Middle School: Sugar Hills Heist

The Middle School play, Sugar Hills Heist, was a great success this year. With only five days of production time, the middle school students pulled off an entertaining show filled with laughter and excitement. We are very proud of the final product and sad to see it all come to an end. Thank you to all the cast, crew, teachers, and parents for your efforts in making this show such a hit. We appreciate everyone’s encouragement, kindness, and dedication towards having this play be as memorable as it was.


Middle School: Our Field Trip to the Museum of Natural History

On Tuesday March 3rd, the Middle School students along with Mr. Brown, Ms. Sutherland, Mrs. Reid, and Mr. Robertson visited the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. We traveled by bus to the museum and enjoyed a full day exploring the exhibits. Students were able to experience a planetarium show titled Worlds Beyond Earth. This demonstration talked about our solar system and explained the complexities of all the other planets surrounding Earth. We visited the giant sequoia tree, the life sized African elephants, dinosaur skeletons, and ancient Aztec stones. The students really enjoyed seeing the first human skeleton ever discovered, the artistic backgrounds to all the enclosures, as well as learning about the traditional Chinese wedding chair traditions. We concluded our day trip with a slice of authentic NYC pizza from Famous Ray’s restaurant.  We were proud of the Middle School students as they represented our school well and were grateful for this opportunity. 


Middle School: A Week in Review at FWM

This week, we finished writing the Middle School Play called Sugar Hills Heist! It is incredible to watch the original idea and plot transform. Mrs. Lamb is incredibly impressed by this writing group. They really paid attention to the overall plot and writing goals, as well as adding details and lines to develop the characters. They also gave incredible feedback throughout the process making sure to minimize plot holes and maximize the personality of the characters. Save the date for March 12th at 7:00 pm!

6th year Earth Science students have been reading several articles related to their unit on Natural Resources. The most recent article titled “Sustainable Forestry” discussed past and current practices used nationwide to ensure our forest remains a renewable resource rather than nonrenewable. Earth Science students were able to test the efficiency of their wind turbines, demonstrating alternative practices to renewable energy. 7th year Physical Science students are just beginning their unit on Kinetic Energy. This week in class, students will begin designing and constructing their roller coasters, applying their working knowledge of potential and kinetic energy. 8th year Life Science students are learning about the nervous system, breaking it down into the central and peripheral nervous system. Students will be required to create a visual representation (stop motion, working model) of the nervous system, promoting a hands-on learning approach. 

In Pre-Transition math class, students officially started chapter 7 on the UCSMP textbook. The topics covered this week include the rate model for division, drawing arrays and picturing divisibility, using factorization to make division easier, and integer division. Students are able to use the chapter 6 connections about multiplication and make further connections to division. 

In Transition math class, students are working hard to get through the last few lessons of Chapter 8. This week we covered new topics such as graphing y = ax + b by using a table of values, solving ax + b = c, and solving ax + b < c. Students are confident in their ability to solve one step and two step algebraic equations and enjoy using Desmos to graph the linear functions. 

In Algebra 1 math class, students are excited to start learning about the quadratic equation. We are learning about solving ax2 = b, the basic ideas about functions with equation  y = ax2, and how to graph y = ax2+ bx + c. Students will finish this chapter after the school play is complete and the spring break holiday is over.

Math Joke: What do baby parabolas drink?……Quadratic formula.

Please remember, next Tuesday (March 3, 2020) we will be attending the Museum of Natural History in New York City. We plan on leaving FWM school at 7:30am and arriving back around 8:00pm. Please have your child (children) arrive at school no later than 7:15 to ensure we are all ready to depart by 7:30. If our arrival back to Newtown changes, you will be notified as soon as possible. Please bring a bagged lunch with a drink as we have a designated time and location for us at the museum.


Middle School: Another Great Week at FWM

This week has been exciting for Middle School Humanities students! The plot for this year’s Middle School play is done and the characters are developed. We had our first scene writing day and it was great! We can’t wait to finish writing next week. 6th and 7th year students are continuing to read novels about Ancient Egypt and the Holocaust, respectively. 8th years presented current events while working on the play this week.

6th year Earth Science students spent the week learning about the importance of wildlife management. Students read an article titled “Fishing Forever”. Students represented their understanding of the article by illustrating a poster, capturing the main objective. 7th year students finished their unit on chemical reactions and equations, transitioning into their next unit “Kinetic Energy”.  Students will be asked to create and simulate a roller coaster using foam pipe insulation and marbles. Students will be required to consider how height, mass, velocity, potential, and kinetic energy are to be considered in their design. 8th year Life Science students finished their unit on “Genes and the Impact on Mutations of Organisms”. Their next unit is “Nervous System”. We will explore what the main parts of the nervous system are and how it operates. 

