CTEC CAPS Quarterly Update

Cedar Trails Exploration Center

CAPS News + Classroom Happenings for Fourth 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!

CAPS Final Exam/Project Schedule (May 2022)

  • This semester our CAPS students will be ONSITE for final exams/projects.
  • Please view the CAPS FINAL EXAM SCHEDULE.
  • All days are full days of school, except for May 23 and May 24.

Parent/Guardian Climate Survey

We want your feedback! 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 May 24: CTEC CAPS PARENT SURVEY

CAPS Program Director Message

A huge THANK YOU to our students, parents, and staff for their patience and understanding as we navigated a year of transition with opening up a new building. Due to supply chain issues, it took the school year to get all furniture and equipment in the building, and much time was needed for staff to learn how to use the new equipment. As our newsletters have shown, despite any setbacks, our students were still learning and applying their knowledge through hands on, collaborative projects supporting their professional skills development. Our profession based learning success has spread its wings and others in-district and outside of the district are requesting client-connected projects. If your company or business could use our assistance, please contact me. We value the projects that allow our students to work with business/industry as it helps them gain employability skills while working on a Real World project, and helps to build an entrepreneurial mindset.

Thank you for your support of the CAPS Program! Have a great summer and congratulations to our graduates!

Dr. Cindy Swartz cswartz@usd232.org


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 students were quite busy this quarter. Biotechnology students began the quarter analyzing crime scene and suspect DNA using electrophoresis. Restriction enzymes were used to fragment all DNA samples then students made agarose gels and prepared the buffer used in electrophoresis. The suspect was confirmed by identifying the number of base pairs in band fragments and comparing that to the size of the band fragments of the crime scene DNA. Biotech students are ending their year by studying Immunology. The lab students completed is a form of the ELISA test to detect antigens. Students had to determine which classmate had been “exposed” to the antigen using ELISA. This topic supported Applied Biochemistry students, who are also taking Biotechnology, as they studied proteins, their structures and functions, and applications to health. Biochemistry students will end their year with a lab that applies Proteomic principles as they look at the proteins found in different fish to determine ancestral relationships between the different species.

Biomedical students analyzed a “family” who, throughout a short period of time, became sick from something in their environment. Students had to act as detective to trace the steps of each family member to see what environmental hazards they came in contact with and what the common source was. The common source was polluted water in the home. Students then conducted water analysis tests on water from their homes and from a nearby pond and stream. Some students took testing a bit farther by inoculating petri dishes with water samples, growing bacteria, then using gram staining techniques to determine if the samples contained gram positive or negative bacteria.

All Applied Biochemistry, Biomedical Innovations and Workplace students will end the year by presenting their semester 2 projects. Some projects presented will be from their workplace experience or interests, others will be experiments conducted or research over a topic/career they are passionate about. Biotechnology students will compete against each other to see which group and variables will grow the “healthiest” radish plants based on certain criteria.

Computer Science & Cybersecurity

Our advanced computer science students had the opportunity to tour and visit with the founders of Hyfin. Hyfin is software development company based in Lenexa City Center with the focus of producing contactless payment solutions. Have you seen the QR codes on the receipts when you check out at a restaurant? Hyfin produced those! Their team sat down with our students and talked about how they got into the field of programming as well as the skills they are looking for when they are hiring new employees. Additionally, our CSP students have continued to add content to our CSP App Store. A few of the additions include Checkers, Connect Four, Word Scramble, and a couple of Wordle clones. One of the Wordle clones was built for the reading teachers at Starside Elementary so that they could practice early literacy words with their students. Check out the CSP App Store here.

Engineering (CIM & EDD)

Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) is back to working with VEX V5 robotic equipment. The currently challenge is create their very own factory system. Each team of student will create a section of the class factory system that will have at least two automated features, an input to receive a product from another group, and two output sections to deliver based on a decision from their factory system. This factory system project expands on our class learning how products are created and moved to new stations/systems. We can look at the result and see where we can reduce cost, increase efficiency, and improve overall product creation.

Engineering Design and Development (EDD) attended the Senior Design Showcase at Union Station on April 26th. The two design teams were able to show off their hard work starting all the way from 1st quarter. This was the final project to put all the learning from the first PLTW class, Introduction to Engineering Design, through to completing the capstone course. These students have worked hard and have gained real world experiences through designing, building, and networking to continue on a road to a successful future.

FRC Team (District robotics team)

The district's competition team was very busy at the beginning of 4th quarter. After working on our robot and practicing through most of spring break, the team attended our first regional of the season at Lee's Summit North High School. The competition was fierce and intense at times, but our students finished at a very respectable 14th place during qualification matches. We were knocked out of the competition at the quarterfinals stage after an 'upsetting' turn of events.

