Category: Science

Retaking Today’s Earthquake Quiz

Dear Parents,

Today in class, students took a quiz in a service called Socrative to show what they know about earthquakes.

Many students either didn’t complete the quiz or earned a grade they weren’t proud of.

To help with that, ALL students can rework the quiz if they would like. It will be posted again in Socrative at 2:00 PM today.

Reworks must be completed by Friday. There will be no class time provided to complete this task, so it is homework.

Students ARE allowed to use our classroom’s yellow science textbook, the Discovery Education Science Techbook and/or Google while completing the quiz. It is an "open book/resource" test. They may also work with a classmate if they have a neighbor who is in our class.

Hope this helps,

Bill Ferriter

Science Update

Dear Parents,

First, I wanted to say thank you again for sharing REMARKABLE kids with us. This week, we rolled up our sleeves and worked pretty darn hard and fast and your kids hung with me. They were positive and polite and happy and that’s incredibly cool to me. I appreciate them.

Second, here’s what’s happening in class:

(1). We have started our lithosphere unit. That unit introduces students to the constantly changing nature of the earth’s crust. Your kids should be able to tell you more about the tectonic plates that make up the surface of the earth. They should also be able to tell you more about the origins of earthquakes, mountains and volcanoes. Finally, they should be able to tell you a little about the three main types of rocks and how plate boundaries help in their formation.

(2). We are going to study earthquakes and soil this week. Earthquakes are important in our unit of study because they are the primary way that we learn more about the interior of the earth. Soil is important primarily because it provides us with plant growth — which is essential for both food production and for cleaning our air of dangerous levels of carbon. Students will learn more about how soils are formed, why they are important, and what they are made of.

(3). Once we are done with our study of earthquakes and soil, we will move on to our space unit — which is the final unit in our curriculum. The space unit covers two main concepts: How do the earth, moon and sun interact with each other to cause things like seasons and tides and what are the characteristics of habitable planets. Kids are always completely fascinated by the space unit, so that should be a lot of fun.

(4). REMEMBER THAT YOUR KIDS SHOULD BE STUDYING FOR THE EOG EXAM: The science End of Grade Exam is probably the hardest exam that your kids will take this year. That’s because it includes 35 fact driven questions that come from the entire year’s worth of instruction. Remembering 35 isolated facts from 7 different units is REALLY hard for sixth graders to do. To prepare, your students should be using the Brainpop EOG review sheet posted in Google Classroom. I think they should spend 30-40 minutes two or three times every week in order to be best prepared to succeed on that end of grade exam. Please ask your child how many times they have studied so far.

(5). To free up time for studying, I will not be giving any other homework between now and the end of the year. All work that we start in class will be finished in class. My hope is that this will help both you and your child to find time for studying for the EOG using Brainpop.

Hope this helps,

Bill Ferriter

Science Update

Dear Parents,

Here’s what’s happening in Science right now:

We are finishing our ecosystems unit: On Monday, we will take our unit test. I think your kids will crush it. It’s a unit that resonates with them and that they have a bunch of previous experience with.

We are starting our lithosphere unit: On Tuesday, we will start studying the lithosphere. That unit covers the layers of the earth and the impact that the movement of the earth’s crustal plates have on the surface of the planet. We will be looking at things like types of rocks, soil formation, and the reasons behind earthquakes and volcanoes.

End of Grade Science Review Sheet Handed out Monday or Tuesday: Perhaps the most important thing happening in the immediate future is your students will get a Brainpop Review Sheet for the Science End of Grade Exam. It includes a list of videos in Brainpop — a service that all students have access to — that is sorted by our units of study.

I HIGHLY encourage students to work through the review sheet in the next month before our end of grade exams begin. The science EOG is by far the most challenging for kids because it has 35 questions covering isolated facts from the entire curriculum. It is difficult for kids to remember those facts without doing review — and Brainpop is the easiest, most direct way to prepare.

Let me know if you have any questions — and thank you for your kids. I really enjoy them!

Bill Ferriter

Science Update

Dear Parents,

Here’s a quick update about what’s happening in Science Class:

(1). We started our ecosystems unit: This unit is one of the easiest units for kids because they have studied ecosystems in other grade levels already. We review familiar concepts like food chains and energy pyramids. We also look at common cycles in nature — the water cycle, the carbon cycle and the nitrogen cycle. Finally, we study the parts of flowering plants that help them to survive, thrive and reproduce and we look at photosynthesis and cellular respiration.

(2). Your kids should be able to answer two questions today: If you ask your students, they should be able to tell you two things today: Why do human beings breathe in oxygen and why do plants breathe in carbon dioxide. Both of those questions are connected to photosynthesis and cellular respiration — and while kids often have general answers like, "We need oxygen to live," your kids should have specific details about how we use oxygen to help us survive.