In Pre-Transition math class, students took time to prepare for the Chapter 6 cumulative test.  This chapter covered the main ideas of using multiplication in a variety of ways. Students are now able to identify powers, solve order of operations questions, multiply mixed fractions and draw arrays from a word problem. As a reminder, it is always a good idea to start studying one week before the exam, get a good night’s sleep and drink lots of water during the test to keep your brain hydrated. 

In Transition math class, students are combining percents in real world experiences, solving for one step and two step equations (ie. ax = b, y = ax + b) and continuing to practice multiplying probabilities. Students participated in a fun activity this week where they needed to go grocery shopping with a fake budget and purchase as many different items as possible while calculating the sales tax and sale price. This was challenging for students to stay under budget and learn how much the Connecticut sales tax is for everyday items. 

In Algebra 1 math class, students are learning how to multiply and divide square roots, calculate distance between two ordered pairs in a plane, and practicing how to remember all the properties of powers and roots. Students had independent work time this week to study for their upcoming Chapter 8 cumulative test scheduled for Tuesday, February 25th. 

Math Joke: How do you get from point A to point B?…….Just take an x-y plane or a rhom’bus.


Middle School: Happy Valentine’s Day!

This was a very short 3 day week for the middle school students. We hope everyone has a safe and restful President’s Day long weekend. We celebrated Valentine’s Day on Wednesday February 12th with fun snacks and drinks brought in by the middle school parents association. Thank you to everyone who helped contribute the tasty treats. The students really enjoyed the celebration. 

In Humanities this week, 6th year students began reading The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder. Inspired by the text, students will learn more about Ancient Egypt. Next, 7th year students worked on European geography. They are studying the rise of Hitler and the qualities that made him such a powerful leader. Students began reading Four Perfect Pebbles by Marion Blumenthal Lazan, a memoir of her and her family’s experiences during the Holocaust. Both 6th and 7th years completed vocabulary units as well. 8th years spent some time moving forward with their expert project research and received feedback about next steps. They are also finishing the overall scene outline of our play that we will begin writing next week! 

6th year Earth Science students have been constructing wind turbines as part of their unit on natural resources. Students were tasked with designing and creating a windmill that will be able to lift a weight. Students have built their designs using popsicle sticks, cardboard, and 3D printers. 7th year Physical Science students have conducted several labs as part of their unit on chemical reactions and equations. Students performed a laboratory experiment requiring them to find a ratio of baking soda, citric acid, and water, resulting in the coldest temperature. Students were required to write a formal lab report concluding this experiment. 8th year Life Science students represented concepts relating to gene mutation along with the presentation of their DNA model. Students performed an in class activity on the punnet square which demonstrated what genes (dominant/recessive) are passed down from one’s parents. 

In Pre-Transition math class, students are learning how to multiply mixed fractions with whole values and other mixed fractions. This has been a challenging skill to master and will continue to be our focus next week. The students had great success with being able to identify if the product of two numbers will be a positive or negative outcome. Keep studying as the next chapter assessment is Thursday, February 20th.

In Transition math class, students are learning about multiplication as shortcut addition (collecting like terms), multiplication with negative numbers, and the rate-factor model for multiplication. Students are able to identify the properties used to solve these arithmetic operations and can successfully complete the word problems by setting up the cross out method for rate multiplication. 

In Algebra 1 math class, students are learning about the important exponent rules. Students have created a single unique note sheet to keep all their formulas and rules in one key area. Students are practicing how to simplify expressions with square roots, cube roots, powers of products, and quotients. 

Math Joke: Why was the equal sign so humble?……Because she knew she wasn’t greater than or less than anyone else.


Middle School: Research Night

Please register for the MS Acadia Trip by next Friday, 2/14!!!

http://www.grandclassroom.com

Thank you to all who came to watch our 6th & 7th year scholars give their presentations on Thursday night! Research Night was the culmination of a multi-week investigation into a topic surrounding the theme, Historical Events. Students used an inquiry-based research method to develop and support their thesis statements.

The expository paper included 3-5 pages of writing, in-text citations, transitions, an interesting introduction, and a summative conclusion. Skills such as locating reliable resources, word and sentence variation, organizing information, and paraphrasing were included.

For their presentation of 5-10 minutes, students were asked to use the research that was relative and interesting to their topics to achieve the answer to the question, “What do I want my audience to walk away knowing?” The visual component to their presentations included audio clips, video segments, pictures,  and some quotations relating to the topic. The students focused on their voices being the main focus for information and doing as little reading as they could.

The Middle School teachers are incredibly proud of the students showcasing their individuality in their topics. Congratulations!


