Community
March 24, 2019
link to facebook link to twitter
More Stories
Transgender Day of Visibility Credo students demand strong environmental action One Planet Youth Summit and Credo High School Penngrove buries time capsule Free job fair matches local employers and job seekers Nor Cal Aging, Disability and Advocacy Expo Community Events Calendar March 22, 2019 through April 4, 2019 Volunteer's Corner Senior center prom SSU to sign landmark commitment to sustainability Free LGBT awareness training for caregivers Rohnert Park Democratic Club Hub Cyclery celebrates another year Mayor Belforte reads at Monte Vista Community Events Calendar October 5, 2018 through October 18, 2018 Community Events Calendar January 11, 2019 through January 24, 2019 Transgender day in the square Let’s talk Turkey Recipes sought for B’nai Israel cookbook Community Events Calendar March 15, 2019 through March 28, 2019 Community Events Calendar September 28, 2018 through October 11, 2018 Community Events Calendar December 28, 2018 through January 10, 2019 Welcome to a new year of reading and writing Looking through the glass at Arch’s for 55 years Community Events Calendar August 31, 2018 through September 13, 2018 Community Events Calendar October 19, 2018 through November 1, 2018 Local author donates to Wildfire Relief Charities LIME Foundation partners with local organization Volunteer's Corner Gore in tune Community Events Calendar October 12 through October 25 Over 100 volunteers wrapping toys Community Events Calendar January 4, 2019 through January 17, 2019 Event volunteers needed JavAmore, Caprara’s Pizzeria hold fundraiser Save Rancho Adobe FPD Sonoma Clean Power partners with Uber Homeless veterans receive greatest gift Volunteer's Corner Art students big on art RP Expressway improvements Remo is ready for dessert SSU’s Sakaki names Griffin-Desta as new Chief of Staff Haute Flash takes the stage Artists showing off their works Community Events Calendar August 10, 2018 through August 23, 2018 Get your hula on for the Penngrove luau A day at Thomas Page Academy Elves clowning around Burton Recreation Center gets a new look Parkour Speed competition Community Events Calendar September 14, 2018 through September 27, 2018 Pastis visits the Ranch A Cotati home has the Christmas spirit 2nd Annual Sweethearts Fairytale Dance Grand opening at Acme Burger Bands and DJs playing great music in Cotati Photo exhibit by Penngrove artist sheds light on disability community Free Advance Care Planning workshop Jan. 15 SSU Outreach and events coordinator changes Cycle Without Limits in action again at SSU Future leaders of the community Cotati’s early morning breakfast Cotatians turned out in droves Sat. to celebrate Oliver’s Market 30th anniversary party Bark After Dark: Dinner and auction to help save animals Enrollment event at SC airport Would you make a great foster parent? RCHS ‘sold out’ crab feed A new student center in RP Community Events Calendar August 24, 2018 through September 6, 2018 Community Events Calendar October 26 through November 8 Community Events Calendar November 9 2018 through November 22 2018 Rohnert Park students to learn bike safety Genealogy library hosts open house in Santa Rosa NorCal Honor Band accepts Analy High School musicians Apply to represent So County’s older adults CPI North Bay fire recovery Sonoma Raceway hosts food drive American Sign Language and police departments Volunteer's Corner Community Events Calendar January 18, 2019 through January 31, 2019 Community Events Calendar February 1, 2019 through February 14, 2019 SSU to screen ‘Big Sonia’ to honor Holocaust and Genocide survivors Photography Show Newest report finds new growth on rare Cotati albino Chimera Tree The work behind “The Art of Resistance” SRS has affordable family concert, Jan. 27, 3 p.m. RP Health Center ensures all children in school district receive dental care Volunteer's Corner Volunteer’s Corner Cross and Crown Church reaches the big 50 Community Events Calendar September 21, 2018 through October 4, 2018 A Veteran remembers Veterans SSU to buy 90-unit Petaluma complex for workforce housing Decker waves the baton at a concert Collaborating Together for Peace It’s “American” History