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posted: Thu, Feb 16th, 2017

STEAM Summer Program Is Back

This July, students can once again explore science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM) in Innovation Station, Mount Olive School District's popular summer camp.

Innovation Station is an opportunity for students to nurture their scientific creativity and curiosity, and learn real-world applications of scientific concepts. It provides hands-on learning experiences and this year includes new courses, updated favorites, and a new robotics class exclusively for incoming ninth-graders.

The program runs for two weeks, July 17–July 28, and will be held at Mount Olive High School from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. Students may attend either one or both weeks. Lunch and free transportation to students in Mount Olive will be provided. The cost is $250 per week. 

Students outside the school district may attend but must provide their own transportation.

Registration ends on June 1. 

For more information and to register, go to: http://www.mtoliveboe.org/summercamp.


Luke Pineda shows off a tablet with his stop-motion animation video

Fish movies

Forget Nemo and Dory. In Britt Henricksen and Dani Marangon's class, the most popular animated-movie fish don't come from Pixar; they come from Pepperidge Farm. 

Using Goldfish crackers, the fifth-graders created stop-motion videos for a Pepperidge Farm animation contest. The projects were completed over three weeks. Students worked alone or in small groups to plan the stories, create storyboards, and make the backgrounds and props. Then, using the Stop Motion Studio app on tablets, they shot their videos frame by frame. 

The stories all had a lesson or moral. One group, for example, told the story of a lonely goldfish on a playground and the ways he is able to make friends. Another group used the Goldfish crackers to depicted the story of Molly Pitcher, the American folk hero who carried pitchers of water to soldiers and helped with cannon duty during the American Revolution's Battle of Monmouth.

"These kids live with this technology in the palms of their hands," said Mrs. Marangon. "The project opened their eyes that tablets aren't just devices to play on or to look something up – you can actually use them to create. I think it's important that students consider that hand-held technology can be a creative tool, not just a diversion."

The filmmaking process allowed students to do some of the same activities that they had read about in class in a piece of realistic fiction called "Lunch Money." The short story tells the tale of a sixth-grader who plans and creates a comic book after researching the process online.

"It was cool to move the fish on the paper and see how it looked like they were moving on their own on the screen," said Luke Pineda, whose video told the story of two goldfish that search for an apple.

Several students were so inspired by the app and storytelling process, they created stop motion videos at home. 


Detectives visit with police dog

Kai from the Morris County Sheriff's Office K-9 Unit

An informative article about police dogs recently came to life when Detective Corporals Mike McMahon and Frank Perez from the Morris County Sheriff's Office visited to talk with third-graders about the role of K-9s in policing. They discussed the selection, training, and daily life of the dogs and how they interact with their human partners. The 14 K-9s in the unit are trained for specialties such as narcotic detection, accelerant detection, bomb detection, and search and rescue, the detectives said. 

Detective Monahan brought along his partner, Kai, and demonstrated how Kai responds to verbal and hand commands. Kai, Detective McMahon explained, knows when the two are on duty and the dog continually looks to him for commands. Kai, a Belgian Malinois, recently completed the yearlong training program. 

"I think this opened students' eyes to the many different ways that animals are out there helping people," said teacher Deanne Cornine who arranged the visit. "They're not just pets. They're making a contribution."

The visit by the detectives went beyond exploring how a K-9’s incredible hearing, sense of smell, speed, and strength can expand a police officer’s law enforcement and detection abilities, however. It also showed students the deep relationship between a real-life police dog and his human partner – a relationship that they had just read about in a piece of non-fiction called “Aero and Officer Mike.”

After the presentation by the detectives, the students wrote short essays detailing what they had learned. They also compared and contrasted police K-9s with the other types of service dogs that they had learned about in class (e.g., seeing eye dogs and therapy dogs).

The Morris County Sheriff's Office K-9 unit is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.

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Chester M. Stephens Elementary School
99 Sunset Drive Budd Lake, NJ 07828
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