Road to the American Revolution

Our fifth graders had the opportunity to experience life as a colonist in the 1700s through some exciting interactive activities.  Through a role-playing activity our students were emersed in a colonial simulation. The students had a unique hand experience to better understand how the colonists felt about the taxes bestowed upon them by the King and British Parliament; “No taxation without Representation”.

The second activity the students engaged in was an interactive app. The game immerses the students in a colonial setting and empowers them to make choices that show how colonists experienced the time leading up to the Revolution. It puts students in the shoes of a young printer’s apprentice in 1770 Boston. As the students navigate the city and complete the tasks, they encounter loyalists and patriots living and working there and receive a better idea of how each side felt about the British in Boston. These interactions were helpful to show how tensions were mounting which ultimately led to the Boston Massacre.

The students were anxious to participate in these unique early colonial experiences. Learning about history can be informative and FUN!

By: Mrs. Schirrmacher, 5th grade

Middle School Elective: S.T.E.A.M.I.S.A.

Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics Interactive Simulation Activities is a new elective class offered to middle school students. An objective of this class is to spark the interest of students by encouraging them to think broadly, participate and contribute in activities by integrating the five named subject areas.  One such opportunity occurred this fall when 7th graders combined the skills of Science (motion), Technology (iPads), Engineering (animation) and Arts (story telling) to produce their own cartoon using the App Toontastic. 

Students developed an original story and then self-created their own visually appealing animation and narration to tell their story as a cartoon.  This S.T.E.A.M. activity certainly did not disappoint when it came to seeing students using their own initiative, creativity and innovative productivity!

See their work!

Read Across America Day 

Last Monday, March 2nd, we celebrated Read Across America Day. Our day was filled with lots of fun STEM type activities to help us connect with some of our favorite Dr. Seuss books. Dr. Hollatz started us off by reading The Foot Booksince we were all wearing crazy socks. We practiced skip counting to find out the number of girls’, boys’, and adults’ feet we have in our class. We talked about taking care of our earth after we read The Loraxthen balanced pom poms on top of Truffula trees we’d made. Fair treatment for all was our topic after hearing Yertle the Turtlethen stacked as many turtles as we could. Everyone had a chance to work together to stack 100 read cups to represent a giant hat after we read The Cat in the Hat. We ended our special day with two cool gifts to take home. Everyone got to choose a Dr. Seuss eraser and pencil! Oh the thinks you can think!! 

By: Mrs. Cook, 1st Grade

From sea to shining sea, American schools celebrated “Read Across America”  this week.  St. John’s Lutheran School was no exception.  In every classroom, teachers discussed their own favorite, age-appropriate books during informal book talks.  Students, therefore, were exposed to unfamiliar books, prompting many to jot down titles and authors on cards provided by their teachers. Teachers also provided a “free reading” period of time in their teaching schedules, further emphasizing the enjoyment and creative stimulation that reading for pleasure can provide.  Students gratefully took advantage of their teachers’ gift of reading time.

By far, the favorite part of our SJLS “Read Across America” activities was the costume choice that many students (and some brave teachers!) made to honor a favorite literary character.  The halls were filled with min-Harry Potters, junior-Where’s Waldos, and faux-Dr. Seuss characters.  Discussions and laughter overflowed on campus, as students attempted to guess their peers’ literary characters.

Students focused on reading.  People wore costumes.  Laughter erupted.  All told, the day was a complete success. Oh, the places we went!

By: Mr. Smith, 7th grade

Ask…Imagine… Plan…Create…Improve! 6th Grade Engineers!

Recently, our 6th graders dove into the Engineering Design Process. Each student individually took on the challenge of designing and building an insulating device that can hold 200mL of hot water and trap the most heat for 20 minutes. To prepare for this challenge, the students studied the transfer of heat, differentiated between insulators and conductors, and researched good household materials to use as insulators.

Once the research and designs were created, it was time to build their devices! Each student built their own unique design and tested it. Once they tested their device the 6th graders had the opportunity to analyze their trial one data, reflect on the effectiveness of their design, and modify their thermos for a second trial! 

To reflect on the whole Engineering Design Process from start to finish, the students wrote a personal narrative to add to their middle school writing portfolio. They published their narrative on Flipgrid and had the opportunity to encourage one another by commenting on each other’s videos. 

Whew! Our 6th graders worked hard to sharpen their 21st Century skills as they thought critically, used creativity to design and build their thermos, collaborated with others, and communicated their experiences with the engineering design process!

By: Yvette Stuewe, Middle School Science

2nd Grade Writing and STEM Integrations

Our 2nd graders have been busy integrating writing, science, and technology for their animal reports.  They’ve grown so much in their writing skills while having fun learning about an animal and creating a virtual habitat.  Getting to visit their classmates’ habitats with the STEM Lab’s special goggles was a great way to end the project! See below to check out our project.

By: Cathy Meier, 2nd Grade