It takes a village to honor its past Veterans story Mark Weston Volunteer's Corner Young accepts ‘prez’ of the RP Historical Society Community Events Calendar December 21, 2018 through January 3, 2019 Residents give high marks to Cotati living A new strategy for the Cotati Chamber of Commerce The Native Daughters host CA Admission Day Veterans Day 2018, Rick Norman Community Events Calendar November 23, 2018 through December 13, 2018 A lighter, brighter Cotati Vandalism at Gold Ridge Community Center Community Events Calendar December 14, 2018 through December 27, 2018 Community Events Calendar January 25, 2019 through February 7, 2019 Community Events Calendar March 8, 2019 through March 21, 2019 Discrimination and bullying in our schools Volunteer City of Cotati offers Thanksgiving week fun for kids Saving on energy and giving youth jobs DUI/Driver’s License Checkpoint Volunteer's Corner Community Events Calendar February 8, 2019 through February 21, 2019 Rancho Cotati Rotary Club visited Thomas Page Academy RP Founders’ Day Oct. 6 30 years for Danny's vacuum shop Volunteer’s corner Home Instead partners with local businesses Large affordable housing project breaks ground in Rohnert Park Is your Carbon Monoxide detector chirping? Volunteer’s Corner RP celebrates “I Heart RP” Feb. 10 The Rohnert Park Sister City Committee is in full swing Backpack drive event this Sunday Who you going to call? Adapting to the weather changes SC Public Library Foundation needs directors Athena sits in ‘artsy’ Cotati Community Events Calendar December 7, 2018 through December 20, 2018 Cotati hosts award dinner Volunteer's Corner SC nonprofit arts and culture generates $80.4 M Community Events Calendar November 2, 2018 through November 15, 2018 Multiple Commission, Committee and Board appointive terms expire Dec. 2018 – We have seats to fill! Community Events Calendar November 30 through December 20 Volunteer's Corner Coffee with Cotati cops ‘Just Between Friends’ mega kids’ event Community Events Calendar September 7, 2018 through September 20, 2018 SAY launches One Cold Night Devil Pups set a new goal Celebrate the holiday season responsibly  Tips for a Grinchless holiday season Church of the Oaks crab feed Feb. 8-9 Miss SC Scholarship competition Kenneth Bradley, a local photographer showcasing Community Events Calendar August 17, 2018 through August 30, 2018 Staying safe on our local trails North Bay Construction Corps receives statewide recognition Don’t be a victim of a charity scam Be a resource for fire survivors Poetry Out Loud Sonoma County contest Community Events Calendar March 1, 2019 through March 14, 2019 Service dog dreams come true for heart attack survivor 20/30 club & Kohl’s outfit students Annual Sonoma County hunger index: 1/3 of residents went hungry in 2017 Volunteer's Corner Fun-filled Cotati stroll Celebrate Black History Month Heavy rain takes toll on drivers Garbage rate increase may keep compostable materials in county Sonoma County reads ‘Kindred’ Be a resource for fire survivors STEM at SSU Community Events Calendar February 15, 2019 through February 28, 2019 Japanese Internment Remembrance Day Community Events Calendar August 3, 2018 through August 16, 2018 A warm day with dancing and good food Community Events Calendar November 16, through December 6, Volunteers needed to ring a bell Volunteer's Corner Volunteer's Corner  Senior art show registration for artists age 60+ Mobility is freedom…with a Purple Heart truck run Train as a coach to help older adults prevent falls Rotary District 5130 provides multiple fire relief grants A New Coalition: Forming alliances for barn owls Seniors are targets for telescammers CTE Foundation invests in local schools Our invisible but critical water source SSU named one of the nation’s “Most promising places to work” Community Events Calendar February 22, 2019 through March 7, 2019 New Entrepreneur in residence at Sonoma State University Sonoma County STEAM Showcase Cross and Crown celebrates 50th Anniversary Monthly CalFresh benefits to arrive March 1 Explore foster parenting talk Feb. 25 Crew does a fine job Clover Sonoma supports free concerts for youth SSU Library presents ‘Alchemia’ exhibit Volunteer's Corner

