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December 2021 BIS Newsletter

  • Tier 2 STEM and Math News

    Students in tier 2 Advanced Math & STEM have lots of fun activities to enjoy in the Google Classroom, including a wide range of topics from Space to Logic to the Fibonacci Sequence!


    Tier 3 STEM News

    Grade 6 STEM

    Our 6th grade STEM students are learning how to graph data by creating a rubber band bungee cord for a barbie and extrapolating how many rubber bands it will take to drop Barbie (safely) from a height of 305 cm.  First they collected data on the distance Barbie drops with 2 - 6 rubber bands.  They will graph the data, calculate the slope of the line of best fit they create, write a linear equation in slope-intercept form, and use that equation to predict the number of rubber bands they will need.   The final drop is always a fun event.  Do you think Barbie survived the bungee jump???

    Grade 7 STEM

    Our 7th grade STEM students are learning about fractals.  They will understand that a fractal is a simple repeating pattern in which the size of the original shape is reduced with each iteration.  They will also learn about self-similarity and that a part of a fractal is geometrically similar to the whole.  We will be exploring topics in proportionality and geometric similarity.  Students will find their own fractal in nature and learn about how an understanding of fractals can be used to predict natural phenomena.  Finally, students will use mathematical tools with precision to create their own fractal to be judged by the 6th grader STEM students.  I can’t wait to share what they create with you!


    Tier 3 Advanced Math News

    Grade 6 Advanced Math

    Our 6th graders have been learning about numbers and their inverses, such as squares and square roots, additive inverses and multiplicative inverses.  They have practiced operations with integers.  Now, they are using their knowledge of these number-relationships to solve multi-step equation problems.  At the end of this unit, students will be creating their own evidence of learning.  They may choose to create a quiz (written or Kahoot), a board game, a Google Slide presentation, etc.  This is their chance to show what they know and maybe use some creativity.

    Grade 7 Advanced Math

    Our 7th graders are learning about real and imaginary numbers.  They have learned how to  approximate the value of the square roots of non-perfect squares in decimal form, and to simplify these numbers in radical form.  They are now performing operations with radicals.  Students have learned that “like terms” extend beyond algebraic terms to all numbers.  This is foundational in math and they will take the knowledge into all of their future math classes.  They will also understand that a number cannot be divided by an irrational number, and so they will practice “rationalizing the denominator”.  Finally, they will be learning about imaginary numbers, their history, and how and why they are important in higher-level math.  At the end of this unit, students will be creating their own evidence of learning.  They may choose to create a quiz (written or Kahoot), a board game, a Google Slide presentation, etc.  This is their chance to show what they know and maybe use some creativity.


    Tier 2 and 3 ELA Grades 6 and 7

    The votes are in, and I am pleased to announce the winners of this year’s ELA Gateway Creepy Story Contest!

    **6th Grade Winners**

    1st Place: Mathue DaSilva

    2nd Place: Mena Collins

    3rd Place: Haven Hill

    4th Place: Elise Paananen

    **7th Grade Winners**

    1st Place Tie: Arden Farrington and Wyatt Del Negro

    2nd Place Tie: Audrey Christensen and Mayte Dutra

    3rd Place Tie: Brenda DeSouza, Lauren Sajdak, Emma LaPointe, and Madison McLaughlin

    Congratulations to all of these talented authors! Your stories were fantastic!

    Tier 2 Opportunities in the Google Classroom

    Some students who have been working in our Tier 2 Advanced ELA Google Classroom just completed a creative writing prompt based on a photograph of a painting. The stories that they came up with were imaginative and very fun to read! Other students used a choice board to write about the courageous qualities and behaviors of different characters they have encountered while reading. In the months ahead, the Tier 2 Google Classroom will be offering even more choices and opportunities for students to showcase their interests, opinions, and ideas through various writing prompts.


    Tier 3 Advanced ELA Grades 6 and 7

    Throughout the month of December, students in both 6th and 7th grade ELA Gateway will learn and practice the proper formatting for writing DIALOGUE in a story. We will also brush up on our understanding of when and why to begin a new paragraph while writing any type of text. These young writers are all very eager to improve their technical writing skills, as well as develop their own unique style or “voice” within their writing. Their writing skills are rapidly improving and maturing each week! We will continue to have creative writing opportunities for the remainder of the school year, and it is so exciting to see each student’s personal growth as a writer with each of these assignments.

    Tier 3 Future Problem Solving Grades 6 and 7

    Our Future Problem Solvers have gained a solid understanding of Step One: Identifying and Developing Challenges within a Future Scene. For the month of December, we will be moving on to the toughest step in the problem solving process - Step Two: Choosing and Writing a relevant, impactful, and focused Underlying Problem. 

    Our problem solvers will be learning to evaluate all 16 of the challenges that were developed by the team during Step One, and then collaboratively decide which challenge they would like to adapt and develop into the team’s Underlying Problem, or UP. Step Two is the most critical step of the process, as well as the most difficult step to master. If Step One goes wrong for a team, then Steps Three, Four, Five, and Six will go off the rails! 

    Over the next several weeks, the problem solvers will be learning and practicing how to write an Underlying Problem in a very specific format. We will also be examining exemplars of UPs that are good, bad, complete, and incomplete, so that the teams can gain a better understanding of the je ne sais quoi that makes for a successful UP. A strong UP is neither too narrow nor too broad, while having the greatest potential for positive impact on the Future Scene by addressing the most serious, pressing issue that has been presented. If an FPS team creates a strong UP that is relevant, impactful, and focused, then the solving of that Underlying Problem (which is Step Three - coming to an FPS classroom near you in January!) in 16 creative, futuristic, and plausible ways will be a totally exciting, fun, and rewarding experience for our novice problem solvers!