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

Happy 100th Day of School

Mrs. Nelson’s kindergarten class had SO much fun celebrating the 100th day of school! We have been learning and growing for 100 days and that called for a celebration. Our class has been working hard learning how to count to 100, write our numbers to 100, and challenging ourselves figuring out different ways to break 100 apart into equal groups. On the 100th Day we were able to use our skills to complete many fun 100 themed activities.

We made fun hats with 10 colorful strips and put 10 stickers on each strip. 100 stickers to wear all day.

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We used number recognition and counting to stamp our way to 100 gumballs.

Each student brought a different food item to class. We made predictions about what type of food would be the heaviest, lightest, highest volume, and least volume.  Each student counted out 100 pieces of their food by making 10 groups of 10. We weighed each item and them compared and contrasted. When we were finished we dumped the leftover (untouched) food into a giant bowl and created a delicious 100th day trail mix. Yum-yum…we enjoyed it for an afternoon snack.

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As part of our weekly homework each student brought in 100 pieces of an item of their choice. We had a show and share and then displayed our eclectic groups of 100 on a collection board.

100 Sprinkles Smarter! We made fun cupcakes with 100 sprinkles on each. We counted out 10 sprinkles of 10 different colors.

Each student wrote a sentence and illustrated a picture about one thing they have learned in the first 100 days of kindergarten. We have learned so much and have grown academically, socially, and spiritually.

Thank you, Jesus, for a successful first 100 days of school!

By: Mrs. Laura Nelson, Kindergarten

 

 

Natural Selection and Adaptations Explored Using STEAM

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

Real World Math

“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

Middle School Drama Club Elective

For the 2018-2019 school year, a brand new middle school elective was introduced, “Drama Club“. Drama Club students have the opportunity to practice acting and improv skills, work with partners and in teams, and learn the craft of stage acting. Students also have the opportunity to write and perform original scripts!

During elective class, we have an amazing time together laughing, rehearsing, and coming up with unique ways to tell stories.

All of this practice helps the Drama Club students with their most important work: sharing God’s word. The Drama Club has performed throughout the school year in chapel and at the fall pep rally. Their skits emphasize the truth of God’s love and His calling in our lives through humor and drama.

As their teacher, I am thankful for all the Drama Club students’ hard work and their willingness to get up in front of the school to share the Good News!

We are looking forward to a great spring semester-the Drama Club will be performing in chapel throughout it, and lead the school through our Holy Week chapel series before Easter.

Stephanie Ann Van Blarcom

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The Story of Christmas – Presented by K & 1st Grades

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.

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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.

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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.

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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