Middle School: Week in Review

Happy Friday, everyone! We sprang into May, the last full month of school before summer break. A lot goes on in the month of May in Middle School. One of the big highlights is 8th grade Expert Night. You should have all received an invitation in your email for Wednesday, May 18th @ 6:30 pm in the Commons. We are excited for them to present all of the hard work they have done since January!

We also had Newtown Strong Therapy dogs in the building! The Middle School students met 8 year-old Tiamo, and Maggie. They will have the chance to visit with the therapy dogs each Tuesday this month.

Humanities

6th grade Humanities class continued to read Shooting Kabul by N.H. Senzai. As it follows an Afghan family fleeing Afghanistan for the U.S. just before 9/11, we learned about the impact of the Taliban on the Afghan people’s culture. Separately, during Poetry Tuesday, the class explored the poem, “The Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll. Students discussed the idea of creating a story that makes sense, even when the words are nonsense. The formation of the poem helps the reader develop an image, even though they have never heard of many of the words! The students drew a sketch of the poem using their own vision for the writing.

7th grade Humanities classes completed Animal Farm. They did a great job with this allegorical piece and discussing its context within Russian history. They learned about propaganda and worked on two activities in addition to reading: Humanities Rebellion and Who’s Who in Animal Farm? They arrived in class last Wednesday and were told that there had been a rebellion, and they overthrew Mrs. Lamb! Their job was to now take over the Humanities class. Together, without her intervention, they completed a plan. They were given the opportunity to execute their plan. Secondly, they completed the difficult task of comparing elements of the story to figures/events in Russian history and political ideas. For example, one of the main characters is a pig named Napoleon, and his role and personality is similar to Joseph Stalin. They are now drafting essays which will finalize their study of the novella. The class has been working incredibly hard.

8th grade Humanities class learned about the French and Indian War (The Seven Years’ War) and how it was one of the catalysts for the American Revolution. As a result of the war, the British implemented taxes and policies that would further anger the colonists. The 8th years completed a collective research presentation about these causes of the American Revolution. Finally, they have presented initial expert presentations in class for feedback and are continuing to practice!

Science

6th year Earth Science students have been researching coastal areas and the tides that follow as part of their unit, Tides. Each student was asked to create a line graph which represented high and low tides throughout a day as it relates to the time observed. Students were then asked to hypothesize what tidal pattern came before and will come after, based on the data observed. As a class, we discussed how we can anticipate moon phases based on the fluctuation of tidal patterns in addition to forecasting how the range of high and low tide will vary.

7th year Physical Science students demonstrated early in the week how sound waves can form by causing friction between one’s finger and glass. To demonstrate this lesson, each student was able to test the theory on their own in class. Students were able to explain how a variety of pitches came from glasses, which held different amounts of water. Following this hands-on demonstration, students began to design and film their stop motion video depicting longitudinal, transverse, and noise canceling waves.
8th year Life Science students have continued their unit on the digestive system. Throughout the course of the week, we discussed the role each organ plays in the digestion of our food and how different foods are absorbed at different rates. Students conducted a starch test on several food items using iodine as an indicator. Students were asked to hypothesize whether or not certain foods (rice, apple, carrot, goldfish, gummy bears, bread) contained starch before applying iodine. If starch is present in food, iodine turns a dark blue/black. Ending the week, students began their dissection of a dogfish shark. Students were able to apply a hands-on learning approach throughout this activity which covered past lessons from their unit on the circulatory system as well as their current unit, the digestive system. Students are taking notes throughout the process in addition to careful and thoughtful discussion.
Math
In Transition class, students continued to work with divisions in order to better understand rates and ratios. Two main ideas were the division property of equality and the ratio-comparison model for division. The class plan is to conclude learning of Chapter 9, and Ms. Sutherland encourages students to begin preparing for this assessment well in advance.
In Algebra class, students are excited to learn about systems of linear equations. Students talked about solving systems using substitution, graphing, and eliminations (additions and subtractions properties). Students will continue to use systems to solve real world problems and practice finding intersecting points on a coordinate grid.
In Geometry class, students concluded their learning of Chapter 8 titled, Lengths and Areas. This class learned about special right triangles, how to calculate the lengths of a circumference, and how to find the area of sectors within a circle. Students will begin exploring Chapter 9, which is all about three-dimensional shapes.
Math Joke: What are ten things you can always count on? ……………………..Your fingers.
Have a wonderful weekend!

