Mrs. Felten's Newsletter

Science 6-8 - molly.felten@ops.org

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Week of September 13th

Our enrollment season is now closed, so our student groups are set in place. All of our learners have now come to class at least once. It's great to see friendships growing in class. This week students received tickets at the front door if they could state two of the four school rules. Students are now able to make it up to the classroom by themselves without getting lost as well. I've really been impressed with how polite and kind the students are this year. This group holds doors for others, helps pick items up when dropped, and befriends others. I'm pretty lucky to have a group of learners who want to learn! I was also entertained this week with two different students showing me magic tricks they have recently learned. Believe it or not, teaching middle school can be quite enjoyable!



We were very busy in class this week! The sixth grade earth science students are working hard to learn about our high altitude balloon experiment. Students learned about the layers of the atmosphere and about the flight pattern of a weather balloon. Students took home a notes foldable to finish as homework. They need to bring it back next week. We will be launching a balloon up to space on October 10th - more details to come. Each sixth grader will be designing an experiment that will ride in the payload up to space. They will be able to send up one item to space to be exposed to different temperature, air pressure, and radiation. When this item comes back down to earth, they will test it against another item that stayed here. This item will need to be provided by the learner. It should be light in weight and be "testable". For example a learner could send up a rubber band. When it comes back to Earth, the student could test the elasticity compared to the one that stayed on Earth. Please help your learner think of possible ideas. Ask them about how the launch will work!


Seventh graders were introduced to the world of hydroponics farming without soil. Students learned the history and current methods of this farming option. I showed them the Tower Garden we will be using and they each planted a seed in a piece of rockwool. In the next couple of weeks when the seeds grow into seedlings, we will fill the Tower Garden with water and begin the hydroponics process. Within a month or two, we should have over 20 different plants to start harvesting. The kids in class were pretty pumped. The homework from class was to write a paragraph reflection for their science folder. Ask them what they planted!


Eighth graders began their unit studying matter. They learned about Albert Einstein's contributions to the atom model. Then they were given five clues for an "Escape Room" puzzle to create a model of an atom including the three sub-particles, charges, and shell levels. One group "escaped" with no help, while a couple of groups needs a hint or two. Dr. Loewenstein participated with one group that escaped pictured above. The learners had fun watching her struggle and stepped up to teach her the process of reading the periodic table. They had no homework. Ask them how to draw an atom model.


Some students still have not turned in their bubble gum lab. Next week is the last week I will take it. Most students took the Reading MAP test on Thursday. Remember, next Thursday we will have the Math MAP test.


Next week in class sixth graders will continue with the high altitude balloon launch experiment. They will come home with a packet to finish as homework. They will need to think of an item to send up to space. Seventh graders will start working with microscopes. I'm working on getting some software that will let them take pictures of what they see on each slide. They will look at various materials and then make wet-mounts for cheek and onion cells. Eighth graders will finish their work with the atom models and use stick-ball models to see how molecules form.


Thank you for letting me be your child's teacher.




Week of August 6th

Many learners joined our class sessions in the last two weeks. Students are starting to become familiar with the building and our hallway procedures. We continued our MTSS-B lessons about our four school rules. This week, students received tickets for being accountable. Students are starting to be able to fill out their passports a little quicker than before. This week during class we took the Science MAP test. I'm excited to see where students are and how I can help them meet their goals this year.


This week was a bit of a blur only with it being one day short. The students came back and told me about the fun times they had over the holiday weekend. I'm enjoying getting to know their personalities and what they like to do for hobbies. I had several students this week who were above and beyond helpful to other students. K12 homework has been stellar in quality as well.


In class, all students participated in an engineering challenge. Students learned about constraints and criteria for a marble run. They worked with their table groups to build a contraption that would get a marble to roll at least 6 feet. Some groups succeeded, while others did not. However, all learners got an opportunity to build relationships, work on collaboration skills, and have a little fun after the MAP test.


Last week students were to take home their Bubble Gum Lab sheet to finish the chart and conclusion. Many students forgot to bring it back for grading. Please ask your learner if they turned in this summative assignment. If a student had not yet joined OVS, they are not required to make it up.


Next week in class we have several more labs coming up. Sixth grade students are going to learn more about what items they can send up to space in our high altitude balloon launch. Seventh graders are going to be starting a garden with the hydroponics Tower Garden. Eighth graders are going to be making atom models for the next two weeks.




Week of August 30th

We have finished the second week of school! We are starting to learn procedures and routines in the classroom, which is making class go smoother. This week we started handing out tickets for students following our four school rules: Be Safe, Be Respectful, Be Engaged, Be Accountable! Students will use their tickets at the end of the quarter for a raffle for prizes. Hopefully your learner came home with a passport from class. There should have been some notes on the back detailing upcoming events for next week.


In class we did a bubble gum lab. Students chewed three or more pieces of gum to compare which brand had the biggest bubble. The focus was to review the scientific method while making friends in class. It was a fun activity with many smiles. Most students still needed to complete the graph and conclusion paragraph, so that packet went home as homework. It should be returned next week.


We will be taking the science MAP test next week in class. Please prepare your learner by getting a good night's sleep and eating before they come. The test is only 45 minutes and is not graded. We use it to see growth over a year's time. After the test, I have a fun activity planned for science. Students will work in groups to do an engineering challenge. They will create a marble run focusing on modification to achieve optimal design.


I'm loving the 2019-20 middle school students' growth mindsets and positive attitudes. The students have great behavior and have done a good job trying to make friends. I love their inclusive attitude towards their peers and look forward to seeing collaborative projects done in science. I hope you have a great Labor Day weekend!

