Sunday, May 17, 2015

Entrepreneurship Event in Upper School

Germantown Academy’s Upper School Entrepreneurship Class had the tremendous opportunity to hear and learn from several alumni entrepreneurs prior to spring break in the Honickman Auditorium, including Patrick Fitzgerald ’93 (DreamIt Ventures, Lecturer at Wharton), Rich Podulka '95 (United American Builders Inc.), Krista Sherkey ’98 (Streamline6 Communications, LLC), and Mason Wartman ’06 (Rosa’s Fresh Pizza).

"We are finding more and more opportunities for bringing GA’s alumni back to campus to interact with, share life stories, and help mentor our students as well as reconnect with our faculty,” said Director of Alumni Relations Heather Durkin. “It is so rewarding to see how much everyone involved takes away from the experience. These sorts of activities enhance the students’ understanding of how their education applies in 'real life' and how an alum can connect to today’s GA.”

Each graduate had the chance to share how he or she built their businesses and what they’ve learned along the way. They also participated in a question and answer session with the students.

The Entrepreneurship Class was offered for the first time this year as a first semester mini-mester course. Its companion class during the second semester is Marketing and Branding.  Several other classes have been developed in a strand of Business, Management, and Entrepreneurship programming taught by Tony Garvan, Tom Taft, David Martin, and Chidi Asoluka's New Community Project which focuses on social entrepreneurship.  Students from all of these content area participated int he event which was designed to build a community of students with like interests who can share in and build on each others work.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Entrepreneurship at Middle School Career Day

Seventh Grader Sasha C. has a lot in common with Mr. Matt Paul, of Matt Paul Sports, both are entrepreneurs.  Sure, Sasha isn't running her own company just yet, but it was her entrepreneurial thinking that gave birth to the first Middle School Career Day.  Bayard Templeton, 7th Grade Head Advisor, reports "We are at a time in our middle school where student-initiated causes, events, and solutions to problems are more present than ever. As teachers, we try to contribute here and there and support when we can, but the bottom line is that more and more things that are getting done here at GA are getting done because students are at the center of it. Career Day is a culmination of an unprecedented amount of work and organization by a seventh grader, taking a unique idea and running with it much farther than many would have expected. With the support of classmates Lauren Purcell, John Karr, and Lily Ernst, Sasha Capers is the reason this event is happening."

"Over the last few months, Sasha has called meetings with the student government reps and faculty advisors, looking at both the “nuts and bolts” of how the day would run, as well as the bigger vision of what this day should be about. She walked across the parking lot to Goodman House to meet with Mrs. Zighelbohm to strategize the best ways to find speakers. She wrote each one of the speakers emails to ask for and encourage their participation. And at 8pm last night, Sasha was still responding to emails as last-minute needs arose."  

Of the sixteen professionals that took time out of their busy schedules to meet and inspire GA's 7th graders, one Matt Paul, spoke to the joys and challenges of being an entrepreneur.  Matt Paul Sports, aims to "transform the lives of young people through the power of sports."  Students interested in "being their own boss" sat in rapt attention as they heard about the success and (necessary pitfalls) of running our own business and scaling it over time.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Lower School Nature Nook Maker Space: Kids Working with Kids

Upper School students with the help of tech director Bill Kingsbury worked with Lower School students to construct some of the play elements in their outdoor maker and play space, The Nature Nook.

Monday, April 27, 2015

VEX Robotics in the Upper School

On March 13, Germantown Academy’s Robotics Team competed in the first-ever Philadelphia 76ers Robotics Night at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. The Sixers partnered with the Robotics Education & Competition Foundation to host the official R.E.C. Foundation exhibition match for VRC and VEX IQ robotics on the court prior to their game against the Sacramento Kings, and to raise S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) awareness.
Overall, GA’s team, including Nichelle Hall '15, Patrick Ledwith '15, Abay Tadesse '15, Trent Weiss '15, and Justin Wong '15, made it to the semifinals of the tournament. Maitreya Venkataswamy '16 was GA's key programmer. Upper School science teacher Diane Goldstein and Arts Center Production Manager and Technical Director Bill Kingsbury were GA’s faculty advisors. Upper School science teacher Mike Rheam led the team at two previous competitions.
GA’s team built a robot to meet certain tasks. They also programmed the robot to run an autonomous section. As a team, they learned how to communicate, work together, and to meet deadlines.  Read more about the event here.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Middle School Math in Action: Bungee or Bust

Students in Suzanne Zurcher’s recent math classes were particularly excited about data collection. Who could blame them? Water balloons were involved! The class had just completed its study of linear equations, including how to find the equations of a line when given two points that fall on that line. Each group was given a "bungee buddy” (water balloon) that had a rubber band attached. The students’ mission was to send their new balloon buddy bungee jumping without breaking it.
Using data collected in class and drawing a line of best fit, the students determined the equation of the line and then made the prediction of the number of rubber bands they needed to make the balloon drop about 465 centimeters (the distance from the top of the Middle School stairwell near the Business Office to the ground) before springing back. The goal was to have the balloon come as close to the ground as possible with touching before it springs back. Zurcher reports, “This project allowed the students to use their study of linear equations to make predictions in a real life situation and have some fun at the same time!”

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Kids Teaching Kids (Engineering): Light Up Greeting Cards

In their most recent  KTK/Young Engineers activity, Kindergarten students created their own light-up greeting cards to celebrate spring.  Using copper tape and LED’s, they turned a simple circuit on a piece of paper into the functional light-up greeting card.