Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Eighth- Grade Catalyst Rockets

Eighth-grade Catalyst students put on their space helmet thinking caps to answer our STEM-related driving question,  “What does it take to launch a rocket?” Seminars in Newton’s Laws and chemical reactions helped the students with their design process and hypothesis for rocket design and launch.  Background knowledge about human space milestones incorporated the past into the present. 3, 2, 1! Enjoy the process of designing, testing and recording findings through photos and video here.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Catalyst Showcase Night - May 2018


Catalyst students proudly presented their projects at their Spring Showcase held on Thursday, May 10th. 8th Graders shared their Civil War Project. 7th Graders presented information on Ancient Civilization, Books/Games/Presentations, VEX robotics testbeds, and Habits of Mind: Final Portfolios with evidence & reflections. 6th Graders displayed their Roller Coasters (Newton’s Laws/Motion), Timeline of Your Life posters, Chemical Reactions, and Environmental Issues of Latin America. Whew! They were busy this Spring! Great job Catalyst students and staff.


Showcase Night May 2018

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Thank You Alliance Engineers




Thank you Alliance Laundry Systems engineers (Justen Niemeth, Justin Pearson and Jonathan Simpson) for coming to 6th-grade Catalyst to judge and guide students on their roller coaster projects. Groups of students designed and built paper roller coasters and were evaluated on the following rubric which evaluated the various steps in the engineering process. The feedback given by the engineers offered students a real-world opportunity to share their projects.

Coasters will be on display during showcase night on May 10 from 5:00 - 7:00 PM. 


Alliance Engineers

Roller Coasters on Display:

  • Tilted Twister
  • Gumball Glider
  • Blax Star
  • Floral Falls
  • Egg Thief
  • Down Stream
  • Horn vs Horn
  • School Zone
  • Avalanche Ascape
  • Falls of Fear
  • Galactic Soccer
  • The Vending Machine



Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Diverse Options

Catalyst students from 6th, 7th, and 8th grade had an opportunity to visit Diverse Options, the Ripon facility working with individuals with a range of capabilities.  Students initially learned more about Diverse Options during a presentation by Al Schraeder.  Students enjoyed collaborating and working on the various projects with the consumers. Thank you to parent volunteers Candie Baker and Nicole Baumann for transporting and supervising students for this activity. Also, thank you to Al Schraeder for working with Catalyst for this activity.  The next event is planned for May 17 on Ingall's Field.






6th-Grade Catalyst Refelection

6th-graders reflection on the process of their roller-coaster building


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Sharks, Alaska, and Roller Coasters


Catalyst 6th graders experienced a global week starting with a Google Hangout in Dania Beach, Florida with Sharks for Kids. The goal of Sharks4Kids is to create a new generation of shark advocates through access to a dynamic range of educational materials. During the Google Hangout, students learned about tagging sharks, identification of sharks, and how they can play a role in the balance of the ocean ecosystem.

Global Activities



Students also had an opportunity to hold a Mystery Hangout with a class of 5th- grade students from
Wasilla Alaska.  It was interesting to compare the similarities between the two schools and the current weather.

Students are also building paper roller coasters for their project, “The Ride of a Lifetime”.  The history of roller coasters was researched and presented in small groups.  Newton’s Three Laws were also studied and applied to the design of the roller coasters.  The final roller coaster will be on display during showcase night on May 10 along with individual timelines, 3D models, and element balls.

Roller Coaster Beginnings

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Rising Star Cave System in South Africa

6th-grade Catalyst students joined a live Google Hangout visiting the Rising Star Cave System in South Africa! They went underground into the Rising Star Cave System and met Marina Elliott and Becca Peixotto. Marina is a biological Anthropologist and National Geographic Explorer, Becca is an American Archaeologist. They're on a 3-week expedition at the Rising Star Cave System in South Africa. This cave system is the site of an astonishing discovery of over 1,500 fossil elements.

Rising Star Cave Systems