(3). Lab due tomorrow / paragraph due on Friday: Your students have two tasks due for me this week. The first is a plant dissection lab. That’s due tomorrow. The second is a paragraph answering this question: Are plants nature’s most ingenious creation? That is due on Thursday. There’s been plenty of class time to tackle those tasks — so your kids might say they completed the work at school. If they are hard workers, that’s totally possible.

Hope this helps,

Bill Ferriter

Fresh Cut Flowers Needed MONDAY for Science Lab!

Dear Parents,

Starting next Monday (February 26th), we will be studying the parts of flowering plants. Doing so is ALWAYS more fun when we can actually look at flowering plants!

Would you be willing to pick up a bundle of cut flowers from the local grocery store or Sam’s Club and send it in for us to study?

If so, here’s a link to a Signup Genius:

http://www.signupgenius.com/go/904054eaeaf2ea20-fresh1

The types of flowers inside the bundle is not SUPER important — although Trader Joe’s has some Alstromeria right now that would be GREAT. I’d also love a bundle or two of Tulips — which are harder to find this time of the year, but really cool to look at.

If you could send the flowers in on Monday or Tuesday of NEXT week (February 26 or 27), it would be great!

I don’t want them to die over the weekend!

Thanks again,

Bill Ferriter

Science Update

Dear Parents,

Just a quick update on the content we are learning in science right now: We are studying light.

That means we are learning more about the way that color works, the way that light travels, and the way that light interacts with other materials. Your kids should be able to tell you about words like transmission, reflection and absorption. By the end of the week, they should also tell you the similarities and differences between transparent, translucent and opaque objects.

Hope this helps,

Bill Ferriter

Diffraction Glasses Coming Home Today.

Dear Parents,

Just a quick heads up to let you know that your kids are coming home today with diffraction glasses. They LOVE them.

You can learn more about how they work here:

http://64gnomes.blogspot.com/2017/12/hey-gnome-nation-need-proof-that-there_8.html

The reason I wanted you to know about the glasses is to be sure that they don’t stare at the sun — or other insanely bright lights — with their glasses on! The glasses do cool things with white light, but they are not protective — so if your kids look straight into an incredibly bright light with the glasses on, they will feel pain.

As an aside, take the glasses with you when you go look at Christmas lights in the neighborhood. You’ll dig them. And your kid SHOULD be able to explain the science behind the glasses to you all at the same time.

Hope this helps,

Bill Ferriter

Science Update

Dear Parents,

Just a quick update on science happenings:

Finishing up our study of heat: Over the last few weeks, we’ve been studying the way that heat transfers from one object to another. We’ve talked at length about conduction and convection and we will look closer at radiation as we get into our study of light. We are just now finishing up a project focused on conductors and insulators. Your students have designed a container to try to prevent an ice cube from melting.

All of those assignments can be found in Google Classroom. There are also a few fill in the blank handouts that serve as notes for your students. Those notes will come in handy as kids begin to prepare for any assessments that we take on this topic.

Moving into a study of light: Our next mini unit will be a study of light. We will be looking at how light travels, how it is converted into heat, and how colors work. The kids usually dig this mini study simply because light plays a major role in our lives but we don’t often think about exactly what it is or how it works.

There are a bunch of new grades posted in PowerSchools. Your students will be opening up Powerschool in Spartan Time today as a part of their three week grade check-in, so they should have a good sense of the scores that they are making and the ways that they can raise those scores. If you haven’t seen your child’s grades in a while, today would be a good day to ask them about it!

Hope this helps,

Bill Ferriter

New Science Grades Posted

Dear Parents,

A quick heads up: Students took their matter unit test on Wednesday of last week. They also recently submitted a lab on Solubility.

Those grades have been entered in the gradebook. They counted as summative assessments — which are heavily weighted in student averages.

There is a rework opportunity posted for the matter unit test in Google Classroom. Any student who scored less than an 80 on the test is eligible to complete the rework to raise their grade up to an 80.

I will introduce the rework opportunity in class tomorrow.

Hope this helps,

Bill Ferriter

Study for Science Test!

Just a reminder that there is a science test on Wednesday of this week covering all of the content in our Matter Unit.

We have been studying hard in class and will study again tomorrow — but it wouldn’t hurt for students to spend some time studying at home too.

There is both a traditional study guide (with answer key) and a digital Socrative test posted in Google Classroom.

Socrative looks VERY similar to the actual test kids will take on Wednesday. If students can do well on that, they should be able to do well on the actual exam, too.

Hope this helps,

Bill Ferriter