Third Quarter is officially over and Fourth Quarter began Monday. We are on the home stretch for the end of the year and things are going to happen quickly. Here is a review of what has been happening and what is coming up in the core classes.
We have spent a fair amount of time working on skills to simplify radicals in preparation for using Pythagoras Theorem. This week we introduced the concept of the theorem and the formula for finding sides of right triangles. A sq. + B sq. = C sq. The new concept is challenging and combining equation solving with the process of simplifying square roots is a lot of skills all used at once. I have posted a practice sheet that can be used to get some extra practice below. Next week we will be taking the third basic skills test. Check the homework calendar for the exact date by teacher and block. I have also posted below a review sheet for the test. Everything on the review sheet will be seen on the test. Most students did well on everything except ratios and percents. These should be practiced before taking the test to get a high grade.
Time to take a deep breathe and relax for a few days before the AFC Unit begins after we return from break. This week was dedicated to students completing the final draft of their speeches and then giving the speech in front of the class. Everyone did a wonderful job completing their speeches and being brave and delivering a great speech to their peers. Next week will be a continuation of the Political Party Process where students will vote for the top selected parties. They will also be finding out the 10 topics for the AFC Unit they can choose from. The LS students will have that 10 narrowed down to just three. This is being done to better support their efforts by having only three areas of focus that the support staff can help find research and develop solutions. The AFC Unit will be a big challenge and we hope to have the right balance of support and individual inquiry for the students.
We used a lot of class time this week to complete propaganda posters and a paragraph that explained the techniques used. The poster was due at 3pm today and the posters that I have seen were very creative. Next week in English we will be looking at advertising techniques and how advertisements work on our thoughts and emotions. This unit will last approximately two weeks before we switch to supporting students writing on the AFC Unit. Expository writing will the main focus for the fourth quarter along with some reading to help balance out the demands of the writing.
Building, testing, building, testing. That has been science class for most of the week. Students were building simple machines to carry a load through different obstacles. Some classes had the performance task conclusion this week and others will be next week. Besides building their machines, students need to create a poster that outlines the design of their machine and calculates the mechanical advantage. Below is a document on the poster requirements and a photo that helps to calculate mechanical advantage. The next unit will be on Ecology and students will look at the interdependence of living things and their environment.
This week was spent learning the properties of square numbers, roots, and variables with exponents. This is to prepare students to use Pythagoras’s Theorem which is based on using square variable and roots. I have added some helpful sheets below that can be used to explain the algorithms used to simplify square roots. Next up is another basic skills assessment coming the last week before the March-April break. Check the homework calendar for the specific dates of the assessment by teacher and block.
Science was a lot of fun this week. Many hands on activities dealing with simple machines. We also had some fun doing a simple machines game on-line. Click here to play the game. Next, students must design and build their own simple machines to carry a load across different obstacles. This will be their performance task for the unit and will be quite a challenge to build the machines using everyday materials. First, they will need to make a design plan poster to explain their machines. I have included below the requirements for the poster along with a couple examples. For further information of the performance task please follow this link.
This week began with the techniques and theory behind propaganda. Students took notes on the eleven different techniques that they need to know how to use. This information will be used in the creation of propaganda posters for Social Studies. For detailed notes on those techniques follow this link. Also an explanation on the requirements for the poster can be found here. Students need to have a clear and convincing message about their political party they created in Social Studies. The posters are due Friday of next week. Once we return from the break. English and Social Studies will begin working very closely together during the Advocating for Change Unit (AFC).
Students have been busy working on their political party speeches for Social Studies. The final draft of the speeches are due next week (see homework calendar for specifics on teacher and block due dates). They will need to practice giving their speech before presenting it to the class. Having a few sessions with family would be great practice! We will also have a couple chances to practice in SI class.
The next big thing on the horizon for Social Studies is the Advocating for Change Unit. This will require choosing a topic on a world issues that needs action. Then they will be completing research and writing a persuasive paper that outlines background, current status, and proposed solutions for the issue. This will be the main focus of Social Studies once we return from break until the end of the year. In SI class, we will be taking a preview of the topics to help students pick the right one.
Short week but lots happening. As we lead up to the Student Led Conferences next week, students have been busy with many deadlines and self reflections on what and how they have been learning. So let’s look at what has happening in the core classes.
This week was all about review for the upcoming assessment. Some students took the assessment Friday March 1st, but most will take it on Monday or Tuesday of next week. I have posted a matching game that students can do to help practice for the test. If they are able to match the flashcards using graphs and tables, they should have the skill set to do well on the assessment. Next unit will be on Pythagoras Theorem and will be a further venture into geometry. After the assessment students will also be given a new problem solving set (#6) that will be due the following week. Due dates for that set will be posted on the homework calendar when they are determined by the teacher for each block.
Students did an interesting lab where they had to find the perfect swing time of 2.8 second by adjusting the variables. The only variable that had a real affect on the swing time was the length of the chain. The reasoning why this is and why the others did not have an affect can be found below. This will be helpful in writing the conclusion of the lab. I have also added an alternative guide for helping students focus their conclusion writing. This guide will be very useful in upcoming labs. The content of their labs has become more technical and they need to be able to express their findings with data and scientific reasoning.
This week was dedicated to helping students finish their essay on the novels that they have been reading for the past month. The essay for some students was due today at 3 pm, but many others have a few more days to finish up. All the essays will be due by March 5. The next unit will be a shared concept with Social Studies and will be focused on propaganda. Students will be learning the concepts of propaganda and making posters using those concepts. More can be learned from Mr. Burke’s blog at this link.
In social studies students have been organized into political parties based on a survey that they completed. They must now design a platform for their party and define their stance on many different issues. To do this they must do some research on those issues. Mr. Willey has a blog entry here that covers how to go about that. Once they have done the research and decided on their platform, students will then write and give speeches to gain support for their party. It should be an enlightening experience on the political system.