Middle School: Week in Review

We had another busy week in Middle School and are excited for Thanksgiving next week.

Humanities

Sixth year Humanities students finished their descriptive writing drafts, Nature Through Writing, using photography as inspiration. Because they recently completed their class novel, Out Of My Mind, students watched a mini documentary on a 17-year old New Zealand teen living with cerebral palsy. She has a similar profile to Melody, the protagonist of the novel. Finally, they completed a unit of vocabulary.

7th year students finished their class novel, A Gift From Childhood. In preparation for writing original fables, similar to the ones told in the novel, students identified proverbs and metaphors throughout the book to use as inspiration. 7th years also completed a unit of vocabulary.

Finally, 8th years did a lot of reading this week in their class novel, If I Ever Get Out of Here. The protagonist, Lewis, is part of the Tuscarora tribal nation and the book centers around his experiences at a mostly white school. This week we spent time writing about and discussing some of the challenges he faces, the root of these challenges, and his perception of certain events in the story versus how others perceive them. 8th years also completed a unit of vocabulary.

Math

In Pre-Transition math class, students learned all about using fact triangles to find related facts for addition and subtraction problems involving integers and rational numbers. This class can identify linear pairs and vertical angles in a diagram. They can also recognize acute, obtuse, right, complementary, and supplementary angles. This class will learn all the Chapter 4 lessons before the Thanksgiving break and take the Chapter 4 assessment once we get back to school in December.

In Transition class, students had the opportunity to construct if-then statements, and they learned how to draw Venn Diagrams to represent the intersection and union of sets. This class is learning how to draw and identify basic figures of polygons, apply the properties of a good definition, and classify statements that are always, sometimes, and never true. Next week this class will conclude learning all the lessons for Chapter 4.
In Algebra class, students took two days to prepare for the Chapter 4 summative assessment. This was a cumulative test covering Chapters 1-4, and Ms. Sutherland is very proud of how all the students prepared for this test. They have started to cover the first few lessons of Chapter 5, which includes multiplying, simplifying, and dividing algebraic fractions, as well as multiplying and dividing rates in real world situations.
In Geometry class, students are learning how to  identify images under a double reflection. This class can apply the Two Reflection Theorem for translation problems as well as find coordinates of reflection and translation images for points over the coordinate axes.
Math Joke: What do baby parabolas drink?……..Quadratic formula
Science
6th year Earth Science students are working on their unit, Earthquakes. This week, students created their own seismograph stations using a shoe box, rubber bands, a sports ball, and a marker. Students tested how density (material inside the shoe box) affects the seismic waves generated by dropping the sports ball on the shoebox, resulting in the marker moving.
7th year Physical Science students are continuing their work on molecules. Students are identifying how to determine an element’s number of protons, electrons, and neutrons based on the atomic number and mass. Students are learning how to read an atomic structure’s valence and total electrons in order to determine what the exact element is. Moving forward, we will learn about the similarities and differences each group (metals, nonmetals, halogens, noble gases) possesses.
8th year Life Science students have just finished their unit, Meiosis. Our next unit will be Genes and the Impacts of Mutations on Organisms. Within this unit, we will discover what a gene is and how they are passed down from generation to generation within our DNA. Students will analyze similarities and differences between one another while also looking at key traits associated with family members.
Thank you families, for sharing your child/children with us. Their flexibility, willingness to work, and thoughtfulness are traits we appreciate greatly. It is another week that we are beyond grateful to be with them in school!

Middle School: Week in Review

Happy Friday! Another November week has come to a close, and we have taken advantage of the unexpected warm weather. Here’s what has been going on in Middle School.

Humanities

This week, all classes had current events presentations. The 6th years worked hard to finish their class novel, Out of My Mind. They also continued with descriptive writing. Students read and composed personification poems. They also began a writing piece inspired by a photograph. Next, the 7th years continued to read and lead discussions surrounding their class novel, A Gift From Childhood. They also took time to compose wonderful memoir poems. Mrs. Lamb is proud of these talented creative writers! Finally, 8th years began reading their class novel, If I Ever Get Out of Here by Eric Gansworth. To build prior knowledge and context, they studied the history behind the US Reservation system. All students write annotations and sometimes complete guided questions as they read. These will guide discussion on the reading. The annotations allow the students to lead their own book discussions and direct their classmates to particular passages for further conversation.

