Medford Teams Take 1st, 2nd in Design Competition

Project Lead the Way photo collage


Medford Area Senior High School teams took first and second place in a recent Project Lead the Way Engineering Design Competition, the Milwaukee School of Engineering reports.

Alexis Fleegel and Veronica Diercks took first for creating a speaker system for smart phones that does not require batteries. Tahtankka Damm and Logan Searles took second for making a sliding and folding truck bed accessory to help people retrieve hard-to-reach items safely and quickly.

The first-place team receives a $4,000 scholarship and the second-place team receives a $1,000 scholarship; both receive funding for new product development assessment by the Wisconsin Innovation Service Center

Their teacher is Tracy Swedlund.

Project Lead the Way Engineering says it “empowers students to step into the role of an engineer, adopt a problem-solving mindset, and make the leap from dreamers to doers.”

Learn more at the MSOE post.


Omro High School Team Is Winner in National STEM Contest

Omro High School team
This Omro High School team was one of five winners of the national Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest.

OMRO — A team from Omro High School is one of five winners of a national engineering contest that challenges students to solve problems in their communities, according to a story on DPI-ConnectEd.

The team built a sensor to determine ice thickness in real-time and relay it to an app called Stat-Ice. Their goal is to help anglers and others make educated decisions about going out on the ice.

About 8,000 people fall through the ice and drown each year.

The team wins $100,000 in technology and supplies. They’re continuing to work on the prototype and have applied for an MIT grant to help them refine it and work toward patents.

See the full story on DPI’s website.

Picture of Omro ice-sensor machine
Students from Omro High School built this sensor to detect ice thickness in real time and send it to an app.




Wheatland Center School students recognized in national STEAM design challenge

Wheatland Center School's Team Reef Guardians
Wheatland Center School recently received recognition in a national STEAM design challenge


BURLINGTON — A team from Wheatland Center School earned a second place finish in a national STEAM design challenge, according to a story in West of the i.

Students from Wheatland’s personalized learning academy, PATHS, participated in the Biomimicry Youth Design Challenge, which asks middle and high school students to design solutions to the climate crisis.

Team members receiving recognition were Jaini Beck, Mason Biehn, Safyire Guthrie, Gavin Heriford, and Ronan Bacle. Students were awarded $750 to be spent on future school projects.

Wheatland Center school recently received recognition in a national STEAM design challenge
Wheatland’s team created a concept for protecting coral reefs from UV radiation and rising ocean temperatures that cause coral bleaching. They created a floating underwater shade structure inspired by giant lily pads and the UV-reflecting properties of spiders’ webs.

The students created “Reef Guard,” which protects coral reefs from UV radiation and rising ocean temperatures. They created a floating underwater shade structure inspired by giant lily pads and the UV-reflecting properties of spiders’ webs.

Judges said praised the team’s choice of topic and approach.

“I actually learned how the bleaching process works from their research and had not realized the algae connection. Their research is commendable, and the engineering they applied and the testing they did was very impressive.” said judge Scott Randall.

To learn more about the challenge and this year’s winners, visit their website.

The full story is posted at West of the i.

Three Lakes Fab Lab creates 100+ face shields for local first responders, businesses

Three Lakes Fab Lab Director Nate Koch and face masks
Three Lakes Fab Lab Director Nate Koch has been helping to make face masks for first responders.


THREE LAKES — Though the Three Lakes School District’s fab lab has had to pause its hands-on STEAM education during the pandemic, it continues helping its local community.

The fab lab (short for fabrication laboratory) has created 95 face shields for the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office, 12 for a local grocery store and 10 for another local business, fab lab director Nate Koch says. Face shields are believed to be an effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19, as detailed in this April article in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

It’s far from the first time the fab lab has helped its local community. Other projects have included the design and creation of magazine holders for the local library and models for the local railroad club.

The fab lab was also profiled in the December 2015 issue of Wisconsin School News.

To learn more about the fab lab, visit their website.

