Thursday, February 22, 2018

To Infinity and Beyond, 2nd and 3rd grades

1. DO the 2nd and 3rd graders need to know the spellings too, i mean would they be checked on spellings as well

No. As long as the word is recognized by the grader, it will be graded as correct. The only exception is if the spelling is so mangled that it cannot be recognized - then we cannot tell if it is correct or not, in which case we will mark it as wrong.
2. Is the plan to have the planetarium test yet ?

I may not understand this question completely. There is a dome test portion of the event, on the day of the event. Because the museum of natural history is closed this year, it is not clear whether we will be able to have a practice in a planetarium before the event.

3. I have 2 kids in each grade, Are they both expected to write answers together or do they get separate answer sheets ?

A team collaborates on a single answer sheet.

4.Are they allowed to carry any material or hand written info , i do understand they are allowed to carry the scientific calculator .

No material can be brought into the event. A scientific calculator should be brought to the event for 4th and 5th grade teams. 


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

iCompute Coaches workshop clarification

I have a question about the Icompute coaches workshops listed at
I see two listed like this:
iCompute coaches workshop on Tuesday, Feb 27th, 7:00-8:00 pm, in room C231, Computer Lab, Pioneer High School.
iCompute coaches workshop on Wednesday, Feb 22nd, 7:00-8:00 pm, in room C231, Computer Lab, Pioneer High School.
I’m thinking the Feb22 one is an old listing from 2017, given the date and day of the week are different.  Can you confirm that the Feb27 data is correct?
The announcements are ordered chronologically from most recent to old. Feb 27th is the 2018 date.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

ZIP-A-DEE-DOO-DAH workshop/practice

Same workshop is being presented on both days
Sign-ups will be posted soon

Venue: Scarlett Middle School Cafeteria
Dates: Saturday, March 10, 2018
Saturday, March 17, 2018
Time: 10 – 11:30am

Sign-ups will be posted soon
Please bring your own materials to build the cable car.

Venue: Scarlett Middle School Cafeteria
Dates: Saturday, March 10, 2018
Saturday, March 17, 2018
Time: 12 – 2:00pm

More dates for practice will be announced for April soon.

Map Reading Coaches Workshop

Same workshop is being presented on both days

Dates: Wednesday, March 14, 2018
Venue: Scarlett Middle School Media Room
Time: 7:00 – 8:30pm

Dates: Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Venue: Tappan Middle School Media Room
Time: 7:00 – 8:30pm

Sign Up here

GENE-ius workshop

Sign-ups will be posted soon
Please bring your kit.
Same workshop is being presented on both days

Venue: Scarlett Middle School Media Room
Dates: Sunday, March 18, 2018
Saturday, April 07, 2018
Time: 1:30 – 3pm

Photon Phun Workshops

Please bring your kits.
Different topics will be covered every Saturday
Sign-ups will be posted soon

Venue: Scarlett Middle School Cafeteria
Dates: Saturday, March 10, 2018
Saturday, March 17, 2018
Saturday, April 07, 2018
Saturday, April 14, 2018
Time: 3:00 – 4:30pm

Please bring your kits.
Sign-ups will be posted soon
Venue: Scarlett Middle School Choir room
Dates / Times (Subject to change based on volunteer availability):
Saturday, March 10, 2018, 1:20 – 4:20pm
Saturday, April 07, 2018, 1:20 – 4:20pm
Saturday, April 14, 2018, 10:20 – 3:00pm

Monday, February 19, 2018

Workshops Coming Up for Feathered Friends and Back to Nature

Feathered Friends
There are workshops scheduled at Leslie Science and Nature Center starting this coming Saturday, February 24, 11:00 to 1:00.
Currently there are no teams registered, and we will cancel the workshop unless there are enough teams registered before this Friday.
To register your team, send an e-mail with your school name and grade,
 date of workshop,  and number of participants to

Other Feathered Friends Workshops will be held on
 Saturday, March 3rd, 11-1 and 
Saturday, April 7th, 11-1

Back to Nature
Scheduled workshops are:
Saturday, March 3rd, 2-4 PM
Saturday , March 17th, 2-4 PM, and
Saturday, April 14th, 2-4 PM

iCompute questions

1) Can you please confirm the date of the iCompute workshop? One iCompute resource lists it as Wednesday, February 27. February 27 is not a Wednesday.

The iCompute workshop, for coaches only, will be in Pioneer High School room C231 on Tuesday, February 27. 7:00 – 8:00 pm. The page with the incorrect day has been updated.

2)  During the competition, on what platform will the computers provided be?

The computers are the Macs in the computer lab in Pioneer Room C231 or the Media Center. The Scratch application that will be used is the Scratch 2.0 Offline version. You may practice with the online version if you wish, the interface is the same. If you want to check out the Macs, please attend the workshop noted above.

2) Is it possible to get more information on the curriculum the participants are expected to master?  I have looked at the “Additional materials useful for practices” on the iCompute Event description and there are quite a few terms and concepts which cover computer basics from years ago. Looking at other event descriptions, I’ve noticed much more detailed explanations of what is expected than what I see on the ICompute description.

The iCompute materials on the WESO Website cover what will be on the written and programming portions of the event. There are sample questions and sample programming exercises in the Detailed Description, as well as links to more resources. If you have a question about a specific topic, please let us know. If you are able to attend the workshop, please do so, as it will be a good time to ask questions before or after the programming exercises/Scratch tutorial.