Science

6th year Earth Science students are continuing to explore earthquakes. This week, students represented longitudinal, transverse, and compression waves resulting from the release of energy from an earthquake using slinkies. Students have been holding class discussions on a documentary pertaining to the events of March 11, 2011 when a magnitude 9.0 earthquake hit just off the Pacific coast of Japan. Students are learning how seismologists are able to collect data from seismic readings of plate tectonics to better understand how such an earthquake happens and how to prepare for future ones.

7th year Physical Science students are learning about the properties of molecules and the periodic table of elements. Currently, students are working on representing covalent and ionic bonds. Within this unit, students are discovering how to identify a particular atom’s number of protons, neutrons, and electrons.
8th year Life Science students are finishing their unit on Meiosis. Each student has been working on representing the stages of Meiosis (prophase, metaphase, anaphase, and telophase) as it results in genetic variation among certain species. This unit provides students with background knowledge to support their next chapter, “Genes and the Impacts of Mutations on Organisms.”
Math
In Pre-Transition math class, students had the first part of the week to study and prepare for their Chapter 3 Unit Test. This assessment covered topics of measuring angles with a protractor, adding fractions without common denominators, and applying the Triangle-Sum theorem. Students started to learn the first few lessons of Chapter 4 which explains subtracting positive and negative integers on a number line and using fact triangles to find related facts.
In Transition class, students had the first part of the week to study and prepare for their Chapter 3 Unit Test as well. This assessment covered topics of converting decimals, fractions, and percents, estimating the square root of a number, and calculating probability of an event. Students started learning about Chapter 4 which explains writing if-then statements, determining the union and intersection of sets, as well as drawing basic polynomial figures.
In Algebra class, students are learning about solving real world problems involving percent, drawing horizontal and vertical lines on a coordinate plane, and can solve/check equations of the form ax + b = cx + d. This class will conclude Chapter 4 next week and should start to prepare for their next Unit Test.
In Geometry class, students are learning how to draw figures by applying the definitions of reflection images, use reflections to find the shortest path, as well as use the Two-Reflection theorems for translations on a plane. This class will have their Chapter 4 Unit assessment next week and should start to prepare well in advance.
As a general reminder, students are invited to attend an optional virtual math help session on Thursdays from 4:45-5:30pm. Questions will be answered on a first come, first serve basis. All middle school classes are welcome to participate. Students can access the zoom link on the main stream of all Google classroom pages.
Math Joke:
What do you get if you divide the circumference of a jack-o-lantern by its diameter? ……Pumpkin pi  
EXTRA JOKE: What did one math book say to the other?………………Don’t bother me. I’ve got my own problems!

Middle School: “The Peace of Wild Things”

Anticipating an emotionally charged week of excitement, anticipation, and some trepidation, I knew I needed the right poem for my Humanities classes for Poetry Tuesday. When I dug into my poetry, unsure of what I was looking for, I came across a poem that I haven’t used in several years. I’m not sure how it fell out of my rotation, but Wendell Berry’s “The Peace of Wild Things” was just the right poem. It reads as follows:

The Peace of Wild Things – by Wendell Berry

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

This poem reminds us all to find our own peace and grace with ourselves in the present despite what may worry us down the road. To me, it also reads that nature can be a force that grounds us. After reading the poem with the 8th years, we attempted a mindful walk through the woods. Albeit some leaf blowing noise and chilly winds, we tried to let our minds be present and focused on the crunch of the leaves beneath our feet.

There are many moments of joy in our days together at school. Please enjoy the photos of the happiness experienced by our Middle School students in the recent days.


Middle School: A Week in Review

Another beautiful fall week has closed, and we were lucky to enjoy the outdoors again. Fresh air has been good for our bodies and minds, and as we transition through the seasons, we will continue to enjoy it as much as possible.

Science

6th year Earth Science students are continuing their work on Plate Tectonics. Students are learning about the role that tectonic plates play in the creation of the rock cycle. Over the next couple of days the class will discuss the similarities and differences between metamorphic, igneous, and sedimentary rocks.

