Wednesday, July 30, 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

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

     
     
    Mosquito districts sprays tonight

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

    Bob Dunning: Poll dancing, direct from Las Vegas

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

     
    Health premiums rose significantly in 2014

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Movies in the Park return this fall

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Tee off for Davis’ continued prosperity

    By Lily Holmes | From Page: A4

    Center for Families hosts Summer Carnival

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Vintage car show planned this fall

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Davis native named a Schweitzer Fellow

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Biggest book sale to date opens Friday at Davis library

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Share your love of nature with young wetlands visitors

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Tasting event benefits Yolo Land Trust

    By Lily Holmes | From Page: A4

    DHS Class of ’94 set 20th reunion

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Tips, techniques will give you a green thumb

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Grief support focuses on journaling

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

     
    How the Bockler wasp got its name

    By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    Kiwanis golf tournament supports local agencies

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Drop off school supplies at Edward Jones offices

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Wine-tastings will benefit YCCC

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Yolo County CASA seeks volunteer child advocates

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

    UC Davis alumnus hopes to bring amateur radio to Nepal

    By Rachel Uda | From Page: A7 | Gallery

     
    Recycle old paint cans for free

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

    .

    Forum

    Not sure which direction to go

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Violence as entertainment

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Shocked at vampires story

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Paul Krugman: Corporate artful dodgers

    By Paul Krugman | From Page: A6

    Nicholas Kristof: The world’s coolest places

    By Nicholas Kristof | From Page: A6

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

    Gravel mining affects us all

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Sports

    A’s rally to win

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    Morse homers but Giants lose 6th straight

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

    Nightmare on Ballpark Drive for River Cats

    By Will Bellamy | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Fiona Buck pushes the limits in para-athletics

    By Felicia Alvarez | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Schaub settles in as Raiders starting QB

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    Brady earns top honors at State Fair

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    Smither releases new CD Saturday at The Palms

    By Kate Laddish | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    RootStock kicks off ‘Día de Albariño’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    Folk musicians will jam in the Arboretum

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    YoloArts to host a state of change exhibit

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    UCD professor Andy Jones named Davis’ new poet laureate

    By Rachel Uda | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    Molten art on display at Davis Arts Center

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Calvin D. Rourke

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Wednesday, July 30, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B6