Week of August 23rd - First week of school!

We have finished one week of school, and so far so good! It was great to see returning and new faces in class. This week all three science courses met for science for about 30 minutes with our adjusted schedule. We labeled our science folders that will stay at school. We collaborated with our class groups on norms we will follow while working in the science lab. Finally, we filled out an interest survey about the types of science we are interested in.


This next week we will be doing an experiment using gum. Students are encouraged to bring a pack of gum (any type) to class if they have not done so yet. This will be a lab grade in the grade book. The week after Labor Day students will take the MAP Science test in class. This takes about 45 minutes and seems to be the shortest and easiest of the three MAP tests. This test is not a grade or placement test, it is just used to measure growth throughout the year. After the test, students will do math, ELA, and science rotations. In science we will be doing a STEM engineering project to help build trust and friendship between the students. It will be a nice brain break from a day that starts with a test.

Week of April 22

This week in class, 8th grade science students will work with the electricity and magnetism kits. 7th graders will finish their DNA models. 6th graders will work on a design thinking process group project about building a colony on mars.In social studies, students in world history are finishing unit 14. 7th grade geography students are working on the Oceania unit. 8th grade American history students are working on the Industrial Revolution.

Student Corner

Makenna G - World History

I am reading the book the Door in the Wall and leaning about the times when there were kings and queens. My favorite part about history is doing Minecraft projects about what i learn from the textbook and novel.

Joleigh - American History

In history I am learning about the Civil War. The war just ended and the slaves are "free" but are still mistreated and abused even when the law says they are equal. Some people in the South developed "black codes" and think it's alright to treat them like this because they made this rule. The government is stepping in and trying to make things right.

Week of April 15

This week in class 8th grade is dissecting sheep eyeballs to learn more about the anatomy of the eye and how light works. 7th graders are creating models of DNA. 6th graders are finishing their Minecraft projects. In social studies, students in world history are reading a novel to go with their medieval time period studies. 7th grade geography students are working on the Australia unit. 8th grade American history students are working on the Industrial Revolution.

Week of April 8th

This week we will have an optional field trip to the Homestead National Monument in Beatrice. Students will explore life on the prairie. 8th graders will have an online lesson about sheep eye dissections. 7th graders will work on K12 in class while Mrs. F is on the field trip. 6th graders will work on their Minecraft Renewable Energy projects. There is no school for students on Thursday because it is a planning day for teachers.

Week of April 1st

Hello families! This week we are testing with the NSCAS test. Keep up the good work at home going through k12. Next week, there is an optional field trip to Homestead National Park on Tuesday. Regular class will still be offered with Ms. Robison and Mr. Gamble on Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday there is no school due to staff planning.

Week of March 25th

This last week before Spring Break we are wrapping up our projects. You can read more about each project below. We are running low on tropical fish food flakes for our class fish. If you have some left over from an old fish tank you are willing to donate (any brand or amount), our fishies would be very thankful!


6th graders are working on a Minecraft Sustainable City where they apply knowledge of renewable energy resources. Students are given time in class to do this, but they may want to work on it at home since it is fun for them.


7th graders are doing a fun lab where they find out the genotypes and phenotypes of some baby dragons that will "hatch" in our classroom.


8th graders are working on a lab about mechanical waves.


This week we will teach students procedures and tools for taking the NSCAS test. Then the following week they will take the tests. Only 8th graders will take the science test.

Student Corner

Johnny Reistoffer

With the solar oven our challenge was to get it hot enough to be used on another planet with the Sun. We were given a packet we had to put all the test and trials in with instructions for the test. The most fun thing in my eyes is when we were building the oven from a single pizza box and some materials. Over all the most fun part was the curiosity in the waiting for the temperature to rise.

Abraham Varela

I liked the water cycle project because I found out how the water got back to the ocean and it was fun to draw it on the poster. I even found out that water that goes down mountains is called "runoff".

Steven Doty

I really enjoyed doing the endangered animals project. It was fun learning about the gray wolf and how it can adapt to different climates to survive.The gray wolf is an endangered animal. In north America they exterminated them in most areas by the mid 1930's. It is very sad to see such a wonderful animal killed just because it was trying to survive.

There are many ways to support these beautiful creatures. You can adopt a gray wolf which can save real animals in the wild. I am asking you to please stay informed and to become a defender of wildlife.


Week of March 4th

This last week before Spring Break we are wrapping up our projects. You can read more about each project below. We are running low on tropical fish food flakes for our class fish. If you have some left over from an old fish tank you are willing to donate (any brand or amount), our fishies would be very thankful!


6th graders are mostly done with their water cycle projects. Students who are finished early will work in K12. Students who need to finish their diagram and paragraph will work on it during class. If they need to still finish it after Spring Break, that is ok too. After Spring Break they will be working on a Minecraft Sustainable City where they apply knowledge of renewable energy resources. The week after break, we will have an online lesson on Friday.


7th graders are finishing their Nebraska Endangered Animals PowerPoint. They will present to a few other students this week. After break, they will be learning about genetics. We have a fun lab where they find out the genotypes and phenotypes of some baby dragons that will "hatch" in our classroom. The week after break, we will have an online lesson on Monday.


8th graders are finishing their solar ovens. They have been busy measuring the temperature changes. One student made her oven handle 199 degrees! Students are also testing height temperatures using S'mores. Thank you parents for donating the S'more materials! After break we will be working on a mechanical waves lab. We will have an online lesson on Monday after the break.


I hope you all have a wonderful, restful Spring Break. I will be going to San Francisco for the week and will not be able to answer emails. Thank you for all you do at home!