Life Skills

Students in Life Skills A have been learning about the many aspects of nutrition and healthy eating. As an introduction exercise, students were tasked with recording their eating, sleeping, and exercise habits over three consecutive days. After discussing the various functions of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, fiber, minerals, vitamins, and water in the human body, students were asked to revisit their data in order to determine whether or not they felt they had a healthy diet with enough sleep and exercise.

Science

Life Science: Jen

Students in Life Science have had the opportunity to explore the world of Genetics through their own traits, their family traits and how traits in general are passed down. Students learned about Punnett Squares, family pedigrees, x-linked traits, and dominant and recessive traits. Each student had to determine a family pedigree on a particular trait passed through three generations of a family, their own or someone else’s. Students learned how traits can skip generations or be carried by female family members, and not actually show up in the person until she passes them to a male child. It is exciting concepts to learn. As a look ahead, students are taking what they have learned about genetics and applying it to the theories of natural selection and evolution.

 

Physical Science: Paul

Students were engaged in the study of electricity and the processes involved in the generation and transmission.  The class practiced building simple and parallel circuits using different battery types to light small bulbs.  Students were part of an interactive workshop presented by the Vermont Energy Education Program, which was focused on the process of electricity generation, renewable sources/technologies, and energy efficiency methods and conservation practices.  Each class member completed a research project focused on a specific method electricity production, the advantages, and potential environmental impacts.

 

Earth & Space Science: Paul

The initial focus of study was on lunar cycles and the solar system.  Students did research and gathered data to compare the physical properties of other planets to the earth.  We did modeling exercises to demonstrate the relative distances of various planets in the solar system from each other and the sun.  From our study of the solar system we shifted to looking at weather patterns on Earth, and the various factors that influence changes in weather and affect the overall climate.

 

STEAM A & B: Paul and Jen

Students in STEAM have spent the last month putting all the finishing touches on their bridge building designs. Many popsicle sticks, feet of dental floss and gobs of glue later and we had finished products ready to break. We traveled to Vermont Technical College to destroy our bridges and watch many others get destroyed as well. It was an exciting day full of learning and fun. Please check out the “broken” bridges on the table near the entrance and see which ones were able to survive the hydraulic press.

Humanities and History

Humanities I: John

Students in Humanities I class have been learning about the government and social structure in the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire. Recently, each student researched a monument or structure from these time periods that is located within the modern day city of Rome. The students used their research to create slideshows about their respective topics, which they will present to their peers prior to our trip next month. Additionally, our weekly spelling and grammar quizzes have focused on simple and complex sentences and commas with quotations.

 

Global Studies in the Middle Ages: John

The first week of April in Global Studies in the Middle Ages focused entirely on finalizing websites and presentations for Vermont History Day. Recently, each student researched a monument or structure from either the Roman Republic or the Roman Empire. The monuments or structures need to be located within the modern day city of Rome and each student was tasked with becoming an expert on his or her topic. The students then used their research to create slideshows which they will present to their peers prior to our trip next month.

 

Modern American History: John

The first week of April in Modern American History focused entirely on finalizing websites and presentations for Vermont History Day. We discussed the causes and effects of the Great Depression as well as the massive migration of Americans that took place during the Dust Bowl. Recently, we deviated from United States History in preparation for the school trip to Rome next month. Students researched a monument or structure from either the Roman Republic or the Roman Empire. The monuments or structures need to be located within the modern day city of Rome and each student was tasked with becoming an expert on his or her topic. The students then used their research to create slideshows which they will present to their peers.

World Languages, Arts and Electives

LA: John

Language Arts students have been hard at work reading and discussing the content, style, and themes in John Steinbeck’s dynamic novel, Of Mice and Men. The students developed a solid background knowledge of social structure in California during the Great Depression in preparation for reading, and they have had the opportunity to connect events in the novel to what they know about society in the 1930s. Students have been making predictions, analyzing possible themes and symbolism, and making note of unfamiliar or obsolete vocabulary as they read.

 

French 1A: Caroline

During April, French I focused on Chapter 5, a chapter devoted to food and restaurants.  Students practiced ordering food and using the irregular verb aller.  If they find themselves in a French restaurant over break, perhaps they will practice these skills!

