Isabella Vasquez, 7, and Emely Zepeda, 7, tape their bridge together. (Photo by Carissa LaFrance)

Isabella Vasquez, 7, and Emely Zepeda, 7, tape their bridge together. (Photo by Carissa LaFrance)

By Bronte Pappas
Cougar News Blog

     Building bridges is the step to creating good relationships. Only this time, it’s literal. Cactus Canyon now offers a new enrichment class, where students build bridges.
     In this study skills class, students will be building real model bridges, but also learn about civil engineering. Students research different types of bridges and construct one using popsicle sticks with the goal of building one that can withstand 100 pounds.
     “I am excited to see the creative solutions that students will come up with for everyday problems,” said science teacher Diana Kidde. “Students will also have to explain their design and process. I am excited to see the different designs and which ones will support the most weight.”
     Students will be learning about engineering design. This is the engineering design process that will guide the students. It will help them solve problems, and it will help them make improvements to their designs.
     Many of them are excited for the experience because they are looking forward to making something with their hands.
     “I am excited and the reason is because we get to construct something small but if made big it can hold a lot,” said eighth grader Krysta Espinoza.
     In the future this will help students who one day might want to take up a career in engineering.
     Not only will students be building bridges, but they will also be constructing a spaghetti tower. They will even be making an egg engineering project which will be a ton of fun. The spaghetti tower is a tower made of uncooked spaghetti noodles, and the egg engineering project is where the students must create a safe incubation for an egg. It will have to be safe enough for the egg not to break.

Students are studying growth mindset, which promotes the idea that people learn through hard work and making mistakes, rather than talent alone. (Photo by Hannah Molino)

Students are studying growth mindset, which promotes the idea that people learn through hard work and making mistakes, rather than talent alone. (Photo by Hannah Molino)

By Savannah Barr
Cougar News

     Teachers and students are broadening their horizons with the aid of the growth mindset for the 2016-17 school year. The concept focuses on the idea that a person can best learn and improve skills through hard work and making mistakes, rather than skills they were born with.
     The growth mindset is the way of thinking in which one believes that you can absorb more information through hard work rather than genetics. The school introduced it last year, but emphasises it much more now.
     “Growth mindset is one’s belief that you can ‘gain’ intelligence through hard work, not genetics,” says Mrs. Roach, a science teacher for the eighth grade. “It is far more important to believe that with hard work anything is possible, rather than the belief that I am only as good as I ever will be.”
     The growth mindset can be a way for students to have more confidence in their self when they’re tackling a new or unfamiliar task. It allows them to be more open-minded and push themselves, even if they fail. People with a growth mindset understand that making mistakes is part of the learning process. Both students and teachers can benefit from this way of thinking. On the other hand, people with a fixed mindset believe people are born with their level of intelligence and talent and they cannot be changed.
     “I find it beneficial because I try to improve every time I catch myself giving up,” says Alondra Urias, an eighth grader.
     The concept of having a growth mindset has been around for years, but teachers have recently introduced it at Cactus Canyon. Some teachers came up with the idea a year or two ago when they got together and read a book titled “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success,” by Carol Dweck.
     “We really liked the concept and idea of it and thought it would be beneficial to implement at school,” says seventh grade teacher Savanna Fallon. “As teachers, we figured we needed to practice the concept ourselves before we could pass it along to the students.”
     There are many hopes that this way of thinking will make learning a more positive experience for students and teachers alike.
     Alexis Skinner says, “I think you can learn more and do better if you have a growth mindset.”

Members of the baseball team warm up before their home game against Maricopa Wells on Aug. 30. (Photo by Jaden Miner)

Members of the baseball team warm up before their home game against Maricopa Wells on Aug. 30. (Photo by Jaden Miner)

By Kylee Demauro
Cougar News Blog

     The Cactus Canyon softball team took its first loss in four years to Benjamin Franklin Charter High School. Despite the loss in the season opener on Aug. 25, the team has high hopes for the season.
     Entering the season, the Cougars had won 40 consecutive games and four straight league championships. The team has started a new three-game winning streak, but players don’t feel there is pressure to continue the title run, although it is the Cougars’ goal.
     “The pressure isn’t that bad,” said eighth-grader Elizabeth Cardenas. “You just have to have a positive attitude about everything.”
     The baseball team has started its season with a record of 4-0 and believe they have a chance to win the championship this season. Cactus Canyon has won the Desert Middle School Athletic League two times and their goal is to go back and win for a third time.
     “(My goal this season is) to win the championship and have an undefeated season, ” said Jaden Unise.
     Softball coach Bill Wilson and baseball coach Ramon Figueroa have worked to get players prepared for the season. Coach Wilson says his team needs to work on self confidence. He explained that his group of girls have, “a great attitude and will be fine.”
     “I prepare by making sure that we run drills that help the talent level that we have,” said Coach Wilson. “I expect us to win the league and tournament.”
     Many of the eighth graders on the softball and baseball team are excited to be leaders. They now get to teach the seventh graders a few things to help them through the season. The student athletes are excited and the eighth graders are ready to help out who they can. The two teams have their goals, but are still learning how to reach them.
     “I feel good because I can help the seventh graders to be better next year,” said Brian Favia.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Gallery  —  Posted: September 12, 2016 in Photos of the week, Yearbook

