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March 2022 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

    In our last unit, 6th Grade STEM students learned about the function and structures of the cell membrane.  They created some really awesome 3D models.  We are now into our Engineering unit.  First students built a tower out of 50 straws and 1 yard of masking tape.  We used this experience to better understand the importance of following the Engineering Design Process.  Currently students are building a catapult, testing different projectiles, and redesigning to improve the outcome.

    Grade 7 STEM

    In 7th Grade STEM, students are learning about Physical Science: Chemistry and Physics.  First, students learned about chemical reaction via a pH experiment.  Next, they tested the Law of Conservation of Mass using Shrinky Dinks.  And currently, students are exploring energy and forces in the Physics of Yoga. 

    Tier 3 Advanced Math News

    Grade 6 Advanced Math

    In 6th Grade Advanced Math, we have begun our Analytic Geometry unit.  (Ask your child about the “flies” on our ceiling!) Students will learn about Rene Descarte and his Cartesian Coordinate Plane, they will plot points on a plane, find distance between two points using the Pythagorean Theorem, calculate slope, and use trigonometry to find angle measures.  Students will research real-world applications of trigonometry.  We are looking for volunteers to talk to students about their use of trigonometry in their careers.  Do you know someone who can help? Please email

    Grade 7 Advanced Math

    7th Advanced Math students are being Number Theorists and  currently learning about the magical number phi, also known as The Golden Ratio.  They are learning the unique properties of this very special number that can be found by making a ratio out of any two consecutive numbers in the Fibonacci Sequence, where it can be found in art, architecture and nature, and why Pythagoras created a whole religious movement (or what some might call a cult) around this number.

    Tier 2 ELA Grades 6 and 7

    The 6th and 7th Grade Tier 2 ELA Google Classrooms are filled with various writing opportunities for our students who love to write. The month of March features the 27th annual poetry contest hosted by the Cape Cod Veterans for Peace. The 2022 Voices of Peace Poetry Contest is an invitation for all poets in grades k-12 (and adults!) to submit a poem that celebrates “nonviolent attitudes and actions that lead to friendship, negotiation, social justice, and peace.” All submissions are due on or before March 30, 2022.


    Tier 3 Advanced ELA News

    6th Grade Advanced ELA .

    During the months of January, February, and March, our 6th grade Advanced ELA students have been reading The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman. Our classroom discussions have been fascinating, as we learn about the classic tropes, recurring motifs, and characteristics that make this novel a great example of the Gothic Fantasy genre. In this clever and emotional novel, Mr. Gaiman has introduced us to ghosts, witches, werewolves, and other supernatural beings that humans have traditionally been conditioned to fear, yet through his creative storytelling, Mr. Gaiman has allowed us to consider these “creepy” characters through a compassionate and sympathetic lens that actually endears them to the reader. We have also been drawing comparisons between this modern novel, and the classic novel that inspired it, The Jungle Book, by Rudyard Kipling. 

    In the weeks ahead, these amazing students will be creating a final project that will conclude our study of The Graveyard Book, as well as writing an original poem about peace that will be submitted for judging in The 2022 Voices of Peace Poetry Contest hosted by The Cape Cod Veterans for Peace.

    7th Grade Advanced ELA

    During the months of January, February, and March, our 7th grade Advanced ELA students have been reading Life of Pi, by Yann Martel.The son of a zookeeper, Pi Patel has an encyclopedic knowledge of animal behavior and a fervent curiosity about world religions and spirituality. When Pi is sixteen, his family emigrates from India to North America aboard a cargo ship, along with their zoo animals bound for new homes. The ship sinks. Pi finds himself alone in a lifeboat, his only companions a hyena, an orangutan, a wounded zebra, and Richard Parker, a 450-pound Bengal tiger. Soon the tiger has dispatched all but Pi, whose fear, knowledge, cunning, and deep faith in his various Gods allow him to coexist with Richard Parker for 227 days while lost at sea. 

    This novel is written at a very high level of reading level analysis. Scholars have formulas for automatically estimating reading level using syllables, sentence length, and other proxies for vocabulary and concept complexity, the most common one is the Flesch-Kincaid index. While discussing the novel, our class has focused on three recurring themes, “transformation,” “conflicting realities,” and “thirst,” and how these themes manifest themselves physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, as Pi fights to survive his harrowing situation. 

    This month, the 7th graders are also working on writing an original poem about peace that will be submitted for judging in The 2022 Voices of Peace Poetry Contest hosted by The Cape Cod Veterans for Peace.

    Tier 3 Future Problem Solving Grades 6 and 7

    Our BIS Problem Solvers have been working hard at mastering Step One of the FPS problem Solving Process, and we have recently moved on to perfecting their Step Two skills. Step Two asks our students to write an Underlying Problem based on the topic and Future Scene we are working on. A successfully written Underlying Problem (UP) contains four elements: a Conditional Phrase (a lead-in fact from the Future Scene), a Stem and Key Verb Phrase (“in what ways might we…” establish, encourage, develop, generate, improve, etc…),  a Purpose (“so that…”), and three Future Scene Parameters (time, place, and topic of the Future Scene).  

    Additionally, a strong Underlying Problem must contain words that make the purpose of the UP clear and measurable. It must also adhere to the “Goldilocks Theory;” the UP should be narrow enough to focus on just one important concern/challenge that must be addressed, yet broad enough to allow a team to move on to Step Three and generate sixteen original, relevant, exciting, and futuristic solution ideas! Whew!!!

    Our Barnstable High School Future Problem Solving Teams in grades 8-12 participated in the FPS Qualifying Problem on February 9, and now we are anxiously awaiting the results to see if any of our teams will earn an invitation to the Massachusetts FPS State Bowl in April! Let’s Go Red Hawks!