 

French 1B: Caroline

French IB is working their way through Chapter 12, a chapter that explores daily routines, with an emphasis on reflexive verbs.  Be sure to ask your child to explain his or her routine in French!

 

Spanish: Marcela

We kicked off April with a scavenger hunt of soccer vocabulary and read an article in Spanish about “La Copa Mundial” (The World Cup). We also learned about conjugating stem changing verbs “from e to ie” and “from o to ue.” Students also got to design a poster that communicated the meaning of common question words in Spanish. They each brainstormed three questions and chose one for their poster. The posters will be on display in our Spanish classroom. Looking ahead, students will get to ask each other questions during “la silla caliente”(the hot seat) activity.

 

Art: Nicole

The past month we worked on the final details for the Rainforest background and painted the Savannah background scene for the musical on May 5th! We reviewed one point perspective and created complex shapes, block names or a top city view using one point perspective. Some of the vocabulary we learned include: horizon line, vanishing point, vertical, horizontal, perpendicular, and orthogonal lines. Next we will study some of Rome’s architecture and make large drawings.

 

Music and Drama: Randal

April has been a wonderful month in music and drama.  We ended last month with a successful coffee house and started this one with an enlivening International Dinner featuring West-African drumming and dancing ensemble Jeh Kulu.  Endeavour students have been hard at work preparing for our upcoming original musical Our Wild Journey Around The Planet, which will take place at Williston Central School's Auditorium on Friday, May 5th at 6:30pm.  We have five brave Endeavour souls joining their Renaissance friends onstage and the rest of our school helping with stage management, sets, backstage tech, and lighting of the show.  In addition to our ongoing class exercises and games, students have put great work into learning lines, becoming characters, designing lighting plots and working out the logistics of our show. We hope everyone comes out to see their fine work!

 

Writing Course: Cara

Writing Course has had some interruptions due to trips and projects, and we are progressing nicely!  Endeavour students have finished a vacation narrative that developed concrete imagery and sensory detail, and they have begun a character sketch in which they hope convey personality through description.  Students are required to reflect on the process of writing, comparing drafts and narrative decisions.  Grades for writing projects will be posted in ThinkWave.  

MATH

General Math 6: Jen

Students in general math have developed a great understanding of working with positive and negative numbers on a number line. In addition, we have explored absolute value and distances between numbers, as well as the concepts of greater than and less than. It has been a month of steady growth for students working with rational numbers. We are pleased with their progress and look forward to the next part of this unit working with coordinate planes.

 

Differentiated Algebra: Paul

Students in Differentiated Algebra have had a unique opportunity to explore math in a way and pace that works for them. Each student was recently given an Algebra readiness diagnostic in order to determine which skills were in need of foundational building. Each student was then given a “prescription” of concepts and assignments that will help to bridge the gap between where we were and where we are going. The goal is for all students to have a solid understanding of pre-algebraic and algebraic concepts by the end of the year.

Life Skills

Life Skills A: John
The month of February saw the introduction of the extremely popular Stock Market Game to our Life Skills class. Students created their own teams and team names before researching which companies they would like to invest in. The Stock Market Game, which allots $100,000 for each group to invest, will take place over the course of the next two months. The Endeavour teams are competing with other teams from schools across Vermont with the ultimate goal of increasing the value of their portfolio. While students have the freedom to determine which stocks they choose to invest in, we are simultaneously learning about various facets of the stock market, including terminology and investment strategies.

Life Skills B
Students spent the month of February investing $100,000 worth of hypothetical money in very real, publically traded companies.  We’ve learned about selling short, penny stocks, types of investments (stocks, bonds, mutual funds), and what type of companies to invest in for volatile activity (this stock market game lasts only a couple of months, not long enough to practice disciplined diversification, and is perfect for taking risks and seeing the effects).  In early March, during Experience Endeavour Day, we played a bean game, which allowed students to take their “income” and spend it where they wish (food, transportation, investment, etc.).  It tied nicely into the Stock Market Game and even the career planning we did back in January!

French: Caroline
The students have completed the final draft of their report on their chosen francophone African country. 

