Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

By Kristine Funk
Cougar News Blog

     Some Cactus Canyon math students went on a safari to learn about numbers, decimals, and percents.
     Rachel Mangum and Tina Jada’s math classes recently had a video conference with the Saint Louis Zoo to learn about math and animals. The instructor gave many different examples relating to math, but also related to animals, and gave them problems to solve.
     “I think that because it was something they could relate to they tried really hard to figure out the math,” said Mangum.
     The learning objective was about decimals and percents, and the video instructor gave examples such as how many times a falcon would be successful capturing prey under a variety of circumstances.
     The Mathimals program is something the St. Louis Zoo offers to schools across America and it includes live animals, hands-on activities, and videos to show how math is important to the zoo and the world.
     The class plans on doing it again in January, but instead of a zoo, they will learn along with a musician. Mangum hopes that students will be able to see that math is used everywhere, and not just in school.
     “I had my students reflect on the experience and they said that they really enjoyed it,” Mangum said.
     Students say that the conference has helped them understand the subject more, and they also learned a thing or two about animals.
     “It was amazing,” said Kristen Baker. “I learned more about the animals there.”

Ms. Wilbur-Bowers demonstrates during a lesson in CCJH's new computer coding elective. (Photo by Hannah Molino)

Ms. Wilbur-Bowers demonstrates during a lesson in CCJH’s new computer coding elective. (Photo by Hannah Molino)

By Skyler Wolfe
Cougar News Blog

     Someday there may be a game created by a Cactus Canyon student on the App Store.
     A new coding class is now taught by Marie Wilbur-Bowers and is offered to both seventh and eighth graders as a seventh hour elective.
     Students are learning how to code on the website The students are also learning about the development of games and mobile applications. Students spend the hour working independently and work as they go.
     Students use programs such as Javascript and move onto more challenging courses. The program used has different levels and difficulties to keep challenging students so they get better and understand more about coding. Students are expected to understand coding and how it works by the end of the semester.
     “I expect students to understand that there is a lot more that goes into programming a game or app,” said Mrs. Wilbur-Bowers. “Students will hopefully walk away with an intense interest to keep learning to code.”
     A key point of why teaching coding is so important is because these students live in a world revolving around technology and need to further understand it. Students have been learning how to program a character to move through a maze. They code in ICC which stands for the International Code Council. Programming also teaches students how to code something from start to finish.
     “In ICC we do coding, which is make a code and see if it will work to let the character or anything else reach the finish,” eighth grader Nycholas Robb. “Coding class helps me learn how to control a character and guide its way to the finish by programming the right parts.”

Sigfrido Ibarra
Cougar New Blog

     Programmable Lego robots are trying to make their way into Cactus Canyon’s tech club. Tina Jada, the tech club adviser, is trying to figure out how to use the robotics equipment from when Cactus Canyon had a robotics class.
     Students got to experiment with the equipment during the club’s last meeting, but Mrs. Jada doesn’t know exactly how they will be used.
     “We brought out all of the robotics parts at our last meeting and are trying to figure out how to make them functional,” said Mrs. Jada.
     In addition, tech club members will be making computer games, which seventh grader Marek Lemieux said is his favorite activity, and will be helping raise money for Project Help. If students join they wouldn’t have to worry about get hungry or thirsty because tech club will be serving snacks and drinks during each meeting.
     “Games that you build are accessible by you for life, even after you leave CCJH,” said Mrs. Jada.
     Tech club is always looking for new members and there is no sign-up fee. Meetings start at 3:15 p.m. and lasts until 4. They meet up every Tuesday in room 319 in the 300 building. Students who show up for the meetings get a free tech club shirt.
     “Students are always welcome to join the Tech Club,” said Mrs. Jada. “There is no fee involved and if you attend three or more meetings you qualify for a free T-shirt.”

This photo of eighth grader Tatum Schuh was posted to the Cactus Canyon Instagram page on Monday, Sept. 26. (Photo by Megan Ash)

This photo of eighth grader Tatum Schuh was posted to the Cactus Canyon Instagram page on Monday, Sept. 26. (Photo by Megan Ash)

