CTEC CAPS Quarterly Update

Cedar Trails Exploration Center

CAPS News + Classroom Happenings for Third Quarter

This quarterly newsletter provides details about progress towards our vision & mission through project examples and small successes. Thank you for your support of CTEC CAPS!

Intersection in front of CTEC

Soon, our Facilities Department will make the small intersection in front of CTEC, near the circle drive, a 3-way stop. Students, please be careful when driving around the school, and please be on the lookout for the new stop signs for the 3-way stop.

CAPS Delayed Start Schedule (April 6th, 2022)

We will share this via a Skyward blast when the dates gets closer. The district is having a delayed start day on April 6, 2022. We have coordinated our career center schedule with the high school schedules. Please view the CAPS DELAYED START SCHEDULE.

CAPS Final Exam/Project Schedule (May 2022)

We will share this vis a Skyward blast too... This semester our CAPS students will be onsite for final exams/projects. Please view the updated CAPS FINALS SCHEDULE.


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!

Bioscience Classes

Biotechnology students worked through a unit on Microbiology. After a trip to Quest Diagnostics in Lenexa, students learned about aseptic techniques and how to sterilize and use the biosafety cabinets. Students made nutrient agar and broth then used both to see what surfaces around CTEC have the most bacteria. Students used the autoclave to sterilize (kill) the bacteria and dispose of the remains safely.

Biomedical Innovation students just finished a unit on Forensic Science and conducted an autopsy on a fetal pig. Some students were able to visit the Johnson County Medical Examiner’s office to view a live autopsy in January. While covering lipids in Applied Biochemistry, students were able to also dissect the fetal pig to learn more about the circulatory system and to compare a fetal heart to an adult heart to see how fats can collect around organs as well as inside vessels.

This quarter, some Workplace students have begun internships and other have begun their 2nd semester projects. Topics include Small Animal Veterinary Science, Vaccine Development, and Joint Injuries in Athletes. The dates of pubic presentations in May will be sent out for anyone who wish to attend. Presenting their work is great practice for our students and they appreciate feedback too.

Engineering Classes

Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) is exploring robotic arm control typically seen in industry. They will be learning about the movements and functionality of these robots. Students will experiment with joint and linear movement to find the best motion given a certain task. They will be learning about ‘pick and place’ options and sorting parts based on color through vision sensors. The process of building with the VEX V5 equipment is giving our students a deeper understanding what goes into these robots before it can complete any assigned task.

Engineering Design and Development (EDD) is well on their way into prototyping and testing. One group is creating ‘a better bike seat’ and has completed the first prototype with card board and 3D printed materials. They have new materials to move into creating a testable prototype for data collection. The second group is hard at work testing gels to replicate familiar flavors of foods and programming a method to complete this accurately as part of a device. This group has had been using CAD software and 3D printing in their prototype testing. EDD will be testing and revising their project up until the April 26th EDD Senior Showcase at Union Station where they will present their solution to fellow EDD students and professionals in the engineering fields.

Programming & Cybersecurity

The computer science classes have been busy in 2022 with guest speakers and creating applications. First, Brian Chase from Garmin’s Aeronautics Development Team visited our CSP class and shared his work with embedded devices as well as a description of his day-to-day work environment. Then, Matt Little, Senior Vice President and CIO at Great American Bank, shared his work and education experience with our cybersecurity students. He focused on the IT side of his job and how they protect and secure the bank’s data. Soon, our CSA class will take a fieldtrip to visit Hyfin, a software development company based in Lenexa that focuses on contactless payment solutions. Additionally, students from all of the classes have been working on a multitude of applications ranging from Python development to creating replicas of the recent craze word puzzle game, Wordle.

Robotics & FRC Team

Robotics class - Quarter 3 in robotics has been a roller coaster of fun. We started off the semester by having students build a 'pick and place' robot. This is a type of immobile robot that we didn't get to cover during first semester. This type of robot is stationary and is meant to pick up objects from one location and place them into another location. This function is used in all sorts of commercial applications like part sorting, bin picking, assembly, packing, and inspection. After students got a handle on the nuisances of pick and place robots they were then tasked with making an adjustment for a 'client'. Students had to adjust their robot to meet certain specifications in order to quickly meet the their needs. Students had to develop a presentation, drawings, and documentation to present to the client to explain how their adjustments would meet their needs.

After completing the pick and place robot, we started to learn about programming. Students are learning to automate their robot processes by utilizing an Arduino and C++. So far, students have mastered how to independently control DC motors and servos. Students have also learned how to get and use data delivered by infrared sensors and ultrasonic range finders. After learning the basics of programming students were able to use dead reckoning to program specific paths of travel for their robots. This week students will add the sensors to their robot and we will explore how to use the sensors to enable our robot to be truly autonomous and be able to make decisions on its own based on sensor data.