7th year Physical Science students have been doing daily activities representative of the different states of matter. Students are able to relate how temperature increases both the potential and kinetic energy of matter resulting in the transition between solid, liquid, and gas.
8th year Life Science students have begun their unit on Cellular Respiration. Students are understanding how our bodies are able to process glucose from the food we eat into usable energy (ATP) through cellular respiration. Currently, students are working on creating a visual representation of cellular respiration which includes glycolysis, Kreb’s cycle, and the electron transport chain.
Math
In Pre-Transition math class, students are learning how to use fractions to add mixed numbers in real world situations. This class can successfully find the perimeter of a polygon shape, add positive and negative integers without a calculator, and place integers/rational numbers on a number line.
In Transition class, students are learning how to order and compare decimals and fractions, graph inequalities on a number line, and add fractions without common denominators. This class can successfully convert amongst decimals, fractions, and percents; know and apply the substitution principle; and, they can round any number up or down to the indicated place value.
In Algebra class, students are learning about solving and checking linear equations from the form ax+b=c. This class is working through how to create a linear equation or inequality from a given word problem, as well as applying the addition and multiplication properties of equality and inequality.
In Geometry class, students have started writing 2-column proof statements.  This class has been practicing how to use algebra to represent an angle, give justifications for conclusions involving angles and segments, and determine the slope of a line if parallel or perpendicular.
As per the students’ request, Ms. Sutherland will be hosting an after school Math help session starting the week of November 2nd. Please stay tuned for next week’s blog as more information will be released about dates and times.
Math Joke: Why didn’t the quarter roll down the hill with the nickel?……………Because it had more sense.
Humanities
This week, all students completed a unit of vocabulary and, due to class-driven interest, discussed the current election with regards to the candidates’ stances on different topics. Topics ranged from the fundamental differences of the parties, to the definition of taxation, as well as changing immigration policy. Students are curious about all they hear at home as well as the media and ask for some basic definitions on terms they hear and the process of a presidential election. Information given to students is unbiased, respectful of both candidates, and uses information that is clear and concise. Students are allowed to express their personal opinions and engage in conversation with each other in a way that honors individual perspective without putting down any person or group of people.
The 6th grade Humanities class continued to work on descriptive writing using the poetry of Langston Hughes and Emily Dickinson to identify forms of figurative language and imagery. Then, students watched a 40-second slow motion video of a shark leaping out of the water to catch a seal and were charged with the task of writing a descriptive narration implementing their skills of word choice, figurative language, and imagery that will give anyone a complete experience, through words, of the video without actually watching it. Finally, students continued their reading of Out of My Mind.
7th grade Humanities classes finished geography of the SubSaharan African continent and worked on their class novel, A Gift From Childhood by Baba Wague Diakite. They discussed proverbs as they apply to the memoir as well as the effects of colonization on a culture.
8th year students wrapped up Jamestown settlement and the Virginia Colony by focusing on the land. They learned about what it meant for different people: the Indigenous people, indentured servants, African slaves, and plantation owners. They drew and discussed their ideas of what the land looked like pre-Colonization and then compared it to the reality of what it looked like before European settlement (developed systems of roads connecting Nations, structures, farmland, etc.) which is the opposite of the “vast wilderness” that is widely portrayed (48-49, Dunbar-Ortiz). We then learned about the House of Burgesses and how land ownership decided voting rights. This eventually led to Bacon’s Rebellion, an uprising of the lower classes against the elite land owners. The outcome was the abolishment of both indentured servants and the headright system. It also led to slavery as the predominant labor force. Religion, the Puritans, and the settlement of Massachusetts Bay Colony are on-deck for next week.

Middle School: Week in Review

It’s been a busy short week in Middle School! As a reminder, please have your child/children dress for the weather.  We will be going outside each day! 

Also, thank you for signing up for our virtual parent conferences on Thursday, 10/29 with your child’s/children’s advisor via Sign Up Genius. Students will prepare to lead a portion of the conference, so please keep this in mind when scheduling. We look forward to speaking with you!

Humanities

This week, 6th years continued their class read, Out of My Mind, having wonderful discussions about the characters and plot. They also began annotating and leading their own class book discussion. 6th year students also worked on descriptive writing this week, particularly with word choice, figurative language, and imagery. The 7th years finally finished presenting their Religions of China projects and began their unit about SubSaharan Africa. They worked on the geography of the large region by using a map to identify the countries and their capitals. We had discussions surrounding cultural perceptions of the regions and influences due to colonization. Students are beginning the memoir, A Gift From Childhood by Baba Wague Diakite. Finally, the 8th years studied Jamestown colony this week. This included information about the Virginia Colony, Powhatan Confederacy, tobacco, beginnings of socioeconomic groups, indentured servitude, and slavery in the early 1600s. All classes completed current events presentations this week.

