Middle School Student Newsletter, 11/22/19
November 22, 2019
These past two weeks have been packed with fun and exciting events in Middle School!
First up, Peace Night! Following up from the preview, Peace Night was a success, and each group did an amazing job. Representatives from the URI Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies were able to attend, and afterwards they wrote a piece that can be found on their website. Thank you so much to all of the parents, students, family, friends, and everyone who was able to attend Peace Night. Your ideas, opinions and beliefs are highly valued and we appreciate your participation. Good job Middle School, you all did amazing! We hope you all had a fun time and learned something new.
The day after Peace Night, on Wednesday, November 13, we traveled to the URI Memorial Union to partake in some more Leadership work. We talked about different people who were/are leaders in bringing about change, then split into two groups to choose a leader to focus on. Each group chose a strong person who embodies Peace and Nonviolence, and then we wrote about what we thought their strengths and their defining qualities were. For example, one of the groups looked at Gandhi, choosing the qualities of trustworthy, open-minded, strong-willed, teamplayer and more. Then, each group was asked to transfer those qualities into the categorized strengths that were summarized by the Strengths Explorer test. Middle School students chose the qualities of presence, future thinker and caring for Gandhi. This exercise deepened our thinking about the power of working from strengths and how each person’s different strengths can be used in powerful ways.
In science, we very recently dissected earthworms. We learned about the differences between a worm and a human, beyond the no-bones concept. It was very interesting to learn about the multiple different “hearts” (aortic arches) that worms have, as well as the main nerve connecting to the “brain” (ganglia), and very, very long small intestine. Worms also have a very unique digestion system that actually helps in the process of making soil. Overall we had a really fun time.
Boston's Museum of Science
More recently we hopped on the bus again to travel to the Boston Museum of Science! Following our latest science unit, we went to the Body Worlds exhibit and saw all of the amazing functions in our body. The Body Worlds exhibit is a sequence of rooms filled with different parts of the body that are plasticised. Plasticism preserves organs and other body parts for display. At the Body Worlds exhibit, there are plasticised bodies showing the functions of organs and muscles. We saw things like brains, hearts, blood vessels, lungs, bones, muscles, and so much more. We had a few extra minutes so we wandered over to the What I Eat exhibit, which was a series of photos from around the world showing people’s daily diet/calorie intake. After that we explored the Science in the Park exhibit, a hands on area exploring the science and physics of the world. We explored things like balancing weights on a seesaw, the nail of beds concept, energy in different light bulbs, and many other surprising concepts. Overall, everybody loved the museum and we all had so much fun!
Last week we traveled on the Quest bus for a day of workshops at Inly Montessori school in Scituate, Massachusetts. The visit was a follow up on a Montessori conference we attended there last year and an effort to build on our relationship with this other New England-based Montessori middle school. We experienced a day of workshops, the first called “The Game of Life.” This was an active simulation that mirrored real life, with colored bead necklaces determining your “class.” There were stations to help you move throughout the game, such as a housing department, an education department, a clothing/item store, a bank, a jail, so on and so forth. There were four classes, ranging from red to gold. Each beaded necklace was hidden inside a folder, so everything was random. The red necklaces represented the lowest class, therefore they were treated with little respect and didn’t get anywhere unless given support from another player. The blue necklaces came next, and they represented the lower middle class. They had to push to get what they wanted, but were still disrespected, however they were able to get somewhere on their own. After the blue came green. Green beads were upper middle class, and they were able to cut lines, get a good education, a good house, a good job and really make life enjoyable. At the top of the chain was gold, and gold people got into amazing colleges, sometimes for free, they cut any and all lines, creating a huge amount of wealth in the short time we were all given. Once we were done, we had a chance to talk about the dynamics of the activity and qualities of the game that were realistic and unrealistic reflections of real life.
After The Game of Life we had lunch, then played some other games that explored self identity and this is interwoven with social dynamics. We then split into two groups to talk about how social media affects our lives. One group watched a video, talked, and had an in-depth discussion of safe social media use. The other group looked at statistics around the risks and benefits of social media. They discussed how parents should teach their kids about social media, and how we as adolescents should and shouldn’t be using social media as we interact with the world around us. The Inly trip was educational and inspiring, and we hope to host the Inly Middle School sometime in the spring.
Have a great Thanksgiving break,
-Sydney C., Middle School News Correspondent