Sunday, August 31, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Korematsu kids headed to Nature Bowl finals

Nature Bowl participant Adam Perry, with the field box, looks at the object he’d been trying to describe to teammates 
Arvind Ramakrishnan, Aakash Mishra and Connor Tang. Fred Gladdis/Enterprise photo

By Maggie McManis

If you were to walk into Sarita Cooper’s science classroom at Korematsu Elementary School on a Thursday after school between January and May, you would find the excitement of learning circulating in the air.

And with good reason. The students here — members of Korematsu’s Nature Bowl teams — love their science. In fact, the two teams — one for students in grades 3-4, another for grades 5-6 — breezed through the semifinal rounds of the annual Nature Bowl to move on to the finals, which take place Saturday.

Nature Bowl, a competition sponsored by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, involves students learning life science concepts and then competing with that knowledge against other children in their age groups. Locally, students compete in the semifinal round at the Yolo Basin Foundation headquarters.

Korematsu’s success in the competition is nothing new. Cooper, who has been coaching teams for 15 years, says, “Almost every year one of my teams makes it past the semifinal competition.”

She is clearly leaving her footprint on Nature Bowl history, but sometimes success can breed its own set of problems.

This year, for example, Cooper had more than 45 Korematsu students eager to join. But Nature Bowl rules allow only seven students per team. Cooper stretched that rule by bringing 10 students per team, but even then, she had to turn down many eager kids.

“I had to eliminate (kids), which I absolutely hate to do, especially in the name of learning,” Cooper said. “So, I just made a lot of work for them and they all did it.”

She tested them on their ability to perform the sorts of tasks required in the competition and based her final rosters on their performance. It apparently paid off, as both of her teams took first place in their age divisions at the semifinal competition and are moving on to the state finals at 8 a.m. Saturday at Sacramento State.

To prepare, the teams meet weekly after school to practice for the big show. Two Davis High School students — Amelia Stanley and Jaclyn Miras — are assisting Cooper with the teams this year.

“This is the first year I have had interns and I am definitely going to do it again,” Cooper said. “It has truly been a lifesaver this year.”

During a typical practice, students can be found acting out the behaviors of herbivores and discussing pesticides and trivia specific to California wetlands.

They also have created and presented enviro-mercials — essentially one-minute commercials about an environmental issue in the region, its causes and effects, and possible solutions — that required interviewing experts in the field.

And they collaborate to prepare for all the nature and environmental trivia they will be expected to know.

Three of the five main Nature Bowl activities are question-and-answer competitions. Bell Ringers is similar to “Jeopardy,” with students needing to answer questions about different topics. Nature Investigations requires students to become detectives searching for clues to answer questions, while Team Problems requires students to construct a food chain according to a series of questions and an assortment of materials, including small plastic animals.

The fifth activity of the competition involves a relay in which children display their knowledge by sorting through a variety of objects that satisfy the requirements of the challenge.

Cooper says she keeps coming back to coach Nature Bowl because of the way it integrates fun with the elementary science curriculum and also because of the emphasis on reasoning, rather than just simple right and wrong answers. For example, if a student doesn’t provide the expected answer, but provides a reasonable explanation for the answer she gave, judges will accept the answer.

Cooper also appreciates the nature of competition itself.

“It’s really a great thing because it doesn’t have an emphasis on winning, and the competition (aspect) is really played down,” she said.

And though the competition isn’t fierce, Korematsu students are still hoping to win. Cooper has some sixth-graders competing who have been on the team since third or fourth grade, and winning at the finals would be a great way to conclude their elementary school years.

Students competing for Korematsu include Adam Perry, third grade; Anoushka Chander, Braeden Ingram, Henri Schulz, Mason Johnstone, Connor Porthouse, Rayyan Islam, Connor Tang, Emily Jiang and Shruthi Karthik, fourth grade; Joshua Lubin, Robert Yang and Justin Yeung, fifth grade; and Aakash Mishra, Janet  Liu, Shobha Khanna, Emily Perry, Sophia Kaloper, Jerry Guo and Arvind Ramakrishnan, sixth grade.

— Maggie McManis is a student at Da Vinci Charter Academy.

Comments

comments

Special to The Enterprise

.

News

Davis audience hears from civil-rights hero

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
 
Legislators wrap up with water, ethics, guns bills

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
Bob Dunning: This new kid might have a future

By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

Five U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State fighters

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
EU threatens Russia with more sanctions

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Robbery, pursuit in Central Davis lead to one arrest

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A3

 
Rotary clubs offer Davis High students some life lessons

By Evan Arnold-Gordon | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Beamer Park featured at Stroll Through History

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Yolo Federal to hold photo contest

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Katehi will speak at Chamber’s community luncheon

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Bean Feed supports for Yolo Democrats’ activities

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Bauer garden marks one year

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Dinner will raise funds to help farmers in Burkina Faso

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Walkers welcome to join Sierra Club outings

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Tuleyome Tales: Be safe on wilderness trails

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Small wineries suffer big losses in quake

By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Grande site has been a convoluted saga

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A7

 
Say goodbye to summer with a ‘Final Blast’ at Explorit

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
Bay Bridge project’s rainy-day money is nearly gone

By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A15 | Gallery

.

Forum

Already made herself at home

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Keep our green waste piles

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

How to make a good living

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
Nate Beeler cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

Changing local election dates benefits Democrats

By Tom Elias | From Page: A10

 
Ad-free email? You can still find it at Davis Community Network

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

Speak out

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
City panel working to tighten scrutiny of taxpayer dollars

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

Try round-robin storytelling at crafts fair

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

 
This epidemic should scare us

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A14

Marriage doesn’t mean we agree on everything

By Marion Franck | From Page: A14

 
.

Sports

Coach likes what she sees from Devil field hockey squad

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
UCD notebook: Coaches positive about FCS schools ‘playing up’

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Devils open with an impressive volleyball victory

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Stanford scores early, often in opener versus UCD

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

New coach, new tougher league for DHS football

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Sports briefs: Aggie harriers secure season-opening sweep

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Baseball roundup: Cats win late to pull even with Aces

By Staff and wire reports | From Page: B8

 
.

Features

.

Arts

.

Business

Comings and Goings: Is fro-yo craze melting?

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A13 | Gallery

 
Sutter Davis Hospital honored again as a ‘best place to work’

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A13

Engage3 attracts investment for shopping app

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A20

 
California growers can use MBI’s new bioinsecticide

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A20

Sudwerk, Davis Food Co-op join for ‘co-hop-eration’ brew

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A20 | Gallery

 
Community pools its purchasing power to reduce the cost of solar

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A20

.

Obituaries

Wanda P. Daley

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Comics: Sunday, August 31, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B8