Sunday, February 22, 2015

"We don't see things as they are, but as we are." ~Anais Nin


 Painting by Andrew Wyeth

Welcome back, everybody!  
If you are anything like me, you probably spent February break doing your homework, hanging out with family and friends, doing your homework, eating good food, doing your homework, and sleeping in as much as possible. (Then again, maybe you're not like me. . .)  Anyway, just when you're beginning to get used to this wonderful new schedule. . . 
February break comes to an abrupt end and it's time to get back to school. I bet you're excited, though, huh? Me, too. Really! I'm not just saying that. 

Announcement:  The second trimester ends on Friday, March 6.  
Report cards will go home on the 20th.

ASSIGNMENTS FOR THE WEEK OF
FEBRUARY 23 TO 27



FOR STARTERS--LET'S TALK ABOUT SCIENTIFIC INVESTIGATION

  
We introduced the Scientific Method through a series of observation activities; remember? We explored some way-cool optical illusions and brain-stretching challenges.  There was method to my madness. (Get it?  Method?) You see, "observation" is the cornerstone of scientific inquiry. It's where all investigations begin and is the continuous thread that follows the process to its conclusion.  


FYI: Don't confuse observing with seeing. Scientists don't simply watch, they actively engage in a process of figuring things out--of interpreting and reflecting upon what they experience. Observation is a powerful tool that helps us figure out how the world works. 
When we make observations, our brains immediately begin the process of gathering evidence, organizing ideas, and developing explanations (a.k.a. hypotheses) of a phenomenon. How scientific of us! Of course, then we have to see if we're right (which is the testing part); that's where it gets really interesting! 

So anyway, back to optical illusions. (I did have a point to make here!) They're all about perceptions, right? Well, clearly these perceptions aren't always correct. (Is this man just angry or is he a liar?) Sometimes, to make sense of what we observe, our brains are forced to fill in missing or ambiguous visual information, resulting in, you guessed it, inaccurate observations. Well, scientists observed this problem (get it? Observed?) and developed strategies, tools, and instruments that help improve and even increase human powers of observation



What do you see--a frog or a horse?

To recap, "Observation consists of receiving knowledge of the outside world through our senses, or recording information using scientific tools and instruments."  Oh, and guess what. . .  That data you record during an experiment? It's all (ta-da!) observations!

TALK ABOUT POWERS OF OBSERVATION!
I remember seeing this picture on the cover of a 1984 National Geographic.  
She was one of many Afghan refugees displaced by war and living in refugee camps in Pakistan. This girl's hauntingly beautiful eyes captivated the photographer.  
Look at them in this crazy illusion!

GAZILLIONS more Optical Illusions can be found HERE and  HERE.  (You're welcome!)
~
NOW ON TO OUR 
REGULARLY SCHEDULED ACTIVITY!

Here's a great explanation of the difference between 
OBSERVATION AND INFERENCE  (Very important!) 
Pay close attention; there will be stuff to do afterwards.


You can go over this more than one time, you know.  
Show it till you know it!


Have some fun with these 



Now, get with a randomly selected partner and 
follow the directions to complete this activity:

Monday:  Assignment: Observation vs Inference (worksheet from Science a-z)
Wednesday:  Quiz on Observation vs Inference


Think you have it now? Alrighty then! 
Let's take it to the next level by throwing PREDICTIONS into the mix.  Test your skill in being able to identify whether something is an OBSERVATION,  an INFERENCE, or a PREDICTION. The correct answer follows each slide. What a great activity to do with a friend, a parent, a sibling, your neighbor (providing they're not cranky), or the family dog! Parakeets not so much. . .

TEST YOURSELF! . . .before I do! (mwaah, hah, hah)


ON TO THE NEXT GREAT THING:
Understanding Variables

Independent Variable:  An independent variable is one that you can control or change.  
For example: you could do an experiment on the effect of sunlight on plant growth by putting one plant in a sunny window with plenty of light and the other in the back of your closet next to the pizza boxes, dirty gym socks, and that homework you said your dog ate. Hmm. . .

Dependent Variable: The dependent variable is the variable that you observe and measure. You can't change this one.  

