CTEC CAPS Updates and Events

Cedar Trails Exploration Center, USD 232


Go to @CapsCtec for the latest program highlights, happenings and just plain awesomeness!



CAPS Program Director Message

For starters, please SAVE THE DATE for this year's Open House Event at Cedar Trails Exploration Center on Tuesday, January 10th at 6:00! More information to follow via email.

As many of you know, we are in our second year of growing our CAPS Program within (and beyond) the newly constructed walls of Cedar Trails Exploration Center. The majority of our technology, machinery and laboratory equipment is up and running and the students, under the guidance of our amazing teachers and mentors, are already putting it to good use.

All three of our CAPS Strands are engaged in several client-connected projects. Some of the projects are from opportunities within our district while others are partnerships with business and industry...and parents just like you. That's right! If you or your company has a need or opportunity, let the students at CTEC take a crack at it.

Our CAPS Strands work collaboratively in areas such as app creation, robotics, graphic design, motion graphics and animation, 3D design/print, laser etching, metal and wood fabrication, digital electronics, and bio-innovations to offer solutions to problems occuring present day and moving forward.

Below you'll see first-hand what I mean. This newsletter aims to showcase the amazing and innovative projects our CTEC CAPS students are engaged in. Please don't hesitate to email me if you have a collaborative opportunity for our students or have any questions about our programs of study. We look forward to seeing you in the new year!

Very Sincerely,

Tim Mispagel, M.Ed

CTEC CAPS Administrator and Teacher



Instructor - Mr. Neil McLeod

The robotics class has spent the last couple of months working hard and learning about robotics on several fronts! We started the year by learning about connectivity and communication systems that utilize networks. After this, we were able to bust out the tools and start building some working robots. We first focused on building and learning about different types of drive trains in order to be able to compare and contrast them for use in future projects! We've just barely begun to scratch the surface on what we'll be working on! After we wrapped up our projects with drive trains we have started building 'end-effectors'. These are the parts of robots that enable them to interact with the world. We'll build several different types of claws, hooks, scoops, and lots of others. Students will utilize their critical thinking skills in order to establish the advantages and disadvantages of each. Towards the end of the semester students will then use all of their knowledge they've gained thus far to build robots to compete against other teams within the class in several challenge games!

The robotics capstone class is a senior level class where students have had the chance to start the district's first FIRST Technical Challenge (FTC) team. This team is made up of 9 seniors from MVHS and DHS, and they are currently working to design a robot that will compete in 4 different events. This robot uses artificial intelligence and vision recognition in order to complete a series of objectives autonomously. It must also complete other tasks under human operation. They will be competing on Saturdays 12/3, 12/10, 12/17, and finally on 2/11!

The district's robotics competition robotics team is exploding. We have a record 60 students involved with the team this year. This fall students are working on learning about robotics by designing and building their own intake system based on previous game pieces. We also attended the CowTown Throwdown on 10/29 & 10/30. Even with an entire rookie drive team the robot performed great and the team finished at a respectful 16th place of 35 competing teams.

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Animation clip created by Mill Valley High School senior, Trent Richardson
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Character development by De Soto High School junior, Sergio Jaramillo.

Instructor - Mr. Andrew Proctor

Over the course of quarter 2, the CTEC Animation students have been extremely busy with the 2nd half of their “year long” course. We dove into background design, character design, character walkcycles, character communication (visemes/phonemes), and even putting together some small animations using cameras and scenes. People don’t realize the hard work it takes to create animations. We may spend hours on a project with planning, storyboarding, drawing, redrawing, and finalizing just for the animation to be 10 seconds long. Next semester, the students will be moving on to Game Design where they will learn about the basic principles of game design, art creation, and coding games to make them intractable as well as functional on a multitude of platforms.

Along with our animation group, the DHS/USD232 Esports program has had 1 team competing in the fall season this 1st semester. The DHS Rocket League team played 10 regular season, best of 7 matches and went undefeated. They only dropped 4 games all season! This year, the postseason was split into 4 different regionals nationwide. We fall into the Central region that comprises 16 different states. We qualified as the #1 seed and rode that momentum all the way to win the regional championship! That means that the DHS Rocket League team qualified for Nationals in May and a chance to win scholarships from a pool of $100,000! They were also invited to compete in the first ever Kansas State Tournament Invitational. This is the first high school esports state competition to ever happen. It will be the top 8 teams in the state in Rocket League to compete in a single elimination bracket. The DHS Rocket League team will be the #1 seed in the state. Dates for that tournament will be announced at a later date. We are also looking to turn a room at CTEC into an Esports lab with desktops for playing and a small space for shoutcasting.

Instructor - Mr. Tod Hessong

In early November, students from the AP CSA course visited K-State to participate in the 29th 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 across the state attended the competition. Our students also had an opportunity to tour the engineering building and talk with several USD232 grads that are currently attending K-State.

Our Cybersecurity students attended a field trip to OnSite Logic in Lenexa and participated in a new employee exercise where they discussed a variety of ways that cybersecurity attacks occur and methods to defend against those attacks.

Instructor - Mr. Brian Hagstrom

The Engineering design & Development students started the year by brainstorming potential problems surrounding them they could focus on solving throughout the school year. Students were able to take a trip to Burn and McDonnell to talk with engineers and other students from other districts about these initial ideas. First quarter ended with our student engineers presenting their Project Proposal to an audience explaining their problems in detail with evidence there is a need for something to be done. Second quarter will lead into groups picking and prototyping their best design.

