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.



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!

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!)

Here's a great explanation of the difference between 
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)

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.)

  • 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!


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 

(Notice the "mummy masks")

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

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.

Complete Unit 11
Test on Friday


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.
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!            


   Get it done, se il vous plaît.           

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 (Sep 9, 2009). Scientific Observation. Retrieved Feb 21, 2015 from  (