French 1A
We have just finished Chapter 4 on family and house. We had fun playing a variety of games such as the traditional French card games "Les 7 Familles" et "Menteur!" We also redesigned the board game "Clue Jr." to highlight the theme vocabulary for the different rooms of the house and their furniture. And in battleship, instead of boats, we hid the members of the family in different rooms.
Participating in these repetitive speaking activities improves recall, pronunciation, fluency, and allow the students to become more confident speakers.

French 1B
Chapter 11 introduces the students to each season and accompanying weather and sports. We have just finished talking and writing about winter, hockey, skiing and playing in the snow.
This unit continues with the study of the past tense "Passé Composé".
We have covered the Passé Composé  of regular verbs with AVOIR (to have) such as: 
I walk --> I have walked.
And I have now introduced the past participles of the irregular verb groups we studied earlier in the present tense, for example: 
I eat --> I have eaten.

Spanish: Marcela                                                                                                                                                                                                        This past month students completed their clothing unit and practiced conjugating the verbs “llevar puesto” and “ponerse,” which mean “to wear” and “to put on.” We played “Tengo, tengo” and tried to guess what item of clothing was missing. This was a perfect segue into learning about the verb “tener” (to have). Students practiced conjugating the verb and learned about other uses of tener like “yo tengo miedo,” which translates to “I am scared.” Students played games such as “corazones” (hearts) and Headbanz to practice the many uses of “tener.” We also talked about the phrases used to make comparisons along with this unit.  Students also started their writing project for this quarter called “Mi autobiografía,” which describes their family, activities that they like to do or activities that they have to do, using “tener que.” Their work will be on display in our Spanish classroom. 

Art: Nicole
This month we learned about the art movement Surrealism and created surreal houses using the elements and Principles of art, balance, line, asymmetry, and direction. The Fifth and Sixth Graders made Surreal collages on Experience Endeavour day. Our next big project is to create some of the background for the Renaissance and Endeavour Musical on May 5th! 

Music and Drama: Randal
Happy Spring!  In music we have been learning about chordal music theory through the keyboard as well as learning songs on the instrument.  Recently, we've also been using class time to prepare for the upcoming Coffee House (this coming Tuesday evening the 28th at 5:30 at the Endeavour multi-purpose room).  We'll hear some singers, guitar players, see some skits, a magic show and a rock band.  Come on by!  We're also happy to announce that the West African drumming and dance ensemble Jeh Kulu will be coming to an International Dinner for all students on April 7th at the Endeavour multi-purpose room (dinner is pot-luck and starts at 5:30pm).  The last thing we've been preparing for is our Spring Musical.  Many of our Endeavour students will be designing lights and sound and working behind the scenes as well as acting and singing in our show.  It's a musical written by the combined schools entitled "Our Wild Journey Around The Planet."  It will go up May 5th at 6:30pm at the Williston Central School.  More details to follow.  We've planted great roots for a promising spring!

Writing Course: Cara
This past month we shifted gears, moving from writing in class from prompts from the YWP to a writer’s group where writers write outside of class, using assigned prompts, and get feedback in class.  This model has been much more successful.  Student writing is of a better quality, as is the discourse in class.  We hope to share some of the student writing in upcoming newsletters!

MATH

General Math 6: Jen
Grade Six Math has been a blast this month. Students have shown an amazing growth of understanding in dealing with decimals and fractions. We have worked on how to convert these numbers, as well as apply them to real world problems. The content was built on prior understanding of these numbers and other concepts such as perimeter and area. I couldn’t be more proud of the progress that my students are making this year. On one particular occasion, in class, we had the opportunity to work on fractional operations by visiting stations around the room. Each student had to show their work and be approved before moving onto the next station. It was a great way to take what we were learning and build movement into the process.

Pre-Algebra
Students learned about the relationship between perimeter and area, area versus volume, and the mathematical application of linear, scalar, and cubic dimensionality.  The students had fun, while applying new mathematical skills, every Thursday in February, playing BINGO, BlockBusters, and going on school-wide scavenger hunts.  Students studied the Pythagoreans, including the tetractys and the invention of the concept of “ten.”  We applied the Pythagorean theorem to right triangles and spent a chunk of time problem-solving for area of irregularly shaped figures.

