Have you ever wondered what might happen to a bird species over 20,000 years? The 8th graders explored this idea in science while studying natural selection . First, students learned the concepts of existence, diversity, extinction, anatomy, genetic variations, mutations, survival, reproduction, traits, predominance, suppression, adaptations, and natural selection. Once they were confident in their understanding, they chose a bird specie and researched it. From this foundation, creativity was unleashed, synthesis took place, and depth of understanding was showcased.
Students had to envision realistic changes and adaptations that could take place with their bird over 20,000 years to enable it to survive and thrive. Students drew 2 dimensional drawings of the way their bird would look in the future along with the habitat it would live in. They also used the 3D CAD design tool Tinkercad to design a functional beak. Once the beaks were printed, students video recorded the testing process of their beak trying to pick up the intended food source. Students created the background production of their project using a green screen app by Do Ink. They used their two 2D drawings along with the video of their beak test to create the three layer background.
When students were satisfied with the three layers of their background production, they pulled the footage into iMovie. Here they synthesized the story of their bird specie from the present to the year 22,020 using realistic and deep explanations rich in factual scientific vocabulary. This science project gave the 8th graders the opportunity to explore an interest (each chose their own bird specie) to gain knowledge, understanding, application, analysis, evaluation and creativity of the science behind natural selection and adaptations.
MS 8th Grade Science Teacher Laura Kruse
Dancing Days were here again
For the St. John’s Middle School girls.
Crazy ways were evident
With the hip hop moves and swirls.
I said it’s alright
You know it’s alright …
But before we get in trouble with Led Zepplin for stealing their lyrics, we should get back to the blog information. 6th, 7th and 8th grade girls PE finished our dance unit. We had all kinds of fun – we stayed active, and we even learned some things along the way.
This 3-week “mini unit” is always welcomed with great anticipation by the girls. 8th graders choose their own (appropriate) music for their dance routine, and they also have the privilege of choosing the music that the 6th and 7th grade groups will use in their routines.
Each group (ranging from 3 to 7 girls) was required to include four specific dance moves in their routine. They all did this well – check out the videos.
Mrs. VB, PE & ELA8
“When are we ever going to use this math?”, “Where do you actually see this math in the world?”. As a math teacher these are the sayings you get from many middle school students. To take math from the pages of our textbook into their daily lives and give it application to careers the 7th grade students completed two projects.
What better object to tie into math than an Apple iPhone. 7th grade honors math looked at the cost of an iPhone versus the cost of manufacturing to see how percent markup works and affects our lives. The results were quite shocking for some of them! They were fascinated to see how the percent markup has changed with different models of the iPhone. Conversations of supply and demand arose as many talked about waiting to buy newer models or the advancement of technology causing phones to last longer.
Meanwhile the 7th grade math classes looked at what goes into creating an enlarged image. Many of the students who have taken our art class elective have used grids to enlarge images but we looked at the math behind it all. Students got to choose a candy they wanted to enlarge. Using ratios of the candy wrapper to the size paper they would enlarge on they came up with their scale factor. From there they drew their grid and began the process of recreating proportional. They got to see how important it is to be precise and use rulers accurately. Students saw how computation mistakes would throw off their scale factor and the importance of having a strong number sense. It was one tastiest math project!
Ms. Forrest, Middle School Math
One of the most precious traditions here at St. John’s is our annual Kindergarten and First Grade Advent program. Over the years, thousands of people have had to pleasure of witnessing the story of Christmas as told by our wonderful students.
The angels, Mary and Joseph, and the Star of Bethlehem are played by our kindergartners. The first graders play the part of the shepherds, the wise men, and Herod. Each class recites pieces of the story of Christmas and sings traditional hymns in their sweet voices. Every child is costumed and enthusiastically plays his or her part.
The children begin practicing well before Thanksgiving. Mrs. Audrey Mink, our chorale director, teaches and guides the children in how to use their musical gifts to share the story of God’s great gift, Jesus.
The students present the story of Christmas twice, once for our school and again in the evening for the congregation. The event is always well attended and is truly one of the most heart-warming Advent treasures to experience here at St. John’s.
By: Mrs. Demarest, 1st grade