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Sixth graders at Westwood collaborate with new iPads to make Verizon’s best in state app video

Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 2:16 pm

Staff Writer
John Coffelt


Two small, unofficial technology clubs at Westwood Middle School, using the six grade’s new iPads, came together to envision a new app, collaborate and edit a descriptive video and type a 1,000-word essay describing the app with one taking home best in state in the Verizon Innovative App Challenge.Other App kids pic

The winning team, designers of Calorie Catcher, includes Eden Hunt, Brook Sanders, Andres Cavalie, Bo Sain and Jaret Kemper.

“[The app] is designed to help the American obesity problem,” said sixth-grader Brooke Sanders. “It will have features that will help people using the app lose weight.”

The students said that they brainstormed for ideas to see what the app needed to include. They then got to work on filming the required video and collaboratively author the essay.

The challenge, the youths say, was keeping under the word and time limits.

“It was really hard,” Cavalie said. “We had too much. We all went over the 200 words [each were allotted].”

Hunt and the others felt more confident with the essay than the video.

“We didn’t have a lot of time to practice on the video.”

The essay pitches the app by offering how the Calorie Counter is an improvement over already featured apps on Google Play and iStore.

“The iTrack bites keeps a log of what you eat everyday…but our app… keeps track of what we eat but chooses meals for your delight. Lose it! is very similar, but with new ideas…. One defective part on this is that it doesn’t tell you how much exercise to do.”

The student-designed app would offer positive food choices. It would scan barcodes for nutrition facts and find menus for nearby restaurants with the best food choices there.

To further help with weight loss, Calorie Catcher calculates the needed exercise needed to work off excess calories.

The Fun with Food app team included Eric Randolph, Nicholas Johnson, Ali Lemmons, Alexis Lowe and Jaret Kemper.

The Verizon Innovative App Challenge offers $20,000 grants for winning middle schools and high schools and Samsung Galaxy Tabs for students on the winning teams.

According to Verizon, the contest is “designed to ignite students’ interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), [by showing] students exciting new possibilities for their futures, opening doors they may never have known were there.”

The teams work with a faculty advisor in teams of five to seven students.

“Students consider marketplace need, usefulness, audience and viability. Teams submit their design concepts online through a visual presentation accompanied by an essay.”

One high school and one middle school were named best of state for each state. Each of those will move on to best in region.

Twenty-four best of region designations will be named Tuesday. The results were not available by press time.

Science teacher Lisa Bunde assisted with the project.