Algebra: Jen
Students have recently finished up a unit on functions and relations. Students worked with groups of coordinates to determine whether they fit the criteria for functions. For example, does it pass the vertical line test to show that only one point hits the line in every place?  We used information about formulas to create functions from x and y numbers, and primarily dealt with linear equations. This is a step in the path to learn about graphing and solving linear equations which will be coming up next month. Exciting times in Algebra!
 

Humanities/History

Humanities I: John
Humanities I students spent the month of February completing a unit on the classic parody Don Quixote. After reading an abridged version of the text, students then read samples from the original translation of Cervantes’ masterpiece. Each student was assigned his or her own section of text and tasked with breaking down confusing sentences and paraphrasing the action. The class then read through all of the sections together before each student had the opportunity to teach his or her respective section. Students completed reading guides as we proceeded through the novel, making note of significant characters, various examples of parody, and essential vocabulary. The unit culminated in students writing analytical essays examining how Don Quixote is a parody of medieval knightly romances. Concurrent spelling and grammar lessons focused on conjunctions, prepositions, prepositional phrases, and definite and indefinite articles. 

LA: John
The first half of February in Language Arts class focused on the final stages of our unit on persuasive speeches. Each student presented his or her speech to the rest of the class with the goal of being as persuasive as possible. The audience, meanwhile, was tasked with identifying the use of various rhetorical devices in each speech. As a final activity, students were randomly assigned speech topics and given a very limited amount to prepare before making a sixty second speech in support of that topic. This fun assignment emphasized the importance of preparation and practice in persuasive writing and public speaking. Students spent the second half of the month preparing to read John Steinbeck’s classic novel Of Mice and Men by studying and discussing the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression as well as important social and legal issues that are present in the novel. Concurrent spelling and grammar lessons focused on principal parts of verbs, verb tenses, and troublesome verbs.

Global Studies in the Middle Ages: John
The students in Global Studies in the Middle Ages recently completed a unit of study focusing on the emperors of Ancient Rome. This unit highlighted the many achievements and failures of some of the most heralded and infamous leaders of the Roman Empire, including figures such as Augustus, Marcus Aurelius, Nero, Trajan, and Commodus. After completing a timeline activity that listed all of the emperors, each student selected one emperor to research. This process culminated in each student creating a slideshow to present to his or her peers. The coming weeks will see our class shift focus to conducting research for the Vermont History Fair.

Modern American History: John
The month of February in Modern American History highlighted the early twentieth century as a period of unbridled growth for the United States on the international stage. Lessons focused on the causes and effects of the First World War as well as specific incidents that influenced public opinion within the United States, including the sinking of the Lusitania and the Zimmermann Telegram. We discussed President Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points, which were designed to bring a lasting peace to Europe, and the ultimately unsuccessful predecessor to the U.N., the League of Nations. The coming weeks will see our class shift focus to conducting research for the Vermont History Fair.
 

Science

Life Science: Jen
Students have learned almost everything there is to learn about the complex structures of cells at this point. Early in the year, we learned about organisms that were made up of just one cell and even organisms that had cell structures without “brains” (the nucleus) to control them. This month though, we put that knowledge to good use when we learned how all the different parts of the cell work together to stay in harmony. Students learned about the many different parts of a cell and even had to sell one on an infomercial, where they creatively explained the functions of their organelle and made a pitch that Billy Mays would have been proud of. We have since moved onto cellular reproduction learning about mitosis and meiosis. Students have learned the ins and outs of how our specific cells clone themselves on a regular basis and how specialized cells go through a much more complex process to make unique versions of each generation, so that they are not a complete copy. Ask your students what they know while they are creating amazing mitosis posters. Coming up is the study of how cells in plants and animals perform the complex processes of photosynthesis and cellular respiration and how those two processes are similar and different. 

