compete at the national level.
The squad of eighth-graders, Grace Constantino, Ashley Howell, Kyle Lackner, Kyle Ness and Dylan Seara, placed first among 21 tristate area teams in the New York National Engineers Week Future City Regional Competition.
The victors receive an all-expenses-paid trip to compete against teams from 36 other regions at the national finals in Washington, D.C., Feb. 15-18. It will be the fourth time since 2008 that an Islip team has gone on to the finals in the contest, which is designed to promote technological literacy and engineering among middle school students.
The grand prize is $7,500 for the team's school and a trip to Space Camp at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala.
"I couldn't be more proud of this group of students," team coach Julia Johnson said. "They have worked extremely hard on their design since the beginning of the school year."
The Islip team's city, named iMove, focused on the natural geography of Dryden, Ontario, which the students described as an area with pollution, sawmills and a declining population. Future transportation in iMove, balancing technology and preservation, would have everything from sidewalks constructed of recycled plastic to magnetic levitation trains to "skyways."
The competition challenged teams to design their simulated city using SimCity software, write an abstract and a
research essay, create a scale model using recycled materials at a cost of less than $100, and develop a seven-minute presentation for a panel of judges.
The Islip team also won a specialty award this year for best land surveying practices.
St. Jude's math-a-thon
John Quincy Adams Primary School recently raised more than $7,200 -- the school's highest amount ever -- in a math-a-thon to benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.
The math-a-thon challenged students to seek pledges from family and friends based on the children's efforts solving math problems in a "funbook," school officials said.
In other news, May Moore Primary School unveiled a green screen studio funded through a grant from Western Suffolk BOCES. The studio will allow students to conduct technology projects that include chroma keying, a special effect used to layer images.
Crafting a new sign
Students in East Islip Middle School's Technology Club put their skills to use in designing and crafting a sign to welcome visitors entering the school.
The sign, which is 2-feet-by-5-feet, is made of oak, pine and cherry. It was installed on a front desk in the school's main lobby.
"One of the main priorities of the Technology Club this year is to design and create projects for both the school and community," technology teacher Brian Heyanka said.
Third-graders at Southdown Primary School are mixing learning with technology with the help of Google Chromebooks.
Students are using the personal computers for such projects as creating mock budgets on Microsoft Excel and researching a classroom's outdated items, supplemented by written proposals recommending replacements.
"The skills needed today are vastly different than those needed a decade or even just a few years ago," Huntington Superintendent James W. Polansky said. "We will continue to do everything possible to keep students up-to-date in terms of technology and to prepare them for the future, both academically and professionally."
Dozens of local schools educated students on peace and equality through events tied to the national holiday on Jan. 20 honoring the life and legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
In Syosset, students at Harry B. Thompson and South Woods middle schools commemorated the 50th anniversary of King's "I Have a Dream" speech by reciting it at the district's Board of Education meeting on Jan. 13. In addition, South Woods'
eighth-grade peer mediators paid homage to the civil rights leader by creating an abstract mural in his honor.
In Glen Cove, Landing Elementary School students gathered on the front lawn for the planting of a "peace tree." Kids also wrote hopes for peace on pieces of paper and dropped them into the hole to symbolize their peace-growing efforts.
Fourth-graders at East Elementary School in Long Beach, in a demonstrative analogy on equality, cracked open brown and white eggs to see that their contents are the same.