How does water drain through soil?

As part of our study of groundwater, the 7th grade got to model water drainage through different materials. They partially filled a beaker with small pebbles, then topped it off with sand. Then, they poured water into a “sprinkler” over the beaker to simulate rainfall and observed how the water drained through the beaker.

Seeking experts!!

The 6th graders are hard at work narrowing down a final topic for this year’s PBL. We know we want to do something to help solve the issue of single-use plastics, and have narrowed it further to specifically plastic bags and baggies. If you (or anyone you know) have some expertise in the implications of this type of pollution, or know of an organization tackling this issue in search of a partner, please let us know!

Camp Christopher 2019

What a week! Last week the 6th graders got the fantastic opportunity to attend Camp Christopher. This is an overnight trip (a first for many kids!), and gives us a chance to get to know each other a little bit better while experiencing some outdoor education. Some favorite activities included the low-ropes course, the campfire, and the nature hike.

Happy Spirit Day!

Wooooo Go Trojans! To help celebrate our school pride, the 6th grade took some time today to brainstorm some reasons why SJS is so great. We then categorized our list, and the students got into groups. Our goal is to create a short commercial advertising why someone might want to come to SJS!

Using Tools!

7th grade got to get hands-on in science today! We have been learning about the tools a scientist uses, and the 7th graders put that knowledge to use by first finding the mass of an object using a double pan balance. They then used a digital balance to check their work, and had to justify the use of one tool over the other.

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.