Middle School: Week in Review

Another full week of classes and collaboration has been completed! An awesome component of middle school is the ability for students to have ideas and make them happen. One example of this is our newly formed chess elective, begun by two 8th grade students. These students often play chess and have intrigued their peers to learn how to play. They asked if there could be a chess elective offered for the third trimester during our Friday elective period, and they even offered to lead it. They were happy to teach beginners and help those learning how to strategize. Almost all of the middle school signed up and even an expert alum has joined in to help! It is amazing that these young adults are hoping to spread the joy they find in the game to others.

Humanities

In 6th grade Humanities class, students began the class novel, Shooting Kabul by N.H. Senzai. This novel follows Fadi and his family as they flee the Taliban in Afghanistan and seek asylum in California. Students are studying what it means to seek asylum and what it means to be a refugee using the Department of Homeland Security as a reference. They also looked at a brief history of the Taliban- Who are they? How have they changed since the 1990s? What are their cultural beliefs and goals? Finally, students completed a unit of vocabulary.

7th grade Humanities class continued reading Animal Farm by George Orwell. With regards to Russian history, they learned about the Russian (Bolshevik) Revolution and its relationship to the novel. Finally, the class completed a unit of vocabulary.

In 8th grade Humanities class, students are working hard on their final presentations for their Expert Project. They also looked at 13 colonies, leading up to the French and Indian War. Finally, students completed their last vocabulary unit for the year.

Science

6th year Earth Science students are currently working on a research project that addresses how tides and currents affect the distribution of pollution. Students will research how tides affect the distribution of pollution in the ocean, how tides affect liquid waste differently than solid waste, and what type of experiment and data would be required to answer the questions. Concluding their research, each student will formally present their work.

7th year Physical Science students finished their unit on Refraction and have begun the unit, Characteristics and Properties of Waves. The objectives of this unit are to explain how waves travel and carry energy, compare and contrast transverse and longitudinal waves, and describe parts of waves and characteristics of waves, including frequency, wavelength, and amplitude. They began with a simple exercise using string and cups, which represented how sound waves are able to travel through a medium (string) using a series of longitudinal and transverse wave patterns.
8th year Life Science students finished their unit, Circulatory System this week and began their new unit, Digestive System. The objectives of this unit are to describe the process and function of digestion and the organs involved, create a model of the digestive system, and explain how food moves through the alimentary canal. Students have shared their prior knowledge regarding the function of the digestive system, which we will continue to explore and clarify moving forward. We will incorporate the importance of healthy eating and exercise as it relates to the well being of how a person’s digestive system processes food.

Math

In Transition class, students are excited to start Chapter 9 in the textbook titled, Patterns in Division. This class is learning about dividing fractions, dividing integer values with remainders, and finding the quotient of dividing positive/negative numbers. Our next quiz will be on Wednesday, May 4th, and Ms. Sutherland encourages students to review each lesson thoroughly to be prepared for the assessment.
In Algebra class, students concluded their learning of Quadratic Function this week. They learned about solving Quadratic equations by using the Quadratic formula, how to graph quadratics, and determine the number of solutions by solving for the discriminant. Next week, students will begin learning about linear systems of equations.
In Geometry class, students are continuing to learn about lengths and areas of 2D shapes. They used the Pythagorean Theorem to calculate missing lengths of the right triangle, they found the measure of different arc lengths in a circle, and they learned about special right triangles. Next week, students will conclude their learning of Chapter 8 and begin exploring 3D shapes.
 
Math Joke: What did the calculator say to the student? …………………You can always count on me.
We hope you have a beautiful weekend!

Middle School: Week in Review

Happy Earth Day! We hope you use this weekend to appreciate and care for our beautiful planet Earth that gives us so many gifts!

Science

6th year Earth Science students spent the week creating an artistic representation of tides. Students were asked to illustrate the differences between neap and spring tides as it relates to the earth, sun, and moon’s position. Each student wrote a summary, explaining the similarities and differences between these tides, a comparison between tides and waves, and the effects tides have on people. Their work is currently on display for students to observe and learn from.

