NEWS photos by Christine Weber
The “three Rs” that were taught so many years ago at school are giving way to robotics, specifically at the middle school level. On Wednesday, the Worland Middle School robotics club invited the Arapaho Middle School robotics club to a soccer challenge. The students were to team up and build a robot that could kick a ball into the goal. Teachers Donna Hunter, Rob Woffinden, Kristin Kelton and Denise Herman are the WMS instructors. Iva Redman and Nancy McClain are the teachers for the eighth-grade students at AMS. Nine middle schools are involved with the Worland club; one sixth-grader and the rest in seventh-grade. According to a feature article written by Northern Wyoming Daily News special projects coordinator Susan Lockhart Sept. 13, the activity is part of a University of Wyoming research three-year study in the hopes it will improve students’ spacial reasoning skills, math and reading scores. Each of the instructors attended training for two years in the use of robotics in the classroom, according to the news article. Students had to figure out how to program the robot on the computer and use their computer skills to tell the robot what to do. Pictured above teaming up to build a robot out of Lego parts are Trinity Christian, Iesha Carson of Worland and Cassie Lawson of Arapaho. Below, instructor Rob Woffinden shows Dillen Carson (left) of Worland and Isaih Divers of Arapaho how the robot works on the computer screen. Far left, Dillen Carson and Isaih Divers test their robot. This is the second year of the three-year study, according to the news article. The robots came from a grant from the University of Wyoming. Teacher Donna Hunter said in the Sept. 13 article, “Our students are learning even more important lessons. Just the tenacity to never give up, never surrender and the whole idea that you can do it.”
History Discussion Group targets South Pass
By Bob Stottler
Washakie Museum Curator
As the sun sets in the western
sky earlier and earlier than the previous day, it is time again
to assemble the Washakie Museum History Discussion Group for our
annual journey into the history of Wyoming. At the end of each
discussion season the group decides what topic they would like
to tackle for the coming year. This year’s discussion group,
“South Pass: Pathway to Prosperity,” will explore one of
America’s first National Historic Landmarks, South Pass, a
mountain pass located approximately 35 miles southwest of
Lander. The first meeting will be Tuesday, Nov. 18 at 7 p.m.,
and then continue one Thursday a month through May 2014.
South Pass has been a gateway for millennia, used as a relatively easy and unobstructed route over the Rocky Mountains. The History Discussion Group will examine the rich history of the South Pass area from the 1830s to 1870 focusing on the emigrants, miners, religious refugees, and the legal stories of South Pass City including women’s suffrage. Participants will also consider the use of South Pass as a gateway to various areas in Wyoming and beyond, particularly on the use of South Pass to access the Big Horn Basin. Known to Native Americans and utilized by them for thousands of years, it was these Indians that showed the Euro-American explorers and trappers the way over South Pass. By the 1830s trappers and traders frequently used South Pass to traverse the Rocky Mountains. In the 1840s, until the completion of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroads almost 40 years later, emigrants on the Oregon, California, and Mormon Trails used South Pass. What had started as a minimal stream of travelers swelled to tens of thousands by the 1850s as all rushed to the west hoping to realize their dreams — either wealth from the mother lode or fertile land in the new Oregon territory to farm.
Although thousands of travelers passed through the area few selected the South Pass area of Wyoming as their home — that is until gold was discovered in 1867. Almost overnight towns and settlements sprung up to serve the growing populations. The towns of South Pass City, Miner’s Delight, and Atlantic City grew as more and more miners started to flood into the area. Soon town governments and courts started to make their appearance as well as churches and dry goods stores. South Pass City was the first location where women were enfranchised with the vote in the United States as well as the place where the first woman judge would preside over a courtroom — not only the first in the United States, but in the world. Soon ranchers started to move into the area establishing large ranches such as Lander judge and rancher W. A. Carter, who moved large herds of cattle into the Big Horn Basin to take advantage of the lush grasslands. The discussion group will work to explore a different humanities theme each month in relation to South Pass to include history, archaeology, religion, folklife/folklore, and jurisprudence.
The discussion group is open to any and all interested adults. The fee to join is $50 for individuals and $75 for couples to help fund the year of activities and to cover the cost of additional reference materials to be used. The main reference book to be used during the discussion group is “South Pass: Gateway to a Continent” by Will Bagley. Reference books will be available for purchase at the museum for a discussion group member discount price of $21 plus tax, or participants may purchase the book elsewhere if they choose. Group members interested in further researching a specific South Pass topic to present to the group are encouraged to, but not required. In addition to the monthly discussions, two public guest lectures coinciding with the season’s topic will take place throughout the year. Public lectures include Danny Walker on Saturday, Dec. 6 and Will Bagley on Saturday, April 18. Refreshments will be served during the sessions.
As a culmination for the discussion season, group members and any other interested participants will take a day-long field trip in May 2015 to Pacific Springs and South Pass City. Contact Bob Stottler at 347-4102 or firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up or for more information, or visit our website washakiemuseum.org.
Hope to see you at the museum History Discussion Group.
Continued in today's issue of the DAILY NEWS. Subscribe here