Science Always Starts With a Question …
Wednesday, December 5, 2018
I want to thank you all for attending parent/teacher conferences. I realize it’s a whirlwind meeting, however, it is so important to touch base and chat face-to-face. As we move through the year, please reach out if you have questions or simply want to check in. When we’re all on the same page student-teacher-parent life is much smoother!
Earth Unit Introduction:
If you’ve followed along on Twitter**, you’ve noticed we have started a new unit, Dynamic Earth, our second unit. There is a constructivist theme to the unit as students began by looking at maps of the earth over its history to search for patterns and predict how the continents could have moved over time. Each day, students have been learning a new piece to the puzzle. They are now investigating Earth’s internal structure and processes to explain the occurrence of earthquakes and the formation of surface features such as young mountains and volcanoes. Examining the relationship between Earth’s interior and exterior systems is a key part of understanding how the Earth has developed over its history. by utilizing online geology resources, and National Geographics MapMaker Interactive the students discovered -
Most earthquake epicenters and volcanoes are located in the same geographic areas on earth’s surface, plate boundaries
The type of interaction between plates and the relative density seems to determine what kind of geographic features are found at those
The students will continue to strengthen their skills of observations vs. inferences, making predictions/hypothesis, analyzing data, and communicating experimental findings to help them explore the ideas of Unit Two.
Important learning activities that will drive this unit are:
Map investigations of Pangea maps vs. present-day maps, as well as ocean floor maps indicating crustal ages, maps that show fossil evidence, and maps that indicate earthquake and volcano locations
Calculating the density of Earth materials to identify the layer of origin
Exploring heat transfer - applying this to the movement of the interior of the earth through conduction and convection and drawing connections between the movement in the interior of the earth to the movement on the exterior of the earth
Plotting locations on a map using lat/long coordinates – comparing maps of the location of earthquakes and volcanoes to the maps of earth’s tectonic plates
Drawing connections between the movement in the interior of the earth to the movement on the exterior of the earth – and the effects it has (earthquakes, mountains, volcanoes)
**Don't have a Twitter account, simply click on the shared Google folder, 2018-19_TMS and take a look at the classroom happenings!
October 25, 2018
• EverFi Endeavors STEM Career Exploration
If you haven’t heard, all iSTEM Science students have a long-term science project due on November 7, which was assigned on October 9. Students have had some class time to work on it, however, this project is mostly considered an independent project outside of class.
As I spoke to you on Back to School Night, one additional focus being incorporated into the NGSS driven curriculum is for students to be given opportunities to explore different STEM careers to get an idea of the possibilities and to spark their interest. Within the EverFi platform, students are engaged with interactive content that reinforces key STEM skills while discovering some of the exciting STEM opportunities that await. But, EverFi also offers up real-world information about how technology (other than screens) is used to make products that can or do influence their everyday life.
Students explore four modules - Designing Ultimate Prototypes, Perfect Playlist, Home of the Future, and Medical Machines. Each module takes about 30 minutes to complete. There is a 10 question test at the end of each module and students can see their grade immediately. If understanding isn’t achieved the first time, students may redo the modules as many times as they would like until November 7th. At that time, the highest grade for each module will be inputted into my grade book. This is a 20 point project grade, each module is worth 5 points.
Last Friday in class I went over some hints and tips for students including:
1. The program does read to you if you have your volume up.
2. You should reread to make sure you understand.
3. You can take notes on a separate piece of paper as you are doing the module.
4. When you take the 5 question pre-test, you should make a note of the questions because those 5 questions are usually on the post-test.
5. If you are going to redo the test at the end, go back and review in the module, do not just open it and guess at the questions again.
6. A vocabulary sheet is available to help them, you simply need to ask Ms. Renick.
Please remind your student to do a little bit each day.
• OnCourse Check 👍 … the end of the marking period is fast approaching. Each week my science students have been asked to check their ‘Academic History’ link and look over their assignment grades and my comments, which can be located in two places, 1) Academic History, and 2) on the document itself.
This week your student should have brought home a Quarter 1 Progress Report with a grade reflection attached. It was his/her job to look over and indicate any work missing or needing improvement. As per the syllabus, students are entitled to two 2nd Chance Learning opportunities each marking period in science, however, I often ask students to iterate classwork assignments to gain a better understanding of course content. If you have any questions about your student’s progress please reach out.
• L.U.N.E.R. Eggs-Prize Engineering Design Challenge
What a fabulous deviation from the curriculum to recognize World Space Week 2018. Simply the idea of space exploration ignited a curiosity and motivated students to take on the real-world of protecting a payload from planetary descent and landing with the intent of exploration. Although yes, it was a competition amongst all three 6th-grade teams - Cyclones, Hurricanes, and Tornadoes, the focus was on reinforcing the engineering design process (specifically planning and design) and teamwork collaboration and communication. In all aspects, it was a success… the proof is in the photos, so take a look -
iSTEM 6th Gr. Science L.U.N.E.R. Eggs-Prize Challenge
iSTEM 6th Gr. Science L.U.N.E.R. Eggs-Prize Challenge
• CER – Claims, Evidence, and Reasoning
The students are continuing to focus on strengthening their observation skills. The focus has been on slowing down, observing in ‘chunks’ instead of always as a ‘whole’, using our senses (all but taste) and being specific. We’ve learned that observing is easier than reasoning – the proof why the evidence supports the claim. For example, many classrooms have posters on the wall, so having posters isn’t evidence of a specific type of classroom. However, posters depicting the Engineering Design Process directly connect to the Next Generation Science Standards, which have been implemented by the state of New Jersey and HVRSD, thus support the claim that C-15 is an iSTEM science room; a stronger piece of evidence than simply a placard indicating science room on the outside of the door.
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September 22, 2018
→ Hurricane Florence couldn’t have picked a better time… what better way for a science teacher to start the school year off than with relevant news, and lots of it? There were five named storms in the first two weeks of September, three of which became hurricanes – Florence, Helene, and Isaac. In the Pacific, the strongest storm of the season, Typhoon Mangkhut, developed and caused extensive damage in the northern Philippines and southeastern China. Real events spark thought-provoking questions and allow for some insightful observations. Woohoo, the year is off and running!
→ I’m looking forward to meeting everyone Tuesday, September 25th at TMS’s Back to School Night on, however, before then a few ‘housekeeping’ items…
If you haven’t done so already,
please review TMS’s Student Behavior Agreement with your child, sign and have your child return it by Monday.
Read and discuss the Renick iSTEM Science Syllabus with your child. Then sign, and have your child return it by Tuesday.
The Cyclones Team would like to show some team spirit with a team shirt for this year’s Triple T Day (aka - Timberlane Teamwork Tasks), Cyclone Team Days and field trips. Fifteen students created and submitted designs, the students voted, and Phoebe Gunn’s design was the winner - Congratulations Phoebe! Order forms were passed out on Friday. We will submit the order to Aztec Graphics, a local company, on Friday, September 28th. All students will receive a t-shirt; if the cost of $9.10 is a hardship, please contact me.
I’m looking forward to a fabulous year of learning!
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Ms. Renick's 2018 Summer Learning
Privileged to have been selected for Texas A&M G-Camp. Over 18 days, I traversed Texas, New Mexico and Colorado with 35 educators and 7 professors, all passionate and motivated to identify the processes that form and shape the surface of the Earth with the end goal being to create virtual field trips and inquiry-based activities to take back to the classroom.