Sunday, July 12, 2015

STEM 6/7/8 Pluto... finally we get a look and participate in history

On Wednesday July 14th at 7:49:58 Eastern Time, the Horizons Spacecraft will make its closest approach to Pluto (8000 miles).  The planetary science that will come as a result of this mission will be very informative and will help to further our understanding of our solar system and the region known as the Kuiper Belt.  This mission was launched in 2006 and has taken 9 years and traversed a distance of over 4 billion miles.  The science and technology that has made this mission possible is now possibly outdated.  The next mission will require new technologies and scientific knowledge that   is now on the precipice of today.  The link to an interesting article about he New Horizons mission is below.  Please read and keep current on this history making planetary event.  Post a comment to verify your participation.

New Horizons Mission to Pluto

Monday, June 15, 2015

STEM 7/8 Summer Prep Work

The school year has finally come to an end and the summer fun can begin.  It is also a time for prepping for what comes next.  In your 8th grade year, you will be given the opportunity to work with some new technology that will allow teams to create a wide variety of interesting "things".  These things will be powered by a small computer called a Raspberry Pi.  The software language that we will be working with when we program these Pies is called Python.  You are asked to work from a website called Codecademy.  On this site you will work at your own pace to complete the course on how to program Python.  This is a 13 hour course that can be done in your own time.  Having completed this course before the start of school will greatly increase your knowledge and skills at programming and being able to use the Raspberry Pi for upcoming projects.  Another cool piece technology that we will be exploring this upcoming year will be "littlebits".  These magnetic modules allows you to create numerous devices to solve problems and create solutions to possible challenging tasks.  Make sure to check out the website to  learn more about these cool devices that we will have in the classroom this coming fall.


Raspberry Pi

MAGPI Magazine 


Thursday, June 4, 2015

Innovators 7/8 Nature Connections Summer Work

The Summer time is finally upon us!  School is dismissed and the fun of hot summer days and cool summer nights beckons us to be outdoors to enjoy the warm summer months.  This is also an ideal time to observe and explore nature.  Many of you will be taking trips or going to places that you often do not go to during the school year.  So take some time and put on your naturalist cap and explore your surroundings.

Nature Connection Assignments

  • Nature Notes (2 x a week total 8 a month)  Nature Connections: Nature Notes Download
  • Picture of the Month pgs 171, 187, 205
  • The Summer Solstice (Read and observe for understanding pgs 172-173
  • Bugs are a Big Deal (Read for understanding) pgs 178-179 collect one bug from each Family on pg 179
  • Feathering their Nests (Read for understanding) pgs 182-183 Try to do the Helping out activity.
  • What is a Butterfly?  What's a Moth? pgs 192-193
  • How Does Your Garden Grow? (Read for undersatnding) pgs 194-195
  • More Fun in the Garden. pgs 196-197
  • Life underneath pgs 200-201
  • Search for Water pg 212
  • How do you use Water? pg 213
  • Keep a Vacation Journal pgs 216-217 (Choice of makeing a physical Cabinet  or a virtual cabinet).
  • Sleeping under the Stars pgs 218-219

Friday, May 8, 2015

The Genetics of the Bot-Family

Our study of the inheritance of genes concludes with the creation of the "Bot-Family" photos.  The creation of your Bot family was an exercise in gene transfer and the expression of genetic traits.  Your task is to give a bit of family history on your "Bot Family" based on their geno- and phenotypes.  Discuss mutations that may have been expressed by the parents and possiblly inherited by the children.  Include your opinion on how this activity has helped to reinforce our learning and understanding of genetics and inheritance.   

Friday, May 1, 2015

Innovators 6/7/8 May Nature Connections

The month of May in the Northern Hemisphere is a time of growth and continual change.  Spring is now in full bloom and green has now become the unofficial color of the outdoors.  The pollen from the various flowers and trees is continuing to swirl and causing the occasional sneeze.  The baby birds are hatched and learning the various skills of life before they leave the nest for the final time.  Many of the pollinators such as honey bees, butterflies and even humming birds are busy tending to the flowers to help the pollination process move along.  May is a fantastic month to view nature and be in the outdoors!

May Nature Connection Assignments

  • My Nature Notes (2 a week, 8 a month), pg 153
  • Go on a Nature Quest pg 154
  • Picture of the Month pg 155
  • Learning your Local Birds pg 160-161
  • Spring Hay Fever (Read for information) pg 162-163  

My Nature Notes worksheet download  

Friday, April 17, 2015

Innovators/6 Static Electricity

Static electricity is something you have all experienced - maybe by accident or maybe on purpose. Watch the following video and visit the following websites to find out more information on this topic. You will be given a worksheet on which you will need to record your answers to the questions proposed.

Monday, April 13, 2015

STEM/7 Fruit Flies and Heredity

Our study of genetics and heredity has lead us to discover the importance of how genes and traits are passed on from one generation to the next.  Eukaroytic organisms use DNA as the blueprint to pass on these genes which are expressed as traits that we can identify by looking at the physical characteristics of that particular organism.  The use of the fruit fly has enabled scientists to study the passing of genes from one generation to the next through selective breeding.  the simplicity of this procedure has allowed us to do the same type of genetic experiments in the class with our own population of fruit flies.  This experience will allow us to see first hand the importance of genetic inheritance and the affects of mutation on the genome.  An article entitled "The Fly People Make History With The Fruitful Fruit Fly", addresses the use of the fruit fly and the importance of it in the scientific realm of genetics.  Based on the reading, comment on the following questions;

  • What claims does the author make for using the fruit fly for genetic studies?
  • Why do scientists use these "model organisms" to help understand human genetics?
  • Describe the fruit fly's attractive characteristics that makes it suitable for genetic study?
  • What is the "Homebox"?  What is its importance in the realm of genetics?
  • How does your study of the transferring of genes through selective breeding help you better understand who you are as a human and as part of your family?