7th year Physical Science students worked on identifying how light refracts when entering a different medium such as water, acrylic, or glass. Students represented this concept by using a variety of laser pointers and different prisms to bend and refract light. We were able to test how light rays converge when passing through a convex lens and diverge when passed through a concave lens. Students ended the week creating their own bubble solution using dish soap, glycerin, water, and corn syrup. The color of each bubble refracted light differently based on the solution’s viscosity and thickness.
8th year Life Science students finished illustrating the circulatory system. Students were required to label all parts of the heart, flow of blood through the heart, oxygen exchange, and major veins and arteries. Students also conducted several explorations within their tech-book to represent how certain lifestyles affect the heart rate and blood pressure of an individual.
Humanities
6th grade Humanities students continued their study of subcontinental Asia, leading up to their class novel, Shooting Kabul. This week they reviewed the information learned about Hinduism and did a guided research assignment about Islam. Finally, they presented their current events to end the week with excellent topics and led meaningful discussions.
7th grade Humanities students studied World War I this week by reviewing last week’s research assignment and moving forward with details about how it began, who was involved, and how, ultimately, it led to the Russian Revolution. They also reviewed Communism, Czarist rule, and learned about the Bolshevik Party, including the leaders who emerged. Finally, a look at revolution globally throughout history shows patterns and effectiveness. Students additionally worked on current events reports, and they will present them on Monday.
8th grade Humanities students started the week by reviewing work they did surrounding a section of Ronald Takaki’s A Different Mirror. This touched on slavery in the colonies during the late 1600s-1700s as well as law and policy changes continually made to create social hierarchy. Bacon’s Rebellion and the legislation that followed would be impactful to the future U.S.A. The 8th grade students have also completed drafts of their expert project research papers!
Math
In Transition class, students concluded their learning of Chapter 8 titled Multiplication in Algebra. They reviewed graphing equations in the form y=ax+b, practiced how to write equations from a word problem in the form ax=b, and how to solve inequalities using the multiplication property of equality.
In Algebra class, students gained a better understanding of the quadratic equation. This class can identify the maximum and minimum of a parabola, label the vertex of a graph, and solve for unknown variables in the form ax^2=b. Next week, they will continue to explore the quadratic equations in order to solve problems about paths of projectiles and real world applications.
In Geometry class, students were successful with finding the area and perimeter of irregular shapes. This class learned about the triangle and different quadrilateral area formulas. They concluded the week with a short quiz to summarize their learning from lesson 8.1-8.4.
Math Joke: What is the butterfly’s favorite subject in school?………Mothematics.
Enjoy the spring weather this weekend!

Middle School: Week in Review

Congratulations to the 2022 Middle School for a successful, live performance of The Masamune Mystery! It was amazing to have you there to support the students’ creative work. Now we are jumping back into course curriculum, and it felt great to get back in the flow.

Science

6th year Earth Science students are currently on the unit, Tides. The objective of this unit is for students to be able to explain what tides are, what causes high tide and low tide, describe the difference/relationship between high tide and low tide, understand that tides are cyclical and therefore predictable, and design a model to investigate tides. Students have been able to share personal stories of how they have experienced tides whether it was getting their beach towels unexpectedly wet or gathering tidal pool creatures during a vacation. Students have also begun creating a tide dial, representative of the affects neap and spring tide have on many aspects of life.