By Megan Ash
Cougar News Blog

     It’s the gram you can instantly see yearbook photos on. The yearbook staff is now moving forward and posting on Instagram, they are posting a picture every day. The pages is entirely student run and photographers will be posting pictures from sporting events to academics and everything in between.
     On Instagram the pictures are of Cactus Canyon, which is at cougar_media. Cougar Media has 171 followers and students have posted 21 days continuous days.
     The account was started to give students to show their work on a regular basis.
     “We spend a year working on a product that comes out one time, but these students are tremendous photographers and their work deserves to be seen,” said yearbook adviser Jason Davis. “Not just once in May, but all year long.”
     Yearbook students are planning to start advertising the account. The staff is going to start making posters and handing out flyers asking people to follow them.
     “It would be cool for students to see what the yerds (yearbook nerds) do during the year that leads up to the fantastic yearbook at the end of the school year,” said eighth grader Chloe Krueger.
     Mr. Davis hopes being in charge of the page will help all the staff members learn leadership by setting an example for the seventh graders, and by not forgetting that it is their day to post.
     “Students need to be able to be in control of something because it helps them take ownership of what we’re doing in yearbook,” Davis said. “I direct a lot of what we do for the book, but I want it to be as student-driven as possible. If students feel like they can be in charge of the Instagram page, hopefully it gives them the confidence to take more of a leadership role for the book.”

By Alissa Baker and Kylee DeMauro
Cougar News Blog

     Last school year, sixth graders at Peralta Trail Elementary school took the AzMERIT like other AJUSD students, except they took test on paper. As students at Cactus Canyon this year, they had to adjust to taking the test on computers.
     Students took practice tests on the computer to prepare for the real exams April 11-13. Some students from Peralta find the fact of doing the sample test harder on paper than taking a test on the computers. They agree that some tests are easier on computers but others are better on paper.
     “The sample test was just three questions, obviously, but it wasn’t different from the computers, it was the same. We didn’t have to bubble answers anymore, which was annoying,” said Kristine Funk.
     Taking AzMERIT helps the students so they didn’t have to prefer to type the final draft on the AIMs test. On the writing test, students weren’t required to make an outline or rough draft for their story.
     “It’s much easier taking it on the computer, instead of writing a bunch down, and this would help the other students,” said Jocelyn Ochoa.
     For the math test, calculators and help buttons were included when needed, unlike the AIMs test. Even though the computer system was more complex, it seemed to help out a lot of people.
     “There are a lot more things you could do on the computers, which really helps us out,” says Tirzah Funk.
     Although the new advancements on the system really helped seventh graders, some wonder if the test should be taken by computer for all grades.There is still a risk for younger children clicking on something they shouldn’t.
     “If the children knew how to use the computers, then I think it would be really easy for them. I also think it would help out the teachers too,” said Anthony Odenbrett.


By Jaden Erschen
Cougar News Blog

     Students district wide have been receiving dangerous e-mails titled “Crucial Document” from spammers attempting to get students to click on the attachments or links within the e-mails. Most of the time there is a red banner across the top of the email that alerts the user that they are using a common method that is used to steal personal information.
     The e-mails include links that try to send the student to a website that steals his/her information. As a result of these e-mails going around campus students are advised to ask teachers about the e-mail to see if it’s safe to open or not.
     “There are many different types of dangerous e-mails that can go undetected: phishing scams, unsolicited advertisements, and email spoofing to name a few,” said Jon Castelhano, AJUSD’s director of technology.
     The best way for students to avoid losing their information is to not click on the e-mail at all. When they click on the e-mail it could put them at risk to lose their information.The best thing to do is delete it.
     “Banks, large companies, and teachers will never ask you for your username and password through an email. If they do it’s a scam. If you receive a dangerous e-mail the best thing to do is delete it,” said Castelhano.
     Mr. Castelhano said students should never click on attachments in an e-mail unless they’re positive that the person who sent it isn’t a spammer.
     “I’ve received Google documents and links in three different e-mails of people trying to steal my information,” said eighth grader Dominique Maldonado.


By Zoe Siegel
Cougar News Blog

     CCJH is opening a new chapter with a grant that was awarded to the library for non-fiction books.
     The Dollar General Literacy Foundation awarded librarian Jennifer Cameron with a $4,000 grant for more informational books in the library. Cameron requested the PTO apply for the grant last spring.
     “CCJH library’s non-fiction books indicated that our collection was seriously dated. In an effort to rectify this situation I reached out to CCJH’s PTO,” said Cameron.
     Last spring, Cameron heard about the grant and talked to the PTO about the grant. Not long after, they hired professional grant writer Eve Jacobs write a grant focused on technology and science.
     “They had hired a professional grant writer to do some work for them,” said Cameron. “I compiled a list of books for her focusing on science and technology and she put together the actual literacy grant.”
     The grant is affecting students in many ways. Students say when more books get updated, they will have more information that wasn’t in the old books.Kids can enjoy more books and make their reading experience more exciting and educational.
     “I think it will open up more options of what to read. I would like to say that this grant will most likely bring more readers to the library,” said eighth grader Robin Marshall.
     The grant helps out after-school clubs like Raging Readers. It can open up what they read and provide more text that they haven’t read before. The more books the library has, the more text the club can read.
     “Since I am in Raging Readers I do think it will provide more for us to read because the more books the more we can read,” said Marshall.

