Friday, December 14, 2018

Image result for holly and wreath

     This eclectic edition of my blog will contain images from our busy weeks between Thanksgiving and the Christmas break. Sixth, seventh, and eighth graders are busy readying the final steps for their ScienceEXPO experiments. Our fifth grade students are almost finished with their ecosystem projects and will soon begin constructing their biome models on the Middle School floor near the elevator.

Enjoy the pictures of our very active students and I wish you all the very best this holiday season...Merry Christmas!

The 5th Grade collaboratively researched organisms to make an accurate and intricate food web that included producers, 1st order, 2nd order and 3rd order consumers, including some apex predators, as well as decomposers. It was very well done!

On Pajama Day, which raised funds for CHOP, the 5th Grade measured how energy is passed along from producers to 3rd order consumers in a pond ecosystem. Obviously, they were very chill that day!

The 7th Grade investigated the difference between osmosis and diffusion across a selectively permeable membrane in the lab as they continued their study of how cells work.

The 8th Grade used their "Smarties" to practice electron orbital loading as they worked on atomic structure and why elements are located on the Periodic Table where they are.

Grade 6 researched the Earth's Major Systems and worked collaboratively to create infographic posters on the interactions between the atmosphere, biosphere, geosphere, and hydrosphere.

They were also busy with school-wide service projects and leading an Advent prayer service for the entire community...well done!

The entire student body, faculty, and staff are supporting The Providence Center, a Holy Child Mission, this holiday season and the 7th grade wrote this jingle to raise awareness here at HCA about the on the link below to see them in action!

Remember, skills are built, not born. Keep working hard!

Merry Christmas to all!

Friday, November 16, 2018

Middle School Science - November 2018

     Grade 6 finished their unit on Natural Resources investigating the 3 R's - Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. They collected and reused common materials (except glass and cans) that are collected by local communities as part of municipal recycling programs and used those items to create 3R City! The class did a great job of collaborating and communicating with each other while they came up with different ideas and their final creation! They also made a repurposed spokesperson to accompany 3R City in the Middle School elevator area for the rest of the school to enjoy.

Grade 5 took a deep dive into chlorophyll and photosynthesis. The class gathered various leaves from our campus and extracted the chlorophyll by pressing the leaves onto coffee filters. Then they performed some liquid chromatography over two days to discover what colors of chlorophyll were in the leaves they collected. Various shades of green, yellow, red, purples, and orange were discovered in green leaves!

The 7th Grade began their study of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. They compared plant cells to animal cells and learned about cell organelles, their structure, function, and location. They will use the microscope to compare and contrast plant and animal cells before Thanksgiving break. One of the really fun activities they performed was making cell cake models. Each student was responsible for bringing in something tasty that resembles their assigned organelle (special thanks to Taylor and Ryan for making the, cells!). We had a great time decorating the cake while reinforcing our knowledge about each organelle in the cells. But I think the students will all agree that the best part was eating their cell creations at the end of class!

Grade 8 investigated changing states of matter using several computer simulations in class. They learned that water melts and freezes at the same could that be? They know! They used a phase change graph to model the different states of matter and how energy changes with each phase. Our eldest class also investigated the proportional relationships of two gas laws: Boyle's Law and Charles' Law. With calculators at the ready, they developed an understanding of how temperature, pressure, and volume have an effect on the behavior of gasses.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Middle School Science

Grade 8 has been working on becoming familiar with common metric conversions that would come in handy on a trip elsewhere in the world...converting from C to F and back for temperature, KM to miles and back for distance, KG to pounds and back for mass, and L to gallons and back for volume will help them converse with the rest of the world! They also worked on the accuracy and interpretation of measurements.

Quizlet "LIVE" is always a fave!

Our 8th grade has also been studying atomic structure as well as the properties of matter, delving into density equations, floating vs sinking, and types of mixtures: homogeneous vs heterogeneous mixtures, solutions, colloids, and suspensions. Next up is physical vs chemical properties and their changes, states of matter and atomic behavior, the Gas Laws, and more!