7th year Physical Science students are on the unit, Refraction. The objectives of this unit are for students to design an experiment to test the refraction of light in water, identify properties of different types of lenses, and describe why light refracts when it travels from one medium to another. Students spent the week testing how the angle of incidence into another medium (water) results in a different angle of refraction. Students represented this concept/principle by placing a straw into a beaker of water, seeing first hand how it appears broken/bent.
8th year Life Science students are on the unit, Circulatory System. The objectives of this unit are for students to describe the function of the circulatory system, create a drawing to illustrate the path of circulation in the body, know the difference between veins, arteries, and capillaries, and understand the structure and function of the heart. With little prior knowledge of how the circulatory system actually works, we spent several classes sharing our prior knowledge or preconceived notions of what role our heart, lungs, veins, arteries have on our daily lives. We discussed how our life choices affect how fluid our circulatory system can function by allowing an easy and unobstructed path of blood to travel throughout our body. Students have also begun designing and illustrating their circulatory system project which will incorporate the four chambers of the heart along with identifying the path blood takes throughout our entire body.
Math
In Transition class, students continued to learn about chapter 8 titled, Multiplication in Algebra. We reviewed how to solve single-step equations, multiply by negative numbers, and graph equations in the form of y=ax. Next week, this class will learn how to solve two-step equations and inequalities. As we get back into the swing of full time classes, please remind your student that both the lesson master worksheet and daily textbook homework questions are due at the beginning of each class.
In Algebra class, students were very excited to begin learning all about the quadratic equation. We discovered how to graph a parabola on a coordinate grid, how to solve for simplified equations algebraically, and how to find the axis of symmetry on the graph. This class can plot ordered pairs on a grid, they can interpret graphs as real world projectile examples, and they can use DESMOS to find intersecting points on more than one graph.
In Geometry class, students were happy to get back into their daily routine of lessons and lesson master assignments. This week we learned about the perimeter of irregular shapes, the area of complex polygons, and we reviewed previous notes about proving congruence in triangles. This class will explore the Pythagorean Theorem and identify special right triangles next week in class.
As a reminder, all classes will have a quiz and/or unit test next week. I encourage students to begin studying early to feel prepared and confident for their assessment.
Math Joke:
Why did the worm cross the ruler?… To become an inchworm
Humanities
6th grade Humanities classes began their unit of the Asian Subcontinent. They learned the geography of the region by completing map work and a Google Earth tour of the area. They also studied the Indus Valley Civilization, the largest and one of the oldest civilizations in the world. From there, students are learning the major religions of the region. This week, they studied Hinduism, which came from a mixture of cultures originating in the Indus Valley. They will learn Islam next week before starting Afghani history in preparation for our next novel, Shooting Kabul.
The 7th grade Humanities class began their study of Powerful European Leaders, which will focus on the time surrounding WWI and WWII. They began by writing a short essay about what they feel are qualities of a great leader. This led to a class brainstorming session and discussion about the types of leaders they would support.  Students then completed the geography of the European continent, which includes Western Russia. They also began a guided assignment giving an introduction to WWI. Finally, students completed a unit of vocabulary.
8th graders began the week with their expert projects. They wrote introductions to their research papers and then workshopped them with the class. Together, students gave feedback to enhance their peers’ work. They are now drafting their essays that are due next Friday, April 22. Next students picked up with US History, reviewing the Separatists’ and Puritans’ reasons for settling in Northeast Colonies. We then focused on the Puritans in Massachusetts Bay colony, their relationship with the Indigenous people living there, and their relationship with other religious groups. We ended the week previewing a slave voyage database created by several universities that used primary source documents to visually show some of the impacts of the slave trade.

Middle School: The Masamune Mystery Week #1

It has been a wonderful return to school following spring break. It has been great to see all of the students and to be working on the amazing play they wrote: The Masamune Mystery. 

We started the week with a full cast read-through of the script. From there, the days begin with warm up games and then students work either on the stage blocking with Ms. Sutherland, building the set with Ms. Reid and Mr. Brown, or running through lines and additional rehearsal time with Mrs. Lamb. The set is looking great, and the entire play is blocked. The teachers are impressed with how well the students are working together and learning their lines. There is a lot of positive energy!

Next week, the Middle School looks forward to finishing rehearsals and performing LIVE for younger students during the school day and the evening with families. We are excited to see you next Friday evening, April 8 @ 6:30 p.m.


Middle School: Pi and Play!

Pi Day
On Friday all students celebrated Pi Day, which officially takes place on March 14 (3/14). Students enjoyed a read aloud story of Sir Cumference, they learned how Pi was discovered,  as well as enjoyed a slice of pie to celebrate the round theme. Each class participated in a 6-part station activity where everyone had an opportunity to calculate the circumference of a pop can, find the surface area of a toilet paper roll, and list as many words they can think of that start with “Pi”. Students enjoyed the day of hands-on practice to calculate equations using Pi and reflect on how circular objects are used in the real world.
Fun Facts About Pi
1. there are over a trillion digits to Pi
2. it’s an irrational number that never terminates and never repeats
3. the world record for memorizing the most Pi digits is 67,890
Math Joke: 
What is the most mathematical type of snake?………A Pi-Thon!

What do you get when you divide the circumference of a jack-o-lantern by its diameter?…………..Pumpkin Pi!

Why did all of the other numbers avoid conversing with Pi at the party?…….Because he goes on and on forever!

Middle School Play

The 2022 Middle School play, called The Masamune Mystery, is just about finished! We have spent the last two weeks developing the plot and writing the script after the Playwriting Elective developed the overall main idea of the play during the winter months.

The main idea was developed over the winter and was a longer list that was then narrowed down by several rounds of voting both among the elective group and the entire middle school.  In the end, the idea of a treasure hunt with two completely different investigators was perfect for the production. It has centered around two lead roles, which is a first for the MS production.

Character development is the next pivotal piece in developing the play. Who will bring this story to life? Each student had a chance to develop a character, whether it was to be played by them or someone else. This involved imagining a personality, appearance, how they will affect the plot, and writing examples of what this character might say. The magic comes in when each student presents their character. The rest of the class can contribute ideas, which then solidifies their role. Developing the characters has been a favorite portion of the process for me.

