La Merced Intermediate School Science Team
A creative and talented team of eighth graders from Montebello Unified School District’s La Merced Intermediate School are matching their knowledge of physics against teams from 30 countries at a multi-disciplinary, problem-solving competition at the University of Tennessee.
As if erecting a wooden structure weighing less than 50 grams that can hold a significant amount of weight while golf balls are fed into it isn’t challenging enough, La Merced’s “Limitless Freedom” team also had to create a clever skit to accompany the project.
Destination Imagination’s Global Finals ‘12 is a complex challenge staged by the nonprofit, educational, after school program that runs through Saturday in Knoxville, Tenn. The annual event where students from kindergarten through college work as teams to solve open-ended challenges will be attended by more than 8,000 students who make up the 1,200 competing teams.
La Merced’s team of 14 & 13 year-olds, are representing California after having earned their way to the Global Finals. The team, under the guidance of faculty adviser Martha Bailey, won statewide competition in Clovis, after taking the regional competition in South Pasadena to represent California.
The students are part of La Merced’s gifted and talented program and they worked many hours researching the types of wood and glue to build their project with. They turned to a cat-and-mouse game for their skit, with the boys, wearing large costume mouse ears, and the girls, sporting cat-like pointy ears on their heads, vying for a piece of cheese.
Bailey is quick to point out that the team of students thought up and built the project, including a robot that is used to push the golf balls, created the skit and made costumes.
Besides presenting the structure and acting out the skit, the international competition also requires the students to solve a challenge that is being presented to them. They will need to solve it with only the materials that are made available to them.
“The Montebello Unified School District Board of Education congratulates this talented group of students we have for the success they’ve attained thus far,” Board of Education President Hector Chacon said. “They have been a great representative of our District and our community, and we wish them all the best at this highly-skilled and prestigious competition.”
To cover the costs of their trip to Tennessee, which included, airfare, hotel, meals and registration costs, the students were also creative in their fund-raising, by holding bake sales, car washes raffles and collecting donations from local businesses. The students traveled by air, but Bailey drove there to protect the structures from damage.
La Merced’s Limitless Freedom team has a video on YouTube.
Montebello Unified School District is a dynamic learning institution employing top-quality educators. It is the combined work of many that allows the District to continue educating more than 30,000 students every year using the 40 Developmental Assets at all of our school sites. It is through everyone’s efforts – students, parents, teachers, staff and administrators – that we are achieving the District’s number one goal of raising student achievement. Learn more online at: www.mhs.montebello.k12.ca.us.