High School IT/Computer Science
High school computer science students are developing simple programs and games using Python, a text-based programming language that is the most widely taught language at the university level. Python also is one of the most popular programming languages in industry, used by such organizations as Google, Amazon and Facebook.
Students in 10th grade introduction to coding class created an online store program using python code which calculates the total cost of a customer’s purchases. The customer is prompted to input quantities for three different products. In semester 2, we will be exploring some of the advanced concepts of python programming which includes creating and altering data structures.
Computer game design students in grade 9 iteratively build a Pac-Man-style arcade game. They also wrote a program that allows the user to move through a maze with the arrow keys on the keyboard. They worked collaboratively to add detail functionality to the game such resetting the player to the beginning of the maze when the player touches a boundary of the maze or one of the inner walls. Now that students have a solid foundation in the most useful types of control flow (conditionals, functions, and events), they’re prepared to level up both their conditional logic skills and their control flow control. This semester, students will be provided with more open-ended tools, enabling a wider variety of games and programs to be built, while also seeing how basic Computer Science concepts are used in the context of making something to be shared with others.
Middle School Social Studies
Over the past week in Social Studies the 6th and 7th grade have been focusing on building their reading comprehension and critical thinking skills by reading current events articles. To facilitate this we have been using a resource called Newsela in order to match students with relevant and reading-level appropriate material. The articles focus on topics related to our unit of study which is East Asia in 6th Grade and Mexico, the Carribbean, and Central America in 7th Grade. We are studying the geography of both regions. The students are tasked with reading the articles they are assigned independently and responding to multiple choice questions which come at the end of the readings. The students then get in groups which are based on their lexile range which simply put are differentiated readings based on ability level. Each article assigned to the groups has a specific level. Once in their groups the students are asked to evaluate their responses for each question explaining in detail why they chose that particular response.
As we all know, multiple choice questions can be difficult and discussing how each student arrives at a conclusion helps students get a better perspective on how we reason and analyze. It also opens students to the logical thinking patterns one must engage in when responding to multiple choice. So the objective is in part to prepare students for the inevitable multiple choice questions they will face on future standardized tests, quizzes, and examinations, but most importantly this exercise is to encourage students to defend their logic, listen to alternative ways to reach conclusions, verbalize their methodology in making choices and simply to build their reading stamina.
The 8th Grade class has been studying Ancient Egypt and the Middle East. Students have learned about the geography of the region, the culture, and the different religious beliefs. Students have also learned about Judaism, the Jewish diaspora, and how Judaism has survived throughout world history. Students are currently working on a Jewish Timeline which highlights some of the major events of the Jewish people. Students have also been reading articles about ancient Israel and the Holocaust. Once we finish this unit, we will be studying Ancient India.