By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
For the first time in the school’s history, the New Kituwah Academy was represented at the North Carolina Science and Engineering Fair. Two teams competed in the Elementary Division at the Fair which was held in Raleigh on Saturday, March 24.
Both teams qualified for the state event by receiving Honorable Mention awards at the recent Region 8 Western Regional Science Fair held at Western Carolina University.
The fourth grade team of Alexis Motola, Lolo Hogner, and Jaime Panther built a robot that can draw various shapes and designs they call the “Master Drawer”. For their efforts, they received an Honorable Mention award at the state fair. Their project also won an Engineering Award at the Regional Science Fair.
“We were looking on YouTube and decided to try that project,” said Motola.
Hogner said making the robot was a challenging project. “The hardest part was working with the hot glue. The robot can draw things. It took a few days to make.”
The fifth grade team of Addyson Welch, Suli Lossiah, and Cameron Jackson did a project they called “Crazy Ooze Slime” in which they made slime from various types of glue. Their project also won a Chemistry Award at the Regional Science Fair.
“We were trying to see if the different glues would be the same and come together as slime, but there was only one that did it and that was the purple glue,” commented Welch. “The difference between the glue was the amount of PVA (Polyvinyl Acetate) in it.”
When asked why they chose their project, the fifth grade team exclaimed at once, “We love slime!”
Jessica Metz-Bugg, New Kituwah Academy science teacher (3rd – 6th) and science fair coordinator, commented, “I have been a teacher for 15 years here in Cherokee, and I have never had students heading to the state science fair before, and I’m super-excited. I’m very proud.”
She added, “I’m especially proud that we have all girl students going. I think it’s a really big deal to get girls interested in science and in STEM careers.”
Metz-Bugg said the success of this year’s teams is having an effect on other student’s thinking about science fair projects. “I already have second graders who have been saying that they can’t wait until they get to participate in the way that the older kids have. Some of the third and fourth graders are already looking at what they’re going to do next year. Fifth graders already know they have to kick it up a notch because next year they’ll be competing in a separate category for next year.”
She went on to say, “Overall, science instruction here, across all the grades, is amazing. All of the teachers here do a great job of integrating culture and Cherokee language with science instruction.”
Metz-Bugg said the younger students in Kindergarten through second grade do all of their projects in the Cherokee language. “In third through sixth, we’re starting to transition and provide more of a 50-50 day as far as the immersion goes. But, even though we don’t have as much of the language in the upper grades with the projects, we do integrate culture with everything that we do.”
Kylie Crowe Shuler, New Kituwah Academy principal, commented, “We’re super-excited with this opportunity. We’re very proud of the girls. We’re very proud of the teachers who worked to put this together. We’re competitive and we offer the same programs that any other school offers. We have all of the opportunities. We have all of the materials. I’m just very pleased with the girls and the teachers for their hard work.”