You have no control over the plant; it's going to do what it's going to do. (Oh those plants; they never listen.) Your job is simply to observe what happens to it when you change the independent variable (in this case, the amount of sunlight). 


Controlled Variable: A controlled variable is one that you keep the same for all the conditions of your experiment. 
OK, so in order to get reliable results for your experiment,  you need to be sure that nothing else interferes with them. Being sure that both plants get equal amounts of water will guarantee that your results will reflect the amount of sunlight the plants received, not the amount of water.  I realize that rummaging your way to the back of your closet to water a begonia every day can pose a bit of a health risk, but scientists make sacrifices like this (well, maybe not this) every day.  I'm proud of you, Kimosabe.

Since we've been talking about plants, here's more on the subject. . .


Now on to a few experiments! (I'll post tomorrow.)


RESOURCES
  • You've got to check out MythBusters.  "The MythBusters use the scientific method to prove or disprove common beliefs about physical science. Each episode explains a specific concept about the interactions between physical matter and the forces of nature that shape our world." Quoted from HERE.  
  • Want to learn more (about just about everything?)  Go to: HOW STUFF WORKS
  • eHow describes hoe to do just about everything, too! Cool beans!



SOCIAL STUDIES


ANCIENT EGYPT                 
We have two, actually three projects going on all at once!  (Oh, how interdisciplinary of us!)

Monday-Friday: All materials are in and we are finally set to complete our mummy/ sarcophagus presentation projects. We'll dedicate some time to them today and whenever we have those free moments throughout the week.

We also have an independent 
project--our Ancient Egypt Book, that has lots of moving parts.  Remember you can use the Egypt link (on the sidebar) for more information on any topic. The fact-finding/note-taking part of your project should be done. I've provided lots of  cool ideas for additional pages for those who completed their work early. This week we'll work on the Egyptian art form  Frontalism in class.  Here's your opportunity to summon your artistic talent and attention to authentic detail to create a masterpiece worthy of the great king, Khufu. There are lots of examples to guide you; you can also check out these links that I posted before break:  Clipart pages,  Hieroglyphics,  Coloring PagesMake Your Own Cartouche 


MORE ON THE MUMMIFICATION PROCESS
(Notice the "mummy masks")






FREE TIME?
Magic Book Lesson -- fun, interesting--take the short quiz at the end for 10 Bonus points!



LANGUAGE ARTS
The Great Kings of Ancient Egypt
Powerpoint Presentation Project

This will be a week of concentrated effort on everyone's parts as you get your materials together and begin this important, super-cool research project.  Understand, you can expect to read, take notes, and utilize both digital and printed resources. (Read that last part again for emphasis.) The final product will be a technological and visual masterpiece, of course. (That means, you edit and revise and edit some more.  It's what writers do.)  Make this a demonstration of all that you know and can do as you artfully reconstruct the life and accomplishments of ancient Egypt's greatest kings.  We'll talk about due dates and presentation dates together as we block out our schedule. I'll start posting websites like THIS one that will help you find the information you need. Here's more:  Virtual Egypt (cartouches),  Egyptian Kings (great brief biographies), KingTutOne (LOTS of stuff here), Egyptian Monuments (tombs & descriptions), Secrets of the Pharaohs, Secrets of the Pharaohs (timeline and more), Absolute Egyptology  (Great site! Information on all the pharaohs; includes cartouches and tomb layouts!), Make Your Own Cartouche (create, cut, & paste). If you find other excellent ones, we'll post them here, too.





WORD STUDY
Complete Unit 11
Test on Friday

MATH

OK, so it looks like we're missing something, here.  Test scores were less than stellar, which means we need to take a closer look at a few things.  The main culprit appears to be  proportions so we'll practice a bit before we try again. 
Your job is going to be to go over the videos I already posted on ratios and rates.  Next, practice. (Yup; just like in baseball or bubble-blowing.)Below is a great video that explains an EASY Z way to figure out proportions.  Watch and learn. And practice. 

