Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Grade 7 Science Students Teach about Water Properties

Mr. Reynold's 7th grade science students have been teaching lessons on water and chemistry to classes from the Molin School. 

Small teams of students were assigned topics such as adhesion, cohesion, and capillary action. Each team designed a mini-lesson with a demonstration or short activity. 
Will water stick!

A blue tank, a red tank...when water moves what will result?

Molin school students enjoyed the station activities and asked lots of great questions. Nock students learned that teaching a lesson means really needing to know the content well. 
Notes from the stations

Will the sand and water get hot at the same rate?

How many drops of water can you get on one penny? Water is sticky!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Grade 8 Students Read To Kill A Mockingbird

Image result for to kill a mockingbird

Harper Lee's classic coming of age novel is the anchor text for a current 8th grade ELA unit. ELA teachers Bridget Lesage and Eriko Antos have integrated lessons from Facing History and Ourselves' Teaching Mockingbird project into a unit where students apply reading and writing skills to explore the literary themes and characters of Lee's novel.

The text offers rich characters like Scout, Jem and Atticus and presents readers with important questions about race, social status, and justice. Early lessons are designed to help students understand the historical context of Lee's novel. A scavenger hunt activity introduces students to the history of Jim Crow laws and the impact of the Great Depression on American society.

Here are some of the "big ideas" students are exploring in their study:
  1. How do people find the courage to fight injustice and persecution?  When, if ever, should someone rebel against the norm of society?
  2. How and why do humans dehumanize others?
  3. How are humans vulnerable to lies, manipulation, and intimidation?
  4. Where does a person’s conscience come from?  How does a person’s conscience drive his/her behavior?
  5.  How does geography shape American consciousness?
  6. What is the importance of innocence?  How is innocence lost?
  7. Are people born evil or do they become evil as a product of their circumstances?
  8. How and why are people unjustly treated in present-day America?
  9. What are the characteristics of an American hero?
Using strategies like close reading (students consider the meaning and writing of specific passages in the text), written response and group reflection, teachers are building students' skills in responding to and creating meaning from a literary text. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Shark Tank Geography Style

Students in Kyle Hildebrand's World Geography class are competing for investor's dollars in a Shark Tank meets Middle Eastern studies project. Teams of 3-4 students are researching the location, language, economy, and culture of countries in the Middle East and applying this knowledge to a plan for a culturally appropriate restaurant.

Students will share their proposals (with optional food samples!) to the Shark Tank judges in three-minute persuasive presentations. The three-minute time limit pushes students to fine-tune their presentations and select only the most persuasive language and arguments.

As a part of the presentation, students will share how their research affected their business plan decisions. Each member of the group will be asked to take a role in the public presentation, allowing for students to practice the important skill of speaking to a group.

We know it is Shark Tank judging week when the smells of freshly cooked foods fill the 6th grade hallways!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Eureka Math in Action

Students in Nina Swain's 7th grade math class were recently working on A Story of Ratios unit. Working in groups of four, students applied their understanding of using "if-then moves" in solving equations.

The Problem
The total number of participants who went on the seventh-grade field trip to the Natural Science Museum consisted of all of the seventh-grade students and 7 adult chaperones. Two-thirds of the total participants rode a large bus, and the rest rode a smaller bus. If 54 students rode the large bus, how many students went on the field trip?

Students were asking questions like: "What represents the total number of participants?" "What can take the place of the word of?"  Using notes from class, coaching from the teacher, and ideas from the group, students were engaged in some excellent mathematical conversations.

Eureka Math lessons encourage students to focus on the process of solving problems and to explore the concepts of math rather than memorize specific problem-solving steps. Below is the summary of the key concepts being addressed in this lesson:

Lesson Summary 
  • Algebraic Approach: To solve an equation algebraically means to use the properties of operations and if-then moves to simplify the equation into a form where the solution is easily recognizable. For the equations we are studying this year (called linear equations), that form is an equation that looks like 𝑥𝑥 = a number, where the number is the solution. 
  • If-Then Moves: If 𝑥𝑥 is a solution to an equation, it will continue to be a solution to the new equation formed by adding or subtracting a number from both sides of the equation. It will also continue to be a solution when both sides of the equation are multiplied by or divided by a nonzero number. We use these if-then moves to make zeros and ones in ways that simplify the original equation. 
  • Useful First Step: If one is faced with the task of finding a solution to an equation, a useful first step is to collect like terms on each side of the equation.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Five Nock Students Audition for Junior District Chorus

From our music teacher Jamie Sokolowski:

The Massachusetts Junior District Chorus is an audition-only chorus for middle school students looking for a challenge. 

Five 8th grade students chose to audition on Saturday: Alex Georgopoulos, Maddie Desimio-Maloney, Nate Hall, Lucy Page and Cam Stetson.

The auditions require students to learn very challenging music and sing with other middle school musicians from around the state. If students are selected for Junior District Chorus, they go on to perform at a weekend-long music festival. 

I am very proud of these five students for taking on this challenge. It was a great experience and learning opportunity! 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

3D Printing meets Crowd Sourcing

A small group of students from Brad Balkus's 8th grade engineering course are using their CAD and 3D printing skills to build prosthetic hands. As a part of a non-profit program called e-Nable, this team of students has printed and assembled several prosthetic hands. eNable partners like the Nock, 3D print and assemble the hands which are then returned to the organization for distribution to children around the world.

To learn more about the Nock project, see this recent article in The CurrentGiving a Hand: Nock Students Making 3D Printer Hands

For more on the e-Nable organization, and for some inspiring videos of children using their new hands see Enabling the Future

A completed hand

Friday, January 13, 2017

Earthquake in Grade 6!

Lisa Alexander, grade 6 science teacher, recently shared this update...

Did you feel the earth shake on Thursday 1/12/17?  No need to panic, it was just our sixth-grade science classes creating their own earthquakes. 

As our sixth graders come to the end of their earth science unit, their study begins to incorporate the use our own seismograph. In 2015 the NEF supported a grant to fund the purchase of a seismograph machine to be housed at R.A. Nock Middle School.  

We are an official reporting site, recording earthquakes worldwide.  Our students have spent the last couple of months learning about earth’s structure and the forces the impact earth’s surface and the impact on humans. We are now utilizing our seismograph to monitor plate movements and discover more about the energy waves created.  

Many of our students have added the smart phone app “Quake Feed” to their personal devices.  They are alerted of earthquakes around the world.  The enthusiastic entrance into the science classrooms to see if our seismograph recorded ground shaking in Newburyport is priceless!  

Families can monitor our seismograph remotely from home by accessing the easy to use link.  Special thanks go to the NEF for supporting our partnership with the BECESP Seismology program and Weston Observatory.