Middle School Curriculum Update

May/June 2017

Helman-Osborn - 5th and 6th Grades

In May, the girls participated in #girlSTEM Conference at Delaware Valley University. They attended exciting hands-on workshops about STEM-related fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math).

Language Arts

The 5th and 6th graders selected their persuasive essay topics. They learned how to write thesis statements and how to support their opinions with their research. They completed the poetry unit by writing their own poetry. Students impressed their guests on Grand-Friends Day while playing Quizlet Live games with poetry terms and matching the first lines of poems to the correct poets. The student also read either Bridge to Terabithia, Tuck Everlasting, or Chasing RedBird. We held small group discussions about the novels.


Students continued their vocabulary studies in the Wordly Wise or Word Trek programs and received word study lists related to the novels. Each student created personalized book lists for summer reading.

Math

The fifth grade math class focused on coordinates, area, volume, and capacity as they completed the ninth chapter of Everyday Math book. They enjoyed playing the Hidden Treasure game which involved determining the secret plotting points of their opponents. The math game big challenge was to find ways to represent all of the whole numbers from 1 through 100 using only four 4s. Understanding how to find the value of four factorial was useful for many of the solutions. Try it and see how many numbers you can create!


Sixth Grade Math students focused on geometry, fractions, and ratios.

Science

Fifth and sixth graders spent the final six weeks of school working on building electrical circuits, solar cars, and studying the physics of amusement parks. Students were busy designing, constructing, testing, redesigning, testing, and racing their solar cars at UFS and at the Junior Solar Sprint car race in Philadelphia. During the solar car project, students experienced the importance of constructing a lightweight chassis, aligning axles, selecting the size and surface of wheels for optimum friction, choosing gears for optimum torque and speed, and connecting motors and solar panels for forward movement. All the middle school girls participated in the Girls STEM day at Delaware Valley University. Our end of the year camping trip to Gifford Pinchot State Park included a physics day at HersheyPark. Students measured the Gforce of various rides, timed the rides, and calculated their speeds. We also had a great time hiking, canoeing, and swimming in the lake. We ended our trip with a tour of Sturgis Pretzel Factory, where we learned about the physical and chemical processes of pretzel making.

Social Studies

In May and June, students in our 5th and 6th grade social studies class focused on the emergence of agriculture and the resulting rise of civilizations. While studying the emergence of agriculture, students studied the process of domestication of plants and animals including creating a “Biography of a Crop” which focused on the different crops that allowed early civilizations to thrive and build their cultures. During our study of the emergence of civilization as a result of the agricultural revolution, students broke into groups and studied the earliest civilizations, comparing and contrasting Egypt, the Indus Valley Civilization, and Mesopotamia. After studying these first civilizations, students took a deeper look at civilizations such as Uruk, The Olmecs, the city of Jericho, East Asian civilizations in China, Japan, and Korea, Greece, Rome, Aksum, and Ghana, looking for common characteristics.


During our ongoing study of current events, students discussed issues including North Korean attempts to gain a nuclear weapon and the responses from the United States and global communities, the ongoing issues in Syria, the ongoing lawsuits surrounding President Donald Trump’s executive orders, elections in France, the development of a new US tax plan, the fate of the Cassini probe, the ongoing issues of Brexit, the investigation into ties between the transition team of President Trump and the Russians, and the massive role of cyber attacks in modern conflicts, focused on the Ransomware attacks this May

Helman-Osborn 7th and 8th Grades

In May, the girls participated in #girlSTEM Conference at Delaware Valley University. They attended exciting hands-on workshops about STEM- related fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math).


On each Wednesday, since March, the 7th graders were busy creating the pages for the 2017 UFS yearbook. Classmates and friends feverishly signed memory-filled, colorful yearbooks.


The 8th grade students drafted, revised, finalized, and practiced their speeches for graduation. The 8th grade students delivered their heart-felt and wonderful speeches at our Meeting for Worship for Graduation. We wish the graduates much success!

Language Arts

The 7th and 8th graders completed their thematic/character analysis essays about their social justice themed novels. The students impressed their guests on Grand-Friends Day while playing Quizlet Live games with poetry terms and matching the first lines of poem to the correct poets. For our last unit, the students learned about daily life during the Elizabethan times, The Globe Theater, iambic pentameter, and William Shakespeare. The 7th and 8th graders read and listened to Romeo & Juliet. They discussed the play, wrote summaries, and viewed several scenes of the Luhrmann 2002 version of Romeo & Juliet. For vocabulary studies, students completed lessons and activities in the Wordly Wise 3000 program or Word Trek 1 and 2 programs.

Science

Seventh and eighth graders spent the final six weeks of school working on building electrical circuits, solar cars, and studying the physics of amusement parks. Students were busy designing, constructing, testing, redesigning, testing, and racing their solar cars at UFS and at the Junior Solar Sprint car race in Philadelphia. During the solar car project, students experienced the importance of constructing a lightweight chassis, aligning axles, selecting the size and surface of wheels for optimum friction, choosing gears for optimum torque and speed, and connecting motors and solar panels for forward movement. Seventh and eighth grade students toured the Ewaste Electronics Recycling plant to learn how anything that plugs into a wall can be recycled. All the middle school girls participated in the Girls STEM day at Delaware Valley University. Our end of the year camping trip to Gifford Pinchot State Park included a physics day at HersheyPark. Students measured the Gforce of various rides, timed the rides, and calculated their speeds. We also had a great time hiking, canoeing, and swimming in the lake. We ended our trip with a tour of Sturgis Pretzel Factory, where we learned about the physical and chemical processes of pretzel making.

Social Studies

In May and June, our 7th and 8th graders focused on the idea of the American Empire. Starting with a reading from Howard Zinn focusing on America’s involvement in the Spanish-American war and the choice to begin overseas expansion, each student was assigned to write a newspaper article from the perspective of the Cubans, Americans, or Filipinos involved in the conflict. As a culmination of this analysis of the idea of American Empire, each student was asked to focus on a different piece of American History connected to America’s global influence on which to do a large scale project.


During our ongoing study of current events, students discussed issues including North Korean attempts to gain a nuclear weapon and the responses from the United States and global communities, the ongoing issues in Syria, the ongoing lawsuits surrounding President Donald Trump’s executive orders, elections in France, the development of a new US tax plan, the ongoing issues of Brexit, the investigation into ties between the transition team of President Trump and the Russians, and the massive role of cyber attacks in modern conflicts, focused on the Ransomware attacks this May