Monday: Extended Project time (Mummy/Sarcophagus--so fun!!)
Tuesday: Look over your tests. Where are you having trouble? Correct your mistakes. Class discussion--video review.
Wednesday:  More review and practice.  What are you noticing?
Thursday: Let's try this again! BHT
Friday:  Corrections and damage control (repair mistakes) 


A great video to watch and re-watch. Do what it takes.  
Practice with a friend, your table group, your class.  


Practice  HERE and HERE  
GO HERE!  THIS site, KHANACADEMY, has loads of practice and videos.  
I love it!  
I'm leaving you in charge -- learn something.
FEELS GOOD, DOESN'T IT?
READING
TIME IS RUNNING OUT. . .
                                       
February books need to be completed and paperwork ("Planning Ahead"sheets) filled out no later than Friday of this week.  With all the snow days and vacation time, there should have been no problem completing everything. We'll work on book projects here on Friday afternoon--have your book with you.

REMEMBER that independent reading projects/ assignments account for 1/3 of your overall Reading grade.  Not completing even one assignment can lower scores significantly.  

If you neglected to turn in paperwork for the book you read in class, please do so immediately or come see me to work out a plan.  Strive, as always, to do your personal best. YOUR education, YOUR life.  
Monday:   ReadWorks  -- Abe Lincoln Independent Comprehension pkt. -- due Friday          
Tuesday:  ReadWorks  -- "Always Remember" (1010L) Due Thursday
Wednesday:   ReadWorks  -- Continue "Always Remember" -- due Thursday  Thursday:    ReadWorks  -- "A Sweet Sickness" (950L)-- due Friday                   Friday: Complete book project for February

                                                                                                                Remember; grades close on March 6th!            
NEED TO COMPLETE ANY OUTSTANDING WORK?

                                                

                                                   
   Get it done, se il vous plaĆ®t.           


Oooh--can I add one more thing?  A fun thing to do?  Check out THIS site for a fun winter Cyber Search!  Scroll down to the very bottom, teachers, for so many resources!

Andrew Wyeth painting,  Man with magnifying glass,  Cube illusion,  Cartoon eyes,  Man ascending stairs,   Frog optical illusionGirl optical illusion,  Great eHow article on Variables,  Isis,  Confused kid,  Plant gif, Ancient Egypt banner, Sarcophagus,  Egyptian woman, Egyptian scene gif,  Egyptian narrow banner,  Egyptian family Act Now,  Melting clock,   Animated coffee gif,  Charlie Brown cartoon  Heart border  man/liar Explorable.com (Sep 9, 2009). Scientific Observation. Retrieved Feb 21, 2015 from Explorable.com: https://explorable.com/scientific-observation  (https://explorable.com/scientific-observation#ixzz285FN1oBE)

Sunday, February 15, 2015

"Without having experienced the cold of winter, one cannot appreciate the warmth of spring." ~Unknown


Arthur J. Hammond Oil on Board Vermont Winter Scene


This is officially "Winter Break," which means some of you are off to warmer climates, and others of you are (like me) HERE  -->
where the weather is, let's just say, COLD!  Be of good heart, though; Spring is on the way!  Look HERE to find out how much longer we have to wait.


JUST REMEMBER. . .


                      No matter where you are in the

there are fun things to look at and do.  


CHECK OUT THESE WAY-COOL COKE TRICKS:



TAKE THIS COOL EYE TEST:


CAN YOU FIGURE OUT HOW THEY DID IT?
( I can't!)

~
WELL, ANYWAY, ON THOSE DAYS WHEN YOU'RE 



OR IT'S JUST TOO COLD TO GO OUTSIDE, CONSIDER:

P.S. Don't forget to check out some of the other activities in the "LINKS" (check sidebar) if you haven't already.  There's so-o much stuff there!

AHHH, NEAT STUFF TO DO!
I know you're thanking me right now. . .


(Yes, you are!)


I have to say that winter has its glorious contrasts.  Though there are many examples, the inexplicable beauty of crimson against a frigid, sunless, snow-swept landscape never fails to take my breathe away.  Such fiery beauty. . .  I am compelled to pause, to observe, to become part of the stillness--reveling in each chance encounter.


