SEEDing Olympics

  • Sayville SEED Students Simulate Olympic Challenges

    With Brain-Teaser Events


    Sayville elementary SEED students were ahead of the game, Olympic Games, that is.


    Months before the 2008 Summer Olympics took place in Beijing, Sayville SEED students in the three elementary schools closed their spring semester projects by scheduling their own Olympic competitions in word, math, and science challenge problems. 


    While plans for the interschool SEED competition were underway, the Sunrise Drive students received a special visit from an actual Olympic organizer, Mrs. Prokesch, who also happened to be the mother of Sunrise Drive Fifth-grade student, Emma Prokesch. Mrs. Prokesch gave the students insights about Olympic procedure and how the Chinese culture would influence the flavor of the Summer Games.


    Responsible for the accommodations, arrangements, and tickets to Olympic venues for the American Athletes’ families and Olympic sponsors since the 1992 Albertville Games, “Mrs. Prokesch fascinated the students with her connections,” SEED teacher Cindy MacDonell commented.


    “Imagine,” said the always enthusiastic Emma to the Fourth-grade SEED students, “that you are sitting at the 1992 Winter Olympics with Kristi Yamaguchi’s family, singing our National Anthem, as Yamaguchi receives her gold medal in figure skating.  My mother got to do that!” Emma shared with her classmates her own ambition to try out for the 2016 Olympics in sailing and eventually have a job just like her mother’s. (Since school ended, Emma—a seasoned Olympic spectator who had already traveled to two Olympics—found summer in Beijing as exciting as ever.)


    On the day of the SEED Olympics, Lincoln and Cherry Avenue students traveled to the “host school” (Sunrise Drive) to compete in their own brain-teasers Olympics.  Beginning with an opening ceremony, complete with Olympic flag and torch relay, the students waited to see who among them earned the illustrious honor as final torch bearer.  To everyone’s surprise and delight, an Albert Einstein action figure, carrying a fiery-colored stellated icosahedral “flame,” entered the classroom to light the Olympic cauldron! 


    For the competitions, “the students divided into competing countries and were soon immersed in such events as Palindrome Puzzle, Symbol Decoding, Raptor Race, Poetry Brainstorm, and Spatial Problem-solving Relay,” Mrs. MacDonell explained.  “Each event was related to a previous SEED exploration,” for example:  


    -         Raptor Race was based on recent SEED investigations in which the students experimented to see how changes in predator/prey populations might lead to evolutionary changes over time. 


    -         Slow Marble Race, (the premier event) was inspired by the excitement generated when SEED students were spectators at the F.I.R.S.T. Robotics Competition won by Sayville High School students in March.  In this Science-Olympiad style contest, the SEED students examined the construct of slowness and used a specific set of building materials to build a slow marble raceway.  “The students were very analytical and creative with their structures knowing that the winner would be the one that finished last!” Mrs. MacDonell added.

    Finally, all the points earned during the day-long competition determined the winning teams, who were crowned with Gold, Silver and Bronze in a closing ceremony. 


    As the SEED students returned to their elementary schools, sorry to see their Olympics end, each came away with a better sense of the Olympic competitive spirit. This genuine understanding allowed them to appreciate the Opening Ceremonies in Beijing on the propitious day—8/8/08—in a stadium built in the shape of a bird’s nest, knowing—as they had learned during their SEED classes—that both are considered very lucky in the Chinese culture. 



SEED students compete at Olympic Brain Teasers
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