Physical Science: 
In February, students explored physics, studying visible light, how it moves, and how the eyeball translates light into useful information.  We started an optics unit by learning/singing The Electromagnetic Spectrum Song by Emerson and Wong and discussed basic components of refraction, reflection, and absorption.  Students designed experiments or re-enacted experiments done by others in lab and presented Google Slides to show their understanding.  Finally, in early March, several students took part in the dissection of a cow eyeball to link the refractive properties of the convex lens with the lens in animal eyes and study the limitations and abilities of the eyeball to use light!  Students who did not wish to participate in the dissection were asked to sculpt the eyeball out of clay and label its parts.

Earth & Space Science: 
In Earth & Space Science, we’ve been learning about space, namely constellations and fun facts concerning scale and star systems.  For example, while listening to Neil Degrasse Tyson on StarTalk, the students were impressed that one cubic centimeter of neutron star matter has the same mass as 200,000 elephants!  We learned that some “stars,” such as the North Star (Polaris), are actually star systems, made up of multiple stars.  On multiple occasions in February, the projector was set up in the music room downstairs, which would cast ten thousand stars onto the ceiling.  Using a laser pointer, we eventually became quite familiar with stars like Dubhe, Thuban, Rastaban, Eltanin, Vega, and Grummium.  Astronomy is an ageless discipline, full of wonder; it’s been an absolute joy to witness students befriend a sky of intimidating scale through the connection of constellations.
 

STEAM

STEAM A
Students have been enjoying their community while building the abutments and decks for their bridges, which they will enter in the VTC bridge building competition in April.  The students chose to listen to 80’s music and design, build, test, and improve!  Students also explored how to build jigs to fabricate custom supportive structural elements to expand the idea of shape of the ordinary popsicle stick.  Students improvised a drying station, utilizing a donated hair dryer and physics clamps.  Leave it up to our inquisitive students to test the bonding strength of Elmer’s glue on palms!


STEAM B: Jen
STEAM B students have spent the entire month of February building their bridges for the upcoming VTC bridge building contest. They have diligently researched form and function of bridges to determine which have the best outcomes possible for their build. In addition, they have measured and weighed popsicle sticks and toothpicks in order to determine an estimate of how many of those items they can use in the project without going over the maximum weight of their bridge. Students have found many trials and successes with their builds so far from learning that there can only be two total abutments, when they were hoping for four to realizing that they were able to use far less popsicle sticks and make a region of the bridge equally strong without being too heavy. I can’t wait to see our bridges get tested in April at the actual contest.  Hopefully, our bridges will remain intact longer than our competitors’! 

Humanities

Language Arts: John

During the month of January the Language Arts students concentrated on writing persuasive speeches on topics of their choice. Prior to writing their speeches, students learned about various rhetorical devices including repetition, restatement, parallelism, rhetorical questions, and allusion. After reading excerpts from famous speeches by Patrick Henry, Martin Luther King, Jr., Winston Churchill, and Mahatma Gandhi, students were tasked with identifying examples of rhetorical devices within each respective text. One requirement of the speechwriting activity was that students used at least one example of each rhetorical device in their own speech. Another consideration that each student was required to make was who his or her target audience was. The unit culminated in students presenting their speeches to their classmates with the goal of persuading as many people as possible. Concurrent grammar and spelling lessons focused on verbs, verb phrases, and verb tenses.

History

Humanities I: John

The primary objective of Humanities I students during the month of January was to learn about and identify the elements of parody in literature. As a class we read through the classic parody Don Quixote, a story that hilariously parodies the knightly romances of the Middle Ages. The students will be using what they have learned about parody to write analytical essays that define parody and provide specific examples from the novel. Additionally, students have been writing their own parodies on topics of their choosing in Young Writers Project. Concurrent grammar and spelling lessons have focused on adverbs, conjunctions, interjections, participles, gerunds, and infinitives.

Global Studies in the Middle Ages: John

The month of January in Global Studies in the Middle Ages focused on studying the many emperors of the Roman Empire. Beginning with Julius Caesar and the tumultuous transition from republic to empire, students learned about the rise of Augustus and the stability of the Pax Romana that he brought to the empire following a period of intense conflict. Each student then chose an emperor to research in order to teach his or her peers about using slideshows they generated in class. This assignment emphasized the importance of consulting a variety of sources as well as using citations.