Instructor - Mrs. Millie Laughlin

First semester bioscience students jumped right into the activities and labs in August. Using their own DNA, students extracted and precipitated it as a way to learn about lab safety, and how to use lab specific tools.

Medical intervention students began the year following a family pedigree to become medical investigators whose task was to find out what was making one of the “family members” and close contacts sick. To confirm the source of this “outbreak “ students conducted an ELISA test on fluids collected by all individuals and were able to identify patient zero and how the outbreak of meningitis traveled through the dorm and community.

Students also began working on semester long projects which includes recycling, stream monitoring, advancements in prosthetics, growing healthy plants in space for NASA, and methods for reducing scar tissue.

Biomedical innovation students configured emergency facilities for specific disasters and used Tinkercad to create a poster of their facility. Identify the level of care and providing triage using Vernier sensors added to the realism to this project. Learning how to use sensors such as EKG monitor, heart rate and temperature sensor, along with respiration rate sensors taught students how to identify normal and abnormal results in patients.

Students have also collaborated with other CTEC pathways to take their learning experience even farther.

Instructor - Ms. Nancy Taliaferro

We began the semester by learning and understanding how to write very large values into scientific and engineering notation. This will allow students to record answers in a smaller value with correct numbers, notations and units. We continued with learning basic analog components and their function in a circuit. These components would include things such as switches, resistors, capacitors, various diodes including LED’s (light emitting diodes) and power supplies. Students learned how to interpret the color code for a resistor, record the value and use a DMM (digital multi-meter) to measure the actual resistance value.

We have also learned Ohm’s Law which is the relationship of voltage, current and resistance in an electrical circuit. Students learned how a breadboard works and connected analog components to create series of parallel circuits. They then gained knowledge on how to read and set a DMM to measure voltage, current, and resistance in a series and parallel circuit. Students completed hand calculations using Ohm’s Law and compared them to the actual voltage, current and resistor DMM measurements in a live circuit.

Recently, students were introduced to digital components such as transistors, logic gates, Integrated Chips (IC), and others. They have studied how logic gates work and function, such as AND, OR, NOR, NAND, NOT, and XOR gates. Students also learned how to use logic gate datasheets for IC chips to locate information such as descriptions, chip diagrams and pin numbers, voltage supply ratings and more. We just finished a project utilizing analog, sequential design, and combinational logic to create a "random number generator," similar to the roll of a dice.

Instructor - Mr. Tim Mispagel

This year we hit the ground running with Adobe software training and application. In my Principles of Illustration course students participated in Inktober which is a daily drawing prompt. Students worked digitally creating black and white drawings using our the Wacom digital drawing tablets. In addition to learning how to draw and paint digitally, the students are learning how to work in traditional mediums like graphite, colored pencil and alcohol markers to name a few. Students wrapped up the semester with a client-connected project partnering with the City of De Soto. They created and voted on holiday themed illustrations. The winning illustration was painted on the front of a snow plow and is now back in operation.

Graphic Design Fundamentals students are also developing and applying their Adobe skills while learning the Elements and Principles of design and and how the application of these rules improves both their creativity and the execution of their individual ideas.

The Graphic Design Workplace Experience students have been working on client-connected projects that provide first-hand experiences of what it would be like to work as a professional graphic designer. Notably, Jammie Dunker (graphic designer for Advent Health) was an amazing mentor to our students this Fall. She worked with our CTEC team via Zoom to create actual deliverable materials that Advent Health is using both in print and on their website.

Lastly, and certainly not least, our Emerging Technology students began the year day 1 with a client-connected project with Mize Elementary Special Education teacher, .... The students were tasked with 3D modeling and 3D printing a complete set of braille alphabet stamps for visually impaired students at Mize. Currently, students are working on both individual 3D modeling/printing projects as well as working on separate client-connected projects in groups. Specific projects as follows: 3D printed prosthetic for a 5th grader born without 3 fingers on their left hand, 3D modeled and printed shoe designs, wheelchair accessible raised garden beds for Mize Elementary, and sculpting a shower chair for a 3 year-old child with Cerebral Palsy to assist her parents in the bathing ritual.

I'm so proud of how hard our students have been working and problem-solving. Next semester will be even more awesome as the students bring their projects to completion!

Instructor - Mr. Sam McLeod

This semester has been an absolute blast. In Emerging Technologies we've covered shop safety, identification of power and hand tools, common measuring systems, the basics of CNC programming, and much more. I'm very excited to start becoming much more hands-on in the shop in the second semester. The students have all been able to create two projects of their own design by programming our CNC plasma cutter and CNC router.

The students have also been able to come and tour three different manufacturing plants in the area. We toured Huhtamaki, McFarlane Aviation, and Webco Manufacturing. We have big plans to visit more manufacturing spaces next semester.

In the Blueprint Reading and Welding course, we've covered the basic science of arc welding, welding safety, how to read shop drawings, recognizing welding symbols on blueprints, joint configurations and orientations, and much more. For the student's final exam, they were all given the blueprint of a joint and needed to use shop tools (angle grinders/welder) to fabricate that weld. All of the students are now able to weld using shielded metal arc welding (SMAW/stick welding) and will begin learning metal inert gas (MIG) welding during the second semester.