The month of September flew by, but not without some highlights! For AJA students, September is a time to re acclimate to the school routine and reflect on both our academic and spiritual goals as we enter the High Holidays.
Our trip to Nature’s Classroom was a blast. The diverse experiences included: exploring, writing and performing myths; dissecting lampreys, collecting and examining insects, physics experiments, refugee simulations, building fire from an ember, food waste education, ecology hikes, outdoor games, and much more.
Middle School Students came together on Tuesday to decorate the Sukkah with their artwork.
8th Grade SCIENCE
With our first unit, Science Skills, behind us, the students are more than ready to charge forward with Chemistry. This week we were introduced to the properties of matter, distinguishing between elements, compounds, and mixtures. The students are presently engaged in a lab where they are using various techniques such as decantation, filteration, and evaporation to separate a mixture.
Due to the Holidays and the fact that two out of three science classes are on Thursday and Friday, progress is slow this month; however, Ã‚Â moving forward in the coming weeks, the students will tackle chemical and physical changes, phase changes, conservation of mass, and gas behavior.
The teacher panels allowed the students to further refine their ideas. Each student has been assigned a mentor for the year and has begun creating an implementation guide, a year-long timeline to carry out the project. The students have set up their Blogs on which they will be reporting their weekly progress. Research is an integral part of this process. The students are using Evernote and RSS feeds to manage and organize their research. In lieu of Portfolio Day, the eighth graders will pitch their ideas with a TED talk!
6th Grade Science
The sixth grade students were very excited to begin their new unit: Astronomy. Our focus was: The universe is BIG, FAST, FAR, AND OLD. To wrap our brains around the size of our solar system, we reduced the sizes (diameters) and distances of each of the planets by a billion, finding foods to represent each planet. For example, Saturn was a cantaloupe, while Earth was a grape. Then we calculated the distances from the sun. On the field, we measured the distances of only Mercury, Venus, and Earth from the sun. The children realized that Pluto is not only the size of a grain of rice using our scale, but also 4 miles away!
*Our field trip to UT’s Heliostat is rapidly approaching on October 28th. I will need two drivers in addition to myself for this short excursion. If you are available that morning, please let me know
6th Grade Math
Presently the students in sixth grade are immersed in an Introduction to Pre-algebra. These concepts are brand new to many of the students but will lay the foundation for algebra in the coming years. Our exam for this unit will be October 22. Following this unit we will tackle decimals!
Remember, a wonderful resource for homework help is
The sixth grade course is Course One: 2007