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Cimarron students peer into future, receive international recognition

PARKER – Two groups of Cimarron Middle School students were recognized during the recent International ExploraVision science competition.

The goal of the event, which is sponsored by the National Science Teachers Association and Toshiba, is to encourage students to use their Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) skills to consider how modern day technology could one day evolve to solve the world’s problems.

“The students investigate the current technology, the history of how it evolved from its origins to today and then they could forecast out what breakthroughs would need to happen in order to create a new invention,” explained Cimarron teacher Nadene Kopff.

She says that many of the projects focus on health, environmental or energy crisis issues. The students must write a 12 or so page paper, with proper attribution and then create mock ups for a website that they would create, if their product was developed.

Every year more than 20,000 school groups submit entries for the event. Only 100 groups are honored, regardless of grade level, with Honorable Mentions and this year two of those groups were from Cimarron.

Cimarron’s students presented two projects, investigating a possible cure for Alzheimer’s disease, through the replacement of brain cells with microchips and a potential way of powering homes in the future, using a thin ultraviolet collecting film, which could be placed on windows.

“It has to be realistic,” Kopff said. “It has to be something that is conceivably possible in the next 20 years.”

Cellular Replacement – Cimarron Middle School
Sabrina Boulton
Hunter Metzger
Emma Mays
Andrew Timmons
Ultraviolet Collecting – Cimarron Middle School
Abby Davidson
Katie St. Gemme Pate
Kaitlyn Magnison
Shelby Willis

Kopff says this is an excellent authentic assessment for her students, since they must use the 4Cs and are then judged by scientific experts.

“They had very purposeful research and a very purposeful project to explore,” explained Kopff. “Instead of just research everything that you can learn about Alzheimer’s or what is going on with solar power, they were looking for how can we forecast what it can do in the future.”

 In the eight years Kopff has encouraged kids to participate in the event, this is only the second time a Cimarron group has been chosen for an Honorable Mention.

Learn more about the ExploraVision competition at

June 3, 2014 | By rmbarber | Category: Middle School Education, Schools

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It may look like a plain, white shipping container was just parked on the backyard grounds of Mountain Vista High School. The contents of the container are anything but plain, though. Walking inside the container, different colors of ambient lighting glow, futuristic-looking equipment and tall towers are suspended from the ceiling, and the humidity level is set to 70 percent. The container has been recycled into a new kind of learning opportunity for students.