Image from "Into the Woods" @ http://acornabbey.com/blog/?p=5930



HAVE FUN, EVERYBODY; SEE YOU NEXT WEEK!
READ!









Sunday, February 8, 2015

“...the endless repetition of an ordinary miracle.” ― Orhan Pamuk, Snow


"Why, what's the matter,
That you have such a February face.
So full of frost, of storm and cloudiness?
~William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing
~
DO WE DETECT A PATTERN HERE?
AHHH, WINTER IN THE NORTHEAST! 
I thought it would be interesting to document this 
persistently cold and snowy start to 2015 courtesy of www.weather.com.
Scroll down for lessons/activities.
UPDATE (02.12.2015):
As if this "Arctic Blast" isn't enough. . .

A Valentine's Day snowstorm/blizzard called NEPTUNE is on the way!
Boston & the coast of Maine to be hit the hardest.
And here comes OCTAVIA--more snow on the way for Tuesday (February 17)
Winter Storm Marcus, Projection for Monday, February 9
 
 Winter Storm Linus, the way it was on Monday, February 3
Winter Storm Kari, on January 29-31
WInter storm/blizzard Juno on Monday, January 26
And then there was Iola on January 17-18


NOW, AS FOR LAST WEEK . . .Remember Linus?
Looks like our neighbors to the north were equally affected by it! 
Check out THIS crazy video shot on February 3rd

Hey guys, 





MEGA ARCTIC BLAST TO 
FOLLOW MARCUS! 
Check  HERE for more information.  
Stay safe!





*********************
Now on to our regularly
scheduled assignments. . .

ASSIGNMENTS FOR 
THE WEEK OF 
(BRR. . .)
FEBRUARY 9-13




SOCIAL STUDIES
Monday-Friday:  Use any free time to work on your Ancient Egypt Book Independent Project. Use the Ancient Egypt link to the left of this blog for more information on any topic! 
We will begin work on our extremely awesome mummy/sarcophagus project. (Remember last week's video.)



Just an amazing discovery I wanted to share with you--





LANGUAGE ARTS
Getting Started on Your Research Project


Monday:  February's Center Square activity

Tuesday: Complete the "Start & Stop Poem" activity

Wednesday:  Writers' Notebooks need to be "neat and complete" -- be inventive, imaginative, creative.

Thursday: Switching to Ancient Egypt Book project--lots of additions to consider. (Look above!)

Friday: Watch this short interesting piece from the Discovery Channel.  An Egyptian gods activity for our books will follow.






     SCIENCE


Tuesday:  Scientific Method Vocabulary. 
Understanding Independent and Dependent Variables activity. 

Lab #1  Hearing Change: The Powers of Observation


Thursday:  Scientific Method

Lab #2 Paper Cup Pyramid Group Observation Activity

The kind of Science that makes you just break out into song. . .


Find the words HERE.

MATH              

Monday:  Mid-Chapter Checkpoint, Pgs. 167-168

Tuesday: Pgs. 171-172 & 4.6

Wednesday: Pgs. 175-176 & 4.7

Thursday: Pgs. 179-180 & 4.8

Friday:  Ch. 4 Review/Test,  Pgs. 181-184



~WHAT IS UNIT RATE?~




~EQUIVALENT RATIOS AND GRAPHS~




VOCABULARY/WORD STUDY
KEYBOARDING

We usually try to accomplish keyboarding and word study in this time block, but for this week, we'll focus all our attention on our Typing Pal program.  
    Data is due by Friday.  


READING


DON'T FORGET!  You have filled out the "Planning Ahead" form for your Independent Book for February.  Take it home with you and keep track of your reading.  Summarize each day's reading in just a couple sentences on your chart. This completed chart will be part of your grade for this month.





Monday:  "The Elephant Poem"


Tuesday: ReadWorks

Wednesday:  ReadWorks

Thursday: ReadWorks

Friday:  Independent Reading



FINALLY. . .
As we approach Valentine's Day, remember those you love 
and also your friends ~


"A friend is someone who lets you have total freedom to be yourself. ~Jim Morrison




HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!
HAVE A RELAXING, FUN, SAFE WINTER BREAK!