Modern American History: John

The focus of Modern American History class during the month of January was the emergence of the United States as a world power in the early 20th century. The influence of the United States in Latin America was closely examined, particularly surrounding the building of the Panama Canal. Our recent lessons have focused on the role of the United States prior to and during the First World War. After discussing the causes of the war, we learned about the varying perspectives Americans had of the conflict in Europe, especially considering specific incidents that many Americans felt were threatening to the national security of the country. 
 

Math

General Math 6: Jen

In January, students worked really hard with finishing up operations with fractions, using models, diagrams, and algorithms. It was exciting to watch each student learn and grow through their explorations. We have moved from division of fractions into division of multi-digit whole numbers in preparation for dividing decimals. Solving real-world conceptual problems with decimals has been an interesting journey with interesting problem solving plans.

Pre-Algebra: Ryan

January was a productive month, the primary accomplishment being an understanding of how to combine like terms, isolate the variable, and solve the equation. Students learned about coefficients, how to chart inequalities on number lines, and how to manipulate both sides of an equation. Additionally, we also covered how to calculate and identify mean, mode, and median, and toward the end of the month transitioned to ratios and scale factor through geometry.

We’ve been taking daily quizzes to help diffuse test anxiety and take some fear out of the word “quiz.” Students have been very successful at these quizzes and don’t get frazzled anymore; it’s just what we do now, on a regular basis. Lastly, I’ve consented to overwhelming student interest to play at least one math game per week. Whether it’s a scavenger hunt, Jeopardy, Bingo, or a round of “Blockbusters” (scheduled to make its Endeavour debut in February), everyone enjoyed using their math skills to compete in a safe and fun atmosphere!

Algebra: Jen

In algebra, we had a great experience working with proportions and probability. We explored how to find heights of objects using shadows, how to measure objects using a map key, and finding the probability of simple events, as well as compounded events. Students had the opportunity to also look at how to budget for a desired item and created a plan to achieve the results. We are about to begin working with functions and graphing. This will be a chance for students to look at how an equation becomes a graph, whether linear, quadratic, exponential or absolute value.
 

World Languages, Arts, Electives, and Outreach

Life Skills A: John

Lessons in Life Skills focused on personal finance during the month of January. The students completed a number of hands-on activities dealing with financial decisions, paying bills, conversion rates, and career choices. One of the most popular games involved each student choosing a possible career choice before being randomly assigned various bills and financial responsibilities (children, cars, gas mileage, etc.) by rolling dice. Each student then needed to calculate the total cost of their monthly bills to see if they generated enough salary to cover their costs. A constant theme during these lessons was identifying wants versus needs when it comes to making major financial decisions. 

Life Skills B: Ryan

In January, we continued to work on goals / goal-setting, then started discussing career options. Students came up with a lengthy list of careers, narrowed it down to five, picked one from those, and then researched and prepared two minute persuasive speeches in character of a recruiter or parent. Students are doing a great job getting out of their comfort zones and finding the courage to speak in front of their peers. This is a difficult thing for many people, yet public speaking skills offer a tremendous advantage to those who have developed them. For this reason, we often work speeches into lessons, putting the emphasis on the content and downplaying the delivery. That will come later as they get comfortable with the experience.

French: Caroline

We started 2017 with cake!
We shared a Galette des Rois, a traditional French cake eaten throughout the month of January to celebrate the arrival of the Three Kings on Epiphany, January 6th. The lucky one to discover the hidden prize in their slice of Galette is awarded a gold paper crown and declared king for the day!

French 1A is continuing Chapter 4 and learning vocabulary about the house and its different rooms. The grammar lessons cover possessive adjectives (my, your, his, her, our, their) and the auxiliary verb AVOIR (to have).

French 1B has just finished Chapter 10 about team sports. We also practiced asking WHO and WHAT questions and using the Passé Composé (past tense) of regular verbs with AVOIR.

We were excited to receive a letter from our French penpal, Mathylde, introducing herself.
Bonne Année 2017!

