Trip to Boeing South Carolina in Charleston
Students participated in the DreamLearners program at Boeing in Charleston to learn how they could be a part of the next generation of aerospace leaders at Boeing. The mission of the DreamLearners program is to enhance student and teacher awareness of Boeing South Carolina through experiential learning and exposure to business and industry. The program took place in the tour balcony overlooking the production floor of the 787 Final Assembly building and included the following: an explanation of what happens at Boeing South Carolina, an introduction to the 787 Dreamliner and aerodynamics, a visual tour of the 787 production process, and a engineering challenge aimed at producing the most accurate, farthest-flying paper airplane.
English Language Arts
How can the voices of the past provide wisdom for the problems of today? Recently, students learned that context can shape meaning and build our perspective of events and people. Students in English I and Eighth Grade Language Arts transitioned into each of their units with an introduction to a wise voice from the past, Martin Luther King, Jr. After listening to King's speech, "I've Been to the Mountaintop" , students were provided with additional context. The first piece of context was that the speech became the last public address King would ever give and the other piece of context was that King's assassination took place the very next day. Although the speech is presented powerfully and riddled with rhetorical strategies, it is the context (the conditions and circumstances) of the speech that makes it appear more meaningful and relevant to an audience. Maintaining an accurate and balanced understanding of topics, people, and problems requires readers, writers, and speakers to responsibly use context to build connections between the audience and themselves. Effective communication happens as a result of making ideas meaningful and relevant to listeners.
Soon, English I students will give Keynote presentations about influential individuals they feel have intellectually and morally helped to shape our world and make it a better place. The presentation are designed to enhance the students' development of content, use of rhetorical strategies, and presentation skills. During this unit students have researched biographical information, viewed engaging presentations, received feedback, and learned ways to effectively strengthen presentations with content (choice of graphics, intentional transitions, meaningful leads, rhetorical strategies, thoughtful text features, etc.). In addition to enhancing each students communication skills, the unit has been designed to give students a more accurate understanding of the individuals they esteem by learning about the conditions and events that contributed to shaping the individual and ultimately, our world.
In addition to reading and listening to the speech King gave on April 3, 1968, Eighth Grade Language Arts students listened to Newton Minow, the Federal Communication Commission Chairman in 1961, address issues and concerns about the state of television during a convention for the National Association of Broadcasters. Minow's speech and King's speech, both given during the 1960's regarding different topics of concern, were incorporated into the unit to provide students with a more balanced portrayl of the issues that colored the conditions of the 60's, introduce students to rhetorical strategies, strengthen their previous understanding of context, and demonstrate how adding context or leaving context out, shapes the accuracy and sophsitication of our perspectives. Students will continue to use inquiry and research strategies to monitor their thinking, add context to topics they write about, and use context to evaluate topics they read about.
South Carolina History
Eighth grade Historians have used the big idea balance to navigate through the Civil War, and specifically the impact the Civil War had on South Carolina. The North and the South struggled to balance their policies on politics and the economy, thus causing South Carolina to secede from the Union. Students worked on a video project for the unit on the Civil War. They had to create a commercial, short movie, or documentary about an event during the Civil War. The students enjoyed dressing up as Civil War characters and using their iPads to video their presentation. Their creativity and cinematography were outstanding!
Students have written a DBQ (Document Based Question) during this trimester. The students worked hard on the process of writing a research paper, and using non-fiction text to support their claim. They were given several documents to analyze prior to writing the paper. The DBQ title was North or South: Who Killed Reconstruction? The students had to group the documents according to whether or not the document supported the North, South or possibly both. Next, they had to take a stance, and choose the documents that would support their claim. The students worked hard on their DBQ papers. They peer edited their rough drafts and gave each other some great feedback. This process was challenging for many students, but I am thrilled that the students had this writing experience.
Students continue to explore the ideas of balance and stability as they learn about how matter moves in predictable ways from place to place in our universe. We are wrapping up our study of forces and motion. We have learned about the different forces: gravity, friction, applied forces, the normal force, and tensional forces and have analyzed how these different forces can interact to affect the motion of an object. We have also learned how we can use position vs time and velocity vs time graphs to describe the motion of an object. We have learned about Newton's Laws of Motion and have reflected on how our new knowledge has changed some of our initial beliefs about the how matter moves in the universe.
Within the past few weeks, Algebra students worked on creations of their own design and then used linear binomials polynomials to calculate perimeter and area of the designs they came up with. Their hardworking was documented and can be seen in the photos above.
Most recently, they finished their study on factoring the polynomials they learned to create in the previous chapter. This is a very big skill which can be used in finance: a common polynomial equation that comes up is the calculation of present value. This is used in accounting when the present value of assets must be determined. It is used in asset (stock) valuation. It can further be used in bond trading and mortgage calculations. The polynomial is of high order, for example, with an interest term with exponent 360 for a 30-year mortgage. This is not a formula that can be factored. Instead, if the interest needs to be calculated, it is solved for by computer or calculator.
Geometry students have been very busy this past month. After completing their study of proportions and similarity, pairs of students worked together to create "Dream Homes". They had to work with each other to design all aspects of a home and adhere to a specific set of codes and criteria. As pictured above, they worked methodically to create detailed drawings similar to what an architect or interior designer might do when hired by a client.
Most recently, students finished their study of Right Triangles and their trigonometric properties. Airport meteorologists keep an eye on the weather to ensure the safety of the flights. One thing they watch is the cloud ceiling. The cloud ceiling is the lowest altitude at which solid cloud is visible. If the cloud ceiling is too low the planes are not allowed to take off or land. Further, one way meteorologists can find the cloud ceiling at night is to shine a searchlight that is located a fixed distance from their office vertically into the clouds. Then they measure the angle of elevation to the spot of light on the cloud. The angle of elevation is the angle formed by the line of sight to the spot and the horizontal. Using trigonometry, the cloud ceiling height can be determined.
Students in Mrs. Cooler's class have just completed the first of the four chapters which will focus on 8th grade level Geometry. Since completing lessons on the Pythagorean Theorem, Distance Formula and Interior and Exterior angles of polygons, we have now started a multi-part partner project. For the next two months, students will add on to a "town" they will create with various geometric elements and answer questions in order to write about the town they have created. Above are pictures of the beginnings of these collaborative projects.