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BIS December 2019 Newsletter

  • 6th Grade Advanced ELA   

    The 6th Graders created some truly amazing final projects as we concluded our study of Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book. Their movie posters, paintings, sculptures, and creative writing pieces would certainly impress Mr. Gaiman himself. In keeping with our Gothic Fantasy theme, we have been reading and discussing the classic favorites The Raven and The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe, and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving. These short stories and more will soon come to life for our students, as we travel to The Zeiterion Theatre in New Bedford on December 20 for an Advanced ELA Gateway Field Trip for a brilliant live performance.  CONGRATULATIONS to our 6th grade winners of the annual Creepy Writing Contest - Tatsianna Basile, Anna Schlegel, Delilah DeYoung, and Abby Shea! Bravo to our young writers!

    7th Grade Advanced ELA

    The 7th Graders wrote personal memoirs and shared them with their classmates after we read Flying lessons, a collection of memoirs written by contemporary authors. I heard that many of you parents and grandparents were interviewed as part of your child’s data collection process as they formulated their stories, and I thank you for your input! The memoirs turned out to be wildly entertaining. These past few weeks, we have also been reading and discussing a very intense novel, The Great Wide Sea, by M.H. Herlong. This novel makes for an excellent book club/discussion group topic, as it explores the complex family dynamics shared between siblings and parents, all set within a very suspenseful and stressful time in this fictional family’s history. As always, we have been analyzing the author’s writing style, discussing why she wrote certain scenes in such a fashion, and the affect her narration has on the way we interpret the story. I am constantly reminding these students that everything we read helps us, in some way, to develop and improve our own writing! Having said that, CONGRATULATIONS  to our 7th grade winners of the annual Creepy Writing Contest - Sophie Machnik, Ella Varetimos, Jack Bertling, and Brynn Dennis were all voted as the top storytellers this year! Excellent work!

    6th and 7th - 9th Grade Future Problem Solving International  

     

    Our 6th grade Problem Solvers have been hard at work as they continue to learn and apply each step of the 6-Step Problem Solving Process. Throughout December, we will be working on the toughest step of all, Step 2  - selecting and writing an Underlying Problem. The Underlying Problem chosen by each FPS team must meet the standards set by “The Goldilocks Principle,” meaning that the topic selected for the UP must not be too broad, nor too narrow, but should be just right!  Additionally, “The Four I Theory” must be considered, as teams ask themselves, which challenge would have the greatest IMPACT on the future, which challenge can we have the most INFLUENCE with, based on our knowledge of the topic, which challenge generates the most INTEREST and enthusiasm amongst our team members, and which challenge seems most likely to inspire our IMAGINATION so that we can come up with creative and futuristic SOLUTIONS during our next step, Step 3 - Creating 16 Diverse Solutions for the Underlying Problem?

    The Grades 7-9 FPS Teams have just completed their second Practice Problem of the year, during the week of December 2. They have diligently applied their knowledge of the 6 Step Problem Solving Process to solve a dilemma based on their latest research topic; SLEEP PATTERNS and DISORDERS. We will be receiving feedback about their work from the Massachusetts State Evaluation Team in just a few weeks. In the meantime, we will be very busy preparing for the Massachusetts Qualifying State Bowl! The topic is GAMIFICATION, and the competition dates are Grade 7 - January 30, and Grades 8 and 9 - January 31. Good Luck to all of our BIS and BHS competitors!   LET’S GO BARNSTABLE!

     

    6th Grade Advanced Math

    6th grade advanced math students have been using what they learned about inverses to solve one- and two-step equations.  Next they will practice combining like terms and applying the distributive property to solve multi-step equations, finishing the unit with literal equations.  This will segue us into the next unit, MATH: The Language of Science, during which they will learn scientific notation and dimensional analysis. The progress students have made already has been so fun to watch!  New this year: in an attempt to help students with complex communication using higher-order thinking, they are being asked to write in their notebooks “what I learned in this unit” at the completion of each unit, with a specific focus on analysis, evaluation and synthesis (the top 3 tiers in Bloom’s taxonomy).  Please ask to read these pages so you can see what the impact of what we are learning has had on your child.

    7th Grade Advanced Math

    7th grade advanced math students are finishing up the unit on Imaginary Numbers, and moving into Number Theory.  They will be learning about different types of sequences, focusing on the most famous recursive sequence, the Fibonacci sequence.  We will connect the Fibonacci sequence to the Golden Ratio and discuss how each can be found in nature, art and architecture. They will learn about the strange and mysterious cult of Pythagoras, and learn how to construct the Golden Spiral, Golden Rectangle and Golden Triangle using a compass and a straight edge.  Finally, students will explore the secrets of Pascal’s Triangle. This is my favorite unit to teach because this is where math gets really cool! New this year: in an attempt to help students with complex communication using higher-order thinking, they are being asked to write in their notebooks “what I learned in this unit” at the completion of each unit, with a specific focus on analysis, evaluation and synthesis (the top 3 tiers in Bloom’s taxonomy).  Please ask to read these pages so you can see what the impact of what we are learning has had on your child.

    6th Grade STEM

    6th Grade STEM students are finishing up the unit of Experimental Design. They enjoyed conducting experiments on bacterial growth, and learned how to use extrapolation during the Barbie Bungee Jump during which they had to use slope and the equation of a line to predict how many rubber bands would be necessary to construct a bungee line for Barbie to drop exactly 305 cm.  Next we move into the Cells unit. Students will be learning about how water and nutrients move in and out of the cell by passive and active transport, why drinking salt water can make you sick (or even kill you), take a virtual reality tour of a cell, and construct a model of the cell membrane. Students last year reported this was their favorite project! New this year: in an attempt to help students with complex communication using higher-order thinking, they are being asked to write in their notebooks “what I learned in this unit” at the completion of each unit, with a specific focus on analysis, evaluation and synthesis (the top 3 tiers in Bloom’s taxonomy).  Please ask to read these pages so you can see what the impact of what we are learning has had on your child.

    7th Grade STEM

    7th grade STEM students wrapped up the first part of our Earth & Life unit on DNA with a Forensic Science career exploration.  We have started the second part of the unit learning about fractals. Students have learned what a fractal is, and have been tasked with finding one in nature.  They will draw some famous fractals such as Sierpinski’s Triangle and the Koch Snowflake. Finally they will draw their own fractal using precision and mathematical tools, to be judged by the 6th Grade STEM students.  Our next unit is Physical Science, during which students will learn about density, pH and energy. This unit is perfect for my future chemists and physicists! New this year: in an attempt to help students with complex communication using higher-order thinking, they are being asked to write in their notebooks “what I learned in this unit” at the completion of each unit, with a specific focus on analysis, evaluation and synthesis (the top 3 tiers in Bloom’s taxonomy).  Please ask to read these pages so you can see what the impact of what we are learning has had on your child.