Saturday, February 24 , 2018, 2:07 am | Fair 38º

 
 
 
 
Advice

Laguna Blanca Students Share Theoretical Mars Missions at School Competition

Members of team UNITE gave a winning presentation at Laguna Blanca’s Mission to Mars competition, from left to right: captain Kiki Tolles, operations officer John Henry Schulz, engineer Natalie McCaffery, medics Alessia Crickette and Christian Branch, tactical officer Giovanna Alvarez, and communications officer Ben Fellows Click to view larger
Members of team UNITE gave a winning presentation at Laguna Blanca’s Mission to Mars competition, from left to right: captain Kiki Tolles, operations officer John Henry Schulz, engineer Natalie McCaffery, medics Alessia Crickette and Christian Branch, tactical officer Giovanna Alvarez, and communications officer Ben Fellows (Laguna Blanca School photo)

A group of eighth grade Laguna Blanca Upper School students on team UNITE were awarded first prize for an innovative presentation at the recent Mission to Mars competition Nov. 11, 2015, held on the Hope Ranch campus.

Six teams of Laguna students battled in Spaulding Auditorium for the culmination of the quarter-long project, with a countdown of 30 minutes each to present plans to a fictitious international conglomerate of investors eager to launch a private company to Mars.

An audience of nearly 100 students from fifth through eigth grades joined 15 faculty members to watch as select students, faculty and administrators represented the investment group, who also threw out the unexpected twist of a theoretical crisis scenario to each team.

“Our eigth grade captains, operations officers, communications officers, medics, engineers, counselors and tactical officers presented their proposals Wednesday in front of parents, peers and judges,” said Stephen Chan, history instructor and assistant head of Middle School. “From what I saw, explosions, aliens and accidents wouldn’t be a problem for our intrepid colonizers.”

Scientists have determined that it takes approximately seven months of space travel to complete the trip to Mars, and much longer to form the first human settlement. For months, the students have analyzed the pros and cons of space travel from both past and future expeditions.

Five of the six teams each received a certificate of excellence for their efforts, and the winning team, UNITE, won intergalactic medals with their names also included on an inaugural plaque.

“The name of our team is UNITE (United National Intellectual Technological Exploration), because we believed that nothing can be truly accomplished without bonding together and having teamwork,” said team captain Kiki Tolles.

Zack Moore, EK-12 STEM coordinator and science instructor; Carol Nordgaarden, English department chair and instructor; and Anna Alldredge, Middle School humanities instructor distributed the awards dressed in Stars Wars costumes and cued to music from the films.

Head of School Rob Hereford and Alldredge also spoke to the voyagers to honor and celebrate the eighth graders’ incredible work at the ceremony stationed near the volleyball courts in the bright fall sunshine, which proved the perfect setting for some celebratory rocket popsicles and sand volleyball games.

Throughout the quarter in history, English and science classes, the teams created and shared team-wide Google docs, individual blogs and multiple projects related to the Martian challenge.

Participants also recently visited the Columbia Memorial Space Center in Downey, Ca., and experienced a two-hour Martian simulation.

“Our Mission to Mars presentation was really eye-opening,” said captain Tolles. “It made our class aware of where humanity might be heading and how we should plan for the inevitable. But, I think that our presentation showed that when we UNITE we can accomplish something pretty amazing.”

— Melissa Walker is the communications coordinator for Laguna Blanca School.

 
  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.



Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >