Middle School News – February 2023


February has been full of field trips, baking, and warm weather! The eighth graders went to the mills in Lowell and learned how to weave. Our seventh graders went to create beautiful pottery. Sixth graders went to the local cemetery to gather name inspiration for their detective stories in Humanities. The entire middle and high school went to Camp Maranatha to serve their staff by doing clean-up and various projects.

In art, fifth grade has been working on designing a multipurpose invention. Students looked at some invention sketches drawn by Leonardo da Vinci and talked about the difference between sketch lines and clean lines. By the end of the trimester, they will have drawn a new invention that has two or more purposes and present their idea to the class. Sixth and seventh grade have been working in groups to design a cereal box from scratch. This includes coming up with an original cereal name, mascot, etc. They will end the trimester by presenting their cereal commercial-style to the class. Seventh and eight grade finished their paper mache projects they started with Mrs. Buck. For the remainder of the trimester, eighth grade will begin learning about figure drawing and practicing with wooden figures. 

All of the middle school motion classes are continuing to work on individual regulation methods and group collaboration. Seventh grade has expanded this by helping create games for the fifth and sixth graders to play. Eighth grade put together an obstacle course for the primary students and are currently in the planning stages of holding their own “8th Grade Has Talent” event. 

In gym class students learned how to properly jump rope, both speed ropes and group jump ropes. All kids “tested” how fast they could run one-mile in early January and got to see how well they had progressed by the end of this month.

In Spanish, sixth grade learned the names of some body parts, and began learning the names of some animals. Did you know that different languages interpret animal sounds differently? Ask your sixth grader what sound a dog makes in Spanish! Students also learned a traditional children’s song about an animal. Seventh grade worked with the verbs correr (to run), caminar (to walk), and ver (to see). Together they wrote a story using these verbs in different conjugations (e.g. I walk, you walk, he walks, etc.). Unlike English, in Spanish, each form of the verb is different. They also learned about a well-known festival in Spain. The eight graders worked with authentic commercials in Spanish, and then voted on their favorites, March Madness style. They worked through most of the eight commercials.

Fifth grade wrapped up their big science focused language arts unit on the Biodiversity of the Rainforest. They looked at the trees and animals and how they depend on one another to thrive. Also in this unit students had the opportunity to watch earthworms “live” in their class-made habitats. They learned that the worms like to ‘stick’ together, they do NOT like the light and would rather stay buried in their dirt than to be exposed to any kind of light, and they love to munch on dried leaves. Many of the students noticed that their collection of worms changed from the start of this experiment to the end…some lost a few worms while others gained ‘baby’ worms. It was fun having the worm friends in fifth grade, and they look forward to finding their own earthworms crawling around as the temperatures warm up. Students continue to stretch their minds and create various tools for their “Mastermind” sessions. This month, they had to make a platform using only paper and a few inches of tape. The students then tested the sturdiness of their platform by putting blocks on the top to see how much weight it could hold. After the first test, students were encouraged to rework their design to see if they could make it better. It’s quite impressive the improvements they made just by twisting the paper or changing the direction of the base of the platform. Sixth grade wrapped up their genetics unit by completing an escape room full of punnett square and allele challenges (spoiler: they were successful!)  Moving into their next unit, we had a blast by beginning to explore destructive weather and mitigation techniques. Students completed a series of labs ranging from satellite discovery and isotherms, to creating bioshield models as a part of their tsunami exploration. They also completed tornado rotation labs in which they explored factors that determine tornado paths, destruction, and location.  They learned about how to mitigate destruction from these storms through data tracking websites, research, and even storm vehicles!  Students created storm vehicle prototypes and they not only learned about air pressure and force in the process, but also tried their hand at scientific engineering!  They will continue to learn about various destructive weather occurrences and learn about meteorology next month. Sixth grade will also be participating in a zoom call with a woman named Chelsea Burnett who is a professional storm chaser.  They cannot wait to learn from her as she shares her experiences of working in the field! In seventh and eighth grade, students hit the ground running with their unit long project that gives them the ability to enter prototype projects for the chance to win funding for a nonprofit of their choosing.  The project was put out by META and is called “Engineer for the Week.”  (Although it’s called this, it took them much longer than a week due to their time constraints!) This unit-long project is also Mrs. Platte’s Formational Learning Experience (FLEx) for the year. Students get to pick projects that they’re interested in – that also reflect ways to meet real needs of real people on a global level. To kick off this scientific engineering unit, Mrs. Palmer blessed the seventh grade with an introduction to science engineering with an amazing interactive lesson about ultrasounds, where students were able to use a handheld device to see arteries and veins!  They learned about ultrasound history and innovations and examined images of crystals used in ultrasound instruments. Seventh and eighth grade also completed introductory STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) challenges. Tasks included engineering the tallest tower possible with nothing but spaghetti, making nametags with nothing but an index card and pipe cleaners, and creating a candy launcher with various materials. These challenges were great practice for all of the prototyping they’ve done.

Way to go middle school! You crushed February.