Middle School: Week in Review

Happy Friday! Thank you for those of you who registered for our MS trip to Acadia. Deposits are due by 2/14. http://grandclassroom.com/

Next Thursday, 2/6 at 6:30 is Research Night! Come and see 6th & 7th year students present their knowledge about topics surrounding an event in history!

6th and 7th year Humanities classes are just under a week away from Research Night! This week, students brought in their paper drafts and focused on properly formatting in-text citations and using transitions in writing. They also completed the visual component of their presentations. They will begin running through them in class on Monday and making final revisions to their papers. 8th years continue their unit on U.S. history from the lens of Black Americans. This week, they looked at the Atlantic slave trade and its effects on populations, economies, and individual rights in countries of Western Africa, the Caribbean, Northern South America, the UK, and the United States. Students also concurrently looked at government structure including the House of Burgesses as well as the 1st & 2nd Continental Congress meetings. Finally, they looked at causes of the American Revolution (financial implications of the French & Indian War, British taxation, the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, & the Coercive/Intolerable Acts). 8th years also presented current event topics this week.

In Science this week, 6th year Earth Science students are learning about natural resources. The unit began by identifying similarities and differences between renewable and nonrenewable resources. We went outside to create a small (contained) fire consisting of leaves and sticks, acknowledging we can not relight them after they have burned. This lead students to understand why management practices need to be in effect to control certain resources based on their ability to regenerate. 7th year Physical Science students are learning about chemical reactions and balancing equations. Building upon prior knowledge of chemical reactions, students are able to see how the product of a reaction is different from the initial reactants. Students were able to use manipulatives that are representative of how changing any value of reactants affects the value of its products. 8th year Life Science students are working on constructing their 3-dimensional DNA models as part of their genetics unit. These models will illustrate the components found within DNA, genes, chromosomes, and alleles.

In Pre-Transition Math, students are continuing to work through Chapter 6 of our UCMSP textbook. Students are learning how powers of a number work and can identify the exponent, base, and expanded version of a number. Students are practicing how to multiply decimals, simplify fractions and calculate percents using mental math. We finished the week by using real-world examples of percents and looked at how the percentage of a quantity is used in a grocery store every day.

In Transition Math, students are confident in their ability to identify congruent angles and sides in a parallelogram. Students took notes on the important properties of a parallelogram and transversal line segments. We learned about the triangle sum property and how to calculate the distance between points (We had so much fun using the Pythagorean theorem!).

In Algebra, students have successfully finished learning all the lessons from Chapter 6. Students can graph linear inequalities, identify the three main equations for linear functions, and can find the slope of two different order pairs.  Students will be writing the Chapter 6 unit test on Tuesday, February 4th and will then be moving onto chapter 8 as our next set of lessons.
As a reminder, There will be no extra math help session on Tuesday, February 4th as Ms. Sutherland will not be at school. Happy studying!
Math Joke: Why can’t you trust a math teacher holding graphing paper?………………….They must be plotting something.

Have a beautiful weekend!


Middle School: Electives Update

Happy Friday, Everyone! If you plan on sending your child, please register for the FWM 2020 Middle School trip to Acadia National Park in Maine. Visit the school trip webpage at www.grandclassroom.com, click “Find My Trip / Register” and search “Fraser Woods Montessori School”. There are different payment options available.

Electives

Second trimester electives are running well, and it is a period that MS students and their teachers look forward to in their rotating schedule. It is fun to have teachers facilitating classes separate from their usual roles.

Ms. Sutherland is running Dance again for the second trimester. There are six dancers participating in this trimester’s elective. Students will learn a new dance style each week including Ballter, Jazz, Hip Hop, and Contemporary. Dancers will have the opportunity to perform a short student-created dance during our last class all together. Dancers will also get to lead a warm up activity of their choice to help everyone get stretched and ready for a fun class.

Mr. Brown is running a Strength Training elective this term. The goal of this elective is to introduce students to a variety of exercises, promoting fitness and well being. Mr. Brown has turned a portion of the school’s back area behind the gym into a separate gym facility. It currently includes medicine balls, wall balls, free weights, box jumps, tension bands, a curl bar, a bench press, and jump ropes. Students will be partnered up each class, rotating through different exercise stations at 5 minute intervals after proper warm ups and stretching have been achieved. If anyone would like to donate unwanted gym equipment, please reach out to Mr. Brown. It would be greatly appreciated.

Mrs. Lamb is running Playwriting, specifically working on this year’s Middle School play. It has been decided that a play surrounding a heist will be the theme this year. A rough plot line with some details about important characters have been created. Because this is completely student-led, any big decisions made to the play in the elective have to be presented and voted upon by the rest of the students in middle school. We had a vote this week for the play’s antagonist. This involved presenting the character development and how it would fit into the plot. This decision effects the entire plot, so it was important to have the students in the elective present their ideas. It’s looking like an interesting play!