The last few weeks have been super busy here in 7-8. As such, I've neglected the blog. Below, you'll see weekly updates for the month of January and into February.
For more photos of 7-8 happenings, please check our class Google album here. It's also on the righthand side bar. Below, you'll find some highlights.
To continued adventures,
Visiting with friends in kindergarten
Stories and silliness
Class roundtable discussion
Acting out scenes from Player Piano
Can you feel the drama?
Alumni panel with SK alumni + parents and SK eighth graders + parents
Middle school snow tubing trip to Hawk Island
week of 1/8/18
During this unexpectedly short week back, students returned to their exercises using the Arduinos. They are learning to use various components (and combinations of components) in order to a) better understand the capabilities of the Arduinos and b) better understand how each component works in order to use them, potentially, with the robots that they’ll be building in the near future.
On Wednesday, Sarah (one of our wonderful parents) took the class on a tour AVL Automotive to show us how engines are tested and data is collected. Sarah, along with three other SK parents, will be advising teams of students as they start building their robots.
We also returned to Player Piano. In pairs, students are focusing on one specific chapter in order to identify key plot developments, character developments, themes, and settings. They will present their chapters to the class next week.
week of 1/15/18
This week saw us finally get into the assembly of our Arduino Robots. For all of Tuesday afternoon, four wonderful parent volunteers came in and worked with small group of students on the assembly of a 2-wheel drive, obstacle avoiding, autonomous robot. On Thursday, we welcomed the sixth graders for their Move Up Day. The sixth graders got to experience a typical day in the 7-8, including PE, Latin, math, and class presentations on chapters from Player Piano.
One of the other highlights of our week was when the 8s “moved up” to kindergarten. Val and her sweet Ks welcomed the eighth graders and taught them how to play all sorts of games. It was a joy to see all of the kids engaged with one another and we hope to do it again soon.
week of 1/22/18
This week, students have been working to finish building their robots and start uploading code. They also researched everyday ways that robots are being employed (in the military, to do household chores, and to deliver products, for example). Their particular areas of research interest will drive the next portion of their projects in that the tasks that the identified in their research will be related to the design tasks that they will program their robot to complete.
In Player Piano, students presented their chapter summaries to the class. We also read a key chapter aloud together in order to delve deeper into the themes of the novel and to prepare for their upcoming final writing assignment. Students will finish the novel within the next few weeks.
In Our Whole Lives, students have been discussing topics related to gender identity and sexual orientation. On Monday, we’ll welcome a panel from the University of Michigan’s Spectrum Center to talk with us about their experiences as young LGBTQ people. As such, this week, students spent time preparing questions and familiarizing themselves with related vocabulary and concepts in order to make the panel as meaningful and engaging as possible.
week of 1/29/18
This week, students continued to work on their robots. At this point, all robots are done with the construction phase and have entered the trouble-shooting phase. They are working to upload the code in order to get their robots moving properly. Often, the problems they are working to solve are related to loose wires or connections that had come un-soldered.
In Player Piano, students acted out a pivotal chapter in small groups in order to deepen their understanding of the primary conflicts of the story. They’ll finish the book in the next few weeks and begin to write their final responses.
On Thursday, we welcomed Dave from Homeland Solar to teach us about solar energy. Dave is our school mentor for the Solar Schools contest that students will be entering once we finish our robot project.
We spent Friday at Hawk Island with the 5-6s. We tubed down the hill, rode the “magic carpet” up the hill, made s’mores, drank hot cocoa, and had a wonderful time.