SIG Newsletter

Sarah Lawrence College 2013

Week 2- Getting into the Groove of Things!

Time truly flies when you're having fun! Here's a look back at all of the activities that occurred in the past few days. This past Tuesday, we took a brief break at snack time to capture a few group photos. Enjoy our silly face snapshot, featured on the right! What a good looking bunch!!

Week 2- Course Updates!

B05 Cracking Codes: Patterns and Probability

In our second week, the students in "Cracking Codes" learned about Morse Code. We practiced writing and identifying the letters in the alphabet using Morse Code. We wrote our names using Morse Code and then made necklaces showing the dots as beads and the dashes as mini ziti. Another activity we did was practicing writing our favorite foods and animals using Morse Code. Once we mastered the alphabet, we solved words and sentences written in Morse Code. Here are some guiding questions for parents: 1. What is Morse Code? 2. What are some words we can write using Morse Code? 3. How are some of the letters in Morse Code the same and how are they different?

B06 The Curious Chemist: Chemistry in Our Daily Lives

Week two of the Curious Chemist began with an activity to learn more about chemical indicators as the students used phenolphthalein to test for which plastic cup was spreading a simulated virus. By the end of the activity the students had used this chemical indicator to determine that it was Luca’s cup that was filled with the basic solution that spread throughout the cups in the class. The rest of the week was filled with sugar and fun as the class used chemistry to make a cake with out using the oven and to make Ice cream in a plastic bag. The students made and ate chocolate covered chocolate chip cookie cake with chocolate drops on top and a vanilla graham cracker éclair cake and the next day each student made vanilla or banana flavored ice cream by hand! WOW!! Parents, all these fun activities can be done at home and and are found on the following links: Parents, please try them with your children; they are a fun way to engage your child in the basics if chemistry; escape the heat … and have a sweet treat too!

Making a refrigerator cake: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDtpnkj3Ujs,

Making ice cream in a bag: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hK2oBdThKvw


B07 Expanding the Universe!

The universe has become more crowded this week as the students learned about the earth's nearest star (our sun) through video and hands on activities. The students in the class learned the names and basic information about each planet in our solar system along with the different parts of the sun. The students were able to describe what happens in a solar and lunar eclipse and the difference between the two. They became familiar with the asteroid belt, comet and the Milky Way galaxy. Guiding questions for parents: 1) What are the differences between a comet and an asteroid? 2) How long does it take light to travel from the sun to the earth? 3) What are the names of all the planets in our solar system in order?

P11 Building Blocks of Engineering: The Way Things Work

Campers continued to explore various areas of engineering including environmental and electrical. We began this week learning about the important contributions of Galileo and Newton to our understanding of motion and forces. We watched Newton’s First Law of Motion first by observing a book sitting quietly on top of the desk and then by watching a Lego piece jump forward when an object carrying the Lego piece stopped short. The campers watched me easily pull a chair but saw me struggling to pull the massive table as a demonstration of Newton’s Second Law. Finally, we discussed ways to reduce friction and air resistance when we analyzed Newton’s Third Law. Also this week, campers researched their chosen topics to determine how they can present their knowledge in picture, written, and physical form. The campers were so excited about all the many aspects of engineering that a number of our campers just could not decide which of the many possible projects they should be working on. Feel free to talk to your kids about what they learned this week. Here are some guiding questions: (1) What are the differences between parallel circuits and series circuits? (2) What experiment did we conduct with a book and piece of paper to illustrate Galileo’s famous demonstration at the top of the Tower of Pisa? (3) What is centripetal force? (4) Challenge question: What shape is a catenary and why is it important in the construction of a suspension bridge?


