January 10, 2020
Welcome to the first Middle School Newsletter of the new year! My name is Annabel and I will be joining Sydney as the second Middle School correspondent. We will split the responsibilities of writing and editing each week’s newsletter in order to cover all of the amazing events, lessons, and happenings in the Middle School classroom.
Although we’ve only been back in school a week, lots of exciting things have happened in that short timespan. Since wrapping up our recent Humanities unit before winter break, we’ve launched into our next Science block--Physical and Earth Sciences. Tuesday afternoon was the kickoff of our upcoming month-long study, and it was fascinating--in addition to studying the Earth and its origins, we are also set to learn about astronomy, tides, and the different phases of the moon.
After watching a short clip of National Geographic show Cosmos (hosted by Neil Degrasse Tyson), we split off into pairs to assemble our own Cosmic Calendars. Presented by Carl Sagan in 1980, the idea explores the concept of consolidating the universe’s 13.8 billion year evolution into one calendar year. On this calendar, each month is equivalent to 1.13 billion years; a day, to 37.8 million years, and so on and so forth. It is incredibly mind-blowing to realize that on this calendar, humans beings have only existed for a little over 5 seconds!
We also have several new going-outs planned as part of this unit, the first of which took place yesterday morning. We all filed into the Quest bus and drove to the Museum of Natural History and Planetarium at Roger Williams Park, where we were led through a 3-part workshop. The entire experience was fascinating and educational--after watching a 30 minute movie beneath the starry ceiling of the planetarium, we held discussions and completed activities on the topic of our changing earth. In groups we compared precipitation levels of various major cities, identified the fossils of both living and extinct species, and learned about the progression of deforestation in the Amazon Rainforest.
Things have been happening in other areas as well. In math, the 7th years have been learning about probability and odds--in a-not-so-traditional way. After watching a short video of various trick shots, we split into groups to attempt some of these ourselves--while calculating the experimental and theoretical probability of succeeding. This unique method of learning made class really interesting and fun, but also gave us a tangible example of how these skills could be used in real-life.
In other news, the final Farmer’s Market of the year was held three weeks ago in our very own Quest barn. Narrow River Naturals (the middle school microbusiness) was able to sell nearly the entire inventory of beeswax wraps, lotion bars, and candles. In the coming months, Narrow River Naturals also plans to be making pumpkin and other flavored breads, as well as growing microgreens. These will soon be available at school for purchase.
-Annabel R., your (other) Middle School News Correspondent