Spanish: Marcela

Students in spanish finished “La Rutina” project where they had to compare their routine to the routine of a famous person or role model. They created Venn diagrams and presented to the class with a final draft. Students also participated in the “preguntas y respuestas” (questions and answers) section during their peers’ presentations. We also completed our unit in clothing and continued to practice regular verb conjugations with new verbs like “tocar” (to play/to touch) and “llevar puesto” (to wear). We are starting to add more irregular verbs to our vocabulary including “ponerse” (to put on/to wear), “jugar” (to play) and “ir” (to go). We are currently learning about the conjugation of the irregular verb “tener” (to have) and when/how to use it. Looking ahead, students will have the necessary tools to create their own autobiography project that describes their family and house (“mi casa” or room “mi cuarto”), as well as the activities that they do at home.

Art: Nicole

In January, we have been working on our Dream Scene boxes, which are individual process oriented projects about a scene from our dreams. Each student came up with their own way of expressing one scene using clay, paper, wire, and paint. They are still being made and materials are being adapted and revisited as we build.

Advisory

In advisory, we explored the character trait courage. We watched an interview with Malala, went to the movies to see Hidden Figures, and discussed instances when we had witnessed courage. It was a month rich in inspiring stories and discussion of what courage can mean.

Music and Drama: Randal

January flew by and has been a busy one for performing arts here at Endeavour. We've been studying music theory on keyboards, and we are now applying our knowledge to learn songs that students have shown interest in. "Lean on Me" and the "Axel F." song are a couple of popular examples. Students are enjoying free time to be able to explore on their own with keyboards, and we've begun singing some of the songs we've learned as well. Sixth graders have been continuing to generate their own wonderful, creative scenes in drama class, and I'll be working with John Bushnell to find opportunities for the 7th and 8th graders to put on plays as well. A great start to a wonderful new year! 

Young Writers Project: Cara

We have a wide range of writers at Endeavour; some embrace the challenge and others shy away from committing to topics and exploring new genres. Everyone is on their own journey, and lately we’ve been having some fun exploring collaborative narratives, parodies, and poetry. Since we meet just once a week, progress can seem slow. On other days, funny, supernatural stories seem to come to life in minutes. One thing is for certain, we are all discovering our voices and growing as writers. I look forward to each of these classes each week.  
 

STEAM

STEAM A: Ryan

We’ve had a fun and explorative month designing and building catapults with popsicle sticks, wire sculptures from copper electrical wire, air pressure powered rockets, structures purposed with hanging mini-marshmallows, and dihedral magnus gliders! There’s a lot of discovery in STEAM and often we don’t know where a project will lead us. Take the magnus gliders for example, at first they received a luke-warm welcome, and after witnessing one student’s interest in particular, we took another glimpse into the dynamics of the physics involved needed to keep a glider aloft. What a fantastic porthole into the subtleties of aerodynamics! 

STEAM B: Jen

January saw STEAM finish up the shoe design project. Ethan volunteered to model a pair of lovely 1.5 inch heeled shoes that were designed by the entire group through a lengthy design, redesign process. Students had to learn to collaborate to create a viable product, and give up their emotional attachments to their designs for the greater good of the “company” we created. It was interesting watching students navigate the waters of the interpersonal interactions. 
 

Science

Life Science: Jen

January ends with a bang finishing up semester long ecosystem work. We ended with an exploration of population and the factors that influence its growth and decline. We discussed how resources can limit a population’s growth and keep things in check. We also discussed how, in the case of the human population, that we have overcome many of our limiting factors and have doubled our population three times in nearly 40 years. I’m excited to take students away from the macro-study of life and begin focusing on the micro-study instead. We are about to begin learning about cell structure and function, and spend the rest of the year looking at how cells impact everything from growth and development, to food production, to diseases, and adaptations to our environment. Exciting times ahead.

Physical Science:  Ryan

Students worked feverishly on their hydraulics projects in January. They used cardboard and medical syringes (just the plastic plunger/cylinder portion - no needles) to create a machine that moves via hydraulic force. Design challenges popped up and we dealt with them one by one. Rather than hurry through the project, we took on several unforeseen engineering problems and learned more than expected. For example, several of the students’ apparatuses converted the linear motion of the syringe piston into rotational motion. We found an extra pivot joint or “knuckle” was needed to allow for freedom of movement. Once one student discovered this innovation, several others followed suit. We will display these projects mid-February and hope to make them interactive for younger students.