P12 Koalas, Kangaroos, and Crocodiles: Discovering the Land Down Under

On Monday morning students were surprised to find that our Australian pen pal Jack had responded to all of our letters! We decided to write him back immediately asking him more questions about life in Australia and what he does in school. We also learned about games people play in Australia like Aussie Rules Football and the boomerang. After learning about the history of the boomerang, we decided to make two types of boomerangs and test out which ones worked better. Towards the end of the week, we received another email from Jack along with some pictures. He told us about the Outback. After his brief introduction, we read some Aboriginal Dreamtime Folktales and created our own. Following the writing of our folktales, we created Aboriginal artwork to go with our folktales. Guiding questions for parents: 1. How are folktales in the United States different from or the same as folktales in Australia? 2. How are sports and games in the United States different from or the same as sports and games in Australia?

P14 To the Rescue: There's a Superhero in Everyone!

This week students continued to work on their original superhero personas. They began sketching out their costumes and putting together their official biography. We also spent time comparing and contrasting real life heroes and comic book superheroes (Police Officers vs. Batman). Campers brainstormed some real-life superheroes which included parents, great grandparents, and police officers. Some of the favorite superheroes of our campers included Batman, Cyborg, and Harry Potter. We had a local police officer come in to visit class to explain a little more about what he does, how he helps people, to show campers some of his "gadgets," and demonstrate fingerprinting. Campers concluded that superheroes and real lie heroes tend to share some of the same characteristics, such as bravery, confidence, a good heart, and the willingness to help others. Guiding questions: 1) What are different types of fingerprints? 2) How is a cocobola related to police officers?

E24 Under the Sea: Diving into Marine Science

Students observed and sculpted sea creatures common to tide pools from clay and Play-Doh while discussing characteristics. Students offered titles of various books and films with sea or other water settings. The concept of infinity symbolized by water in classic and current literature was explored. The action of waves was exhibited in a group project that recreated tidal action on a small scale. In addition, ancient as well as recent theories about the lost city of Atlantis were expanded upon. Films illustrating exotic sea animals and footage from the Brooklyn Aquarium were seen. PETA was defined and discussed by the class. Besides the new material and class activities, students continued their ongoing individual projects. Guiding questions for parents: 1. What sea creatures are common to tide pools? 2. Was Atlantis created by Plato for his own purposes? 3. What final projects will be presented by each student?

E20 Speaking, Writing, Empowering!

Students finalized plans for creative projects by selecting genres of their interests. Students constructed and presented a game of Jeopardy using categories with a class focus. In the writing lab, students researched, selected orators, dressed as them and presented their timeless speeches quoting favorite passages. Listening is an important component of speaking and writing. This was illustrated through games and activities, both original and borrowed. Guiding question for parents: How does history come alive through the speeches of favorite Americans?

E28 Spying: Secrets, Surveillance and Science

Following our first week where we learned about famous real and fictional spies, we decided to explore what it is like to BE a spy. We learned that spies are skilled actors, so we used our knowledge of a variety of jobs and behaviors that spies might take on to trick someone. When discussing spy communication techniques we tried out two different kinds of invisible ink (lemon juice and UV light invisible ink) to see which method was more effective. We concluded that spies in the past most likely used lemon juice and spies now might use UV light. Another topic discussed was the role female spies played in history and how they were able to help out just as much as their male counter parts. Toward the end of the week we began to discuss spy technology both real and fake (from books and movies) in preparation for our final projects. Guiding questions for parents: 1. How have famous spies played important roles in our history? 2. How has spy technology changed over time?

J34 DNA: Your Unique Code

Week two of “DNA: Your Unique Code” began with four poised and articulate presentations from the SIG DNA Scholars to our Campus Director Lisa Fillat. Each student presented data on his or her poster board and answered and array of questions. Dori presented on Angleman’s Syndrome (AS); Izzi presented on Phenyketonuria (PKU) and Jimmy and Jack presented on two topics each! The next day the students performed a mini lab where they extracted DNA from their cheek cells and one onion cell using Gatorade and simple liquid detergent. The excitement came as the students tried to view their DNA on compound microscopes! In the middle of the week the students began to produce a pedigree chart for the different generations of their families. The week ended with a mock crime scene investigation. Parents, please use this opportunity to talk with you scholar about your lineage and family tree. You can also perform a second DNA extraction using the simple steps found on the following link: http://www.livescience.com/37252-dna-science-experiment.html - Have fun! Your children definitely did!