3) Could I be informed of previous years' iCompute competitions?

WESO does not publish tests or event challenges from prior years, for this or any other event. The exercises listed in the examples for iCompute give a good idea of the kinds of written and programming challenges students will be presented with at the tournament. 

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Volume Estimation

 In the past, 2nd graders have been ask to estimate the number of things in a container (i.e., how many M&Ms in the water bottle).  We consider that to be a volume question and 2nd graders do not need to know volume or area.   Questions:  Is this a volume question?  If so, 2nd graders shouldn't be asked, correct?  If not, which topic of study does this fall under?

You are correct that estimating number of things is conceptually a volume question. However, the students can be taught other ways to estimate the number of items in a container without using the volume formula. The goal here is to have students use different strategies to estimate the answer. For example, they can count the number of items in small section of the container and they see how many such sections are there in the container to estimate the answer. We do not expect perfect answer for any question from the students. Second graders may get such questions. 

We coach by topic.  For instance, Week 1 is the topic of Weight.  In the past, there have been questions such as these:  How many words in the story and how many pages in the notebook.  Which topics would these fall under?  

There is no clear syllabus for Estimania. So it is hard to divide into different topics. It is all about estimating the answer using the information or an item provided to you at the station.

Pasta Bridges- Q & A from coaches meeting

Q: What happens if the loaded beaker comes to rest on one of the support/platform arms?
A: At no time may the beaker be supported by either of the platform support arms. If as the loading is happening, the pasta fractures so that the beaker is supported by either of the arms of the platform (the platform is supporting the load as opposed to the pasta bridge supporting the load) then the loading will stop. However, if he pasta begins to fracture and the beaker is merely touching either of the platform arms then the loading will continue until either the beaker touches the table through the breakage of the pasta bridge or slides off the bridge. 

Q: Can teams break the long pasta?
A: Yes. Once building begins teams may modify their pasta any way they choose.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

2nd grade Estimania - Weight


In the sample questions for 2nd grade Estimania, there is a question on weight. But in the 2nd grade math curriculum I don;t see a topic on weights. In Measurement and Data , Length is the only topic covered. So should they learn about weight?
Yes, second graders will have to familiar with weight measurements including grams , pounds and ounces

Feathered Friends, study guide and Q & A from coaches meeting

About homemade field guides for Feathered Friends:

Making a homemade field guide is not a requirement for Feathered Friends. Instead, making a homemade field guide is intended to help students synthesize information about birds from different sources as a learning exercise. Please note that most questions on the test will be answerable with the information in any field guide.  Students will be able to be competitive without making their own field guide. 

If you do want your students to bring a homemade field guide, please adhere to the following rules.

What is allowed:

·      Hand drawings
·      Hand written text
·      A typed fill-in worksheet layout will be allowed with typed words exclusively for categorizing information: Species, color, wingspan, food, habitat, behavior, etc. The information itself must be hand written. (Northern Cardinal, red, 9.8–12.2 in wingspan, seeds, etc.)

The following external image sources with no text are allowed:
·      Stickers
·      Printed images/photocopy (including images from the internet)
·      Collage from magazines, old encyclopeidas, etc.

What is NOT allowed:

·      Printed text (with the exception of the worksheet layout as mentioned above)
·      Printed websites
·      Electronics of any kind

Questions and answers from the coaches’ meeting:

Q: Can students bring printouts from the internet?
A: No. The amount of information downloaded would probably be too much to be helpful, and the questions can be answered from the field guides.

Q: Is there a size limit to the amount of notes the students can bring? 
A: If there is too much information it will be too hard to reference. 

Q: Do students need to know the different calls, or just the most common?
A: Focus on the most common songs calls. There won’t be “trick questions.” In the past students have actually heard multiple sounds for certain species. Knowing one would allow the question to be answered correctly. I told one session there won’t be a Northern Mockingbird sound question this year (although there had been one in the past and it was overwhelmingly correctly identified).

Q: Is the LSNC program the same each time?
A: Yes, though you may see more birds at the April class.

Q: Is any field guide okay? 
A: Yes.

Q: What is the format of the test?
A: The students are together in a classroom, the test has 25-35 questions projected via PowerPoint (with pictures, sounds,  bird specimens, etc.) and there is a time limit.  The students have one answer sheet for each 2 person team, they work together to complete it. Spelling counts, but they do have the bird list to refer to. Students will be able to revisit questions within reason.

Q: Do the 3rd graders need to know everything from the 2nd graders list?
A: Yes, but the focus of the 3rd grade exam will be the 3rd grade list.

Q: Are the questions read aloud?
A: No they aren’t all read aloud. For some questions it would make it hard (those with long lists or multi-level questions). The appropriateness for 2nd/3rd grade reading levels is checked by another person through WESO.

Q: What should be done for students with an IEP or reading disability?
A: WESO should be alerted so an accommodation can be put into place. They may provide an aide. (*followup with WESO).

Q: Are students allowed to go back to look again?
A: Yes.

Q: Has the Baltimore oriole been reclassified as a Northern Oriole? 
A: No, the Michigan bird is the Baltimore Oriole. The Northern Oriole was broken into the Baltimore Oriole and Bullock’s Oriole (which lives in western North America) in the 1990’s.

Q: Will only the birds on the given list be included in all parts of the test?
A: Yes, with the exception of tie-breakers.