Everyone's favorite part of the chemistry unit is Slime Week. This week, we made a new slime in middle school every day.
We started out with a super absorbent polymer called sodium polyacrylate. It can absorb up to 300 times its own weight in water!
On day 2 of Slime Week, we demonstrated a chemical reaction and the formation of a polymer with the classic borax and glue recipe, but we added shaving cream to make if fluffy and fragrant.
Next was our only edible slime--instant pudding! The chemical reaction that allows instant pudding to thicken is similar to the reaction that makes cement harden.
We ended Slime Week with Oobleck, the classic corn starch and water slime. It is a non-newtonian fluid, which means that sometimes it acts like a liquid, and sometimes it acts like a solid, depending on how you handle it. The students kept testing this slime in creative ways to see what it could do.
To wrap up the study of expressions and equations, the 6th and 7th graders joined forces with the 8th graders during a visit from the Equation Queen. They worked together to solve real-world situations, showing a visual representation, writing an equation, and solving it. Students had fun while working together and learning together.
Students have also been studying some geometry, starting to look at nets and surface area. We had a bit of a celebration on Pi day, as well!
Our 6-7th grades have been exploring concepts of government types in the ancient world. Watch the video!
The 6th and 7th grade writers completed their five (or more) paragraph essays about the six most effective learning strategies
. After research was completed, they chose a teacher they wanted to share their learning with and began their writing. A bit of editing was done to polish up the message. Their letters have been signed, sealed, and delivered! It was great to make their writing purposeful and have an authentic audience. Well done, writers!
Our middle school mathematicians have been doing an incredible job working with expressions the last couple of weeks. They had no trouble evaluating expressions and quickly moved on to using the distributive property and then factoring expressions. They also have been exploring inequalities (of the mathematical kind). You know all of those times in the world when something is less than or greater than something else? There's a graph for that!
We are very excited to be part of the Voice 2 Voice Poetry Declamation Contest, a partnership with the Opera House Arts. The purpose of the program is to expose middle school students in grades 6-8 to the spoken word of poetry as a means of developing their voices and expressing themselves.
So far, students in grades 6-8 have been reading at least one poem per day. Students in the 6th/7th grade class worked with Opera House Arts Education Associate Joshua McCarey in a workshop that explored the poem "Patience" by Marylin Singer. The entire middle school will be working with Opera House staff members this upcoming week as well as poet Emily Stribling.
To learn more about this program, please visit http://www.operahousearts.org/voice2voice.
Learning in 6th/7th math continues to be individualized, although we come together to learn new skills. This week, we ensured an understanding of integers and the coordinate grid. In addition, some students continued to master their understanding of fractions while other worked on the adding and subtracting of integers and like terms.
Middle school students are invited to participate in the You Be the Chemist Challenge at Deer Isle-Stonington Elementary School on Saturday, April 8. Students who make it to the national competition get to travel to Washington DC, all expenses paid! Each level of competition is like a spelling or geography bee, with multiple choice questions.
In class, we will continue to study chemistry until the end of the trimester, which is March 10. Our work in class will cover most topics that might appear in the local contest, but interested students should also use the provided study materials, which can be found at this link
or by asking Mrs. Bebell.
Whether it's at the bottom of a mine, miles down, around a geothermal vent at the bottom of the ocean or at the top of Mt. Everest, all life on planet Earth relies on one particular substance... water! Grades 6-7 are learning about how the use of water helped shape the life that formed around the ancient city of Rome. Engineering feats that still stand today are clear indicators of just how important water is to helping bring about the explosive growth of Rome. Students are doing projects about the aqueducts, fountains, baths, sewers as well as roads in ancient Rome.
During a combined 6-8 math workshop, students explored the pattern you see here, found on http://www.visualpatterns.org
. They were able to discover how the pattern continued, make a table with these values, and graph the data. The 8th grade students were able to create a linear function, as well. Great teamwork ensued in this process, along with the great thinking!