A group of young Cartersville students will get a chance to show off their tech savviness in front of a regional audience.
Nineteen third- through sixth-graders from Cartersville Elementary and Middle schools won first-place awards in the Fourth Annual Cartersville Schools Technology Competition held Nov. 18 in the CES media center and will move on to the Northwest Regional Tech Competition Jan. 24 at Georgia Highlands College's Floyd campus in Rome.
"I think our students will represent the Cartersville City School System very well," CES instructional technology specialist Joe Crawford said. "We have some very talented students who created very impressive projects. We are excited to see how we match up against other schools at the Northwest Regional [Tech] Competition."
Either individually or in pairs, students in grades 3-6 created a project in one of 15 technology-related categories of their choice to enter in the contest, according to Crawford.
"[CES] students then used time during the technology club to learn about their category, ask questions and design prototypes for the competition," he said, noting the club meets every other Monday from 3 to 4 p.m. "During the first semester of school, the technology competition is a major focus of this club."
At the event, students competed by grade levels — third/fourth and fifth/sixth — and 16 groups presented their projects to eight judges from the central office and all four Cartersville schools, who scored them based on the state rubric for each category.
"We had nine of the 15 categories represented in this year’s competition," Crawford said. "Students chose the category they were interested in for this competition. We had several categories with multiple entries."
Winners in the third/fourth division were Assata Kendrick and Izabela Maeger, 3-D Modeling; Colin Jeanneret and Caden Mader, Digital Game Design; Alana Burnside and Maddox Wilson, Robotics; and Andy Channel and Katherin Eidson, Audio Production.
Taking top honors in fifth/sixth were Tripp Chitwood and Luke Gore, 3-D Modeling; William Reed, Device Modification; Dixon Lindsey and Kason Miller, Digital Game Design; Jeremiah Sturdivant and Amara Ejieke, Graphic Design; Helen Leaming and Eliza Shepard, Video Production; Avery Klawon, Multimedia Applications; and Sofia DeRenzo, Animation.
"Mr. [Andrew] Wilson, Mr. [Kevin] Ruff and I are extremely impressed by all the students who competed," Crawford said, noting they began working on their designs in September. "Each student worked extremely hard on their project, but most importantly, they learned to work through problems and to not give up. Each iteration helped them get closer to completing their project."
One project that stood out to Crawford was a checker board for the blind, created by a fourth-grade team.
"We asked our students to create a solution to a problem, and this design was unique and thoughtful," he said.
Out of the nine categories that were entered, 3-D Modeling and Digital Game Design were the most popular, according to Crawford.
"We have a 3-D printer, and the students really enjoy taking a 3-D design they created on a computer and printing it on our printer," he said. "The conversations we have about design becomes amplified when they can hold their finished product and see where they can make improvements with each iteration."
He also said the young scientists are "excited about Digital Game Design."
"When they first begin, they want their game to perform similar to the games they play at home," he said. "They don’t realize how much work it takes to design and create a game that may only take a few minutes to play. These are real-life lessons students are learning as fourth- and fifth-graders."
Colin, 10, is one of those fourth-graders who is excited about learning to design digital games.
"I thought it would be fun to design a game," the son of Matt and Lara Jeanneret of Cartersville said. "I really enjoy playing video games and thought it would be cool to design my own."
The game he helped create is called Cat Galaxy, "a fun game where you travel around and try to avoid certain obstacles," Colin said.
"My partner, Caden, and I thought for a long time and decided on Cat Galaxy," he said. "We both really like the offline dinosaur game on Chrome and wanted to do something similar to that gameplay."
"The offline dinosaur game is the game that shows up when you try to use the Chrome browser when your internet is off," his mom said. "You can use your arrow keys to jump over obstacles."
Colin said he decided to enter the tech competition because he "thought it would be fun," and it was "pretty cool" that he and Caden won first place in their category.
"I was surprised about it," he said. "I didn’t think we would actually get to go to regionals. I’m excited."
Students who win first place at the regional level will advance to the Georgia Technology Competition in Macon on March 14.