Big win for Oystersponds students in video competition

05/07/2014 10:00 AM |

The video posted online starts simply, with Oysterponds students standing in front of large containers while the disembodied voice of a teacher explains the instructions, or lack thereof.

“Each group is going to get one tub, and … well … all I’m going to say is that hose is gonna supply water when I turn it on,” the voice says. A hand points to dishwashing liquid and straws. The goal is simple: make the biggest bubble.

The students can use the twine and scissors, or not. They can use the containers, or not. It doesn’t matter how, they just need to make bubbles. So the students get to work, giggling and shouting “Oh my God!” as the bubbles grow in the wind.

When technology teacher Brittany Knote submitted the video into the “Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics FUSE” competition, she didn’t expect the school would make it far.

“There were high schools out there with 1,000 kids in the school,” she said. “And then we have 70.”

But that didn’t matter. On Monday, the contest organizers announced that Oysterponds Elementary School placed third in the competition to get the most views, winning a $1,000 prize. Immediately, the school had an idea: let the kids decide how to spend it.

The students, Ms. Knote said, will get to choose which equipment the school will buy to upgrade the STEM classroom, which already features iPads and a green screen. Ms. Knote said buying a tripod for the iPads and external microphones seems to be the popular choice.

“We budgeted money to embed technology into our programs,” said school Superintendent Richard Malone. “I think you see the evidence that we’re using technology to its fullest as a tool of learning for children.”


The Oysterponds school board held a public hearing on the 2014-15 budget before their meeting Tuesday night, emphasizing the need for a capital fund line.

The proposed budget line would allow the district to set aside money to spend on upgrades or repairs to district buildings. Those funds would be kept separate from the general monies of the district, and could only be spent with taxpayer approval.

Mr. Malone said the proposition to set up the budget line, which was barely voted down on last year’s budget, needed to pass this year.

“I think we’re in a good spot if we make this move this year,” he told the board.

Neither of the two people in the audience — one a school teacher — asked questions about the budget during the state-required public hearing.

The board had already voted to adopt the budget last month.

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