Williams Bay school history club designated as one of top 10 in nation

Officers of the Williams Bay History Club
The officers of the 2019-2020 Williams Bay History Club gather in a lecture hall at Williams Bay High School.


WILLIAMS BAY — The Williams Bay History Club has been designated as one of the top 10 in the nation by the National History Club, according to a story in the Lake Geneva Regional News.

Robert Nasson, president of the National History Club, said the Williams Bay chapter was chosen because of its outstanding community involvement in activities such as maintaining Frost Park, hosting fundraisers, coordinating field trips and participating in the annual History Bowl competition.

“Williams Bay’s club is very active in the community,” Nasson said. “They’re just consistently spectacular in what they do.”

Williams Bay History Club adviser Deb Soplanda said she was proud the club was chosen out of hundreds of chapters t

ughout the nation, and she was glad that students’ work was being recognized.

“It’s great for the kids to see what they do and how they do it really does make a difference, and is noticed on a national level,” she said.


Read the full story at the newspaper’s website.

Sevastopol underwater robotics team takes 2nd at competition, headed to nationals

Sevastopol eighth graders pose with their awards.

SEVASTOPOL — A team of Sevastopol eighth graders built an underwater robot to take second place in a regional competition, according to a story in the Door County Pulse.

For taking second in the Feb. 22 regional competition, the team is headed to the University of Maryland for the 2020 International SeaPerch Challenge from May 30-31.

SeaPerch is an underwater robotics program that teachers engineering and science concepts through the assembly and use of a remotely operated vehicle. 

The team is also trying to raise additional funds to cover the estimated $2,500 it needs to attend an international challenge. 

Read the full story here.

If you’d like to learn more about robotics in Wisconsin (with information about how to get started) read this article in the January issue of Wisconsin School News.

Hayward high schooler to graduate with technical diploma

Hayward student sits next to computer.

HAYWARD — A Hayward High School student has become the first to enroll in a dual enrollment technical diploma program offered by Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College (WITC) and the Hayward Community Schools, according to a story in the Sawyer County Record.

Austin Conner, a senior, is earning both college and high school credit.

“Soon, students at HHS will be making their course selections for next year.  Hopefully they will take advantage of the savings of earning college credit for free while in high school,” instructor Julie Thompson told the newspaper.

Read the full story.

La Crosse students lobby lawmakers to name tiny frog as state amphibian

Children testify at a House hearing.

MADISON — La Crosse fourth-graders who heard spring peepers chirp from a school pond asked Wisconsin legislators to make the tiny frog the state amphibian, WKBT-TV reported.

The quest to have the peeper represent the state tied the environmental curriculum with studying how proposals become laws, teacher Kris Franzini told the newspaper.

Kids said their nervousness quickly abated.

“When I started talking, I was nervous,” Ian Honaker said. “But after awhile, I wasn’t.”

WisconsinEye has video of the children testifying.

Read the full story and watch the video at the TV station’s website.

The spring peeper, a small frog.
The spring peeper is a small frog found across Wisconsin.

Altoona football players brave pie in the face to read to kids

An Altoona football player reads to kids
An Altoona High School football player reads to children.

ALTOONA — Altoona football players are reading to third graders, who, as a reward for reading, will be able to toss a pie in a player’s face, WEAU 13 News reported.

“At that point we’re promoting reading and making reading a cool thing for kids to do because to get good at reading you have to practice,” Altoona Head Football Coach Chad Hanson told the TV station. “Each kid who reads 400 minutes will then get their name put in a hat, and then we draw one name and that name will get to throw a pie at the football player that their class adopted.”

Read the story and watch the video on the station’s website.

Milwaukee schools program eases transition for refugee children

Students listen to their teacher.

MILWAUKEE — A small Milwaukee Public Schools program is easing the transition of mostly refugee children whose families come from around the world, according to a story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The program teaches these children both content and the English language to prepare them for high school. 

“Education is a lifeline for these people,” Kalyani Rai, an associate professor of urban community development at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee who works on refugee issues, told the newspaper. “They’ve lost everything. And now the education of the children is everything.”

Read the story on the newspaper’s website