Math

In Pre-Transition math class, students had a few days to study and prepare for the Chapter 2 Unit Test. They completed practice questions, played review games and quizzed each other on their knowledge of decimals, fractions, and percents. Students started to work through the first few lessons of Chapter 3 which discusses the addition property of opposites and adding mixed fractions together.
In Transition class, students are learning how to order and compare decimals and fractions using inequalities. Students can use the equal fraction property to rewrite fractions, use fractions to answer questions about real world situations, and identify decimals between rational numbers.
In Algebra class, students are learning about solving and checking for linear equations in the form ax+b=c, graphing solutions to a linear inequality problem on a number line and coordinate plane, as well as applying the addition and multiplication properties of equality and inequality. Students will be preparing for the Chapter 3 Unit Test next week and should allow the appropriate study time well in advance.
In Geometry class, students are learning how to draw and label major and minor arcs in a circle and semi circle, find the appropriate degree measured for an inscribed and central angle, as well as give justification for conclusions involving angles and line segments. This group of students is preparing to solve for proofs, and they have created a postulate and theorem book to keep track of all the important definitions needed to give their reasoning.
As a general reminder, students should check Google Classroom each day for posted assignments and supplementary videos to help reinforce the concepts taught in class.
Math Joke:
What is a math teacher’s favorite snake?…………A pi-thon

Science

6th year Earth Science students are currently working on creating a stop motion movie illustrating how tectonic plates shape our planet. The types of plate movements include transformation, divergent, and convergent. 7th year Physical Science students have conducted several lab activities in conjunction with their unit on States of Matter. Students determined how temperature relates to a water’s solubility level and how the speed of molecules relates to temperature. 8th year Life Science students are finishing their unit on “Structure of Life”. Students have conducted research, detailing how radio-pharmaceuticals and chemotherapy technology has advanced throughout the years in response to cancer.


Middle School: Week in Review

It is another beautiful Friday! What an amazing week to be outdoors!

Humanities

In Humanities, 6th year students are reading Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper. This goes hand-in-hand with our unit centering around empathy and compassion. Also, 6th year students have begun their descriptive writing unit. They are locating and practicing word choice and figurative language to enhance their writing. The 7th year students finalized and delivered their Religions of China research, and presentations on Buddhism, Islam, Taoism, Confucianism, and Christianity. While not concerning world history, this group has an interest in US politics, so we are taking time to go over the election process. We are excited to begin looking at the SubSaharan African continent next week. The 8th year students are also learning about the US election process. Additionally, they continue their unit about Indigenous Americans. This week they covered time in the 1500s concerning conquistadores and Spanish colonization as well as the British trips to Roanoke that resulted in the lost colony. All Humanities classes completed a vocabulary unit this week as well.

Math

This week in Math class, all groups concluded their study of Chapter 2 in the USCMP textbook. They have started to learn about Chapter 3 concepts and are more comfortable with their class routines and expectations as they enter the second month of the school year.
In Pre-Transition class, students are learning about rounding a decimal to an indicated degree, converting decimals, fractions and percents, as well as comparing values using inequalities. Students are becoming more comfortable with finding percentages in a real-world situation and reading a circle graph to analyze the given information.
In Transition class, students are learning how to substitute values into a given formula, identify the variable, constant, and coefficient within an algebraic expression, as well as use the Pythagorean Theorem to find distances in real-world situations. Students can successfully find a value that satisfies an open number sentence and they can graph inequalities on a number line.
In Algebra class, students are learning to graph linear patterns, solve equations with tables, and manipulate two-step equations to isolate a variable. This class is able to write related facts for all arithmetic operations and use graphing technology to check that equations are equivalent.
In Geometry class, students are learning how to draw and analyze arcs and angles in a circle,  find the degree measure of arcs, and appropriately measure the central angle. Students can also give justification and reasoning to rotations in real-world situations.
As a general reminder, all students are expected to complete both the lesson master assignment and the assigned textbook questions on a daily basis. These assignments help students practice what they are learning and ensure they are understanding what is being taught in class.
Math Joke: Why should you worry about the math teacher holding graph paper? …………..She’s definitely plotting something.

Science

6th year Earth Science students have finished their 3d models of Earth’s layers. Each student designed their own model, illustrating the different layers that make up our planet. Students were able to use a variety of material, from styrofoam balls, clay, markers, or paper to best represent their ideas. They are currently working on formatting their first formal lab report on Density.

