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Middle School News February 2012

Social Studies

We have transitioned from our Building a Dwelling project into a unit on homelessness.  This fits with the inquiry strand in Social Studies and ties in with our theme of Homes and Habitats.  It also is meant to lead into our next unit on microeconomics.

Students will start the unit off by writing a narrative of a homeless person, which will act as a means to share our own thoughts (and biases) about homeless people.  We will compile information about gender, race, age, and struggles from the narratives and compare them to national averages.

As we go deeper into the unit, we will begin to look at public policy in Ann Arbor and around the country, which will be the basis of a persuasive essay and debate.  The final piece will be a student-run simulation in which parents have to go through a day in the life of a homeless person in Ann Arbor.

Science

Channel 2 News team at Honey Creek Community School will be coming to a viral video near you!  These expert weather scientists will be explaining their local forecast at the guest locations all over the United States.  Using their knowledge about weather/climate conditions, and data collected from those locations, these outgoing and enthusiastic meteorologists will make their mark under a lot of high pressure.

Language Arts

In the month of January we are starting big things!  We have wrapped up the writing of memoirs, and are moving into the study of biography.

This shift also kicks off our multi-genre project for this year.  For this project, each student had to choose a biography or autobiography to read, and in the coming weeks will be producing several genres to represent their study of that person (or cat or horse in some cases).  The multi-genre projects last year were stunning, so I am looking forward to watching these develop.

 

Mathematics

The semester is over, progress reports have gone out, it’s a good time to review the progress your student has made.  If they’re doing well, be sure to tell them; if they’re not, problem solve with them to see how things can be improved for the rest of the year.

In Course 1, February finds us reviewing/learning/and understanding fraction operations.  We will be reviewing addition, subtraction, and some multiplication, and we will be learning (some for the first time) dividing fractions.  A new method that we’ve learned when multiplying fractions and mixed numbers is to use cross canceling.  Many of the kids really like it – because they view it as a shortcut.  Who doesn’t like a good shortcut?  Feel free to ask them about it.

Course 2 just began a unit on Ratios, Rates, and Proportions.  This unit will take much of February as we will incorporate a dilation project with the new material.  Since this year’s theme is Homes and Habitats, I’m thinking about making a castle… you’ll find out at the next Curriculum Celebration.

You may have noticed your Course 3 student filming with friends lately… they just finished up a Problem Solving Video Project.  Overall, they are very creative kids, I enjoyed watching them work.  For February we will be focusing on Exponents and Roots, as well as Percent Problems.

The Algebra students just completed a unit on Linear Functions.  In February, they will be using that knowledge to evaluate Systems of Equations and Inequalities.  This is usually another opportunity for the kids to use what they are learning and apply it to real life – they will be assigned a project using systems of equations to compare and analyze  different companies.

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