Finally, it’s time to write!  We used Humanities classes over the last two weeks, and we used two full mornings to write. Now, Mrs. Lamb is going through each scene to ensure that plot goals are carried through, digressions are removed as much as possible, characters stay true to who they are supposed to be, and the play comes together the way it is originally intended. Students should have final scripts posted to review and memorize by Tuesday, 3/15!

We hope everyone enjoys their break and look forward to immersion weeks when we return! More to come!


Middle School: A Week in Review!

Middle School students had a busy week finishing art projects, playing in the second basketball game and delivering the morning news to the elementary classes. We are working hard as we enter the last week before the spring break vacation. We are all looking forward to the upcoming spring break holiday from March 14-25th.

SCIENCE

6th year Earth Science students were able to test their wind turbines as part of their unit “Renewable and Nonrenewable Energy”. Students tested their designs by seeing how efficient their blades were at raising a variety of weights in a certain amount of time. Following the tests, students were asked to analyze their data and complete a formal lab report.

7th year Physical Science students finished their unit on Kinetic Energy and have just begun their unit “Reflection”. Within this unit students will design an experiment to test the reflectivity of different materials, identify key characteristics of different types of mirrors, and describe how light reflects off different surfaces.
 
8th year Life Science students have been working on identifying the genotype and phenotype as part of an activity titled “Monster Genetics”. Students were asked to identify the genotype and phenotype of a monster by flipping a coin, then determine the probability of inheritances of an offspring using the Punnett Square (Gregory Mendell). I have asked students to illustrate both the parents and offspring to create a visual representation of physical characteristics passed down.
HUMANITIES
6th grade Humanities classes this week were split between our class novel, The Egypt Game, and writing the middle school play. In conjunction with the novel, students learned about Nefertiti and the process of mummification.
7th & 8th grade Humanities classes focused on the middle school play this week, and we are excited to finish the script next week. All middle school students helped to develop the overall plot by brainstorming ideas that turned into our scene overviews. They also developed their characters, established set ideas, and started writing the script.
MATH
In Transition class, students began learning chapter 8  this week and are excited to work with new algebraic equations. This class is learning about the repeated addition property for multiplication, the rate factor model of multiplication, and how to multiply positive/negative numbers in a number sentence. We will continue to learn about combining percentages and solving single step equations next week in class.
 
In Algebra class, students are continuing to explore power and roots properties to simplify algebraic expressions. This class has been studying the Power of Powers rule, the Product of Powers rule, the Quotient of Powers rule and the Negative Exponent rule. We concluded the week with evaluating square roots and cube roots that involved multiple variables.
 
In Geometry class, students are learning about special quadrilateral shapes such as the trapezoid, parallelogram and right triangles. We are continuing to practice proving mathematical theorems and ideas with 2D shapes.  This class is using their postulate and theorem books to record new theorems such as the Sufficient Conditions for a Parallelogram Theorem and Distance between Parallel Lines Theorem.
 
Math Joke: Why do plants hate math?…….Because it gives them square roots.

Middle School: Better Together

 

Like every other month of the year, February is a time for celebrating each other. February might be the last cold month before signs of spring and warmth start to emerge. Sometimes we are weary in February and ready for a seasonal change, but there is no better time to be together. Valentine’s Day is in the middle of February and is a reminder to some of the love that exists for each other and ourselves. February is also Black History Month, a time that we highlight and celebrate brilliant and creative Black minds that have helped form and contribute to our nation.

At FWM, we spent February sharing and spreading the love. First of all, the 8th grade leadership team launched their Give A Little Love fundraiser for three causes they felt were important to support. They researched and created material for the community with regards to the following causes: Give the Gift of Hunger Relief; Equip A Medic, Save A Life; and, Provide A Safe Place for Exploited Children. Through their virtual fundraiser with Alternative Gifts International and dismissal collection on 2/16, they raised a total of $2,330, which surpassed their $1,500 goal! The generous FWM community has shown that, together, we can truly spread love.

Other ways we have worked together to support and celebrate each other this month:

  • Weekly whole group advisories
  • Valentine’s Day celebration
  • MS Basketball Game
  • Friday Morning Gathering (led by 8th grade)
  • Collaboration in the classroom
  • Teachers participated in a Run for Refugees to support the work of IRIS
  • Black History Month features

We look forward to an exciting spring, together, in Middle School!