CTEC CAPS Quarterly Update

Cedar Trails Exploration Center

CAPS News + Classroom Happenings for Second Quarter

This quarterly newsletter will provide details about progress towards our vision & mission through project examples and small successes.

Parent/Guardian Climate Survey

We want your feedback! We will share this survey now, and again during 4th Quarter. This survey encourages your feedback to help us better serve you. The data collected will assist with school improvement. This survey is anonymous and you will have an opportunity for comments if you would like. Thank you for helping us.


Please complete the survey by December 17th: CTEC CAPS PARENT SURVEY

CTEC CAPS FINAL EXAM SCHEDULE

We will share this in a Skyward blast too, as a reminder about our schedule. The home high school schedules for final exams don't allow for transportation time to CAPS, which is why on Wed. Dec. 15 & Thurs. Dec. 16, these classes will be on Zoom. Students will need to report to the Union/Commons during 1st & 4th block on these half days. FINAL EXAM SCHEDULE.

CTEC CAPS New Student/Parent Information Night - Dec. 8th, 6:30pm, at CTEC CAPS

If you have a current Sophomore or Junior student who might be interested in attending CAPS next year, please have them attend our Student/Parent Info Night on Dec. 8th from 6:30-8:00pm at CTEC CAPS (upstairs conference space).

2024 KTOY Nominations Now Open

Nominations are now open for the 2024 Kansas Teacher of the Year (KTOY).

Why should you participate: KTOY Information.

Parents may nominate an outstanding teacher now through January 14th (noon deadline).

Please access the online nomination form at www.usd232.org/ktoy


Who is eligible?


  • Teachers must have completed a minimum of five full years of teaching. This means the teacher is on his/her 6th year of teaching or more the year he/she is nominated.
  • Teachers must have at least two years with USD 232 and have completed five full years of teaching to be eligible.
  • The teacher is teaching full time and assign grades.
  • Special Education, Reading Specialists, Exploratory (Specials) Teachers are eligible. Counselors are not.
  • Teachers selected as a building winner last year are not eligible this year.

Classroom Happenings...

CLASSROOM HAPPENINGS: Please take a look at the content below showcasing activities and class content within each of our CAPS Strands. Pictures follow each section. ENJOY!

Computer Science & Cybersecurity

In early November, students from the AP CSA course visited K-State to participate in the 28th Annual Kansas State High School Programming Contest. Two teams of four participated in the event, one team in each of the two divisions: advanced and beginning. Schools from all across the state attended the competition. Both of our CTEC teams finished in 6th place! Our students also had an opportunity to tour the engineering building and enjoy lunch at the cafeteria while on campus.


Students enrolled in the AP Computer Science Principles course began developing apps of their own choice that access and display information from a database. The apps created varied from games to guess U.S. states based off of their nickname, size, and location to an app that suggests a movie or show to watch on Netflix based off of user preference. CTEC faculty members helped in the development by interacting with apps and offering suggestions of improvement.


Cybersecurity began the quarter by displaying works during the open house event for the new CTEC building. The rest of the quarter has been spent learning about how to improve password protection and social engineering attacks such as phishing. The learning method incorporated creating virtual machines where students participated in password hacking activities.

Robotics & Robotics Team

Second quarter in Robotics class has been a whirlwind of activity. We've focused our learning and exploration in three main areas. First, students explored how to use servos to create 'end effectors'. These are the modules that we can add to a robot that will allow it to interact with objects outside of itself. They've learned how to use mechanical advantage and simple machines to do complex tasks like picking and placing objects of various sizes and lifting heavier objects than they thought possible. Second, students had the opportunity to learn about how we can use CAD programs to help with robotics. They can now use the program Fusion 360 to model a robot to be able to digitally test their ideas and effectively communicate with others. Finally, students are working on their final project for the semester. The final involves building a robot from scratch that can accomplish very specific tasks like drawing a picture, crushing a ping-pong ball, or recreating a dance move! They will have to utilize all of the robot building skills and team work they've learned this semester to be successful! It's been a great semester and students have learned and done a lot! Next semester will have students learning about programming robots and utilizing sensors to make them automated!


The competition Robotics team FRC Team #1810 has been hard at work getting in several areas this semester!


First, we've had the opportunity to do several different community outreach activities. We helped to support a local dog shelter by bringing a couple of robots to show kids and build STEM interest. We also presented for the CTEC open house and let visitors drive the robots and talk to students about what they've been learning. We're also going to present at the Shawnee rotary club in December. This is all in an effort to create community interest and buzz about what we're doing to support STEM learning and give students the opportunity to share what they're passionate about. Finally, we were able to greet representatives from a local engineering firm: Hoss and Brown. They came in and talked with the students about what it's like being an engineer, potential internships in the future, and they donated money to help us build our competition robot this year.


