Tag Archives: What’s New?

Creative Problem Solving Seminar

questionmarkQuestion:  What do you get when you bring together 90 young creative minds?Answer: A group of engaged learners demonstrating critical and creative thinking skills while collaborating, working as a team, and solving problems!

At the end of August, third through sixth grade students at all 10 elementary buildings were invited to submit a “Choose Your Own Adventure” story.  Over 100 stories were submitted and 90 students were invited to attend the Creative Problem Solving seminar at the Westside Community Conference Center.

As students came in, they were given a VIP name tag with a group name on the back.  You can read more about the group names on our wiki page.


The first challenge of the day was to build the highest structure possible given 15 index cards, 2 straws, and 5 mailing labels.  The structure had to be on the yellow piece of paper taped to the table.  The challenge?  Hands could not enter the yellow area!  Students were given 2 straws, a fork, and 4 popsicle sticks to use as tools.  The result was a lot of communicating, problem solving and creative thinking!  Our judges (5 former Destination Imagination participants from WHS) measured the final height of the towers.  Check out what the kids built!

Next, the students rotated through five stations that put their communication and teamwork skills to the test.  Throughout the challenges, students were given tickets for displaying good teamwork and communication skills.  Students also earned tickets for their creative designs and solutions.  Tickets were placed in sacks for a chance to win a variety of prizes.

Here is a brief synopsis of each station:

  1. Random PVC parts are on the floor.  How fast can you construct a 3D figure using all of the parts?
  2. How accurately can you recreate a Lego structure after only looking at it for 2 minutes?  This station required students to pay attention to details and communicate effectively.
  3. How fast can you raise a hula hoop up from the ground, over someone’s head, and back to the ground?  Oh, and by the way, only using spoons!
  4. What are some alternate uses for a pool noodle?  A 5-gallon bucket?  A seat cushion? Teams scored points for original and creative ideas.
  5. How quickly can you pass a ball around the group making sure every person’s hands touch the ball?

The afternoon was spent working on an Explain Everything (app installed on all iPads) video.  Students were given a brief introduction to the app and a link to some additional resources.  Students were able to choose any topic for their video.  Some chose to explain the basics of a favorite sport and others chose brainteasers.  Most students didn’t have enough time to finish their video, but we encouraged them to use their E/I time back at school.

Overall, it was an exciting day and truly inspirational to witness the creative and innovative problem solvers of Westside Community Schools come together!

May Day Fun



Over 160 slices of pizza were consumed Thursday morning at a Blind Taste Test at the Westside Community Conference Center.  Twenty 3rd-6th grade students had an opportunity to give their input on the pizza that will be served in Westside cafeterias next year.


Later that day, over fifty 5th-6th grade students participated in the Brownell-Talbot Math Contest.  Students completed an individual and team contest in addition to several math challenge activities.  Congratulations to the following Westside students who brought home honors.

  • Ava from Oakdale placed 3rd in the 5th grade group
  • Gus from Rockbrook also placed 3rd in the 5th grade group
  • Chiharu from Loveland placed 5th in the 5th grade group
  • Graham from Swanson was a top scorer in the 5th grade group
  • Victoria from Loveland placed  1st in the 6th grade group
  • Kenan from Loveland placed 2nd in the 6th grade group
  • Theo from Paddock placed 3rd in the 6th grade group
  • Ashleigh from Paddock placed 4th in the 6th grade group
  • The Paddock team of Theo, Ashleigh, Emma, Cindy, and David scored 71 points and placed 2nd in the team contest.
  • The Loveland team of Victoria, Kenan, Korbin, Eleanor, and Bella scored 70 points and placed 3rd place in the team contest.

Congratulations to all students who competed!


The Chemistry of Cookies

Just when you thought science couldn’t get any more exciting!


This TEDEd video by Stephanie Warren explains basic chemistry principles through the process of baking cookies – from how the dough spreads out to how the oven temperatures kill salmonella.  Grab a glass of milk and a couple cookies and dive in to the science of cooking!

When you’re finished watching the video, complete the questions on the Google Form.

Video Link: http://ed.ted.com/lessons/the-chemistry-of-cookies-stephanie-warren

cookie picture taken from pdclipart.org


Science Olympiad – March 25, 2014

What an amazing day!  Ninety-eight 4th-6th grade students from all ten elementary schools participated in the 1st Annual Westside Community Schools Science Olympiad.  Students had a fun-filled day exploring science concepts like density, simple machines, and measurement.  In teams of two, students used their observation and estimating skills to complete four activities.  Here are a few picture and video highlights from the day.

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Sink Or Float


Write-It Do-It

Pasta Bridge

Mystery Boxes

1st Semester Seminars and Competitions

Sixth graders from across the district participated in the 23rd Annual McMillan Math Contest on November 7.  Teams of four competed in a team test as well as a quiz bowl.  Westside teams took home top medals in both competitions.  Way to go Westside Mathletes!



On Tuesday, November 5, sixteen 4th-6th grade students participated in a Science Olympiad at ESU 3.  Each team competed in 5 events showcasing difference science concepts.  Check out how much fun we had!


On Tuesday, October 15, twenty-eight 6th graders from all ten elementary buildings attended the Drawing From the Inside seminar at ESU 3.  Students unleashed their creativity and let their imaginations soar by literally drawing from several different angles.  Check out the pictures!

Watch a Drawing Video

Watch Another Drawing Video


Strategy Seminar