7th year Physical Science students have completed their laboratory investigation on the solubility of water based on temperature. Students conducted three trials using ice, room temp, and hot water to determine which temperature water was able to hold more dissolved sugar. Students knew that their water sample was saturated when the sugar being added would no longer dissolve but rather remain crystalized at the bottom of their beaker.
8th year Life Science students are working on identifying key characteristics that define an animal cell from a plant cell. Students have performed several tech-book simulations to facilitate meeting this objective in addition to classroom activities.

Middle School: Fun Friday!

With the changing elements of Middle School this year, one that we haven’t highlighted yet is Fun Friday. With cohorts, it became a challenge to figure out how to run elective period that used to take place during one of the afternoon periods about once a week. Fun Friday is a time that the MS teachers designed to incorporate community among middle school students, while still remaining in cohorts, and having a fun activity unrelated to academics.

The activities planned for Fun Fridays have varied. The first week, students played Pictionary and Charades with topics that were designed uniquely for the Middle School. The second Friday, students relaxed and completed beautiful leaf rubs. The 3rd through 6th Fridays, students participated in an egg drop. The object was to design and build a vessel that could keep a raw egg intact once dropped from the roof of the school using only the materials provided in their materials bag: paper bag, plastic bag, rubber bands, pipe cleaners, empty paper towel tube, balloon, ribbon, bubble wrap, cardboard, popsicle sticks, and tape. Students designed during the first week, built during weeks two and three, and then dropped on the fourth Friday of the project.

All have looked forward to being outside together, but separately, during our Fun Friday activities. We look forward to our future Friday afternoons together!


Middle School: Week in Review

Happy Friday! Thank you to parents who joined us for Curriculum Night this week! It is an exciting night for us to give you a glimpse into our upcoming year teaching your children.

Science

6th year Earth Science students have finished creating their representations of fossils in both plaster and amber. The next unit they will begin is titled, Earth’s Structures. By the end of this unit, students will be able to describe what plate tectonics are and that they have shaped and continue to shape our planet.

7th year Physical Science students are currently studying the unit Characteristic Properties of Matter. To start the unit, students are conducting experiments which highlight the characteristic physical properties of such items as wooden spheres and metal cubes. They test the density, malleability, hardness, and electrical conductivity. 

8th year Life Science students have continued to research their topic and fact check the opposing side’s warrants in preparation for their debate about stem cells. Students have done an excellent job collaborating with one another while taking ownership of their personal responsibility. 
Math
This week, all math classes started working through Chapter 2 of The University of Chicago School Mathematics Project Textbooks. In each class, students discussed the importance of staying organized as they move onto the next series of lessons. Students are encouraged to keep their graded worksheets in an appropriate section of their binder or store them in a safe place at home. The following is a summary of what each class accomplished this week.
In Pre-Transition class, students were able to identify place values in a decimal number and compare decimals using inequality symbols. Students can draw and measure lengths in the metric system, as well as round any decimal to the indicated degree of accuracy.
In Transition class, students were able to give an instance of a pattern described with variables. Students are learning how to evaluate an algebraic expression when given a value to substitute in. This class has also become comfortable with representing a relationship between two variables using a table.
In Algebra class, students were able to practice using the distributive property to simplify algebraic expressions. This class can now prove equations are equivalent by using graphing technology and solving by hand. These students have started to learn about the multiplication property of zeros and the importance of opposite values.
In Geometry class, students were able to distinguish between convex and non-convex shapes. This class can interpret a Venn diagram, write true conditional statements, and can apply properties of conditionals to real world situations.
Mathy Joke for Mathy Folks: Why is the obtuse triangle always so frustrated?……Because it’s never right.
Humanities
This week in Humanities classes, all completed vocabulary units. 6th year students also worked on their paraphrasing skills and  spent time learning how form in writing can dictate meaning using poetry by E.E. Cummings to demonstrate. The 7th year Humanities classes now understand the differences between capitalism, socialism, and communism, and what they look/have looked  like in the world. They looked at how the People’s Republic of China was established by Mao Tse-Tung’s takeover of Chiang Kai-shek’s regime. Finally, the 8th years used the book, An Indigenous Peoples’ History this week to read about the time in Europe during the Crusades that brought about the establishment of European cultural ideals which were later brought to the Americas during colonization.
Have a great weekend,
The MS Team