FTC Robotics Teams Advance to Regionals, Win Awards

On Monday, March 29, FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) robotics held its San Diego Region Awards Ceremony. Three Sage Creek and two Carlsbad High School robotics teams qualified to compete in the regionals! They also won some other important awards, including the Motivate and Think Award. Watch a recording of the ceremony online. 

2021 FTC San Diego Region Awards:

Sage Creek High School

8097 Bobcats

  • Connect Award – Winner
  • Regional Championship Advancement

9261 Level Up

  • Motivate Award – Winner
  • Innovate Award – 3rd Place
  • Regional Championship Advancement

10809 Crow Force

  • Think Award – Winner
  • Regional Championship Advancement

Carlsbad High School

5015 Buffalo Wings

  • Think Award – Winner
  • Regional Championship Advancement

9049 Robopuffs

  • Motivate Award – Winner
  • Connect Award – 3rd Place
  • Regional Championship Advancement

FIRST Tech Challenge is a national program for high school students, grades 9 – 12. In teams, students are challenged to document a season of building, designing, programming, and testing complex robots to be used in competition.

Different teams learn to work together through an alliance-based competition system designed to be competitive, respectful, and fun. Teams not only create a robot each season – they also bond, learn, and grow together.

The 2020-21 FTC season was adapted to a virtual format because of social distancing guidelines as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

FTC Coach and Carlsbad Educational Foundation Board Member Al Lewis explains in the video message below how students overcame the challenge of meeting remote and not seeing team members in person.

Learn more: www.carlsbaded.org/robotics/ftc/ 

AOMS Science Olympiad Advances to State Competition

Author: Megan Holland, AOMS Science Olympiad Advisor

On February 27, students from Aviara Oaks Middle School’s Science Olympiad teams logged on and prepared to compete in the Science Olympiad Regional Competition

The AOMS theme for this year’s Science Olympiad season, ‘Stranger Things,’ was fitting, given the virtual practices and now virtual competition. It was a strange year and things felt a bit upside down.

Throughout the changes, however, our students stayed dedicated to the program and did their best. They coordinated with their partners beforehand to test their knowledge and stayed dedicated to virtual practices leading up to the competition.

Many of our team members scored in the top 30. Overall, we achieved 10th place and qualified for the state competition!

Our state competition will be April 3, just as students are starting Spring Break.  

One of our five teams of students will compete and we will face off with schools all over California. The students competing include: Arianna Sharifi, Jacob Dougherty, Hope Ryan-Retzlaff, Marianthe Dresios, Varni Reddy Badveli, Zaiden Dee, Danielle Dee, Garv Sharma, Sathvik Kambam, Henry Saint, Madison Le, Yash Patil, Meera Mor, and Matvey Pugachev. 

Many of these students have been dedicated to the program for the past three years, and stayed involved when the competition got canceled because of the pandemic at the end of the 2019-20 season. 

Every year, more than 70 students at AOMS (grades 6-8) participate in the Science Olympiad program.  Five teams are eligible to compete. Students choose among 23 events that reflect the ever-changing nature of genetics, earth science, chemistry, anatomy, physics, geology, mechanical engineering and technology. 

After five months of studying their event (with the help of our volunteer coaches – many of which work at ViaSat), students compete with schools all over San Diego. February’s competition was among the ‘stranger things’ this year. All practices and the competition were virtual. 

Thank you to all our coaches that help put this on, the Carlsbad Educational Foundation, ViaSat, and the Carlsbad Unified School District for providing these opportunities for our students. 

If your child would like to participate in the future, look out for information for the next year’s season. We would love for you to join!

Learn more: www.CarlsbadEd.org/Science-Olympiad/ 

Art Supplies Fully-Funded for Students

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At the end of December, art teachers faced a hard reality.

The money needed to supply individual art packs to students had run out – and there were still six
months left in the school year!

For a student, like sophomore Catherine Laube (shown in video above), these supplies inspired her to learn and added a tactile way for her to engage in the virtual classroom.

It was vital to provide art packs for students in the new year.

Because of you, art packs are now fully funded for the remainder of the year.

You answered the call to help our teachers and students.

Whether you donated an art pack, to another program, or to the Carlsbad Unified School
District’s greatest need, your help made a difference in the life of one student and the work of our
every teacher in our district.

