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Woodland Hills Creative Convention Challenges GATE Students

From 'Spud Buds' to making environmentally friendly tree ornaments, these students had their thinking caps hot enough to, well, make french fries.

The elementary GATE Department's annual Creative Convention is another one of Woodland Hills' traditions.

While each theme has varied over the years, the "Potato" theme for last week's gathering was certainly not a chip off the old block.

Last Tuesday and Wednesday, about 42 students in grades 1-4 and about 40 fifth- and sixth graders from Edgewood, Wilkins, Fairless, Dickson and the Academy put their minds and creativity to work in a series of competitive events.

One event challenged the students to "transform a lowly potato chip into something other than a munchy, crunchy potato chip," in the words of GATE teacher Cathie Pearson. Students were judged on elaboration, originality and using a creative title—and all doing something different.

A brainbuster encouraged students to think outside the box by naming as many different kind of chips as they could think of—microchips, wood chips, etc. There was also a math challenge.

Karen Schollaert, another GATE teacher, described how students took recycled materials and a shoe box to create a "Spud Bud" of a famous person in his or her environment, for instance, Abe Lincoln at Gettysburg, a fireman, George Washington and Spongebob.

And in keeping with this year's "Ecology" theme in GATE classes, the older students used recycled pop bottle bottoms to create ornaments for the Christmas tree in the lobby of the school district administration building.

Students accumulated points for each activity, Schollaert said. They participated in teams comprised of a mixed group of students from the participating schools. Awards were given for team spirit and being a risk taker.

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