This past week the 8th grade class finished their data analysis unit. During the unit we discussed different ways to collect information, from totally random samples to more biased convenient samples. We studied different ways to display data and how data can be skewed to support different arguments. The culminating activity was to create two different surveys, gather the data in two different ways (one biased and one unbiased), create charts and graphs to display the results, and calculate the most important values associated with the data (mean, median, mode, outliers, etc.). The students did an excellent job understanding the importance of collecting data and creating accurate graphs/charts to display their results.
Why write research papers? As the 8th graders move into the final stages of the complex process that has been our writing journey, it’s worth reminding ourselves why research is so important. In “Reasons Why Students Should Still Write Research Papers,” veteran high school English teacher Dorothy Mikuska notes, “The research paper is not just an assignment, but a commitment to continual dialogue between teachers and students.” I concur–the collegiate relationship we are developing now will serve students well as they enter high school next year.
Moreover, “real research deals with deeper and broader issues than finding isolated facts. Students must learn to think of research as investigating profound and complex issues.” Whether it is in the Language Arts classroom, in a design lab, or on the job, these critical thinking and inquiry skills are vitally important for success in the ever-changing landscape of today’s world.
Finally, although I always love our collaborations with Mr. Conrad, during this unit we’ve had the chance to work more closely with Mr. Kennedy, as 8th grade math students have been working on graphing data, also a key component of our primary research. It’s always good to stretch ourselves and try new things!
For more on the value of research, please read the following article:
The students are well into our studies of the Vietnam War. Our project is based around a news broadcast team circa 1975. The students are in teams of 4 and 5 with a news anchor and news reporters. As we study the war, broken into 5 main sections, students are writing news copy and presenting on camera using a green screen. Once more segments are recorded, student teams will work together to edit the recordings and add backgrounds to the green screen. The ultimate goal is to create a news broadcast that presents the facts of the war in a “Special News Report” format.
This is a great time to check in with your student and remind them to hang on till the end of the school year. At this time many fall into bad habits of not paying attention in class and completing work resulting in grades that do not reflect their ability. Any reminders and support at home is greatly appreciated 🙂
8th graders are almost finished with their study of Light and Sound Waves, and are wrapping up with a short choice-based research project. Throughout the course of the unit, students asked a variety of intriguing questions regarding applications of light and sound. Instead of answering these questions for them, I compiled a list of their questions (and a few of my own) and let them choose the one that interests them most for their research project! Students will present their findings to the class next week. We will then begin a unit on STEM careers, which includes many hands-on design challenges and activities as we study careers within the STEM field. If you or someone you know works in the STEM field and would like to come in to speak about your work please let me know! It’s great to have someone with personal experience speak to students about the endless career opportunities within the STEM field!