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April 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.   

    There have been many STEM events in the news lately– an earthquake in New Jersey, a solar eclipse across North America, a bridge collapse in Baltimore. Ask your child about these ones listed and let us know what they said!

    What STEM topics do you talk about at home? 

    Share your answer here!


    • Do you remember a book that you read and enjoyed during your middle school years?
    • What was the book and why did you like it?
    • Has your 6th or 7th grade student also read this book?

    Share your answers here!

  • From the Desk of Mrs. Andrews

    Tier 2 STEM and Math News

    Tier 2 Math and Science Grade 6

    In late March, Mrs. Andrews invited grade 6 Tier 2 Math and Science students to a lunch-time information session to learn more about the Google Classroom and how to find enriching activities. Students exploring the Tier 2 Google Classroom will find real-life examples of engineering and math, including cool problems in hydraulic and software engineering!.     


    Tier 2 Math and Science Grade 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

    Students studied parts of the human brain and their functions, then researched stimuli and influences on the brain like schizophrenia, traumatic brain injuries, concussions, and the benefits of music on brain development. The projects they created were phenomenal and are hanging in display cases by our classrooms!

    Grade 7 STEM

    The annual tradition continues this Spring with 7th graders constructing a roller coaster completely out of paper! They will use their understanding of potential and kinetic energies, and their studies of friction and gravity forces, to design a thrilling prototype. In June, 6th graders will help Mrs. Andrews score and vote on the best coasters from BIS engineers!

    Tier 3 Advanced Math News

    Grade 6 Advanced Math

    After wrapping up a geometry unit, 6th graders are engaging in our own version of the TV show, Shark Tank! This unit delves into the math involved in entrepreneurship, and incorporates reading strategies and learning new vocabulary like investment, equity and market value.

    Grade 7 Advanced Math

    We are wrapping up a 10-week unit focused on personal finances. In February, Cape Cod 5 Assistant Branch Manager Tawndra Ilomkai and Financial Know-How Program Manager Jim Curran visited BIS to teach students about banking products and interest rates. Students asked thoughtful and excited questions about their future financial decisions!

  • From the Desk of Mrs. Contrino

    Tier 2 Grades 6 and 7 ELA Google Classroom

    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. Several new writing challenges that explore the topic of Integrity have recently been added to the Google classroom.

    February’s writing assignment provided an opportunity for students to write a poem about peace that has been entered in a prestigious Cape-wide poetry contest sponsored by The Veterans for Peace Cape Cod Chapter. The winners will be announced any day now…stay tuned!

    Tier 3 Grade 6 Advanced ELA

    Our 6th graders have begun working on their final project of the year: the development and creation of an original children’s book. This project is designed to encourage our students to flaunt their critical and creative thinking skills, while exploring different mediums of art, and book-making techniques. The children’s books that 6th grade Advanced ELA Gateway students have produced in the past have been truly spectacular, and I am very excited to see what the Class of 2030 will create! 
    Invitations for an Open House and Book Sharing in June will soon be sent out to the families and friends of our young authors, inviting you to visit us at BIS so our students are able to share their final projects with you.

    After the April vacation the 6th graders will begin reading and discussing the final novel of the year, When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead. This Newbery Medal-winning science fiction and mystery novel takes place in New York City during 1978, and follows a sixth-grade girl named Miranda Sinclair. After Miranda finds a strange note, which is unsigned and addressed only to "M," in her school library book, a mystery is set into motion - one which Miranda ultimately must face alone. Central themes in the novel include independence, redemption, friendship, and theoretical physics!

    Tier 3 Grade 7 Advanced ELA

    Our 7th graders are currently reading Life of Pi, a philosophical novel by Yann Martel. The protagonist is Piscine Molitor "Pi" Patel, a teenage boy from India, who explores issues of spirituality and metaphysics from an early age. He survives 227 days, after a shipwreck, while stranded on a lifeboat in the Pacific Ocean with a Bengal tiger. The novel raises questions about the nature of reality and how it is perceived and told, as well as the purpose of fiction, otherwise known as “the selective transformation of reality.” 

    The 7th graders are also industriously working on their final project of the year - the creation of a Thematic Journal, based on a topic or theme of their choice. These journals are designed to encourage in-depth study and exploration of a theme that is of great interest and importance to each individual student. They will be creating original written pieces, art/illustrations, and adding a collection of song lyrics, poetry, quotes, and many other types of written work to their journals. I cannot wait to see the final product that each of our amazing 7th graders will be turning in during the weeks ahead!

    Grade 6 Future Problem Solving

    The 6th grade Problem Solvers are currently working on a mini “Practice Problem,” which is allowing them to work with a team to apply their knowledge of Problem Solving Steps 1, 2, and 3 to a future scene about tourism to the Moon, set in 2050. 

    The students are defining challenges that may/might/could possibly occur for an 8th grade class that is preparing for a two week school field trip to the International Space Station and the Moon in 2052.They will select a strong underlying problem, focusing on an issue in the scene that deals with issues regarding economy, physical health, ethics/morality, or environment. Step 3 will find our problem solvers creating diverse, unique, and futuristic solutions that “solve” their underlying problem.

    When we return from April vacation we will begin learning about Problem Solving Steps 4 and 5. Step 4 is the creation of targeted, specific criteria that will be used to evaluate the strength of the solutions that were developed during Step 3. Step 5 is an “evaluation matrix” where the students use their criteria to give each potential solution a numerical value, and one top solution will eventually emerge as the team’s best, most viable, creative solution.

    Grade 7 Future Problem Solving

    On Saturday, March 30th our Barnstable Future Problem Solvers traveled to Worcester to compete in the 2024 Massachusetts Future Problem Solving State Bowl at Clark University. 
    Forty Barnstable students were invited to participate at States, based on their outstanding performance in February’s Qualifying Problem.

    Three of our 7th graders from BIS competed at the MA FPS State Bowl this year:
    Ryleigh Sheppard
    Nico Souza
    Jake Malloy

    We are thrilled to announce that 11 students from Barnstable earned a spot to compete at the highly prestigious FPS International Competition, including BIS’s own superb 7th grade problem solver, Ryleigh Sheppard! Congrats to Ryleigh!
    The competition will be held on the campus of Indiana University the week of June 5 - 9.

    How you can support FPS:

    Please be on the lookout for opportunities to help our Barnstable Problem Solvers fundraise money to help defray the costs associated with traveling to Indiana for Internationals.
    Tropical Smoothie Cafe in Hyannis is one of our very generous sponsors, and they host a fundraiser for us the 1st and 3rd Friday afternoon of every month, from 3-5 pm. 

    We are also planning a car wash at Steve and Sue’s Par-Tee Freeze on Saturday, May 18th. Any and all donations and/or volunteers at the car wash are greatly welcome and appreciated.