Chalk Talk July 2, 2014

robots. Above, Max Koontz shows his submersible craft gear.  - Photo by Patsene Dashiell
robots. Above, Max Koontz shows his submersible craft gear.
— image credit: Photo by Patsene Dashiell


This year, students in Caleb Gentry’s eighth-grade Robotics & Engineering class have had the opportunity to participate in various challenges including units on “Simple Machines,” “Snap Circuits,” “Lego Robotics” and the “Sea Perch” underwater ROV. This hands-on experience has allowed students to build many skills such as problem solving as well as how to work in teams to achieve a goal. Several teams recently were able to compete in the regional ROV competition in Bremerton and were quite successful, bringing home various awards.

Their current assignment is to design a way to solve a maze. One way is to make a “Remotely Operated Vehicle” that can be paired to some type of remote control system. Some of these systems are wired, others are wireless (Bluetooth, for example). Each system has advantages and disadvantages, so our first challenge is to figure out which one works the best (we do this through the iterative design process). The second part of the challenge is to create an “Autonomous” robot that can solve the same maze on its own using sensors such as touch, light and ultrasonic. Each sensor collects different information that can be used to assist the robot in making it to the final target destination.



Students celebrated their reading achievement with an awards assembly on June 16. This year students read 11,903 books as a combined effort or roughly 141,771,151 words!

Librarian Marsha Omdal reports that the top readers for the school were Marshall Phipps (first grade), Andrew Crigler (second grade), Kari Olson (third grade), Mayhsa Deol (fourth grade) and first runner-up Zachary Budnek (fifth grade). Gusumer Deol (fifth grade) was this year’s top school reader, with 932 Accelerated Reader points for the year! Those students earning over 250 points using the Accelerated Reader program were treated to lunch at a local restaurant.

Here are some excerpts from animal research reports by Dena Riccobene’s second-grade students. After studying how nonfiction authors write and nonfiction text features, we wrote our own informational books. Students researched different animals, took many notes, changed their notes into sentences and paragraphs and wrote a nonfiction research report using nonfiction text features such as table of contents, headings, bold words, parenthesis, captions, illustrations, labels and diagrams.

Meet the orangutan! They have long red hair. The male has bumpy face pads. Their faces look like hairy coconuts! They have small brown eyes. The male is twice the size of the female. Wow, interesting fact! They look like they have a beard. Their eyes face forward, not side to side. They have a smooth red head. People gave them the name “orange huten” because they look like humans when they stand on their hind legs. Orangutans are related to gorillas and chimpanzees in the great ape family. They are different than monkeys because they have no tail! Delilah Smith

Lemon sharks dine on various types of fish. They usually eat smaller fish so they don’t have to fight their food. When they can’t find food, they feast on mollusks and crustaceans. Lemon sharks don’t eat large types of fish because lemon sharks are smaller than some other sharks. They can live a long time without eating. Isn’t that interesting? I think so. Do you know now more about what lemon sharks dine on? Good! Danielle Herman

If you want to see where leopard seals live, look for these things — They live in polar freezing waters in Antarctica. Did you know Antarctica is the coldest place in the world? Leopard seals don’t usually live in groups. They sleep on pack ice (a floating piece of ice). There are big pieces of ice floating around in the water and it looks like millions of broken pieces of metal. In Antarctica it is dark for part of the winter and light for part of the summer. Leopard seals don’t migrate; they stay right where they are. Corey Shaw

If you want to see a macaw, this is what you should look for — brightly colored feathers like a colored rainbow and some other colors. You also should look for long, and I mean long, red tail feathers dragging along behind macaws like a race car zipping by. Here’s something that no bird has except for the macaw — macaws have curved beaks. Their beaks are like a bent knife that is very, I mean very, sharp! You should look for dark gray legs, maybe hiding in some leaves. That is what you should look for to catch a glimpse of a macaw. Marli Gagner

Who wants to learn what ostriches look like? Ostriches look like their eyes are as big as a baseball. Their feathers are black and the neck is gray. They have long necks and their heads are smaller than a lion’s head. Ostriches eat until they have a lump of food in their throat and then they swallow. The food and sand in their food helps to grind the food up so they can swallow it. It is like a blender. They’re taller than most men. WOW! That’s big! Female ostriches have brown feathers and their necks are black. Well, brown, black, and gray are not special colors but they will do. Do you want to learn more? Well, I do! Let’s go on! Ava Pettett

What do these salamanders eat? Well, let’s take a look! They eat frogs, fish, snails and insects. They hunt at night. They hide and wait for their prey between cracks in rocks. A fish swims by. They use their powerful mouth like a vacuum and gulp it up! Then they wait, wait … a second … one gulp! The night is done. They go to sleep in the day. When the night comes again the prowl begins all over! Win Jones

Seahorses are small fish. The male only has a pouch for holding the babies. Seahorses wrap their curled tail (prehensile tail) around a plant or coral to hang on. Sea- horses can match their surroundings when they want to change color. Seahorses have large eyes and a long snout. A seahorse has armored, bony plates that cover the seahorse’s body. A seahorse has a horse-like head. Amilia Arnold

Who’s the animal with a tusk and has black and white spots? A narwhal, that’s who! Did you know they also have flippers that help them swim? They have a blowhole that helps them breathe when they go to the surface. They can be small and huge. I almost forgot the best part — the tusk! The tusk is a huge tooth that helps them hunt and grows from their mouth. The females do not have a tusk because they are fed by their mates. If a calf is a boy, it will have a small tusk. If it is a girl, it does not have one. Narwhals may look nice, but they are vicious creatures! Fayth Lymangrover

What’s on the menu for bird-eating spiders? You want to know? Well, you came to the right place! As the name says, it eats birds so you might think it eats just birds. Well, that’s wrong! That’d be so boring just to know it eats birds. They have more than one thing on their diet. They eat mice and lizards, and of course birds. But they also eat hens waiting for their chicks to hatch by poisoning them. Cool fact: Their bite is dangerous to animals but not humans. Isn’t that cool? Some build nests in trees to wait for birds to eat. So now you know what bird-eating spiders eat. Tonito Frutos


We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

Read the Oct 26
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates