Science 8 Newsletter

Hicksville Middle School

Welcome to Semester 2 and Quarter 3!

As we begin Semester 2 of the 2014-2015 school year, we will be trying out a Class Dojo participation grade. Students began accumulating Class Dojo participation points last week, as I plan to record the grade on a biweekly basis. Students are expected to work toward accumulating AT LEAST one (1) positive point for each day of the week. This will typically lead to a biweekly participation grade of 10 points, with points earned through participation, volunteering, helping others, etc. In beginning to work toward this participation grade last week, I have already started to notice an increase in participation from many students.

As many students asked how Class Dojo points would impact their grade during Semester 1, I thought incorporating this participation grade might be something positive to test out. Please let me know if you have any questions as we try out this participation grade or if you have an feedback about Class Dojo. Thanks so much.

What Happened Last Week

  1. Studied Concepts: Students continued to explore the geologic record by considering how fossils help scientists determine the past climate of an area. The study of the fossil record was further connected to how genetic diversity within a species allows for adaptation to changing environments.
  2. Homework: Students were assigned Mini Homework Assignment 3 this week, graded on Wednesday. Additionally, students were assigned a 50-point Study Island assignment on Monday. Throughout the week students were to complete sets of 15 questions on the assigned topic, aiming to earn an overall score of at least a 70%. This assignment was graded on Friday (1/16/2015).
Big image
Students completed the Bird Beak Lab on Friday to explore the idea of adaptation and environmental conditions. Pictured above is a sample of the "bird beaks" used by students to pick up the "food" (rubber band worms) in this environment. Students discovered which beak types were more effective in each of the six different environments and applied this idea to how each species might respond if the environment were to change.

What to Expect this Week

  1. Diversity of Species: On Tuesday, students will complete their study of genetic diversity and adaptation by reviewing the fossil record to determine how changing climates have impacted species and to discuss extinction events. The quiz originally scheduled for Friday (1/16/2015) will be completed TODAY.
  2. Unit Test: Students will participate in a whole class test review on Wednesday (1/21/2015) using the study guide provided on Friday. A unit test focusing on relative age, absolute age, fossil record evidence of environmental change, and adaptations will be completed on Thursday (1/22/2015).

Note: With a short week and a test scheduled for Thursday, no Study Island assignment will be assigned this week. Many students have been doing an EXCELLENT job completing the two previous Study Island assignments, with a small group not meeting deadlines or the minimum overall percentage. Please remind your student of the importance of completing and submitting work on time. Thanks so much for your support with this concern.


This website features flashcards and games to help your student study unit vocabulary in preparation for quizzes and tests. Click the button above to visit the website.

Class Dojo

Student performance is tracked daily using the Class Dojo app. Access your student's profile to view his or her daily or weekly class performance by clicking on the button above.