St. Mary's News
By: St. Mary of the Assumption School
By Douglas Heckler
The Second Annual Science Fair was recently held at St. Mary’s of the Assumption School. The students were placed into six groups that consisted of students from grades 4 through 6, with a 6th grade student as the group leader.
Students were challenged to find a project that has affected society in a positive or negative way and to develop the scientific method that demonstrates the impact of their project on society. Students worked on their projects for six weeks at school and among group member’s homes. As the event drew near, students’ anticipation grew for the presentation of their project and poster boards.
Three judges scored the projects: Taylor Loomis, Denny Hesseling, and Dan Finch. After the scores were tallied by Dustin Hesseling (6th grade teacher), two groups’ projects emerged as winners. In first place was “May The Magnetic Force Be With You (Homopolar Motor)” and in second place, “The Heat Beneath Your Feet (Geothermal Energy)” project.
By Douglas J. Heckler
The Imagine Engineering Coloring Contest is a statewide youth education program for second grade students established in 1999 and sponsored by the Engineers Foundation of Ohio. This education program allows second grade teachers to schedule an in-class visit from a local member of the Ohio Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE).
Dexter Krueger, a Civil Engineer from Archbold, spoke to the second grade students at St. Mary of the Assumption School. He explained the jobs performed by different engineering disciplines and offered a demonstration for how we get municipal water supplies from water towers.
As part of this initiative, the Second Grade students participated in The “Imagine Engineering coloring contest with like students throughout Northwest Ohio. The winner for Northwest Ohio portion of the contest was Tyler Spray a student at St Marys. His entry will now be entered into the statewide contest.
By Doug Heckler
Right to read week is a National event scheduled for late April, but to ease the winter the staff at St. Mary of the Assumption School decided to hold it the week of Feb. 23-28. This coincided with the Book Fair from Scholastic Books being held on premises. The Book Fair was available after Mass all weekend to anyone and each day Monday-Thursday before school and immediately after school. The proceeds made from the book fair will go to purchase new books for the school’s library.
Based on educational values, reading was promoted to the students to demonstrate that reading fiction or nonfiction can be enjoyable and educational.
On Monday, the incentive of being allowed to “pie” a teacher or staff member in the face on Friday was introduced. Grades K-2 were to read and record the books read thru the week while grades 3 through 6 were to record the number of pages read in a log. Additionally, students were asked to create a scene or the cover for their favorite book, which will be displayed in the hallway. Tuesday found the students dressed as their favorite character from books. Wednesday, a DEAR (Drop Everything And Read) day was declared whereby older students paired with younger students for partner reading. On Thursday, each class had an SSR (Self Selected Reading) day period with silent or partner reading for twenty minutes. During these sessions, the principal, Dan Metzger (who was mysteriously absent for the pie-in-the-face festivities) visited the classrooms passing
out “I LOVE READING” and “Reading stretches your mind” bracelets to each student. On Friday, the pie in the face contest winners, one from each grade, carried out their duties to spread a little whipped cream and chocolate syrup on their chosen teachers or staff members.
Finally! The 100th day of school arrived, after this landmark date had been delayed numerous times due to school cancellations for inclement weather. Mrs. Tate’s kindergarten class of St. Mary’s of the Assumption School and Pat Johnson’s 3rd grade class made the most of the 100th day of school with a number of exciting activities.
Kindergarten students began the day by playing “stump the class,” a game in which each student brought in a brown paper bag that contained 100 undisclosed items. Students took turns giving their classmates three clues regarding the contents of their bag, and the rest of the class tried to identify what was in the bag. Nine of the children stumped the class.
The children had made hats and placemats for the 100 day celebration. Their festive, 100 day hats displayed ten groups of ten dots, and were worn throughout the day. Likewise, each student’s placemats depicted ten different types of stickers in groups of ten. Later the class counted out ten pieces of ten different types of food (peanuts, fruit loops, marshmallows, etc.) — seeing a pattern here? Students also measured and colored a 100 inch snake to decorate the wall.
Students in Third Grade took part in activities that revolved around the number 100. They made 100 words from the name of their school (St. Mary of the Assumption School), made a 100 grid design using their name, completed 100 multiplication problems as well as rolled a die 100 times and graphed the results. They listened to two stories – “100 Days of Cool” and “Happy 100th Day”. Then they did 100 jumping jacks, wrote 2 cities from every state on a map of the United States, planted 100 flower seeds and enjoyed a 100 day snack.
In other school news, the 6th grade students and parents held a pancake and sausage breakfast Sunday to help defray the costs for the class’ annual trip to Chicago to visit the Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum of Natural History, Adler Planetarium, Navy Pier, and other well-known attractions that the city has to offer.
By Douglas J. Heckler
If you know a St. Mary of the Assumption second grade student, ask them about their Eisenia Fetida Farm. Commonly known as Redworms, Red Wigglers, and panfish worms, these worms are adapted to and thrive in decaying vegetation as they go about their work of vermicomposting (the process of turning vegetative waste into deep rich humus).