After Spring Break we will return with the first ever Grand Challenge. Students will be divided into teams where they will build a robot completely from scratch that will be used to compete in a CTEC wide robotics competition in May. They will have to utilize all of their robotics and team work knowledge in order to be successful!

FRC Team - The competition robotics team has been BUSY this quarter with our first official build season in the new building. The first weekend in January was the game reveal were we learned that students would have to build a robot that could shoot a basketball-sized tennis ball into a 4ft hoop that's 8 feet in the air. Their robot also has to be able to climb a series of monkey bars without touching the ground! A brief introduction video of the game can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LgniEjI9cCM

Since that first weekend in January the team has been dutifully meeting to design, build, and test their answer to the challenge every Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday (barring snow days)! Because of the new facilities afforded here at CTEC students have had the opportunity to learn and utilize better and more sophisticated equipment than they ever have before! We also want to send a very huge THANK YOU to all of the volunteers that have helped make the season what it has been! Our regional competition is taking place at Lee's Summit North HS on March 24-26th.

Graphic Design & Emerging Technologies

Our Graphic Design Fundamentals students have been learning how to create sticker designs using Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop. In March students will be participating in a sticker design contest sponsored by Johnson County Public Libraries. The theme of the contest is “Under the Sea.” Most importantly, the students are learning how to build cutting and crease paths in Illustrator which are staple skills for any digital designer. The cutting paths communicate with our printers, plotters and cutters telling them precisely where to cut and crease. This opens the possibilities for package design and increases our student’s industry marketability. Beginning 4th quarter, the students will apply this knowledge by designing small golf ball sleeves which will be produced for our annual Giving Foundation Golf Tournament in June. Additionally, students will build the logos to be UV printed on the surface of each of the golf balls provided to the tournament participants. We are excited to utilize the equipment in our Maker Space and provide a “real world” design experience for our students.

Since many of our Design students are also enrolled in the Emerging Technologies strand, students are learning how to apply the cutting paths created in Adobe Illustrator to equipment in our Manufacturing space such as the CNC and plasma cutting tables. The possibilities are endless when creating designs that can be cut from everything from acrylic and wood to steel and aluminum. We have a team of students that are growing proficient at using our 3D scanner. In addition to creating the Making a Difference Awards by scanning and digitally assembling various components, they are collaborating with Mrs. Laughlin and her Bio-science team to produce life-sized models of leg bones. The students will use the bones to problem-solve how various injuries and breaks need to be addressed. All scans are brought into Autodesk Fusion 360, developed further and prepared for our 3D printers. Lastly, the Emerging Tech students 3D modeled and 3D printed a modified bike pedal for one of our students in the “Adaptive A” program at DHS. The modified pedal fits the shape of his foot perfectly and can be easily removed allowing a variety of students with diverse abilities to use the adaptive bicycle.

Digital Electronics

In Digital Electronics students learned AOI Logic. AOI is an acronym for AND, OR, and Inverter logic gates which is used in digital electronic circuits. Students learned how to extract logic expressions that represents a series of inputs and outputs. They were introduced to truth tables to extract the logic expression which shows how inputs and outputs operate. When designing a game console or a cell phone circuit AOI logic circuits are used. Students were introduced to logic expressions in the Sum-of-Products (SOP) and Products-of-Sum (POS) form. There are several techniques used to simplify the number of logic expressions to a simpler term. Students have learned how to use Boolean algebra, Theorems, and DeMorgan’s Theorems to simplify a logic expression. After learning some heavy math principles students were challenged with designing, simulating and building a “Majority Vote” voting machine that met design specification. Students used truth tables and Boolean algebra to design a logic circuit with as few AOI logic gates as possible. They then breadboard integrated chips, LED’s, and switches to demonstrate their voting machine. After learning all of the techniques in the long version students were introduced to Karnaugh Mapping which is a graphical technique used to simplify logic expressions containing up to four variables. Students also learned that using NAND and NOR gates greatly reduces the number of integrated chips used in a circuit. This saves companies a significant amount of money by reducing the number of integrated chips used in a circuit. Students were challenged with designing, simulating and building a fireplace control circuit for a residential gas fireplace using Karnaugh Mapping, NAND and NOR logic gates.


Our Introduction to Welding classes have been very excited to finally step into the booth and practice proper welding techniques. After a few weeks of studying the basics and developing good safety skills, we’ve gotten all of the students drawing weld lines on flat steel. Students are learning the pros and cons of the different types of welding. Next quarter, we will be learning and practicing different types of welded joints, and introducing other metalworking techniques such as plasma cutting, deburring, and grinding.

Emerging Technologies & Mass Production students are learning a variety of different methods of fabrication and manufacturing. All of the students learned basic woodworking skills to make a small box to keep, make to the dimensions that they chose. Currently, all of the students are learning the fundamentals of various types of CNC manufacturing. We are learning to design and fabricate parts on our CNC mill, CNC router, and CNC plasma table.