Science

Before Thanksgiving Break Sr. M.A.P.P. went upstairs to Ms. Lori’s science lab to learn how to create slides of their bacterial samples. With the help of some Upper School students, we used fire to heat fix our slides, stained the samples, and viewed them at different magnifications. We also learned how bacteria are named after their shapes. Here are some pictures of our adventure into Ms. Lori’s Laboratory!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

wpid-wp-1441913603446.jpeg

Math Facts to practice:
Addition: Everyone passed!
Substraction: Mira, Donald, Robbie, Gavin (test tomorrow)
Multiplication: Hardit, Simon (test Monday)

Science:
To clarify, students should either bring a printout of the experiment directions, the URL for the website, or the book that contains the experiment (or its title and author so I can find a copy). They do not need to perform the experiments.

Today we looked at the results of our leaf pigment experiment and found (drum roll…) NOTHING!

Which sounds sad and disappointing – and it was; however we used this experience to think of ways we could improve our experiment! My favorite answer when I asked if we wasted our time was, “No because we always learn from our mistakes.” Exactly! We have some great ideas to try next time!

wpid-wp-1441913808430.jpeg

Module 6 had many weather interruptions, but we made it! Here is a recap of what we did in Senior M.A.P.P.:

MATH: Everyone is working hard in math and making progress. We may add a few extra Math classes to help students maintain math pace since we lost so many days due to snow. Keep practicing those math facts at home and let me know if you have any questions!

ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS: We completed our biographies for Academic Fair and have started a poetry unit. I have found many great poetry books via The Gutenberg Project and the Durham Public Library, including one of my personal favorites Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices by Paul Fleischman. We are reading and writing different forms of poetry including pyramid poems (pictured below), haiku, and limericks. We are also studying the poems of Shel Silverstein and even looking at Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven”. We will finish our poetry unit in Module 7 before we start our drama unit.

wpid-wp-1425588392866.jpeg wpid-wp-1425588350543.jpeg

SOCIAL STUDIES: This module we have been studying the economy of the United States, including supply and demand, advertisements, budgets, and taxes. We have read articles about how the recession has affected the unemployment rate in the United States, and we will have a discussion about Governor Pat McCrory’s State Budget Proposal (just released this month) and how it affects the people of North Carolina. We are thinking critically about why and how individuals spend money and why taxes are so important to the community. We will carry this unit through the end of Module 7 before learning about North Carolina folklore and cultures in Module 8.

SCIENCE: After learning about rocks and soil, we started exploring the structure of Earth and how land-forms are created. Going into Module 7 we will continue our study of tectonic plates, mountains, volcanoes, valleys, rivers, canyons, and more. We will study relief maps to learn why mountain ranges formed where they are and study continental drift to learn how our planet has changed and continues to change over time. We will also take some time to learn about Marie Tharp, the geologist whose map of the ocean floor revealed the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and led to the scientific community’s acceptance of the continental drift theory. Next, we will study weather and climate.

FINAL NOTE: Rather than sending student work “home” (since that’s rarely where it goes), I have started filing it in a crate in the classroom. Parents are welcome to come in and look at work before or after school. When the calendar says “Crates Out” I will move the crate upstairs to the Big Table. If you have any questions or are wondering how your child is doing in class, please send me an email or call me at school.

Thank you for everything you do at home to support the education of your children!

 

In Science class we are studying simple machines. Today the students built pulleys out of grooved wheels, axles, and string, and they used spring scales to measure the force needed to lift weights with and without the pulleys. Next week we will test different pulley systems to learn how they make work easier. Enjoy your weekend!

image

image
image
image
image

Friday, October 3 marked the end of Module 1! Below is a summary of what we’ve studied in each subject and a preview of what’s coming in Module 2.

English Language Arts:

I just finished reading Roald Dahl’s The Witches aloud; we will review the book Monday and Tuesday for a test Wednesday. Thursday I will split the students into groups and assign them novels to read in class. Each day I will meet with groups to lead a discussion about the previous day’s reading.

In Writing we are entering the final stages of the writing process with our first informational essay. We started these as a homework assignment where each paragraph was planned on an organizer sheet. They have since turned those plans into paragraphs, revised their writing with partners (a peer and me), and written second drafts of their essays. I will edit their writing for grammar, spelling, and mechanical errors. Tuesday they will confer with me and begin the publishing stage. Neatly handwritten final drafts are acceptable, but I will also give them the option to type their essays. Students are welcome to bring their own computers to school on Tuesday or use school computers. Our next writing assignment will be a fiction story. My goal for writing this year is to give students many planning tools so they can organize their thoughts before they start creating paragraphs.

