June 2017 Family Friendly Community Guide

Learning About Work

12th Annual Skilled Trades Career Day comes to Marquette

Nearly 500 high school students from Marquette and Alger counties learned all about putting in a day’s work at the 12th Annual Skilled Trades Career Day, held at the Marquette County Fairgrounds in May.

Students from freshmen to seniors were able to spend the day learning, in some cases in a hands-on way, about the many career paths in the trades available to them.

“It’s extremely important to offer (this career day) while they’re still in high school so they can have an opportunity to see what’s out there for them,” said Tony Retaskie, executive director of the Upper Peninsula Construction Council, which helped organize the event, along with the Marquette Alger Regional Educational Services Agency, and Michigan Works!

A wide array of career fields were represented, with different trades and 35 stations.

Students, with proper supervision, were able to try their hands at some of these different types of careers either through work with the actual tools of the trade or via simulators.

Retaskie said the event, which continues to grow in student attendance, is made even better by the support it gets from the broader community.

“This couldn’t happen without a generous community that we live in,” Retaskie said. “Every time we host one of these, the community says, ‘What do you need?’ and they come forward with it.”


Robotics teams teach community about robots

FIRST Robotics Competition high school team Cold Logic hosted “Robots at the Library” on May 13, at Peter White Public Library. Part of a state-wide initiative to bring robots into libraries, Cold Logic invited all visitors to operate their remote controlled robots, Victor and Bruce, and examine robot Sparky’s wiring. North Star Academy’s Robogators, a middle school FIRST Tech Challenge team, brought its robot, Roberta. Visitors learned about and operated mechanisms that launch a cage ball, grasp a rope to pull a robot into the air, and gather and shoot a wiffle ball through a basket. Cold Logic also brought its bots to the Gwinn Library.

The Robogators brought Roberta to the Jacobetti Home for Veterans so the members could drive and operate her. The team described the FIRST Tech Challenge program, shared the thought they put into their robot’s design, and will return, together with Cold Logic, due to popular demand. The Robogators are also building a 3-D printer this spring and summer so that they may both learn how one works and also print parts for Roberta’s upcoming fall season.

North Star’s elementary school Lego robotics programs have doubled their participation numbers and acquired new mentors to support their growth thanks to their winter and spring Lego League 2.0 Super Hero Season. Students rotated through work stations that included script writing, set building, coding and programming, core values/mini-challenges, and stop-motion movie making. Each of the seven teams (including three al- girl teams) chose a super hero and developed a working script for a Batman movie.

North Star’s elementary programs need additional Lego bricks and pieces. Those with items they would like to donate, can drop them off at NSA during school hours.

The fall season’s challenge will be FIRST 2017 Aqua Adventure, and the elementary school students will, in part, learn about and solve a real-world problem tied to that theme. (See www.firstinspires.org for details.) The only area school participating in FIRST Lego League Jr (K-3) national program, North Star welcomes inquiries about how to start a FLL Jr program at your school. NSA also welcomes inquiries about the upper elementary FIRST Lego League and middle school  FIRST Tech Challenge programs. Visit coldlogic3617.org for more info about high school robotics and Cold Logic.

The Seaborg Center at Northern Michigan University will host a free and first-ever Robotics Workshop on Friday, August 25, for new and experienced FIRST Robotics coaches, mentors, interested college-level students and other volunteers. State continuing education clock hours are available. Contact Renee Kivioja at 227-2196 or rkivioja@nmu.edu for more information and to register. The workshop covers every level of K-12 FIRST robotics programs with relevant break out sessions.

— Laura Farwell

Car trips can be relaxing, fun

Family car trips can be enjoyable with young children. Even though the car seat time can be frustrating for both child and driver, there are a few games that can help the time pass more quickly on a long road trip. Plenty of snacks, drinks, a favorite blanket, toys, and books also help pass the time.

With the addition of verbal games children will stay interested, take turns, and learn while the driver does not need to take eyes off the road no matter how long the trip. The idea is to wear out the children not the driver.

Language games

One game is called “What Do You Know?” The adult makes up simple questions and children take turns giving their answers. Questions are based on the age/interest/vocabulary and experience level of each player.

For example: Driver (for the younger child): “How many colors do you know?” or “What are the names of the people in our family?” or “What are the names of the seasons?” or “What foods are orange?” or “What do we call a person who takes care of us when we get sick?” or “Who grows food for our grocery stores?”

Knowledge games

For the older child, the questions could be related to geography, history, etc. Example: “How many states can you name that begin with the word New?” or “How many bird names can you remember?” or “Name a holiday for each season”, or “What is nine times nine?”  Once you get started, you will think of many, many possible questions.

Another car game is called, “I’m Thinking of Something” (pick a color). Children can watch out the window to find something this color.

Reading signs is a great way to encourage signal and word awareness.  “Can you find a sign with a number or an arrow or the name of a store?” “Can you find a sign that starts with the letter “S”, etc.?”

Car games can help develop curiosity and improve thinking and speaking abilities, in addition to making the ride more fun and enjoyable for everyone. Recalling facts, comparing, putting things in categories, reading signs, counting items, listening and taking turns, are important skills that will help prepare children for school.

Families can also sing favorite songs, make up your own words, look for cows, horses, and trucks of a certain color. Retell a favorite storybook or movie. Discuss favorite foods or places to visit. Think about how two things are the same or different.

Example: “How are a bird and an airplane the same / different?” Name two animals. One is fast and the other slow. One is tall and the other is short.

You can go on and on with opposites.

For more fun games for the car, visit grandparentsteachtoo.blogspot.com and wnmufm.org/Learning Through the Seasons live and podcasts.

— Grandparents Teach, Too

U.P. 4-H Camp registration now open

Registration is now open for the Upper Peninsula 4-H Camp.  The camp will run July 11 through 13 at Clear Lake Education Center in Schoolcraft County.  Youth ages 9 to 13 are encouraged to register as campers and youth 14 and older can attend as junior counselors.  The cost for campers is $55 for current 4-H members and $65 for non-4-H members.  Both prices will increase by $20 on June 1 and the deadline is June 23.  To register and view more information about the camp program, visit: events.anr.msu.edu/2017UP4HCAMP or contact your local MSU Extension 4-H program coordinator

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