Richard Crane fourth graders harness the wind

  • Viola Mikulik and Areli Perez, 4th graders at Richard Crane Elementary, stand in front of their working windmill during their exhibit Thurs., Dec. 13. Photo by Jane Peleti

By: Lanny Lowery
December 21, 2018

News Flash... from a student at Richard Crane: “Mrs. Finnegan’s 4th grade class is presenting wind turbines. They have been working on this project for a couple of months. They have tested their wind turbines on all sides to see if they all spin. They are very colorful and they are fast. You come Dec. 13 at 1:30 p.m. We hope to see you there.”

With this news, where else would a cub reporter be on a sunny and blustery winter day? Not only were the windmills electrified but also the Richard Crane Multi-Use Room was charged with the energy of 29 nine-year-olds and many parents and relatives. Pairs of budding scientists gathered around their windmills enthusiastically explaining their work.

Surrounding each project, poster board displayed pictures, charts, vocabulary lists, biographies of electrical scientist pioneers and illustrations of complex wiring, propellers and light bulbs. One side held pouches of information about circuit wiring and something mysterious called “My Circuit Tool Kit.” Another document titled “How We Made Our Wind Turbine” detailed how these fourth graders put together their windmills.

Christie Finnegan, the teacher, introduced the project to the room-filled school board meeting two days before this presentation. Last summer she took a class at Sonoma State University called Project Based Learning, a program that advocates focusing on one topic of interest and utilizing a multi-disciplinary approach. Behind the education jargon, this simply means using reading, writing, math, science, social studies and other aspects of art and technology to study some thing and develop some product.

Mrs. Finnegan centered this study around a book titled “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind,” a true story about an African boy, William Kamkwamba, who lived in a small village in Malawi. Using funds awarded by the Education Foundation of Cotati and Rohnert Park, she purchased a class set of these books. Her fourth graders began reading this full-sized 290-page book when school began. Along the way, the class watched with anticipation as William the boy explored science books from his village library to learn how to build a windmill.

Two memorable happenings in the book recalled by the students: the saddest part involved a dog dying and the happiest part was when William succeeded with the windmill.

As the students observed William’s pursuit to harness the wind, they studied about wind, weather and energy. One district employee, Larry Hendrickson, presented information about energy consumed at school and about the need to save energy. He challenged the students to build prototype wind turbines to offset the school’s usage of energy. A slide show of windmills demonstrated the range of turbines.

Sonoma Clean Power also presented information about solar panels and the effects of weather. The students saw wind turbine simulators online. Facebook reached out and also came in with an amazing look inside turbines.

Students followed these presentations by taking various mathematical recordings of wind movement in various parts of the school grounds. Then the students wrote newspaper articles and viewed more about windmills on “Ted Talks.”

All of this led to the major project, building the wind turbines with partners and presenting them to the public. Assemblies included wiring, leg supports and wind blades all made out of various materials. The wiring worked and the propellers turned after designs had been edited and revised.

Mrs. Finnegan has the students connecting with Global Partners. African pen pals will set up more connections and provide more learning about culture, technology, and humanity.

Interviewing the students provided delight and some insight about how best to operate in this world. Persistence emerged as a main theme: “It was really hard because it kept falling down,” said one partner while the other replied, “Don’t run away if someone else is doing something; it won’t be helpful if you’re just running.” More determined, another student maintained, “I learned that if you work hard with your teammate, it will really work.” Choosing the right materials was also important as one boy told me, “I tried plastic spoons and sticks but they didn’t work. Finally, I went for popsicle sticks and wrapped them with duct tape.”

All of the windmills worked, the parents were proud, and the students were delighted. One student summed it up best: “Mrs. Finnegan, we are really doing science!”