rolled up newspaper

February 2024 BIS Newsletter

  • Community Corner

    Each newsletter we will post a question and share responses/feedback from the previous question. 

    Don't miss this opportunity to share your answers! We would love to hear from you! Please fill out the Google Form below, and we will share it with all of our families in the next newsletter.   


    Students always ask “Why do I need to know this?” Making real world connections with math and science can increase student engagement.  What real world connections do you and your student make at home with math and science? Click here to share your answer! 


    How does your family determine the best way to solve big, important family concerns? Do you use any sort of tool or strategic method for making big family decisions? Do you simply go by gut instinct, or do you use a methodical process like the FPS “evaluation matrix” that your young future problem solver has been learning to use? Click here to share your answer! 


  • From the Desk of Mrs. Andrews

    Tier 2 Math and Science News

    Students in Tier 2 Math & STEM have various opportunities to explore their interests and learn something new-- a balancing-the-equation basketball game, videos on the engineering behind Olympic wheelchairs, studies on exceptional but not-well-known mathematicians, and more!

    Tier 3 Advanced Math News

    Grade 6 Advanced Math

    Students created stunning stained-glass art on Plexiglass that is now hanging from our classroom windows. They designed and painted, but not before they drew their design on graph paper, found the slope of lines, and used the distance formula to find lengths between coordinates. Our next unit is studying relationships between angles and lines-- a preview of 10th grade Geometry!

    Grade 7 Advanced Math

    Your child might come home telling you they are earning money and paying rent in math class, because they are! Students chose to study personal finance, so they are working in a classroom economy and studying credit, debit, taxes and interest. An employee of Cape Cod 5 is joining us in late February to discuss bank accounts!

    Tier 3 STEM News

    Grade 6 STEM

    Grade 6 GATEWAY scientists are exploring neuroscience and learning about the human brain. We will study the parts and function of the brain, discover how different stimuli influence brain function, and research forms of brain damage.

    Grade 7 STEM

    Grade 7 STEM students completed a detailed study of fractals, and are now exploring the Law of Conservation of Matter. They will perform two lab experiments to prove the law, as well as question loss of mass, volume, and percent changes in tested materials. 

  • From the Desk of Mrs. Contrino

    Tier 2 

    Grades 6 and 7 ELA 

    Our Tier 2 ELA Google Classroom offers many interesting writing activities and problem solving challenges. Each month, the Tier 2 Google Classroom offers new choices and opportunities for students to showcase their interests, opinions, and ideas through various writing prompts and creative explorations. February’s writing assignment provides an opportunity for students to write a poem about peace that will be entered in a prestigious Cape-wide poetry contest sponsored by The Veterans for Peace Cape Cod Chapter.


    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 outspoken 12-year-old with Autism, 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.

    Grade 7 Advanced ELA

    The 7th graders have just finished reading, analyzing, and discussing the novel 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 this outstanding historical fiction novel, we have also been researching and discussing many of the disturbing events that occurred during this horrific time in human history, including The Holocaust. We will cap off our study of The Book Thief by traveling over to the Knight Theater at BHS to watch the film adaptation of the novel. Presently, the students are working on a writing piece that will reflect their own personal analysis and connections to the characters and events of The Book Thief.

    Grade 6 Future Problem Solving

    Our 6th Grade Future Problem Solvers have gained a solid understanding of Step One: Identifying and Developing Challenges within a Future Scene. Throughout January and February we will be learning 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 Two goes wrong for a team, then Steps Three, Four, Five, and Six will go off the rails! 

    Over the past several weeks, the problem solvers have been learning and practicing how to write an Underlying Problem (UP) 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 February!) in 16 creative, futuristic, and plausible ways will be a totally exciting, fun, and rewarding experience for our novice problem solvers!


    Grade 7 Future Problem Solving

    Since last September, all six of our 7th Grade FPS Teams have been working very hard learning and applying their knowledge of the 6 Step Problem Solving Process as they participated in both of the 2023 International Practice Problems this past October and December. 

    Now it’s time for these 24 young problem solvers to put their knowledge to the ultimate test as they compete in their first-ever Qualifying Problem (QP) on February 8, 2024! Teams that garner the top scores in the QP round will earn the distinction of becoming one of the top teams in all of Massachusetts, and they will be invited to compete at the Massachusetts FPS State Bowl at Clark University in Worcester on Saturday, March 30.

    The Qualifying Problem topic that students from all around the world will be grappling with is Antarctica: the highest, driest, coldest continent. It has no permanent population and is governed by a collection of agreements between fifty-four countries. The Antarctic Treaty System designates the entire continent and surrounding waters for scientific endeavors, bans military activity, and promotes environmental research and preservation. Although Antarctica remains the most remote place on Earth, it is highly regulated and heavily impacted by activities around the globe. Parts of the continent are polluted by sewage, discarded machinery, fuel products, and rubbish. Antarctica is thought to be rich in minerals and resources, though an ‘indefinite’ ban on mining is in place through 2048. Antarctica also holds over 60% of the Earth’s fresh water in an ice sheet that contains 90% of the Earth’s total ice volume. As global temperatures rise, these are breaking apart and melting faster, endangering local wildlife and entire ecosystems. Without a consistent population or a sovereign state, Antarctica possesses a unique space within political, economic, and environmental crossroads. How can Antarctica be sustainably utilized yet simultaneously preserved to best benefit our global population?