Second, the team competed in the "Cow Town Throwdown" hosted at Lee's Summit High School. This was our first in person event since the beginning of 2020. Students were very excited to be back at an in person competition and it has really given them a glimpse of what next semester will bring! With a team that is full of new students and being very rusty we are very proud of our quarter finals finish of 36 competing teams!


Finally, the first weekend of January we'll find out what the rules and goals are for next season's competition. We'll then have 6 weeks to design, build, and program a robot from scratch to meet the new challenge. We're very excited to see what next semester brings!


Bioscience Classes

This quarter, Biomedical Innovations and Applied Biochemistry conducted research on heart disease, specifically hypertension. Students were challenged with finding simple methods, anyone could use at home, to help lower blood pressure. Their ideas were then tested, in a safe manner, data was collected and statistically analyzed to determine the effectiveness of their methods. The final project, which includes a scientific research paper and poster, will be presented during finals week. Stay tuned for their results.


Biotechnical Engineering students began second quarter learning about chromatography, then conducted a size exclusion chromatography lab to separate bovine hemoglobin from vitamin B12. Students have also learned how to make dilutions of molar solutions and percent solutions. As a fun project, students then made hand sanitizer using those skills. Microbiology is the theme as we near the end of the quarter. Students have used prepared slides to learn the oil immersion technique for viewing bacteria under high power on the microscope. The good bacteria in yogurt provided a great opportunity to identify anerobic bacteria and classify them as either gram positive or gram negative through staining.

Digital Electronics

In digital electronics students have learned how to identify various IC (Integrated Chips) with certain logic gates and how to read the datasheets. Before students could connect a sequential logic circuit they had to determine what type of IC chip to use with their sequential and combinational logic. Students learned that the output values of sequential logic depend not only on the current input values, but also on previous output values from a flip flop connected in series. Students learned how to control clock signals to control sequencing and memory to retain previous outputs. Students furthered their understanding by using two, three, and four flip flops in a circuit connected to probes. They analyzed digital and analog signals by understanding what are the period, frequency, time high, time low, amplitude, and duty cycle. Using math formulas students were able to calculate, record and analyze the difference in the signals in a sequential logic circuit with multiple flip flops.


Students were introduced to the 555 Timer to introduce a clock signal for their sequential circuit. The 555 Timer oscillator is one of the most common circuits used in introductory electronics. Students learned how to simulate and create a 555 Timer oscillator, as well as observed the effect of varying the value of its resistor and capacitor values and how it affects the oscillation frequency and duty cycle. Students then created a four-bit counter using the 555 Timer as the clock signal and connecting it to four flip flops. Students were able to apply their knowledge of binary code and by watching the probes turn on and off, and count from one to fifteen.


Students are ending their semester by becoming familiar with AOI logic which involves and AND, OR, and inverter gates. They have learned how to use a logic expression, create a truth table, and design an AOI logic circuit from the logic expression.

Engineering Classes

Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) has been hard at working understanding machine coding that machines read to produce 3D parts. This ‘g.code’ tells the machines how to move in the x, y, and z directions. Students have explored the way CNC mills can cut into parts and will mesh these concepts together to mill their first physical part.


Engineering Design and Development (EDD) has moved onto the prototyping and testing stages of their designs. Each team has been applying the concepts they have researched into physical models. 3D modeling had been a strong part of each team’s progress. Creating items to house and hold parts of the project to printing the ‘to scale’ prototype itself.

Design & Emerging Tech

Our Design students have been hard at work creating original content using Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop. Recently our Mac lab acquired state of the art Wacom drawing tablets which allow students to simulate traditional drawing methods while working digitally. Throughout the month of October the students participated in Inktober which is a series of one word daily drawing prompts to inspire creative thought processes. The students used their drawing tablets to execute this work. Additionally, students learned how to create the illusion of cut paper as an illustration style and created works inspired by a positive childhood memory of their choice. Acquiring diverse skill sets as visual artists and designers encourages individual growth and a uniqueness of style. Currently we are working on illustrations in colored pencil and alcohol marker. Students began their work by brainstorming their ideas, character development and composition sketches followed by refined drawings in pencil. Lastly, the pencil drawings are inked which is a scary step because of the permanence of the medium. That is, the students will not be able to erase mistakes made in ink should they occur. This process encourages risk-taking in their work and confidence moving forward.


Our Emerging Technologies students are advancing their skills in our 3D modeling software, Autodesk Fusion 360. Recently they designed a cell phone holder in Fusion and some classes have started to fabricate their model out of oak using the appropriate tools in our manufacturing space.


Emerging Tech students have also worked in Fusion 360 and Prusa Slicer and used the Prusa 3D printers to create toys for our Early Childhood students next door to us.