A special thank you to our community partner, Erickson-Hall Construction Co., for their
generous support to fund art packs.

Art created by students using art packs:

Project Lead the Way 2020-21 Presentations

Sage Creek High School students in the Engineering Design and Development pathway at Sage Creek High School completed their Project Lead the Way presentations on Monday, March 1, 2021.

The presentations are a culmination of 12 years of the students’ education in the Carlsbad Unified School District (CUSD) and as participants in the programs granted by the Carlsbad Educational Foundation. From Foundation-funded programs like robotics, Science Olympiad, science teaching assistants, and beyond, these projects show the amazing work CUSD students can accomplish.

Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is a non-profit organization that develops hands-on, project-based science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) curricula for use by elementary, middle, and high schools. Sage Creek High School offers students the Engineering and Biomedical Sciences pathways.

Donor impact through the Foundation provides students with a $50 budget to prototype a product for class. Students start with product specifications, build the prototype, and then self-evaluate against the specifications.

PLTW teaches technical skills through product development within a real-world setting. All PLTW programs are aligned to the Common Core State Standards for Math and English Language Arts, as well as Next Generation Science Standards.

More than 100 universities and colleges have partnered with PLTW to administer professional development, support schools throughout their state, and give academic credit for selected PLTW high school courses.

For more information on Project Lead The Way, visit the PLTW website.

Watch the student presentations on the YouTube Playlist.

Educational nonprofit, corporations invest in Carlsbad through STEM

Thermo Fisher scientists volunteer at the first 8th grade DNA sequencing lab in 2017. Photo courtesy of CEF

From The Coast News | Catherine Allen

CARLSBAD — STEM proponents are reimagining programs that can withstand the pandemic and prepare Carlsbad students for expanding scientific fields.

As a biotech hub, Carlsbad is able to bring together the Carlsbad Educational Foundation (CEF) and local corporate donors to fund about 40 educational programs, with a growing focus on science, technology, engineering and math.

But with an indefinite shift to online learning, the hands-on experience typically vital to STEM must now be reworked to either a virtual or socially distant platform.

“It’s important now more than ever to support these programs,” said CEF’s CEO, Michelle Ginn. “The challenge we face is that we have more to do, there’s more of a need for us and yet we have fewer resources.”

Thermo Fisher scientists volunteer at the first 8th grade DNA sequencing lab in 2017. An annual program that typically takes place during spring, the lab is now one of the many STEM programs funded by the Carlsbad Educational Foundation that have been canceled due to COVID-19, causing the foundation to question how to maintain Carlsbad’s investment in STEM. Photo courtesy of CEF

Despite a fall in revenue, some key sponsors remain. Since 2014, Thermo Fisher has invested over $85,000 in FIRST Lego League robotics and elementary and middle school Science Days. Thermo Fisher’s support expanded in 2017 with an 8th-grade forensic lab program led by scientists that put their DNA sequencing curriculum into action.

Though in-person programs are halted, Thermo Fisher’s philanthropic support has continued throughout the pandemic.

“I’m really happy to see more students and young minds interested in STEM,” said Dr. Grace Zhang Li, a Thermo Fisher staff scientist. “There is always something exciting, something new– not only coronavirus. A challenge is a new opportunity for the people going into the field. What we’re experiencing right now just makes people feel like there’s more value in this work.”

Li estimates that we’ll see further growth in STEM industries over the next few years. Still, weak public school funding can leave students unprepared, which pushes CEF and companies like Thermo Fisher to engage students beyond the basic curriculum in hopes of filling those future jobs.

For instance, “STEAM” is rising in popularity, adding the arts as it applies to STEM. While CEF’s programs such as robotics employ an artistic focus with critical thinking and creativity, according to Li that vision actually aligns with the artistic design skills that are increasingly incorporated into Thermo Fisher’s product development team.

Despite an evolving platform for STEM programs, Ginn says these corporate partnerships highlight a common goal of expanding student experiences, bridging a gap between their curriculum and their community. It’s a long term investment, potentially paving the way for Carlsbad students to work for Carlsbad companies in the future.

“We have such an incredible community of STEM in San Diego, specifically Carlsbad,” Ginn said. “We know people that grow up here want to come back and work here, so by providing STEM education, we’re really hopeful that it comes full circle and that students can come back and contribute to our community here in Carlsbad.”