By Maddie Chilson
Cougar News Blog

     Teachers at Cactus Canyon Junior High have learned that this year the state testing will be an online format and have been preparing students for that change.
     The state has made the decision that students will be taking the standardized test on the computer. To get students ready, teachers began using more online assignments with their students. There was an all-staff meeting where there were sources presented such as Pear Deck and Google Classroom. Jason Davis even taught a class on how to use Google Classroom.
     “Some of my teachers have recently started using Google Classroom,” said Wyatt Bradford, eighth grade student. “We’ve been using other online sources, though.”
     The AZMerit is a state test and is different from the AIMS. This year, students will be taking the AZMerit, where they have to choose an answer, and be able to give their reasoning on why they chose that answer by citing their information, whereas on the AIMS, it’s just a multiple choice test.
     “I think students will struggle with an online format more than they do when it’s just a pencil and booklet,” said Bradford. “Especially since the answers will need to be explained.”
     Cactus Canyon students and all the other students in the Apache Junction Unified School District will be using the computer-based format, except for Peralta Trail Elementary School.
     “We sort of assumed all along it would be at least partly on the computer,” tells Davis. “As soon as we found out for sure we were asked to have students start typing as many things as possible.”
     Out of the 23 teachers who were surveyed at Cactus Canyon, 14 of them use Google Classroom with their students. The teachers who don’t use Google Classroom use other sources such as Galileo, Socrative, Insight 360, and there were some teachers who don’t use anything. There are also teachers who have been using typing programs with their students all year so that they know how to use the keyboard more effectively.
     Leading up to the actual test days, teachers are having students take sample tests on the AZMerit Portal so they can see all the features and know how to use them so that the students are prepared. The testing for the eighth-grade students will be Apr. 14-16. Seventh graders will test Apr. 21-23.
     “While taking the practice tests, I’ve began thinking the math will be hard,” said Hermance Luff, eighth grade student. “The way the questions are worded is confusing.”

PTO to hold clothing drive

Posted: October 17, 2014 in Fundraisers, PTO, Technology
By Hannah Wolfe
Cougar News Blog
     Cactus Canyon Junior High’s Parent Teacher Organization is holding a clothing drive fundraiser on Oct. 25 to help purchase new learning equipment for classrooms.
     A company called the Clothing Cycle will weigh and pick up clothes that have been donated. They accept used clothing, backpacks, fabric, bedding, hats, curtains, stuffed animals, belts, towels, etc. They pay 15 cents per pound.
     Dena Kimble, the president of the PTO, decided to do this type of fundraiser for two particular reasons. Number one, there’s no cost to the parents or the PTO, and the PTO is paid for every pound collected. Number two, it’s a green fundraiser, which makes it good for the environment.
     Items that cannot be reused will be recycled, like the rubber on the bottom of shoes.
     The money raised will go to the school for technology to help students in the classroom.
     “The money raised will go towards purchasing Interactive Smart Projectors for classrooms to improve classroom learning, instruction and participation,” said Kimble.
Anyone who brings in over 50 pounds of clothing gets a chance at having a pizza party with some Arizona Cardinals football players, and whoever brings in the most pounds of clothing gets a cash prize.
     Donations will be accepted from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 25, in the CCJH parking lot.

By Angel Meeks
Cougar News Blog

Seventh grade science students in Ms. Wilbur’s class recently did a biomes project. The students had to pick a biome, research it, and create a presentation on the biome they chose. This project took six weeks with the presentations.
Biomes are different regions of land in which organisms live such as, tundra, desert, forest, ocean, and so on.
“I learned that there is a big variety of biomes,” said Savannah Castillo.
Ms. Wilbur’s students learned more about biomes then they did before. Their knowledge on biomes grew bigger as they learned there are more biomes than what they thought.
“I expected my student to learn very, detailed information on their biome,” Wilbur said.
Students worked hard and really enjoyed working on the project. Although they had six weeks to work on the project, they worked on it as hard as they could, as they wanted to get a good grade on it.
“Some of the students worked really hard and did projects with their presentations,” said Wilbur.
Some of her students would have changed things about their own project or the whole project itself. Some wanted it to be more of a challenge, and others would have liked to go back and fix the mistakes they made in the project.
“I would have went back on the project and put more effort into it if I could,” said Castillo.
When the all the students were finished with their projects, they went in front of the class, individually and presented their projects.