Solidifying Science Using Simulations

What would happen in the universe if the sun was more massive?  Why does a balloon stick to a wall?  How do you know that gravitational, electric and magnetic force fields exist?  These are just a few of the questions the 8th graders were able to explore and answer in science using PhET Interactive Simulations created by University of Colorado Boulder.

Students explored six major topics related to forces and interactions using the simulations in three ways.  First, students individually played and manipulated the simulations to explore and answer guided practice questions and solve various scenarios.  Next, students collaborated to explain and describe their understanding to each other in small groups.  Then in their small groups, students presented their answers to teacher-selected questions from the activities to the whole class giving students an opportunity to reflect on their learning.

Utilizing simulations in science is an effective learning tool for students for multiple reasons.  First, simulations give students access to investigate real-world phenomena in the classroom that would otherwise be inaccessible, such as the role of gravity in the universe.  Second, they foster fun, active, engagement experiences for all students.  Third, students can individualize their learning by having the ability to run and rerun simulations to assist in mastering the learning of key scientific concepts.  Fourth, students are able to see the interconnections amongst scientific concepts, such as in this unit—gravitational, electric and magnetic forces and force fields.  Fifth, the simulations provide natural collaboration opportunities for students to share with each other their learning experiences and practice scientific conversation just like scientists.  Overall, science simulations offer our 8th graders an awesome opportunity for scientific inquiry.

By: Mrs. Kruse, NBCT, 8th grade science

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Thankful Themes in 1st Grade!

First Grade wrote down many things they are thankful for. The top items include:
Homes, families, and animals. We will continue to learn about the first Thanksgiving this week and to share more about our many blessings from God. Our greatest blessing is of course our salvation in Jesus. We posted our papers in our classroom and invite parents to come by and read them!

By: Mrs. Glaeser, 1st grade teacher

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(Mrs. Weisser (Our Wonderful Student Teacher) and Avaleigh working on Thankful Themes.)

6th Grade Outdoor Education – 2018

We live in a society where technology has become a part of our daily routine. Computers, cell phones, IPads, and the like have changed our means of communication in a number of ways; connecting with others both near and far, but also disconnecting us from others at the same time.
During Outdoor Education in the Palomar Mountains, the sixth graders were able to unplug from the daily distractions of technology and focus on communicating not only with each other, but with their Heavenly Father as well. This year we focused on how we connect, or better yet, UNITE with others in worship, while studying God’s Word and while serving those around us.
Classes the students took: Mammology, Aquatics, Initiatives, Ornithology, Low Ropes, Fire Building, and Astronomy.
Take a look at some of the sixth graders favorite memories from the week!
Myleigh Taylor – “The food and bird watching. Bird watching was epic because we got to see birds we usually don’t see in Orange.”
Lilli Barnhouse – “My enjoyment was horseback riding because it was the first time I’ve done it. Also, my favorite learning expereince was the fire class because it required teamwork and communication to build a perfect fire.”
Amanda Matthews – “My favorite part was horseback riding was because I got a really amazing horse who was really fast. Team building was my favorite learning experience because we learned better ways to communicate.”
Evan Magpali, Conner Garrett, Hunter Westrum – “Bird watching was the best! Bird watching was relaxing and something we had never done before. Aquatics was also cool because we got to study the water and got to test the water and its oxygen levels.”
Lucas Sharar – “Ziplining because you are in the air and get to see all of God’s creation. I felt like I was flying like an eagle.”
Zach Schutt – “I enjoyed fire class because I just didn’t know you needed so many things to make a fire and that there were so many ingredients.”
Grace Granger – “Free time was great to get our energy out before dinner time and after classes. I enjoyed the fire class and low ropes because the low ropes we had to work as a team and I enjoy that. The fire we learned a lot and even got to roast marshmallows!”
Robert Goodman – “Archery was a blast because it is a fun sport and requires skill. I learned about the different types of birds in ornithology and that was cool because I got to see all of the different types of birds on Palomar Mountain.”

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11th Annual Junior Martin Luther Competition

October 30th, 2018 at 8:30AM in the St. John’s Historic Sanctuary

As a Lutheran church and school, we are proud of our Christian heritage and the Junior Martin Luther Competition was designed as a way for us to celebrate the life and teachings of Dr. Martin Luther.  It was his courage that laid the foundations of our faith today.  Every 6th grade student since 2008 has spent the month of October participating in a variety of classroom learning activities that exposed them to a deeper understanding of Martin Luther’s life, his relationship with God, the condition of the early church during his lifetime, and the good news of our Salvation that is found in the New Testament.

