Getting the third LED light to blink on was becoming a significant headache.
Claudia Vargas and her classmates in the general science class at Endeavor Academy were building a light system using an Arduino USB Board, a programmable circuit board/microcontroller. By entering code into the board via a computer, Vargas' group had successfully programmed two of three lights to come on, but the third was being stubborn.
John Wognun learned a timeless lesson from his first season playing for the Smoky Hill High School Unified Basketball team.
Wognum, a junior, spoke words that countless athletes from countless sports have uttered as long as humans have banded together to play competitive games. While the adage may feel familiar, its value was immediate and important for Wognum, who worked with his fellow students and athletes to take home the state championship title for Smoky Hill in March for the fourth year in a row.
"There's no 'I' in 'team,'" Wognum said. "We all make this possible."
Smith felt like she left an important part of her identity behind when she started sixth grade at Thunder Ridge Middle School in the fall. Specifically, she missed the comradery and closeness of the Sunrise Elementary School Newbery Club, a student organization that welcomes readers and encourages literary discussions.
A simple flyer was a bridge to a new way of perceiving education for Dr. Luis Cruz.
Cruz, a Los Angeles-based educator and administrator, was working in a middle school and looking for solutions to some pretty weighty problems when he came across a flyer advertising a conference dedicated to Professional Learning Communities, or PLCs.
The event would prove to be a turning point for Cruz, one that had a schoolwide effect for teachers, administrators, students and parents alike.
Walking into Smoky Hill High School on Oct. 13 was like walking into another world. A world filled with strange and wonderful creatures; an elaborately decorated Indian elephant, a variety of dragons and dinosaurs, an elegant eel-like creature that could have been a cousin of the Loch Ness Monster.
There were equally amazing machines; a tank with a working turret and catapult, a grand piano with a computerized keyboard, a telephone booth straight out of Victorian London, except for the high tech smartphone keypad.
Gabe Schneider has amassed an impressive store of cardboard.
The sixth-grader from Liberty Middle School sees the material as a key to creativity, raw material that can result in inspired expressions of creativity and engineering. In Schneider's eyes, discarded boxes and packing material are building blocks for massive sculptures and painstakingly detailed models.
"I call myself the 'Cardboard Nerd.' I have a huge box just about the size of my mom's car full of cardboard in the garage," Schneider said. "She won't allow me to collect anymore. She says I have too much."
Emily Stout had an important message for a group of third-graders at Holly Hills Elementary School.
The students were working on making their own audiobooks, digital versions of published works that would be available to schoolmates in kindergarten and first grade at Holly Ridge Primary School. The third-graders recorded the text in their own voice, they selected photos and musical snippets. They even chose sound effects to accompany key parts of the stories.
Students in Mike Elliott's fourth-grade math class at Heritage Elementary School have tackled an ambitious list of class projects over the past seven months.
They've designed basketball trophies and personalized plastic bus passes; they've put together plans for individualized stationary holders for every teacher in the building. All of this work required precise calculations and mathematical formulas. The process pushed the fourth-graders think in three dimensions to effectively envision three-dimensional objects.
When it comes to gauging a student's academic progress, data can play a critical role.
That data can come in a wide spectrum of different forms, from statewide assessments to input from an individual teacher during a single class. It all makes for a massive amount of numbers and figures that can easily be overwhelming.