As I mentioned at Back to School Night, I have started using a new program for spelling and vocabulary. Our first week of Word Study was a success; everyone passed last Friday’s test! Each Monday I will assign a new list of 20-24 words and a checklist of activities. Some activities are mandatory and some are optional, and each activity will have a point value. Students will complete activities for classwork and homework for a total of 80-100 points per week. I will collect Word Study notebooks each Friday to check their work before returning them on Monday. I will also post a copy of the checklist here with Monday’s homework.

Math:

Each student has been assigned a math book and is working at his or her own pace through the material. The goal is to complete about one chapter per week; some chapters will require more or less time depending on how challenging the material is for your child. Homework should start coming home on a regular basis. Please let me know if you have homework concerns. If your child is having trouble with a concept or particular problem, sending me an email that night will ensure that I check in with him or her the next day in class.

We have also developed a routine for testing math facts. Students working to master a fact family will be tested twice a week, usually on Wednesdays and Fridays; students maintaining mastery of their facts will be tested on Fridays only. At the end of each quarter I will test everyone’s master of all four operations.

Science:

In Module 1 we studied the properties and three main phases of matter. We also explored fluids that don’t conform to the typical properties of solids or liquids by mixing cornstarch with water and testing how it felt with different amounts of pressure. In our final experiment, the class split into partners and used foam, metal weights, and rubber bands to create an object that was heavy enough to sink below the surface of a container of water, yet light enough to only barely touch the bottom. It was a fun end to the unit!

Our next Science unit will be energy, forces, and simple machines. This is one of my favorite units because we build contraptions at the end.

Social Studies:

We started our study of United States geography and history by studying map features and learning the five themes of geography: location, place, movement, human-environment interaction, and region. After learning about longitude and latitude, we learned how to find the coordinates of a specific location. We also used different types of maps to talk about the common features and different purposes of maps. We completed our map study by creating a map of our classroom on graph paper. Each pair of students measured the furniture around the room, and we all worked together to come up with a scale that fit our graph paper. (1 square = about 8 inches). Then they drew their maps, placing objects as accurately as possible in relation to each other.

Next week we will begin studying the colonization of North America and formation of the United States. When I introduced the topic to the kids, they immediately started debating who actually “discovered” America. I think we have some interesting discussions and research ahead of us.

image

Today we attempted to create rock candy. I am fearful that we will be unsuccessful, but here are the general directions if you want to try at home!

First I did some research. About.com and Craftsy are two websites which had very similar directions, and both recommended a ratio of 2:1-3:1 sugar:water.

  • To make enough liquid to fill 12 8-ounce canning jars, I used 4 cups of water and 11.5 cups of sugar. I started with 4 cups of each, then added sugar one cup at a time, letting the sugar dissolve completely between cups. It was recommended to add sugar until the mixture was cloudy, so that’s what I did. In fact, I added a little water at the end because I think that extra half cup was too much.
  • While the sugar was simmering, each student dipped his or her stick into the pot to coat the bottom in sugar, then placed it on wax paper to dry.
  •  I let the syrup simmer for about 10 minutes, removed the pot from the heat, and let it cool for about 5 minutes. I ladled the sugar into jars (while wearing eye projection and an oven mitt), added food coloring, and then placed the sticks in the jars using clothespins to hold the skewers about an inch from the bottom of the jar.
  • Finally, I placed all the jars in a location that shouldn’t be disturbed too much, and covered it loosely with plastic wrap to keep dust out of the candy. (Don’t worry: if the candy is contaminated, we won’t be eating it.)

We will check the jars tomorrow, although it can take a week for the crystals to form. I will post pictures on Thursday and Friday since the kids aren’t coming to school those days. If our experiment fails, we can still learn some valuable lessons and make adjustments for next time. If you try this at home, let us know how it turns out!

On Monday, May 12, Senior M.A.P.P. travelled out to West Point on the Eno to study forest and river ecosystems. We had a great time and the kids got to share much of the things they’d learned throughout the year. It was nice to hang back and listen to them use the science vocabulary to describe what they were seeing and answer the questions of our guide, Katie.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.