Step Back in Time!

The third grade class invites you to take a step back in time!  Third graders experienced life in the Victorian age as they toured the Kellogg House at the Orange County Heritage Museum.  They learned about Victorian architecture, tried their hand at chores like the laundry and butter churning, tried on clothes, played with old-fashioned toys, learned about some big differences in schooling, discovered how a blacksmith made nails and brands, and explored many rooms of the house.  

However, their learning didn’t stop there!  In the weeks after our trip, students acted as tour guides through the house.  They used the app Puppet Edu to create a movie with a partner.  They utilized pictures of the museum and gave detailed information about what they learned.  At the end of the movie, they invited their audience to visit the museum for themselves.  You, too, can take a step back in time by watching their videos!  What a fun way to end a field trip, and what wonderful planning and teamwork skills the students showed as they created their videos!

By: Mrs. Elliott, 3rd grade

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2nd Grade Learning Outside the Classroom!

2nd grade field trips can sometimes take you right around the corner, and sometimes they let you travel back in time or even to space.   2nd graders have been extra busy this month, not only preparing for big events like Expression Explosion and VIP Day, but they’ve also gone on two field trips.

On Wednesday, April 18th, our 2nd graders took a walking tour to Dr. Miller’s Orthodontist office, which is literally right down the street and around the corner from our school.  Dr. Miller’s staff provided six hands-on stations where the kids learned about proper dental hygiene, completed science experiments, made their own personal molds of rubber stamps using alginate and plaster, met with Dr. Miller himself, and learned about the history and usefulness of x-rays.   The kids had an exciting time learning, exploring, and getting to interact with Dr. Miller’s staff.

On Friday, April 27th, our 2nd graders travelled by bus to the California Science Center in Los Angeles.  There, at the museum, our kids started their day travelling back in time 3,000 years to see over 150 authentic artifacts from King Tut’s tomb.  Did you know that he was only 9 years old when he became Pharaoh?  That’s quite shocking to an 8-year old 2nd grader!  This special exhibit celebrates the 100th anniversary of the discovery of King Tut’s tomb in Egypt and was packed full of things to see, read, watch, and ask questions about.  Second graders then got to explore the many different exhibits at the Science Center, such as Tess, the 50-foot body simulator, touch tanks, air and space exhibits, and even a special exhibit called Goose Bumps!  The Science of Fear.  Our field trip concluded with a visit to see the Endeavour space shuttle and even included a special presentation for our St. John’s kids.

Special thanks to Dr. Miller’s office, our chaperoning parents and the Ramirez family for their help and support with these great field trips!

By: Mrs. Katie Todd, 2nd grade

Orthodontist!

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Science Center!

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Math Comes Alive!

Our middle school math students have been busy these last couple of months. We have been in our geometry unit studying solids, surface area, and volume. What better way to make geometry more meaningful than to make it jump off the pages of our textbooks.

Our first project was to create a robot/tin man. Students brought in all sorts of boxes, balls, cones, and tubes. They had to calculate the surface area of the parts they chose for their robots/tin man. Then, using the exact amount of tinfoil they ordered, they had to wrap their robot/tin man to see if they accurately calculated the surface area. It was fun to see the look on their faces when they came to order their tinfoil and a rectangle was handed to them. Many of them walked away determined to make it work because they were confident in their calculations while others were a little unsure. In the end they were all pleasantly surprised to see that they were able to make it all work by strategically cutting their foil.

Next, the students explored volume. We had focused on the outside of a solid but now it was time to see what the inside of a solid could hold. What better way to motivate than bringing in popcorn and pretzels? They were challenged to create a container with the largest volume possible so it would hold the most popcorn or pretzels that it could. They could only use one sheet of paper, they had to make a rectangular prism, and they were not allowed to add any extra paper. With popcorn and pretzels on the line the students had some interesting conversations about how to achieve the greatest volume possible and enjoyed discussing their findings over a container of snacks!

