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Published: Monday, 2/11/2013

Team imagines a ‘wind visible’ future

Whiteford’s 5th graders prep for contest

BY KELLY McLENDON
BLADE STAFF WRITER
From left, Gwendolyn Pyle, 11, Carson Webster, 11, Grace Fisher, 10, Andrew Bowers, 10, Emily Thielen, 11,  and Noah Heilman, 10, go over potential changes to their script after a run-through of their working draft for Destination Imagination. From left, Gwendolyn Pyle, 11, Carson Webster, 11, Grace Fisher, 10, Andrew Bowers, 10, Emily Thielen, 11, and Noah Heilman, 10, go over potential changes to their script after a run-through of their working draft for Destination Imagination.
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Going to Clay High School to learn about wind turbines seemed like the highlight of the year, as students from one of four Whiteford Elementary Destination Imagination teams discussed their visit.

The team of fifth graders met with Clay science teacher Dennis Slotnick in January to learn about wind turbines to better compete in the regional contest March 9 at Pike-Delta-York High School in Fulton County. The regionals, which began in 1999, are expected to draw teams from schools in 17 counties in Ohio.

“He showed us what people will be using in the future,” team member Devin Maynard said. “He showed us a hydrogen fuel cell. It’s a small cell that can store wind energy.”

Learning about wind energy was important because the team has been assigned a challenge this year called “wind visible.”

Destination Imagination, an educational program in which students solve open-ended challenges as a team, tests the students’ strengths in drama and science and also has been a good extracurricular activity for the team members.

“I think [Destination Imagination] is really exciting and fun because you can do a lot of different things that you can’t formally do around your house or in school and you get to talk with your friends and interact with other people,” student Carson Webster, 11, said.

For the team’s central challenge next month, the students will get eight minutes to deliver a performance, including set-up time.

Assistant captain Heather Pyle said the team has high expectations: One member went to the state competition and two others went to the global competition.

Instant challenges are included in the contest and last five minutes. Instant challenges can include making objects. The students have spent the last few months practicing these quick challenges.

“They’ve gotten more easier to think on the spot. It made us a lot more comfortable with what we’re doing,” Noah Heilman said about the practice, with four instant challenges so far. One of those included making a paper tower that had pillars.

Miss Pyle said the blend of art and science helps to keep things interesting along the way. “It really puts your mind to work,” she said. “You’re up and moving and doing a lot of creative stuff.”



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