STEM Lab Excitement!

The NEW St. John’s School STEM Lab has some exciting updates in construction!

  • Nana Wall (folding glass wall) is up!
  • Tech storage cabinets are up!
  • Ceiling tiles are nearly ready to go in!

Technology still to come:

  • THREE 85″ Flat-screen panels for instruction display
  • Apple TVs for all display panels
  • 3D printing lab (FOUR 3D printers already purchased!)
  • Integrated audio system for presentations
  • Steelcase Makerspace furnishing by Tangram Designs

Thank you to our school Auxiliary, church and outside donors who made this all possible!

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Tide Pool Learning Fun!

The 5th grade students and teachers wrapped up their school year by exploring the tide pools at Little Corona Beach.  Before going to explore the tide pools the 5th graders studied what the tide pools are made of and the different types of animals that can be found in the tide pools.  After visiting the tide pools the students then created an animal that they thought would be perfectly adapted to live in the tide pools.

By: Mr. Kyle Duport, 5th grade

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Kindergarten Movie Making 101

Is it really possible to make a movie with Kindergarteners?  Some may doubt us, but the answer is YES!! The movie making process with Kindergarteners takes time and a lot of patience, but it is a very rewarding experience when you see the finished project.  The first step we took was to pick an educational topic to focus on. At St. John’s, the theme Mrs. Grack chose was prepositions. Next, we read a book on prepositions called Bears in the Night by the Berenstains.  After reading the book, each student in our class was assigned a preposition to illustrate.

In the following class, we practiced our picture taking skills and learned about a variety of film shots from the American Film Institute.  We also learned about storyboards and their relationship to film shots by watching a deleted clip from the movie Frozen that was filmed using the original storyboards.  The third class was when we wrote our script. Each kindergarten class had to develop a storyline that included a problem and solution.  Each student in our class had a line and a preposition that they had include in the script. The themes for this year’s movies were: “Lost in the Forest on a Stormy Night,” “Where in the World are the Letterbooks?” and “How do we get to Disneyland?”

During the fourth week, we applied our knowledge about film shots and storyboards by making a storyboard that matched each of our written parts in the movie. One thing we focused on was making the storyboards as accurate as possible by including a picture of ourselves using the correct body positions and facial expressions. Next, it was time to take our camera shots.  We partnered up and worked together to get the exact photo that matched our storyboards. Some of us used the Green Screen and had to find a background that represented our storyboard picture. For example, one student wanted to be on a roller coaster with cotton candy and with the Green Screen technology, we made it happen!!

Last, Mrs. Grack applied her editing magic using Google Slides and Imovie.  As a class we chose the background music for the movie. Then, we added our audio after discussing how we needed to make our voices and words, clear, slow and expressive.  On the night of Expression Explosion, our movies debuted to our family and friends.

The movie took six weeks to produce, but we learned so much and are so proud of our accomplishment.  

By: Mrs. Grack, Educational Technology Teacher

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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