Huntington teens recently bowled over the opposition in a local science competition.
The high school's team -- Aron Coraor, Marc Feldman, Brian Gilbert and Jacob Roday -- beat 20 other tri-state area squads last month to take first place in the 2013 Long Island Regional High School Science Bowl held at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton.
Huntington now will compete this spring at the national level in Washington, D.C.
"Every year we feel like we have 'the team,' but we just haven't found the spark to push into round two," said Huntington science research program teacher Lori Kenny, who coached the team with co-worker Dame Forbes. "This year, we had a unique team that truly found fun in the contest as they laughed with one another over the different question sets."
The science bowl is a "Jeopardy"-style competition with a four-division round-robin format in the morning, featuring topics that range from astronomy to physics to biology. Division winners faced off during the afternoon as part of a double-elimination series.
"We had a couple of close calls, including making it through a three-way tiebreaker at one point," said Gilbert, the Huntington team captain. "The final match against Great Neck South was so close that I lost track of the score and thought we were going to lose."
The science bowl is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.
Skyping with Spain
West Side Elementary School sixth-graders recently held their first Skype session with a class in Spain studying English at a small institute.
Discussion topics ranged from holiday traditions to favorite foods, school officials said. That was followed by a project in which kids recorded voice memos in Spanish on iPods and uploaded them to Voki, an application for creating personal avatars.
"Technology lends itself so well to connecting with the world, and this is such a motivating real-life lesson for the students," foreign language teacher Senora Tassani said.
The idea was started by sixth-grade teacher Susan Safranek, whose daughter Megan volunteered this month in Kenya with the Hope Children's Fund. She brought to Kenya a 50-pound suitcase filled with thousands of donated bandages and other items including Nassakeag T-shirts.
In East Setauket, Arrowhead Elementary School's social studies classes matched NFL teams with the cities for which they play and then took virtual tours of those locations using Google Earth. English classes had spelling tests and writing assignments with football terms.
In West Babylon, Santapogue Elementary School held a food drive in which children placed nonperishable items into the basket of the team they wanted to win: the Baltimore Ravens or San Francisco 49ers.
In Commack, North Ridge Primary School held a "Souper Bowl" collection that yielded more than 6,300 soup cans to aid local families through Long Island Cares in Hauppauge.
Parents as partners
Many local schools recently held kickoff events and celebrations as part of Parents as Reading Partners, a New York State PTA program that encourages parents to read with their children at least 15 minutes daily.
In Greenlawn, Thomas J. Lahey Elementary School assistant principal Jordan Cox carried a mock torch to "ignite" a love of reading while children sang "Reading in the U.S.A.," a parody of Miley Cyrus' 2009 song, "Party in the U.S.A." The school also held a Drop Everything and Read (DEAR) Day in which kids carried around books all day and stopped to read when given a signal.
In Deer Park, John Quincy Adams Elementary School hosted a reading-themed rendition of the 1939 film "The Wizard of Oz" featuring performing arts students from Deer Park High School. Quincy Adams teachers tracked reading progress using a yellow brick road laid out in the school's hallways.
In Ronkonkoma, Edith L. Slocum Elementary School hosted a Hawaiian luau-themed kickoff in which students and parents wore grass skirts and leis and enjoyed a night of music and games.