Tag Archives: Team 116

Young Scholars’ Field Trip

I work with a group of second grade students who are amazing.  They are called Young Scholars; kids with lots of academic potential.  This year the group had only one girl 😦 and ten boys 🙂 but they gave themselves a fun name and each week we worked on our math strategy skills.

As a culminating experience Mr. Gibson and I bought each of them a small robot which you create from the head of a toothbrush.  It is called a bristle bot. (www.bristlebots.org)  Then, Ms. Bryant, our guidance counselor, two parents and I walked with the kids to Herndon High School to meet up with Mr. Ence’s Engineering Physics class.  Once there, the high school kids helped the second graders assemble their robot and we watched the high schoolers give two presentations about what they think some technology items might look like when the 2nd graders are seniors in high school.

The high school students were great with the little kids and the second graders had a great time going on our walking field trip.  I think they will remember it for a long time.  Maybe when they get to high school they will join the robotics team?


One mind at a time…

Two years ago when I went with Herndon High School’s FIRST Robotics team to the national championship in Atlanta GA I signed up for the Connect a Million Minds project.  http://connectamillionminds.com/

During the 2011-2012 school year I continued to support the Herndon High team as a meeting chaperone and by accompanying them on a really long bus ride to chaperone the Bayou Regional outside of New Orleans, LA.  That also involved spending most of one day at an urgent care center with a sick student.  Then came the DC Regional which was a short bus ride but another sick student and I had to get the bus to stop in McLean where his parent picked us up and took me over to the Metro to ride into the competition at the DC Convention Center.  It was a long season that year.

I have been helping the Herndon High team for over 10 years and since my youngest son graduated last spring it was now time to do something else to help connect those minds.  This fall, several colleagues and I started a Saturday morning club for girls called GEMS (Girls Excelling in Math and Science).  We had 32 girls come during two six week sessions.  It was tons of fun to see them interact with each other, the female teachers and our female guest speakers in this single sex environment.  Most sessions started with a female role model from a STEM career who spoke about their job and then helped us with a hands on activity.  We were lucky to have so many outstanding female mentors to share their expertise including a former IT professional, a nurse supervisor from Inova Hospital system, a DNA researcher from Georgetown University, an engineer working for the US Army, a technology specialist from the  Fairfax County school system, the COO of Reston Hospital, a data specialist from the school system and two amazing college freshmen who shared their senior high school science fair project that took them all the way to the International Science Fair.

However, FIRST Robotics seems to be in our family blood now and my husband, Bob, has mentored the FIRST Tech Challenge Team at HHS for a number of years including this year and was either the field supervisor or the score keeper at three different FIRST regional competitions this year. On Saturday, March 31 I went down to the convention center (this time on the Metro intentionally) to check out the teams and cheer Herndon on (they made it all the way to the semi-finals)!  A colleague of mine from the elementary school brought five young boys down to see the competition too.  It was so much fun to explain the bots and how they are made and then explain the game to these eager young guys.  They went back to the pit area (where robots live and are repaired when they aren’t on the game field) and got to ask questions and see some robots up close.  One day, they may be on a FIRST team too!  One mind at a time…


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I love living in suburban Washington DC and especially in Fairfax County. This area has so much to offer. We have good schools, fine employment, wonderful restaurants, shopping, universities, libraries and culture (much of it free) even if we do have to put up with some traffic issues and the scarecity of mass transist and the occasional gut wrentching fear that you should have a better plan to be able to quickly evacuate to someplace else.

Perhaps the absolute best part of where I live is that I also live in a small town. On Homecoming Day this town really shines as we bring out all the kids, dogs, politicians, and activities to march down our “main” street in the big parade. Friends, old and new, seem to mingle from all areas of your life as they are greeting each other and everyone seems so happy. It is what I think “community” is really all about.