Middle School Curriculum Update
In Humanities class, students learned geography terms and practiced map reading. Each student planned a US vacation within a given limited budget and presented a Google slide presentation. The "vacation project" required them to create a budgeting sheet for each day of the trip showing the cost of the airfare, hotel, daily activities, food and entertainment as well as information such as location coordinates and climate information. In Reading class, students selected independent reading novels and completed written reading responses. They read and analyzed narrative mentor texts. In Writing Workshop, students wrote several quick drafts of personal narrative stories before selecting one experience to take through the writing process of drafting, revising, editing, and publishing. We’ve learned about plot diagrams, effective beginnings, expanding events, pacing, and how to include dialogue in narrative writing. In order to learn how to navigate SeeSaw, a digital journal, the middle schoolers practiced by completing some assigned activities for parents to view.
6th and 7th grade math students have completed the first unit of our math curriculum, Open Up Resources, which focused on finding area in two-dimensions and surface area in three-dimensions. Initially, they studied various two-dimensional shapes and derived formulas for the areas of parallelograms, triangles, and rectangles. They extrapolated those concepts to calculating surface area for various three-dimensional objects. Decomposition, the act of reorganizing a two-dimensional shape into components, was an essential element of the process of deriving formulas. We then applied what we learned about common two-dimensional shapes to polygons and three-dimensional polyhedrons. Hands-on projects included building models of polygons and folding two-dimensional nets into their matching three-dimensional polyhedron. The unit concluded with being able to differentiate between surface area and volume. Students will receive a full assessment of their understanding of this unit and will be studying ratios in unit 2.
The 8th grade math class has begun an exploration of algebra. Rather than working from the specific skills up to the big concepts, we are beginning with the big concepts and working our way back to learn the skills necessary to complete a variety of projects. This approach gives students the opportunity to immediately apply each skill, lending meaning and urgency to the learning.
Students have been working to understand a variety of patterns and solving puzzles using those patterns, including diamond problems and function machines. This work has led to beginning to define how the patterns are represented by various equations. We have made charts and graphs and students are beginning to explore the ways in which all kinds of graphs are related, from simple lines to cube root and absolute value functions. Students have also begun to use the graphing calculator application, Desmos, to play with equations in order to solve a series of challenges ranging from forming starburst patterns to forming rectangles with various parameters.