Jump into January

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Happy New Year AJA Families!

It was awesome to come back this week to smiling faces and stories of adventure. We have some wonderful learning planned for the second half of year, and I, for one, can’t wait to dive in!

8th Grade Science and Engineering

This month the students were immersed in a study of electricity and magnetism. They worked with circuit boards to develop an understanding of voltage, current, resistance, and power. This week we dive into waves and sound before moving onto chemistry.

Noah is amazed that a charged balloon can divert a stream of water.
Roy and Lue build a circuit to study Ohm’s Law.
Daphna and Ester work together to figure out the multi-meter.
Madi and Daphna determine the electric field of the magnet.



How do you get eleven 8th graders to focus on the board for 10 minutes? A static electricity competition of course!

When the weather cooperates, the 8th grade students roll up their sleeves, grab the power tools and get to work building the putt putt golf course they have designed. After learning about the physics of motion as it applies to various sports, and paying a visit to Austin’s Peter Pan Putt Putt, the students went to work designing, sketching and dimensioning their own mini-golf course. We are especially proud that 90% of the wood is reused! We hope to unveil the finished product at the Mindworks Expo in February.

Ester is awesome with a hammer.


7th Grade Science and PLTW

The seventh grade life science students are presently engaged in a study of heredity and genetics. Using “Crazy Trait Creatures and Chromosomes,” the students are learning about Mendel’s Laws of Inheritance. This week we will jump into DNA replication and protein synthesis, after which the students will engage in a bioethics project regarding gene testing and gene therapy.

Nathan and Yona discuss how to build the chromosomes for their creature.
Nathan exhales carbon dioxide in bromothymol blue during a photosynthesis experiment.
Proud parents!
Constructing chromosomes and modeling meiosis.
Katie, Nathan, Yona and Ben give birth to a beautiful baby boy!

In Design and modeling class, we have spent the month learning to use Autodesk 123D. The students are presently building their puzzle cubes on the program. Moving forward, we will continue to work with CAD programming to dream, design, and build!

6th Grade Science and Engineering

The sixth grade students are putting the finishing touches on their trimester long Project Space Habitat. During the course of this project, the students used the engineering design process to answer the question: What kinds of space habitats can be designed to extend human activity in space? The students were required to draw upon a plethora of understandings regarding physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy, environmental science and engineering. After choosing a suitable location, which range from Venus to Titan, the students each took on an area of expertise; researching, designing and building different aspects of their habitats. I look forward to the presentations which will take place this Tuesday. Don’t worry, you will have the opportunity to learn form these invested students at our Mindworks Expo in February.

Isaac is enjoys using tools to build his designs.
Ethan constructs his module while Noah writes his presentation.
Joey considers how to turn a fish tank into a habitat on Venus.

This week we will turn our attention to inside Earth, learning about waves, continental drift and plate tectonics!

Moving forward in PLTW, the students will be tackling aeronautics and the four forces of flight. They will design airfoils using CAD programs and build gliders to test their designs.