Putting the Scientific Method to work

What a fun (and busy!) first Flex Day! Our 6th graders have been learning about the steps a scientist takes to answer questions all week, and today we got to put it to practice! We answered the question “What makes a paper plane fly the farthest?”. The students had to choose a variable to test (size or weight of the plane, position of the weights, wing size, etc), and then build three airplane designs. Two airplanes acted as the experimental groups, with the third plane being a control. We took the planes into the gym to test them. Now to analyze our data!

Our first SOLE!

Today, the 6th graders successfully completed their first SOLE (Self-organized learning environment). The purpose of a SOLE is to have students work in groups to research and answer an open-ended question, with the idea that they would develop skills not only in research, but also in critical thinking and group discussion/problem-solving.  The students were limited to the use of one computer per group, but could use other resources such as the textbook or class handouts. Within the time span of one hour, they are expected to come up with an answer to the question, research to find data to support their position, and put together a presentation defending their choice.  Our question today was inspired by a topic that came up in Social Studies this week: cultural blending. Specifically, “Is cultural blending a good thing or a bad thing?”. Two groups chose to put together a slideshow, and the third group wrote a short skit.

Welcome back!!

We are two days in, and what a great start to the year! The new 6th graders are adjusting to the upper hall, and the 7th and 8th graders are ready to continue being leaders!
7th and 8th grade kicked off science with a fantastic debate on the use of our natural resources – it was great practice actually having to listen to what our “opponents” were saying.

 

The 6th graders are working on their “About Me” fingerprints – I can’t wait to see and show off the finished products!

A Look Back: 2018-2019

Wow! Another year gone. It feels like only a few weeks ago that we were designing and creating our first whole-school design challenge – an 8″x12″ letter S made of plastic tubing and filled with water. Each class was tasked with designing a 3-D letter to spell out MAKERSPACE to christen our brand new makerspace.

A favorite 6th grade experience is always our overnight trip to Camp Christopher in the fall. We had excellent weather, and got to spend two days outside, overcoming some fears and getting to know each other a whole lot better.

Early spring was filled with work on our whole-school OSLN design challenge, which this year centered around food insecurity. The 6th grade chose to focus on the world’s lack of access to clean water. We presented our solution at the school STEM showcase in April, and were selected to send representatives from our class to the statewide showcase in Columbus. I am so proud of their hard work!

The 6th, 7th, and 8th graders enjoyed a “stemmy” day touring LCCC’s FabLab, getting some hands-on welding experience, and taking a look at their CNC machine shop.

We could not have asked for better weather for our trip to one of the Lake Erie Crushers Education days!

A trip to Pittsburgh was an awesome cap to this great year! The kids toured Heinz stadium, took a Three Rivers boat tour, visited the Carnegie Science Center, and got a behind-the-scenes look at the Duquesne Incline. Check out the SJS Facebook page for more pictures of this wonderful trip!

Holy Thursday Retreat

The 6th, 7th, and 8th graders spent Holy Thursday with a mixture of fun and prayerful activities. They began the day weaving paper crosses (inspired by the crosses typically woven from palm fronds). These crosses were then distributed to the student body at the end of the day as a reminder of Jesus’ sacrifice for us.

We lightened things up with some fun “minute to win it” style games, where teams had 60 seconds to complete Easter-egg-themed tasks – things like stacking or balancing plastic eggs, sorting the eggs by color using a straw, and a relay race.

After lunch, the 6th graders learned a little more about the specific events of Holy Week, and worked together to build a 3D model of the city of Jerusalem. Classic art pictures were used to mark important places in the city.

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

The 6th graders celebrated Valentine’s Day by celebrating each other! We broke into groups to build Kindness Towers – towers of note cards on which compliments were written. The students had to write a kind thing about each member of their group (including themselves!) before they were able to build. In addition to the compliment cards, each group was given “act of kindness” cards, where they had to pledge an act of kindness that went above and beyond their daily actions.

Onion DNA

8th grade finished up their chapter on genetics by actually looking at some DNA! Using simple household ingredients, we were able to extract the DNA from an onion. We could only look at the DNA with our eyes, but what we saw was pretty cool, especially when you think about what exactly you’re looking at!

 

Water, water….. everywhere??

The 6th grade did a fantastic cross-curricular activity on our last Flex Day! We were reading in science class about how the water on Earth is divided (97% salt water, 3% fresh water), and decided to make a model to demonstrate this. Our science textbook told us that of the 3% that makes up Earth’s fresh water, 79% of that is frozen in glaciers and ice caps, 21% is groundwater, and only 1% is surface water. They used their mathematics knowledge to figure out what 79% of 3% is, and then how to display that if we use a scale of 100% equaling 10,000mL (or 10L) of water.

We found out that if we used 10,000mL to represent all the water on earth, only 3mL of that would be fresh surface water! That’s not a lot of water!

This activity was also an excellent introduction into our PBL for the year, where we will be attempting to come up with a solution to the world’s clean water crisis. Check back for updates on that front!!

Announcing – The Cast of Annie, Jr.!

The SJS Drama Club is excited to present our musical – Annie, Jr.!

Annie……………………………………….Madeline Jeffries
Molly………………………………………..Audrey Ilcisko
Pepper……………………………………..Mallory Makruski
Duffy………………………………………..Kenna Penhollow
July………………………………………….Audrey Crossan
Tessie………………………………………Gabriella Rimbert
Kate………………………………………..Mia Towne
Miss Hannigan………………………..Amira Sliman
Grace Farrell……………………………Laila Rimbert
Rooster…………………………………….Jake Nagy
Lily………………………………………….Sydney Crossan
Oliver Warbucks………………………Joszef Meszlenyi
Drake………………………………………Matthew Baldwin
Mrs. Greer………………………………Emily Csanady
Mrs. Pugh…………………………………Jenna Roztas
Cecille………………………………………Riley Baker
Annette…………………………………….Lauren Amato
Chauffeur………………………………….Scotty Gendics
Additional Servants …………………Jacob Michalak, Abby Evans, Lily Stewart
Apple Seller……………………………….Jacob Michalak
Officer Ward………………………………Caleb Dittmer
Bert Healy………………………………….Caleb DIttmer
Bundles McCloskey……………………Scotty Gendics
Sandy……………………………………….Bella Bennett
President Roosevelt…………………Jacob Michalak
Louis Howe…………………………………Emily Amato
Star-to-be…………………………………Abby Evans
Dogcatcher…………………………………Lilly Stewart
Cop/Policeman…………………………Scotty Gendics
Usherette………………………………….Emily Amato
Man…………………………………………Jacob Michalak
Passerby…………………………………..Jenna Roztas
Children……………………………Audrey I., Mallory, Kenna, Audrey C., Gabriella, Mia

Merry Christmas!!

On Thursday, SJS celebrated the coming holiday (and the past several months of hard work!) with a Christmas play day! The kids dressed in their comfy Christmas best, we made Christmas crafts, listened to music, and even got some hot cocoa and cookies! What a great way to kick off Christmas Break!

See you January 3rd!