J36 Algebraic Expressions

This week, we completed our plenary discussions on number systems and operations, equivalence relations, and the properties of equality. We then began working on our individual goals. Individual or in pairs, campers began with a specific chapter in the required math books but have also continued beyond their initial study, using high school textbooks. The range of topics have included radicals and exponents, simultaneous equations, imaginary numbers, and analyzing word-problems for key facts in order to obtain an answer algebraically. Students are focused and eager, wishing to absorb as much information and develop as many skills as possible over the remainder of their camp experience. You can feel the positive energy in the room as the learning process gets more and more intense and challenging. Feel free to ask your child what they are working on individually but also what they have learned as a group. Guiding questions include: (1) Why should the distributive property always be described as the Distributive Property of Multiplication over Addition to distinguish that property from the Associative Properties? (2) How are the Reflexive, Symmetric, and Transitive Properties modeled when solving algebraic equations? (3) What is the “fairness rule” of solving equations?


J33 What's Your Point?

Students participated in an elaborate current events panel that culminated research/lab studies. Interviewing skills and appropriate audience presentation were modeled. Students focused on a topic and "cut" debate cards. A group debate was planned, researched and carried out. A plethora of online debate sites were offered. Instructions on how to fill out information on examination cards were given and the participants practiced the art of completion.

AR17 Sports Stop

This week in Sports Stop the campers continue to practice their soccer skills. It has become the much anticipated sport of the course, drawing in experts and beginners alike! It is heart-racing to watch a soccer game between the campers; our very own FIFA! Students are practicing their acuity at kicking and passing the ball, team work skills, and agility as they run up and down the field. Make sure campers bring their water bottles to keep hydrated! After a tiring match, students like to wind down by playing chess, Clue, and Blokus to give their brains a workout.

AR18 Get Theatrical!

We have completed a new and improved translation for the song, "Radioactive." You are going to love hearing our words and watching us dance with our original choreography too! Please, "Consider Yourself" welcome and at home in our class, and know that "Tomorrow" we will explain what "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" means to you. If you come by to say hello, you will see that we have been busy having fun with developing our "snake skit" and our "space puppetry." Our improvisation games and practice have allowed us to bond and form an awesome team! We are known as "Get Theatrical!" Come, and join us if you will! In the meantime, ponder our essential question from this past Wednesday, and let us know what your thoughts are! Here is our question: How can my own self-expression create beauty in this world?

AR19 Art Alley

Art Alley students have been pushing the boundaries of doodles and sketches by exploring minimalist and cubist art; students have taken simple shapes and cut-outs and turned them into complex pieces. We have also created three dimensional art with construction paper, which a few of us will continue to expand on, while others will learn to shade, and work with charcoal and conte. We are all looking forward to our final pieces: individual pinatas!

G'day, Mates! Meet Our Australian Pen Pal!

Jack, Melbourne, Australia, age 8

Our students in the Kangaroos and Koalas class have the pleasure of corresponding with an Australian student named Jack. Here is a little excerpt from one of his responses to a student: "I live in South Melbourne... I love living where I live because I am very close to the beach and I like surfing and hanging out with my friends. We have a long summer here and I love choclate ice cream. Talk to you soon, mates!"

Upcoming Events

8/6 Crazy Hat Day!!

Help your child design a crazy hat based on his/her first period class!

8/9 Closing Ceremony

If your child is in "Get Theatrical!" please join us in watching our students' performance at 3:00 in the Bates Dining Hall. Otherwise, we will be meeting later for our closing ceremony in the same location at 3:30.