Grade 7 also worked on the accuracy of measurements, how to use a microscope and gain expertise in all their parts, wet-mount slide making, characteristics and needs of life, cell theory, and human anatomy (namely, the skeletal system). They move on to cell structure and organelle function, osmosis and diffusion, and genetics shortly.

Grade 6 has been investigating natural resources, including the costs and benefits of using fossil fuels as well as various types of alternative energy. They recently learned in the lab some of the difficulties of cleaning up an oil spill and how it affects both biotic and abiotic factors. 6th graders also began their first foray into ScienceEXPO by deciding on their projects.

Grade 5 has continued their exploration of ecosystems by creating a Google Slides slideshow about changes occurring in ecosystems. They identified changes large and small, natural or man-made, and changes that can be slow or fast. They were very creative and did a great job with accurate examples of each. They also examined populations and species with creative posters and an owl pellet lab! They collected data on pellet size, found the class averages for mass and length, and made tables and graphs for each. The 5th grade also had great fun finding the remains of different prey barn owls feast upon from the Pacific Northwest.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Middle School Science September 2018 - College Settlement

The new year has gotten off to a great start! The highlight has been our annual trip to The Outdoor School at College Settlement (OSCS). The trip was early this year but it didn't take anyone by surprise. The 5th grade learned many new environmental terms and quickly put them to use in the field. Our 6th graders were excited to return and show their Middle School classmates the ropes in Horsham!

The weather forecast wasn't the best, and we needed to go inside for a bit, but our students made the best of it. We weren't the least bit deterred by a few (heavy) rain showers during the team building activities that afternoon.

"We powered through the rain even when it was pouring and used teamwork when we did the challenges that no one could do by themselves." - Sophia

Each activity was led by an expert teacher naturalist (TN) and the mixed-grade groups of students learned to work together to achieve fun yet challenging group goals. Each activity was followed up with a debrief by the TN to emphasize what the groups did well and how they could improve. The challenges were thoroughly enjoyed by all...

"We got to go outside all the time and they teach you in a way that makes it fun!" - Grant


"The 10-foot wall was about gaining trust in people and helping out. I also learned the different types of trees and vegetables...I think it is a PHENOMENAL experience for kids! :)" - Alexis

The 5th and 6th grade boys outside their cabin

"The night hike was fun even though we could sometimes use a flashlight...and the campfire was fun because we sang songs and people did skits." - Ayinde

Exploring the organic crops at neighboring Pennypack Farm with a special visitor, Dr. Kellich.

"I enjoyed eating fresh veggies and knowing what went into growing them." - Rachel

The TN's led small groups in lessons about natural succession, tree identification, organic agriculture, and the rock wall. Students could also select areas of particular interest to them during Option Time such as archaeology, feeding farm animals, practicing campfire skits, or fishing (a solid 2-lb. bass caught by Molly!).

"I liked the night hike because it made us see the outdoors in a different way." - Charlotte

Students learned how much energy is put into the production, transportation, and preparation of the food we eat at every meal. We were challenged to only take what we could eat at each of our meals. Uneaten food on our plates was collected and weighed. The total weight was then displayed by the Wastemasters. We did a great job with not wasting food and had ZERO waste at breakfast on Thursday...Great job, everyone!!!

We planted a tree in honor of our visit and named it Ella, after Karl's grandmother who recently passed away. Each student added a handful of soil to the hole where the yellow birch was planted. We then sang Happy Birthday to the tree!

We ate our final lunch there and when our parent drivers arrived, to whom we are most appreciative,
we then departed for home, tired but grateful for another wonderful experience at OSCS...see you again next year!

"It was one of the most fun trips I have ever been on...I can't wait to go back next year!" - Molly

SEASON'S GREETINGS!      This eclectic edition of my blog will contain images from our busy weeks between Thanksgiving and the Chr...