Toward the end of January, we switched gears to sound waves. We studied characteristics of waves and experimented with how sound waves travel. Do they travel faster through solids, liquids, or gases? Stethoscopes, dimensional lumber, iron pipes, spoons, and rope all came into play as we explored the dynamics of sound waves. Students appear to really enjoy this class and accept note-taking and academic study as necessary complement to hands-on exploration.

Earth & Space Science: Ryan

January was a busy and fun month for Earth Science. We relapsed a bit back to Rocks and Minerals and performed some additional investigations on Malachite, a beautiful, pseudomorphic green mineral with geometric structures called acicular prisms. We then delved into Earth’s atmosphere and calculated where the five atmospheric layers start and end to scale. Relating the exosphere, 400 miles thick, which extends 800 miles from the surface of the Earth to our planet’s diameter (8,000 miles) while creating an accurate geometric model, has been thrilling and challenging. Every day we ask questions and seek answers; we hypothesize and test, and most of all, we expand our understanding of the world we live in.

Math

General Math 6: Jen

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Students in General Math had a chance to explore fractional operations from addition, to division through visual and algebraic means. When we first began, students were a little wary, but quickly took to the material. With a great deal of review, we were able to move into the nitty gritty of fraction division as it pertained to the work we had done previously in ratios. Each student excelled at the use of the algorithm as well as creating visual models and explaining their work.

Pre-Algebra: Ryan

Last month, students delved into solving single variable equations and inequalities.  They learned how to isolate the variable by combining like terms and manipulating both sides of the equation.  As a class we discovered a fair amount of test anxiety exists amongst us, so I decided to hold daily quizzes, even short ones, to assuage the fear of being assessed on retained knowledge and technique.  I’m happy to report excellent attitudes in the pre-algebra class and students are getting better at sharing their gaps in understanding so that together we might shed light on misconception and confusion.  We typically play a game through math once a week, such as Bingo, Quack Quack, or campus-wide scavenger hunts.

Algebra: Jen

In Algebra, students had an opportunity to work with inequalities and absolute values at the basic level. It will be something we come back to as algebra progresses. Students learned about graphing on a number line, solving multiple step inequalities and how to work with absolute value and find the multiple answers presented in an equation. Students then worked on an end of unit project analyzing how their own heart rate at rest and during exercise can affect the types of workout programs that are best for them. Each student created a tailored exercise routine to maximize the metabolic units burned in order to stay healthy. 

Humanities

LA: John

Students in Language Arts spent the semester studying and writing narrative poetry. We read a number of works by a variety of authors including Poe, Silverstein, Masters, and Robinson. Students completed plot diagrams to outline their ideas before writing, revising, and publishing their poems. Our unit culminated in the students presenting their poetry to their peers. In addition to poetry, grammar and spelling lessons took place on a weekly basis.

History

Humanities I: John

The Humanities I students spent the month of December learning about the history and design of motte and bailey castles. Beginning with the Norman invasion of England in 1066, we learned about why William the Conqueror needed to build so many castles across the English countryside. Students learned about the function of each section of the castle and weighed the pros and the cons of building wooden castles instead of stone castles. Our final project for this unit was using popsicle sticks to construct a model of a motte and bailey castle complete with a drawbridge, palisades, bridge, moat, and keep. Grammar and spelling lessons continued on a weekly basis.

Global Studies in the Middle Ages: John

The second quarter in Global Studies in the Middle Ages focused primarily on life in the Roman Republic and the transition from republic to empire. Students investigated the role of the Punic Wars in establishing Rome as a major power in the Mediterranean. Our unit on the Punic Wars culminated in the creation of a magazine in which students wrote articles and conducted fictional interviews to demonstrate their understanding. 

Modern American History: John

Students in Modern American History spent the month of December studying the events surrounding the Spanish-American War, including yellow journalism, the destruction of the U.S.S. Maine, and the rise of the United States as a world power. In order to understand the effects of yellow journalism on the public, students were encouraged to choose a modern topic and write a news article using yellow journalism. Finally, we turned our attention to the building and operation of the Panama Canal.