We wrapped up our study of surface area and volume with a fun design project to tie it all together. The students got to construct their own pyramids! From start to finish: design- dimensions – calculations- decoration, it was open to them to be as creative as they wanted.  They even got to brush up on the Pythagorean Theorem to find the drop height of their pyramids! In the design process students had to calculate the surface area and volume of their pyramids while staying in the size guidelines. Boy did they turn out cute!

By: Mrs. Forrest, Middle School Math

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3D Engineering & Design – Cake Boss!

Creating cakes in math class proves to be a great way to apply our math skills! Given minimum criteria, students worked in teams to design a cake that would serve a large group of people. Most groups used either trial and error or a backward design method. Through collaboration, perseverance, and reasoning, each group designed their cake on paper. Once complete, they created a 3D model of their cake drawing using Tinkercad.

The final piece was to create a scale factor that would reduce their cake to under 5”. This model was also created in Tinkercad and ultimately printed with our 3D printers. The created cakes were amazing, and so was application of math amongst the students! To top it off, we celebrated with real cake once we were all done. Check out our video to see the whole picture!

By Mrs. Frydendall, 8th Grade

Bubbles, Bubbles, Everywhere!

This week, in our edition of Science Spin, we learned all about bubbles. We read that there’s a secret to making great bubbles! Our newspaper said it was a secret, and that we shouldn’t tell. We all agreed, however, that such good news needs to be shared. So hear it is!

When you make your bubble solution, add some corn syrup to your dish soap and water mixture. We found out that it helps make the skin of the bubble stronger, so they last longer. We watched two videos that also helped us learn more about bubbles. Then, you guessed it, we got to go out and make some super bubbly bubbles. Everyone had a great time. If you watch our videos, you can see each of our four table groups in action, and find out some of what we learned.

By: Mrs. Cook, 1st grade

Welcome to Maycomb: Meet Your New Neighbors

In her classic novel about growing up in the midst of racial injustice, To Kill a Mockingbird, author, Harper Lee, invites us to step into someone else’s shoes – to really get to know them. 8th graders at St. John’s have been reading this novel together in ELA for many years.

Although I did not create this form of literary analysis, I invite 8th grade students to step into the Maycomb, Alabama neighborhood that Harper Lee created. To get to know someone better, it is often helpful to learn about their neighborhood. When Mr. Rogers invited several of us (those of us who are older now) to be his neighbor, he first took us on a trolley ride into his make-believe neighborhood. In the same way, in order for my students to understand the hopes, dreams and prejudices of the characters in Harper Lee’s novel, I invite them to draw a map of the Maycomb neighborhood where Scout and Jem grew up.

My students now invite you to walk through the neighborhood.

By: Mrs. VB, 8th grade

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Electives can plan plant seeds for future careers!

St. John’s serves kindergarten through eighth grade students. Once students leave their fifth grade year they enter middle school and are asked to make choices in the types of electives they would like to explore. Most electives are one semester. The array of choices gives students exposure to what they are able to take in high school.

The elective choices at St. John’s range from different strands of art, technology and exploration of robotic classes. Currently, St. John’s is exploring online electives in partnership with Orange Lutheran and Crean High schools. This semester we have an online YouTube 101 course. Some of the other elective choices include band, digital citizenship, choir, video yearbook, computer science, VEX robotics, journalism, photography, public speaking student leadership, health and safety science Olympics, art and there is a teacher aide elective.

For students to be chosen to be a teacher aide they must get two recommendations from teachers. Once chosen the student can decide if they would like to be an aide for one of the three classes in the first through fifth grades, a library aide, athletic aide or an aide in the technology lab.

As a middle school teacher of ten years it was my desire to offer a teacher aide elective to our students. When I was in middle school I had the opportunity to be a teacher aide for the physical education teacher and this is what planted the idea that being a teacher is a career I would like to pursue. Student Sarah Hertfelder stated that “being a teacher aide in the first grade was really fun because I can  help individual students.” This semester Sarah is aiding for a fourth grade teacher and is now considering a teaching career. Student Andrea Basadre asserted that being a teacher aide allowed her to understand the “behind the scenes of teaching.” Eighth grade student Embry Fleischman was already considering a teacher career but wanted to experience first hand what it would be like.

By Mrs. Bender, Middle School Teacher

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