The sixth grade has been hard at work in the first month of school. The students are quickly adjusting to the expectations of Middle School. In science, students are watching the “Inner Fish” and making connections to the program with the Theory and Ideas of Evolution. Students will be doing a research project, called “Evolution Revolution.” In social studies, students are exploring the origin of humans by studying early hominids while also developing note-taking and writing skills. Following the Hominid Projects and the Evolution unit in science, the sixth grade will head to the American Museum of Natural History as a culminating experience on October 14. In math, students have completed an introduction to ratios, and they will start studying ratio and proportion soon. Additionally, they are looking at algebra puzzles to help students understand the big ideas of algebra: representation, proportional reasoning, balance, variable, function, and inductive/deductive reasoning. In math 6 advanced and hyper math, students are working through problem sets. The students discuss and present problems to their classmates. In English, the students have been reading a collection of short stories in the Great Books Roundtable, and they have been using these stories to learn discussion strategies and as a foundation for developing their analytical writing. They have been practicing, finding and using textual evidence to support their arguments about the stories. Then, the sixth grade wrapped up a wonderful first month of school last week during our overnight at the SONO Field House and the Maritime Aquarium. Highlights included rock climbing, a behind-the-scenes tour of the fish tanks, and a seal feeding.
On September 26th, the 7th graders participated in the Forced From Home exhibition being conducted in Battery Park by Doctors Without Borders. In this exhibition, students were led on a tour through multiple stations depicting the trials and tribulations the millions of the world’s displaced people currently face. Stations included such themes as the medical treatment of people at DWB facilities, the daily life in a refugee camp, and the perilous journey in search of safety; all of these tours were led by a member of DWB who has participated in real fieldwork across the globe. On September 27th, the 7th grade traveled to the Suez Water Treatment Plant in Haworth, New Jersey. The water treatment plant is the largest ozone filtration plant in the United States and last year delivered about 40.76 billion gallons of water to the local area. On the trip, the students learned about the steps involved in treating the water, visited the lab where water quality tests are conducted, and viewed the control room and filtering site for the plant. Students will be using the information from this trip in an upcoming water quality project that they will be completing in class. Both of these trips highlight how the issues we are learning about in class are making an impact on the world around us.
The 8th grade began the year with an important question: How can we face the challenges of a changing world? Faculty in each of the key disciplines set out to frame this question in their own way. Math teachers challenged their students to solve equations as well as learn how to graph them. English class pushed students to think about courage and write an essay on John Steinbeck’s classic, Of Mice and Men. In Science, students explored how atoms are the building blocks of our universe, while in history class students discovered the impact of the Printing Press on the Reformation and the Scientific Revolution. In the near future, the 8t th graders will take their annual trip to the Freedom Tower and 9/11 museum as well as complete a historical walking tour of lower downtown Manhattan.
Our DIG students are working hard in our two D-E gardens. Recently, they looked at plant lifecycles and learned how to interrupt them — harvesting beans before maturity to keep the plants alive, saving seeds before they self-sow, pulling out dying plants before they decompose, taking pictures of plants at various stages, etc. The best part is the cooking portion. Wonderful aromas drifted through our halls as they cooked eggplant with homemade pesto and tomatoes. Yummy!