The S.T.E.M and Arts blog by Aurelius Raines II

The S.T.E.M and Arts blog by Aurelius Raines II
"Producers, not Consumers"

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Cellular Service

Does It Really Matter?
(see flashcards below)
This Week:

Students have been getting into the fundamentals of the universe. 
Zari and Kennedy watch bubbles form in a mysterious
chemical reaction brought on by electrolysis. 

The 6th and 7th graders have been learning about the nature of chemical and physical properties and changes. They used electrolysis to split water molecules and create rust. They then learned about different mixtures and their definitions. We will continue to explore these concepts as time goes on. 
Trinity is demonstrating how phospholipids
pull water into the cell. 

The 8th graders have been learning about the cell. We experimented with cellular structures and functions. We even went on a "special mission" that allowed us to operate a virtual cell. We had fun  as we were able to actually see our DNA as it was freed from the cellular membrane. 

Both classes used their new 3D modeling skills to make custom "coins" in the MSI Fab Lab. The Chicago Public Library has a similar program. Click here to learn about it. 

Micah waits for the DNA strains to appear in a solution of
dish detergent, blue dye, and alcohol.
Next Week:

We will continue to explore these subjects as we take the IOWA tests. Please make sure those brains get the calories and rest they need to be powerful. Complex carbohydrates and and Omega fats are the order of the day (ask your 8th grader)!

Concerns from the Teacher:

I consider the parents of my students as my primary partner in the education of my students. What you do with them at home has a direct effect on what happens in my classroom. I believe the parents of my students are the real key to Cambridge's successes. So I need your help on 3 different fronts. 

1.Please talk to your child about public decorum and paying attention. We've been at the museum for 3 weeks now. The primary challenge that we have has been a lot of the students being off task. Some of them don't even finish in- class assignments. We want to get the most out of this experience. Please help them by talking with them about task management and personal discipline.  Unfortunately,  to maintain safety,  I may have to ask some of the students to stay behind if they can not remain focused and follow directions. 
2.Make sure you child is actually reading their homework!  My students are given weekly reading assignments. Most of my students do NOT do the reading. They "read over" the words without attempting to comprehend the text. It is my hypothesis that this is their primary struggle with reading comprehension. It's not that they CAN'T decode what they are reading, they don't CARE to decode. If you don't believe me, try this experiment. While you are speaking to your child, use a big word that you know they don't know. Later, ask them if they know what that word means. I predict that they will not know and they WILL NOT ASK. This is the primary cause of poor comprehension and small vocabularies among our students. Ask them about the text and hold them accountable. It will pay off in high school. Teachers often teach "flipped" classes where all of the lectures are done online, at home, and class time is only for labs. Children who do not read or SEEK to understand will be left behind. 

3.Watch more TV with them. Less reality TV and more educational TV. No television is just as bad as too much television. Sometimes I find that my students have a knowledge gap that I attribute to not seeing enough of the world. Television, although imperfect in a lot of ways, does a great job of delivering a variety of images and visual experiences that inform one's world view. A little History Channel or Discovery goes a long way. Nova Science Now! is an exciting and relevant sow on PBS. Television is like food. It makes more sense to judge the chef rather than the dish. (I LOVE metaphors!) See the Parent Resource Center to the right of this post for Nova Science Now! and the Mythbusters online video sites. 

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