rolled up newspaper

October 2022 BIS Newsletter

  • From the Desk of Mrs. Contrino

    Tier 2 and 3 ELA News

    ALL Advanced ELA Gateway students

    Grade 6 and Grade 7 Tier 2 and Tier 3 Advanced ELA

    Our Advanced ELA students are all presently fine-tuning the stories they have written for submission in the Thirteenth Annual Advanced ELA Gateway Creepy Story Contest! 

    Each year our imaginative young authors in both grades 6 and 7 concoct an original story that they hope will tantalize and terrify the judges enough to vote for their tiny tale of terror. Who are the judges, you may ask? Our 6th graders read and vote on their favorite 7th grade stories, while the 7th graders read and vote for their favorite 6th grade stories. The whole activity concludes with the best session of peer-editing advice a young writer could ever hope for, with all of the ELA Gateway students offering up their helpful feedback on each story, along with a yes or no vote that will determine the winners for each grade level. Stay tuned - winners will be posted in our next Gateway Newsletter!

    Tier 3 Advanced ELA News

    Grade 6 and Grade 7 Advanced ELA

    Our 6th Grade Tier 3 Advanced ELA students have begun reading the wonderfully magical novel, The Graveyard Book, a gothic fantasy written by Neil Gaiman, and our 7th Grade Tier 3 Advanced ELA students are getting underway with Markus Zusak’s massive achievement of literary genius, The Book Thief

    There will be more information about these two incredible novels in our next Gateway Newsletter, but as always, I encourage you to ask your student to tell you about the novel they are reading whenever you get the chance. Talking with your students about the novel they are reading will provide parents and guardians an excellent opportunity to have a great conversation about something other than getting kids to clean their room, or do their homework, etc. Coincidentally, it is also a very effective way to check in and find out if they actually ARE getting their reading homework done!


    Tier 3 Future Problem Solving News

    Future Problem Solving Grade 6

    The 6th grade FPS classes are brimming with excitement as we have begun to learn about the 6 Step Problem Solving Process. So far, we have learned a bit about all the things we need to do leading up to Step One, such as 

    • dividing up a research packet amongst a team and reading/annotating the topic research article summaries 
    • understanding the different categories used to diversify our thinking
    • learning what a Future Scene is, and how we analyze it

    Over the next few weeks, the 6th graders will be using the background knowledge they have gained from the research packet, along with their assigned categories, to discover various problems within the future scene that we will use to do Step One - Write 16 Challenges in the proper format. 

    Future Problem Solving Grade 7

    We are proud to announce that BIS has six 7th grade FPS Teams competing within the middle division (grades 7-9) of the Massachusetts Future Problem Solving 2023-2024 competition season! The first topic of the year is Tourism.

    The teams have been hard at work preparing for their first-ever Practice Problem, which will take place in the BIS Library on Thursday, October 19. 

    During Practice Problem #1, all teams will use the knowledge they gained from studying the research packet about Tourism to analyze a Future Scene, and complete the following:

    Step One - Use critical thinking skills to discover 16 relevant and diverse Challenges mined from the Future Scene

    Step Two - Identify and develop an Underlying Problem (UP) that will have the greatest positive impact if it is well solved

    Step Three - Use creative thinking skills to devise 16 innovative, futuristic, and plausible solutions for the Underlying Problem

    Best of Luck to all of our competitive Barnstable Future Problem Solving Teams in Grades 7 - 12! 

    Let’s Go RedHawks!



  • From the Desk of Mrs. Andrews

    My name is Erin Andrews and I am the new GATEWAY Math/STEM teacher at BIS. You may know me from running programming at Centerville Public Library, or from community events around town (I live in Barnstable and have 2 children in Barnstable Public Schools). I have been a middle school math teacher for many years, previously in Boston Public Schools. I am excited to be part of the BIS community and look forward to getting to know you and your students this year!

    I ask that your child come prepared to each class with the following materials: a pencil, their charged Chromebook, their completed assignment, and their Math and/or STEM notebook.  

    Thank you for your support and please do not hesitate to reach out with questions.

    Tier 2 Science and Math News

    Tier 2 Science 

    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.  Click here for more information about tier 2. 


    Tier 2 Math 

    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. Click here for more information about tier 2.


    Tier 1 - 7th Grade 

    This class is offered this year to 7th grade students.  During the GATEWAY Tier 1 class (actually 50 minutes!) students will reflect on what their passions are, learn and research a topic or question of their choice, and then create a project which will be shared out to the BIS.  Stay tuned for updates on this process and when you will be able to see these amazing projects in person!

    Tier 3 STEM News

    Grade 6 STEM

    In 6th grade STEM we start the year learning about the Scientific Method and experimental design.  Students will learn what is required to create a valid and unbiased experiment.  After learning about bacteria & viruses, students will conduct an experiment to test the 5-second rule.  Finally, they will use what they know about experimental design to create their own experiment on bacteria.  During this process, students will start to practice original thinking and higher-order thinking skills to write a conclusion to their experiment. Click here to view the learning plan for this unit. 


    Grade 7 STEM

    In our first unit, 7th grade STEM students will learn about DNA, its structure and function as well as its applications in Forensic Science.  After learning about the components of the DNA molecule, they will practice decoding DNA as they learn that DNA’s function is to code for amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. And finally, after mimicking the DNA extraction process forensic scientists use, they will learn about how DNA is used in solving crimes.  They will then use this knowledge to solve the mystery of Princess Anastasia.  Click here to view the learning plan for this unit.  

    Tier 3 Advanced Math News

    Grade 6 Advanced Math

    The first unit this year in 6th Grade Advanced Math is called “Numbers and their Inverses.”  Students learn there are many more numbers than they have been exposed to in the past.  First we learn about the real numbers system, including natural numbers, whole numbers, integers, rational numbers and irrational numbers.  Students will then learn about additive and multiplicative inverses, as well as squares and square roots. They will practice an 8th grade standard– using the Pythagorean Theorem! All of these numbers will be used (and inversed) in our next unit! Click here to view the learning plan for this unit.

    Grade 7 Advanced Math

    We dive right into 7th Grade Advanced Math by learning about irrational numbers.  First we approximate their value and placement on a numbers line (not actually possible), and then how to simplify them in their radical form.  Students will then perform adding, subtracting & multiplying with radical numbers.  Finally we will address the essential question: how do you take the square root of a negative number? This leads us out of the realm of real numbers and into imaginary ones.  Click here to view the learning plan for this unit.