The team also had the opportunity to attend a second regional event in Sedalia. This competition was full of world's quality teams. But after making changes to the robot between the two competitions our bot was performing admirably. At one point our robot was ranked #6 overall. However, after an illegal collision by another team damaged our robot, students had to spend times between rounds searching for the source of driving problems. This damage caused our rank to drop all the way to 15th of the teams at competition. However, they found the error and managed to bounce back and made it all the way to semifinals.

This was a phenomenal first year for the robotics team at CAPS. Students were able to learn and grow so much from the new resources that are present there. After such a successful 'rebuilding' year we're are excited to see where the team goes next!

Robotics Class

The robotics class at CTEC spent the entirety of 4th quarter working on a culmination project that had students preparing a robot for an in-house robotics tournament dubbed the "CTEC Robotics Challenge". In this game students built robots that had to be able to lift 4 inch rings up to 34 inches off the ground and hang them on pegs. Students were awarded points based on how high they were able to place the rings. In addition, students could earn additional points for scoring "3 in a row" like tic-tac-toe. Finally, students had to work together with their allies to climb and balance on a teeter-totter like object.

In the course of the project, students were given specific aspects of the project they were in charge of. All of these jobs responsibilities were things that we had spent significant class time learning about over the course of the year. Each team was composed of a programmer, a builder, a designer, and a systems engineer. In order to build a functioning and competitive robot students had to leverage all of their knowledge and teamwork skills in order to be successful.

The event was attended by all of the students that are currently enrolled in robotics at CTEC. Friends and family were also invited to support. Members and mentors of the district's competition robotics team came to help run the competition.

The two robots on the winning alliance were built by: Patrick Mack, Jordan Manning, Ty Allenbrand, Garret Cowen, Jackson Phillips, Ryan Layton, Sam Lindsey, Ray Rulifson, and Logan Bowden.

Thank you to all who helped make the tournament a success!

Digital Electronics

Digital Electronics students learned about Combinational Logic Designs, Sequential Logic, and Programmable Logic Devices (PLD). Students practiced using Hexadecimal and Octal numbering systems, seven segment displays, Multiplexers & Demultiplexers, and Binary Adders using XOR and XNOR logic gates.

Students were introduced to Sequential Logic which are signals that control the sequencing of events with the ability to remember past events in a circuit. A countdown timer and a security door password keypad are classic examples of everyday devices that use sequential logic. Students learned how to use D and J/K flip flops in circuits, as well as reading and creating square wave signals to compare them to truth tables. A circuit student’s used to further understand flip flops was an Event Detection circuit which is used in home security systems. Students also studied shift registers using a three to four-bit binary circuit with J/K flip flops. A calculator is an example of shift registers in that it shifts numbers to the left to record additional values on the screen. Students went on to learn how to program PLD’s on the digital protoboard using circuits that they created on Multisim electronic software. They were able to understand the tedious task of wiring integrated chips on the digital board and how a PLD simplifies that process with a single processing chip. A project that students were tasked with designing was to display their date of birth on a seven-segment display. They created truth tables, used Karnaugh mapping to find logic expressions, created the circuit on Multisim software and then used the digital protoboard to wire the circuit.


The Manufacturing classes are hurrying to finish their final projects while using all sorts of CNC equipment in the shop. One group pictured here is using our 4x8 CNC router to machine a sheet of MDF to become a new top for the arcade that the students built in another class. All final projects are from requests by CTEC faculty. A group of students also repaired these child-sized traffic signs for the preschool next door. The welding classes have been introduced to TIG welding, and have been practicing “stacking” welds on tee joints. One of the students here is finishing up some small trophies that we designed for the winners of a competition upstairs in the bioscience labs.

Graphic Design & Emerging Technologies

The Graphic Design Workplace Experience students began the quarter with a banner design for our Early Childhood Program including a “Welcome Back” banner and a Halloween themed banner for their Fall play. Next came a huge collaboration project with our district literacy specialist, Jeri Powers. This client-connected project involved the creation and complete re-design of our K-5 reading materials. The Graphic Design Fundamentals students are hard at work on the ins and outs of package design. We began by designing the golf balls and golf ball sleeves for the Education Foundation Annual Golf Tournament. Their final project involves the application of this knowledge in their own package design projects. Our scanning team has produced face scans of each student in the Design strand. Students are working with these files to add puzzle piece connectors and their names in 3D modeling software these scans. Our plan is to 3D print each individual face, plug them together and mount them at CTEC as a sort of Mount Rushmore inspired relief sculpture. Finally, our most impactful project of the year was the development of a “shower chair” for a 2 yr old with Cerebral Palsy. Mom reached out to us because her daughter is getting too heavy to hold in the shower and its cumbersome to bathe her while leaning over the tub. The students are currently sculpting the chair out of cardboard, wooden dowels, and hot glue. Next, they’ll cover the cardboard with oil-based clay and create a silicone mold. The final design will be cast in a comfortable expandable foam.