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Gallery  —  Posted: September 7, 2016 in Photos of the week, Yearbook

Eighth grade StuCo representative Ruby Verduzco sells a ticket to the dance. (Photo by Chloe Krueger)

Eighth grade StuCo representative Ruby Verduzco sells a ticket to the dance. (Photo by Chloe Krueger)

By Mya Palomino and Anyssa Pena
Cougar News Blog

     Student Council mustache you a question. Have you ever been to a school dance that is not only an hour later than usual, but also has a food truck? Cactus Canyon Student Council will be hosting a welcome back dance that features both of those changes.
     The dance is ‘50s theme and there will be plenty of neat decorations. The food truck will be selling mustache-shaped pretzels and a variety of drinks along with your choices of dip. It will be held in the gym at 6:15 to 8:00 on Thursday September 1, 2016.
     “We did not have to pay for the food truck. The folks from Mustache Pretzels were very kind to not charge us a booking fee,” said Jason Davis, the Student Council adviser. “They will keep all the money from their sales, but we hope extra ticket sales make up for any revenue we might lose from concession sales.”
     The time was changed to be one hour later, giving students a more flexible schedule, especially for the parents. Last year’s dances were 5:15-7 p.m. In consideration of the time extension, the council hopes there will be more students involved in the dance.
     “The time change gives us more time to hangout and dance with our friends,” said eighth grader Jesse Redondo. “This also allows new and old students to interact with each other.”
     The welcome back dance might be hardest dance to put together because there are only 14 StuCo members to make all the decorations and preparations. Seventh graders join the group when the second quarter begins in October.
     “It’s really hard to cram everything into three weeks, because if you have extra school work to do and sports activities after school, plus your Stuco responsibilities it’s really difficult to manage your time wisely,” said representative Oceana Faulkner.

Passing a cup during during a team-building activity, drama students learn to work together, which is an important skill for performing. (Photo by Hannah Molino)

Passing a cup during during a team-building activity, drama students learn to work together, which is an important skill for performing. (Photo by Hannah Molino)

By Alissa Baker
Cougar News Blog

     Actors in Lisa Schroeder’s drama class are preparing for the upcoming play being hosted in December.
     Mrs. Schroeder is both an English and drama teacher. Drama is one of the new electives this year, and it seems to have attracted many students. Zack Kinion, one of the members of the class, is really happy about the class but is a little uneasy the auditions.
     “The drama class exceeded my expectations and it was fun,” he said. “I am really excited for the upcoming play, but I’m nervous for the tryouts.”
     Students in the class and after-school club will be performing “Murder at Rundown Abby,” which is a spoof of the BBC and PBS show “Downton Abby.”
     Mrs. Schroeder claims that theater helps her students learn team work, gain self-confidence, and learn leadership skills.
     It wasn’t Mrs. Schroeder’s plan to become a drama teacher, but she said she did perform when she was a student.
     “As I built my family I began to teach acting classes for the stage and screen, along with special effects, makeup, costume and set design, and ballroom dancing for musical theater,” she said. “I am pleased with my outcome and I am glad to watch others reach their goals. It is rewarding to see the transformation.”
     The class spends most of the time playing trust and teamwork games, working on vocal and dancing exercises, and reading script. At home, students look up hair, makeup, and clothes from the 1920s, since that’s what time “Abby” takes place. Many of the young actors are happy that the play revolves around a murder mystery.
     “I personally like the concept of Rundown Abby the most,” said eighth grader Kyra Garrett. “The idea of the 1920s is very interesting.”
     “Murder at Rundown Abby” will be performed in December at Apache Junction High School.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Gallery  —  Posted: August 29, 2016 in Academics, Electives, Photos of the week, Yearbook

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In this first post of 2016-17, yearbook students were asked to practice using their cameras in manual mode. The class has been studying advanced settings and the relationships among aperture, shutter, and ISO.

     Staff members from the Cougar Chronicles recently earned recognition in the Journalism Education Association’s Junior High and Middle School National Media Contest. Three students – Lauren Powell, SeAnna Brennan, and Justin LaPrise – earned Superior ratings for their photos and received medals for their efforts, as only 10 percent of entries receive Superior ratings.
     Brennan and Megan Wagner earned two Excellent ratings, while Skylar Sosa and Brooke Wine each earned one.
     Wine and Robin Marshall each earned two Honorable Mentions, while Powell, Tiffani Morris, Mariana Rios, and Madonna Parker each earned one. The entire staff received an HR for theme development throughout the book.
     In all, 17 of the photos submitted by Chronicles staffers were recognized. Mr. Jason Davis is the staff adviser.