The 400 worms they started with when the study began are living in the classroom environment in a terrarium of sorts under a shade to restrict light. The students have already learned that too much moisture is detrimental to the worms, but they have now gotten the living conditions stabilized and the worms are happily going about their business. Students feed the worms once a week with melon, apple and banana peels, and tea leaves. They have also learned that the worms have no teeth, ears, or eyes, that each worm has both male and female reproductive organs, and that worm castings are very good nutrients for soil. They will be putting all their facts together in a booklet documenting their findings. One thing they have yet to discover is that these worms have an anti-predator adaptation that allows them to exude a pungent smelling liquid when they feel threatened.
Daily, the students log the moisture content and any observations that they make toward learning how an ecosystem works through observation of living and non-living parts of the system under the scope of Life Sciences.
Young Artists Compete
St. Mary of the Assumption School students competed in the recent Van Wert County Student Art Exhibit at the Van Wert County Apple Festival held Oct. 18-19.
Under the tutelage of art instructor Mary Minnig, grades 1-3 entered projects of Stabiles inspired by Alexander Calder. Stabiles can best be described as static “mobiles” in which the members do not move. The 4-6 grade students entered Dale Chihuly-inspired sculptures, made of plastics instead of the blown glass which Chihuly is noted for. A series of two-dimensional artwork was entered also.
Overall, St Mary students in grades 1-3 won first place in 2-D and first and third in 3-D categories, in grades 4-6 they took second in 2-D work and first and third again in the 3-dimensional category.
After an exhaustive search that spanned the late winter to the middle summer months, the search committee of St Mary of the Assumption School Advisory Board has selected a new principal to replace retiring Dave Mathew.
Daniel W. Metzger, who comes to St. Marys by way of Delphos St. John’s High School, officially began his term as Principal for the local parochial school here in Van Wert on Monday Aug. 9. He received his BA in Education from Findlay College and an MBA in Educational Leadership from Argosy University.
While at St. John’s,Metzger taught Economics, American History, U.S. Government, Sociology, and Current Events. He also served as Dean of Students, National Honor Society Advisor, a member of the Disciplinary Board, and Assistant Football Coach (a position he will maintain) and Head Varsity Baseball Coach for the Blue Jays.
He resides in Delphos with his wife and three children.
Under the guise of great fun, education took place in the field next to the St. Mary of the Assumption School. As the last major science block for the sixth grade students of Mr. Hesseling, the class took on Physics, Rocketry, Aerodynamics, and Safety. Students were to build projectiles using two-liter soft drink bottles, tape, adhesive and vinyl materials. The measurements were height, and time of flight for each student’s “projectile”.
Each participating student had prepared and styled their projectile according to researched designs and limited primarily by the base unit (2-litre bottle). Some had stabilizing fins swept fore and some had fins swept aft with a variety of colors and one that was even camouflaged. With the use of a “launch pad” built by Dave Hohman and the propellant of compressed air, the colorful projectiles were sent skyward to attain an altitude, which was measured by use of a scientific instrument while flight time was measured with stopwatch.
The winds disrupted the pure parabolic paths of the students’ projectiles so that a clear winner in terms of distance might be challenged but the experiments continued. The entire staff and student body participated as interested bystanders for this event. Cheers could be heard as underclass students voiced their support for favorites and just as with fireworks during Fourth of July celebrations, launches in sets of three were made to end the experiment.
By Douglas Heckler
I was recently treated to a demonstration of Project Based Education by third grade students of St. Mary of the Assumption School. It is a method that presents students with complex tasks based on questions or problems that involves the students in problem-solving, creative thinking, decision making, design, research, and reflection that include teacher facilitation without teacher direction. PBL focuses on problems or questions that drive students to central concepts and principles of a subject using hands-on methods. This type of learning is applicable to the students outside of the classroom in real world situations through stressing that there are many ways to solve a problem.
With a project reminiscent of one I did as a sophomore in college geography, the question the children were presented with was: “How can we use this plot of ground to attract people enough to make them visit and stay?” Working in teams of four, students were required to research the needs of a community, develop plots, and blueprints for their communities, build a model of their community and then report to their peers and schoolmates (and this reporter), their process,
findings, and materials used.
Two different cities were designed and while they shared some elements, as one would expect, the towns were geographically about as far apart as they could be in the United States. Tikyo City, Maine (pronounced Tee-ko) and Harlem, Hawaii both share a water attraction with Tikyo City adding an Arcade as a tourist draw, and Harlem being built near an inactive volcano (which was stressed by the students so that visitors and residents would have no fear of an eruption).
Impressed with the thought and detail the students put into their projects, I believe that Professor Wetter would have been also. I would like to express my appreciation to the third grade students and their teacher, Pat Johnson, for inviting me to the presentation.
St. Mary of the Assumption School students had the opportunity to explore the Mazza Museum in the Virginia B. Gardner Fine Arts Pavilion on the University of Findlay campus. Having the distinction of being the first and largest teaching gallery dealing with original artwork of children’s books illustrators, the museum offers art camps, readings for children, “Funday Sundays”, and children’s tours.
The museum began when Dr. August Mazza and his wife, Aleda Pfost Mazza donated the first four works of art. Now the museum’s holdings have grown to more than 8,000 original illustrations. The earliest piece in the museum dates from 1884 and the collection continues to grow with modern artwork. The museum is the inspiration of Dr. Jerry Mallett, who wanted to have a gallery where the art of children’s picture books would be taken seriously.