Sunday, September 13, 2015


We've been having a great time exploring our MakerSpace!  Our MakerSpace is shared space where students can explore STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math).  The MakerSpace is set up in stations where students can explore hands-on, inquiry-based activities.  So far, the Challenge students have explored making circuits, building roller coasters, creating shape drawings, making 3D shapes, programming with SCRATH, programming the Pro-Bot Car, and making music with the Makey, Makey.  We will change stations periodically, and we are hoping to get some new items soon!

It's Electric:  Students are making complete circuits!

                     Marble Roller Coaster Wall
Marble Roller Coaster Wall

3D Shapes with Straws

Makey Makey

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Sorry About the Mess!

Krissy Venosdale knows all about teaching gifted kids.  She knows, as well as I do, that learning is hands-on and sometimes downright dirty.  Whether it's building a volcano, experimenting with sheep manure, or creating a work of art...making a mess is part of the creative process.  I keep this sign outside my door to remind visitors that we ARE learning.

I do, however, enjoy seeing our room clean an organized at the beginning of the year...really I do.  So, I want to show you pictures of our room actually clean.  Everything is in a spot, and the custodians are happy! 

But, what I enjoy even more than seeing a clean room, is seeing my students, explore, build, create, and problem solve.  Let's see how long it takes to really mess it up (in a good way)!  

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


I just discovered Howtoons, the world's greatest DIY comic website!  No more boring "how to" books...students can learn to make things by reading comics!  I'm excited to incorporate Howtoons into our MakerSpace.  Maybe students can even create their own Howtoons...the possibilities are endless!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Summer Geocaching

Unfortunately, this has not been the ideal summer for for swimming.  What can you do on a dreary summer day?  We like to go geocaching!  It's a fun alternative on a cloudy day.

Josh and I found two yesterday, and our adventure led us to climbing trees, sliding in the mud, and seeing some new sites.  We have small portable GPS systems we use, but you can also use your smartphone.  You just plug in the latitude and longitude coordinates (Waypoints), and the GPS will guide you to your cache.  Some cache's are micro, however some are large enough to trade trinkets. We like to find the tradition cache's where you can trade trinkets, however sometimes the caches marked "other" are a little more exciting.    

If you want to find out more about geocaching, visit:
You can search for local geocaches or a specific type of geocache.  It's also a fun activity to do when you are camping!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Success at Science Fair

Several St. Clair R-XIII Challenge students participated in the Mastodon Science Fair Saturday, March 21 at Jefferson College.  

First grade students, Mattea Casey, Brodie Rettinghaus, and Myah Beeson, earned a silver medallion for their project, "Hot and Cold Colors."  They leaned that when ice is covered with different colors of felt, the ice covered with black felt melts most quickly.  

Second grade students, Amber Glastetter and Chloe Williams, earned a bronze medallion for their project, "Crystal Creations."  They learned that salt crystals grow more quickly than sugar crystals.  

Phillip North, 2nd grade; Alex Behlmann, 3rd Grade; and Zech Slater, 2nd grade, earned a gold medallion for their project, "Rocket Aerodynamics."  They investigated body types of air powered rockets.  They discovered that rockets built with foil bodies with travel farther than rockets made with foam and paper bodies.  

Second grade students, Cameron Tedrick and Kirsten Vilcek, earned a bronze medallion for their project, "Soda Erosion."  They learned that Diet Pepsi erodes tooth enamel more quickly that regular Pepsi.  

Fourth grade students, Tara Bendler, Bella Sheldon, and Alexus Cox, earned a bronze medallion for "Lightening Ants." They explored how quickly ants travel in light and dark habitats.

Kennedy Travis, Edgar Murray 4th grade;  Madi Baxter, 3rd grade (St. Clare Catholic School); and Lucy Long, 3rd grade (St. Clair Catholic School), earned a gold medallion for their project, "Turbo." They investigated how quickly snails travel on various surfaces. They learned that snails actually travel on sandpaper most quickly. They also won two special awards:  SCIENCE DIVISION AWARD GR 3-4 (trophy) and FLYING EAGLE TEAM TROPHY for the most outstanding team project.

Cassidy Harris, 3rd grade; Paris Perkins, 4th grade; and Ava Brand, 4th grade earned a bronze ribbon for their science fair project, "Chew on This." They learned that chewing cinnamon gum kills bacteria in a person's mouth.

Second grade students, Joshua Hawkins, JJ Hawkins, and Ty Bradshaw, earned a gold medallion for their project, "Soda Carbonation--Which POP has the most POP?"  They learned that 7-up has the most carbonation.  

Kaitlynn VandeWiele, 2nd grade; Chloe Slater, 3rd grade, and Shelby Waterman, 2nd grade, earned a silver medallion for their project, "Worm Regeneration." They learned that a planarian worm can regenerate when cut more than six times.   

Eighth grade students, Jessica Knight and Morgan Juergens earned a silver medallion for their project, "Cats vs. Dogs."  They collected and analyzed data comparing personality types of cat lovers and dog lovers.  They also won two special awards:  US NAVY JUNIOR AWARD (gift certificate, medallion, and $50 for online gift certificates) and the MASTODON STATE HISTORIC SITE DISPLAY AWARD.  Their project will be on display until May 1.  
Cameron Tedrick, 2nd Grade, is one of my students, however he won his awards for projects he did with his parents.  He entered a piece of art and an individual science fair project.  He won the following awards:  
  • US NAVY JUNIOR AWARD (gift certificate, medallion, and $50 for online gift certificates)

Special award winners were recognized at the Mastodon Science Fair Award Ceremony at Jefferson College on Saturday, March 28.

Lucy Long, Kennedy Travis, and Madi Baxter won  the Science Division Award for
Grades 3-4 and  the Flying Eagle Team Trophy for the most outstanding team project.