This year’s finalists included Chanel Kruse, Memphis Peoples, Chanel Soler, Robert Goodman, Lucas Sharar, Mattias Kremer, Chloe Miller, Sam Wright and Zach Schutt.  The Alternates for the competition consisted of Matthew Marks and Grace Granger. Their participation in class, quality responses to weekly reflection questions, results from the Reformation in Disguise scavenger hunt, knowledge and understanding of Luther’s Table Talk memoirs, memory test scores, and Luther’s Dates quiz results were just a portion of the criteria that earned them a spot in this year’s competition.  This competition consisted of several rounds of questions that pertain to the important dates in Martin Luther’s life, his favorite passages from Scripture, his Table Talks memoirs, his small catechism, and much more.

This was a single elimination event.  One incorrect answer removed a finalist from the competition.  All correct answers were confirmed with the statement, “this is most certainly true.”  After 35 minutes of intense competition, Chanel Kruse from Miss. homeroom won the competition!  After winning the competition, Chanel proceeded to nail the 95 theses on the Castle Church door.  Last year’s winner, Alexys Saley, presented her with a Martin Luther bobble head doll along with the Luther Cup Trophy that will be displayed in her homeroom for the remainder of the 2018-19 school year.  Her picture from this event will also be displayed in the Middle School hallway on the Junior Martin Luther Legends wall of fame.  Congratulations to Chanel!

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3rd Graders Vote

How would you vote?  Last week, the story in language arts was Vote! by Eileen Christelow.  The students read about how a town chooses a mayor.  Each class had many discussions and the teachers answered questions related to the process of voting, campaigning with signs and messages sent through the mail and on the television, especially since it coincides with the current midterm elections.

To apply the things we learned, the classes voted on “Proposition 2018 – Should St. John’s have school uniforms?”  After campaigning with signs and a debate, the students signed in, received their ballot and cast their vote. One class even had to do a recount since the counted number of votes did not match the number of students in class that day.

Overall, it was a fun way to have the students experience the process of an election.  Not surprisingly, the students voted no for Proposition 2018.

By: Miss Amy Neben, 3rd grade teacher

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5th Grade Engineers!

Problem solving and team work are foundational skills for 21st Century learners. To strengthen these skills the 5th graders worked through two STEM projects during the first quarter of the school year.

For their first project the 5th graders worked in teams to design and build a bridge out of popsicle sticks. The goal was to build a bridge that could hold 10 pounds while spanning a thirteen-inch gap. The students had to communicate their ideas, listen to other students’ ideas, and work together to build a bridge.  This year’s strongest bridge held 60lbs!

Another STEM project the 5th graders completed was to design the ideal bubble wand for their three-year-old cousin.  After testing store bought bubble wands they brainstormed idea’s and then used the Tinkercad program to create their design.  After completing the design process the bubble wands were 3D printed.  After printing, the wands were tested and compared to store-bought wands.

Students are blessed here at St. Johns to have the resources to develop the skills they need to be successful.

By: Mr. Duport, 5th grade

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PE = Fun-filled Learning!

I have the privilege of teaching Health and Physical Education to elementary aged students at St. John’s.  St. John’s elementary students started the year off by learning how to effectively work together as a team and show empathy towards one another. Here is a look at what we’ve been learning so far this year:

Physical Education  

Kindergarten – Grade 1–Large Locomotor Skills and Following Directions

This is accomplished by incorporating fun games where the students usually have no idea that they are working on a goal; they are just having fun!  For example, students learned how to “drive” and learned the rules of the road playing “Hula Hoop Road Show.”  This game allows students to “drive” their cars (hula hoops) throughout the gym safely while learning how to listen for cues such as Red Light (stop), Green Light (go), bumpy road (skip), or slippery mud (side-slide).

Grades 2-5–Teamwork

Students play games where teamwork is essential.  For example, a favorite game of the students is called “Cross the River.”  Each game they play is “gamified” in that there are levels, like in video games.  As the teams finish a level, they get to level up to the next, more challenging level.  In “Cross the River” students must work together and strategize on how to safely get their team across a “toxic river” using only a limited amount of supplies.  It is so fun to see how creative and unique each student is during this time of strategizing.

In addition, grade 5 has been learning the importance of setting goals and how to stay fit. They learned how to find their resting heart rate, the FITT principle, and all about the heart.  Students were even able to see the heart using an augmented reality app during PE.

Health

Grades 2-4

Students have been learning empathy, what it is and how to show it. They are also learning about their bodies and the importance of taking care of them.

Looking forward to the rest of the school year with these amazing students!

By: Mrs. Miller, Physical Education Teacher

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