Our 8th graders started off their last unit of the year with an insightful and inspiring presentation from Jason Dimmig, a SPS parent and local eye surgeon. Dr. Dimmig just returned from a service trip with the Himalayan Cataract Project where he restored sight to many people using a state-of-the-art cataract repair surgery. Our students were amazed when seeing and learning details about cataract surgery, how quick the procedure is performed and the sheer excitement of cataract patients seeing for the first time. We are so lucky to have such an incredible community of parents at SPS who can share their love and expertise with our students. We certainly welcome anyone to share their passion with our students. This presentation was the perfect segway from our previous unit on Light and Sound to our current unit on STEM Careers. Thanks again for your time and incredible work Dr. Dimmig!
Students are now exploring different careers within the STEM field, and taking a deeper look at careers involving solar power and bridge building. On Wednesday, students combined their knowledge of solar energy and design thinking to create a solar oven to cook s’mores in.
Whew! We wrapped up our research projects and papers last week and are heading into a brief but powerful unit that connects to the students’ work in Humanities. We’re reading Search & Destroy, a historical fiction book about an 18-year-old who, in 1969, enlists in the army and spends one year in Vietnam (meanwhile, his high school girlfriend goes to Cal Berkley while he’s at war, which makes for a very interesting juxtaposition).
In addition to looking specifically at Vietnam, we’re also examining the challenge of conflict on many different levels, be it personal or global, and in doing so will be looking at artistic responses to conflict ranging from visual art to poetry to music. Because of time constraints, we may not actually make it to our summative, but the discussions and insights happening along the way more than make up for a missed test–the kids are really making some great connections in this unit!
Our classes are continuing the studies of the Vietnam War, working to wrap up the facts and complete the news broadcasts. Instructions are being provided in class on how we will wrap up the unit in the limited time we have left. Basically, students have two main summative assessments; first, to compose an editorial choosing from one of three choices and following guidelines and second, completing their final news broadcast segment as an assessment. Dates, directions, expectations, and support are all provided in class and on Canvas.
We are currently finishing up our most “RADICAL” unit of the year (if you don’t understand the pun ask your 8th grader). During this unit students reviewed a few radical concepts from 7th grade, the theorem of Pythagoras, and they were introduced to SOH CAH TOA (Sine, Cosine, and Tangent). It’s a very fun unit to teach because with every lesson there’s a story to be told, weather it’s King M.T. Set and Sir Cumference or the infamous mathematician SOH CAH TOA. Each story provides a fun way to help reinforce the concepts taught in the unit. So when you need a little help finding the square root of 50, grab your 8th grader and have them tell you the story of King M.T. Set and his radical new jails!