“Ms. Forrest, what do systems of equations have to do with anything outside of our math class?” “When will I ever use this math?”. These are not uncommon questions in a middle school class. My typical response is, “Well students I am glad you asked!” To make our most recent chapter have meaning to our 8th graders I brought in something I know they like. It is not an unusual sight to see students show up to school with Starbucks cups and treats in the morning or walk into any teacher’s classroom and you are likely to find some coffee, usually a venti! So we combined our study of systems of linear equations and coffee to get some answers!
After our chapter on systems of linear equations we were curious to see if it would be better to purchase a Keurig machine and make your own coffee at home or stick with the convenience of a Starbucks trip. We took the real life Starbucks order of some of our middle school teachers and the cost of purchasing supplies at a grocery store to make that drink with a Keurig machine and started collecting data. Students calculated the cost of tax on the items and the machine and came up with a cost equation for both Starbucks and Keurig per cup of coffee. They tracked these relationships of a cup of coffee a day on a graph over the span of three years. Our results were confirmed using substitution and elimination.
Our data overwhelmingly showed that if we are looking at our coffee addiction from a financial standpoint Keurig is the way to go after about 3 months. However, most students agreed they love the menu options and convenience of a Starbucks coffee! We were able to take this strategy and see how it applies to business in the real world and comparison of cost effectiveness. Math really is EVERYWHERE!
All over St. John’s we celebrated the birthday of Dr. Seuss, his contributions to children’s literature and the value that books can have in the lives of our students. They were able to come in costume as a favorite character of author. It was so fun to see so many different book personalities and writers represented!
The day began with a D.E.A.R. time in each classroom. Students were able to hold and read real books or listen to books on iPad sites. In first grade we were able to go around the room and scan QR codes that were displayed for several of about 25 Dr. Seuss books. We watched a power point presentation detailing his journey from advertising agency artist to one of the most influential authors of books for children. They learned that his books were sometimes centered around societal issues such as environmentalism, diversity, equal rights and self-esteem. They practiced writing skills by listing four of their favorite Dr. Seuss books. All in all, it was a great day!
4th and 5th Graders at St. John’s have the opportunity each year to participate in a competitive book club affectionately referred to as “BOB.” The Battle of the Books program runs from September to February and this year’s students attempted to read 15 books across the genres for a total of 4,009 pages! During weekly practices BOB readers answer questions that always begin “In which book…” and which they must answer by identifying the correct author and title. Honing their skills as close readers, BOB members learn to pay attention to details other readers often skip over, details found in dedications, prologues, introductions, maps, drawings, photographs, chapter headings, notes from the author, glossaries, etc.—skills that will serve them well throughout the rest of their lives.
This year’s February 23rd tournament was fierce with a two-point difference in scores between the first and second place teams. Congratulations to: Battle Book Queens (1st place), The Bobbers’ Secret (2nd place) and The Book Bombers (3rd place). Our top 14 students will go on to form two new teams which will compete in the Orange County BOB tournament on March 30th. Go Mustangs!
Last week for the Valentine’s Day celebration, the 4th Grade students focused on the gift of encouraging words! Each student had the opportunity to write a word or a phrase that described each of their classmates on a poster. Posters were filled with: “A GOOD FRIEND, CREATIVE, FUNNY, KIND, COOL, and AWESOME.” We discussed that taking time to share positive words with others – help make people feel special, seen, valued, and LOVED.
Additionally, Mrs. Fink’s Class had the opportunity to continue to share words of love and encouragement to those outside of the St. John’s Community. The students decorated Valentine’s Cards that were taken to a ministry in Tustin that connects with those in nursing homes. The 4th Grade students put so much love and effort into these cards – knowing just how big of a smile it would bring to someone’s face.
Celebrations, parties, and holidays have looked a bit different in the classroom this year – but we are certainly finding ways to creatively celebrate together and making wonderful memories!
In 4th grade, one of the science standards students learn about is the human body and body parts. In order to extend their knowledge about the human body, the 4th graders created a Keynote presentation and animation that would tell about the chosen body system. The body system story was told from the perspective of an object that travels through that system. A few examples are a musical note traveling through the ear or a pizza moving through the digestive system.
To complete this project, the students first chose a body system and had to write a script using key anatomical words that relate to the body system chosen. Next, students had to find pictures related to their script and create their Keynote presentation. Third, the 4th graders added in the animation of the key character or object as it moves through the body system on Keynote. Last, students added transitions and audio to the presentation. Through this science project, the 4th graders had fun learning about script writing, digital media presentation, animation and video creation. The video below shows an example of three completed projects. Enjoy!!