February 2023 BIS Newsletter
From the Desk of Mrs. Contrino
Tier 2 Grades 6 and 7 ELA Google Classroom
Our Tier 2 ELA Google Classrooms offer many interesting writing activities. We have recently posted a new creative writing prompt based on a painting. Students are encouraged to write an original story based on their perceptions of the painting. In the months ahead, the Tier 2 Google Classrooms will be offering even more choices and opportunities for students to showcase their interests, opinions, and ideas through various reading and writing prompts.
Tier 3 Grade 6 Advanced ELA
The 6th graders are currently reading The London Eye Mystery written by Siobhan Dowd. This fascinating mystery follows the adventures of a sister/brother detective duo, while also teaching readers about famous historical landmarks, architecture, and other cultural aspects of one of the world’s great cities - London, England. Will our unlikely hero, Ted Spark, who is a rather unusual, highly intelligent, and autistic 12 year old, be able to solve this complex missing person case before it’s too late? The 6th graders will know the answer to that question by the time you read this newsletter! The 6th graders are also working on a creative writing piece based on a painting, The Wise Children, by British artist Frances Turner. They will be crafting original short stories, with a focus on properly formatted dialogue.
Tier 3 Grade 7 Advanced ELA
The 7th graders are in the midst of reading, analyzing, and discussing The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. The story centers around Liesel, a girl growing up in Germany during World War II. She steals books, learns to read, and ultimately finds comfort and power in her developing mastery of words. This stunning tale of adolescence is narrated in a completely surprising and unique manner, and it is told in a poetic format that is both gorgeous and devastating to the reader. As we read the novel, we will also be researching and discussing many of the disturbing events that occurred during this horrific time in human history. In a few weeks, the students will be creating a final project that reflects their own personal analysis and connections to the novel in a written and/or artistic format.
Grade 6 Future Problem Solving
Our 6th graders are currently researching and discussing a new topic, Robotic Workforce (please read the topic description below). In the weeks ahead, they will be reading a new future scene, developing 16 challenges found within that scene, and then choosing one underlying problem to solve!
Grade 7 Future Problem Solving
Our 7th graders are currently hard at work preparing for their first-ever Qualifying Problem! This two-hour timed competition will be held the morning of Thursday, February 9 in the BIS Library. Our 7th graders are competing in the FPS Middle Division, which will pit them against worthy FPS teams in grades 7-9 from all over Massachusetts. The top 10 scoring teams in Massachusetts will be invited to move on to the next level of competition, The FPS MA State Bowl, on March 25.
Along with FPS competitors from all over the world, our problem solvers have been researching and discussing the Qualifying Problem topic, Robotic Workforce. Here is an overview of the topic:
“Machines were developed to assist with dangerous and difficult jobs. At present, unskilled human labor is being replaced with robotics more quickly than at any time in history. Advancements of such machines move technology closer and closer to lights-out manufacturing. In countries with robust national safety nets, these changes are viewed as inevitable, and they have begun to explore new human employment concepts. Robotic workers often provide for human safety, as in the case of bomb disposal. Laborers are fearful of how these looming employment changes and uncertain of how their work life will proceed. A robotic workforce's effects go beyond manufacturing as university-trained individuals such as lawyers and accountants are already being impacted by automation. What will the human workforce of the future look like? Will specialized training and education be needed for a combined human and robotic workforce? What will our future workforce look like? How will our future economy be impacted by robotics in the workforce?”
From the Desk of Ms. Meredith
Tier 2 STEM and Math News
Tier 2 Science Grade 6 and 7
This year, students who are looking for a challenge while in their regular education classes can explore Biology, Physical Science and Engineering while completing interesting and engaging activities in a virtual classroom.
Tier 2 Math Garade 6 and 7
This year, students who are looking for a challenge while in their regular education classes can explore mathematical topics such as Logic, Algebra, Geometry and Probability while completing interesting and engaging activities in a virtual classroom.
Tier 3 STEM News
Grade 6 STEM
In 6th grade STEM students learned about graphing and extrapolation, and created a bungee jump for Barbie from rubber bands. Students used data from several trials to determine how far Barbie falls with just one rubber band (slope), and then used that information to create an equation in the form y=mx+b. Students used this equation to predict how many rubber bands they would need to safely make a 305 cm drop. How many Barbies do you think made it without a bump on the head? We start our next unit, Cell Membrane, this month. Students will learn the components of the cell membrane, the function of the cell membrane in maintaining homeostasis, and its importance in all the body’s functions. The learning plan for this unit can be found here.
Grade 7 STEM
7th Grade STEM students have been learning about fractals, what they are and where they can be found in nature, as well as applications of fractals in many STEM fields. Students have created their own fractals, and these will be judged by the 6th grade STEM students, as well as the faculty of BIS. Keep a look out for the winning fractal! This month students will start the Physical Science unit, in which they will learn about Chemistry (the study of mass/matter) and Physics (the study of energy). The learning plans for this unit can be found here and here. First they will experiment with the Law of Conservation of Mass, using Shrinky Dinks! Then they will learn about chemical reactions, and through some pH experiments create their own chemical reactions. We are speeding our way to our final project of the year, the Paper Roller Coaster. Stay tuned for more information!
Tier 3 Advanced Math News
Grade 6 Advanced Math
Students in 6th Grade Advanced Math are surprising themselves with their ability to solve multi-step equations. And as they learn about literal equations, they will see that these are just the real-world equations we call “formulas” that they will continue to work with in math and science throughout their school careers and beyond. This month we will begin our unit on Analytic Geometry, the branch of mathematics that combines Algebra and Geometry. They will plot points on the coordinate plane, calculate the distance between them and determine the slope of the line that is made from connecting them. Students will have the opportunity to use their creativity to make a plate glass window drawing or anything else they would like to draw, using the points and lines they draw on a coordinate plane. The learning plan for this unit can be found here.
Grade 7 Advanced Math
7th Grade students have started the unit titled The Fibonacci Sequence and The Golden Ratio this month, their teacher’s personal favorite. In this unit, students will learn about 4 different types of sequences, and then delve into recursive sequences, particularly the Fibonacci Numbers. They will find the Fibonacci Numbers in nature, and connect the Fibonacci Numbers to The Golden Ratio (phi). Students will learn about the Golden Ratio: how it is calculated, its connection to the Fibonacci Numbers, its history, its properties, and why it is found so often in art and architecture. As part of this unit students will also practice constructing geometric figures using mathematical tools with precision, specifically a compass and straightedge. Click here for the learning plan for this unit.