Middle School French
This is my first newsletter for French Middle School classes 2020-2021. As we all know, the learning system must be an online system as long as the coronavirus pandemic has not been resolved. This is the school’s decision, in conjunction with the Ministry of Health to take care of our health together.
Here is an overview of what our middle school students are studying in French.
For Grade 6, students are still learning basic vocabulary such as numbers 0 to 100, names of days, months and seasons, family members, adjectives, etc. After that, they will learn how to pronounce French words correctly. Later, they will continue to learn to the grade 6 curriculum in French; how to greet, make simple sentences, give orders, ask and answer questions, etc. Of course, they also study French grammar.
For Grade 7, students review the essential vocabulary they learned in grade 6. The teacher provokes students’ memories of vocabulary that they might have forgotten, in the form of questions and answers or conversation. This is very good for students because they can recall previous knowledge before the teacher starts a new lesson.
For Grade 8, students immediately practice their basic knowledge of French by answering practice questions in French textbook One. The teacher progressively adds new knowledge about French grammar and vocabulary.
Overall, students learn how to speak French by mastering four basic elements of the language: Listening, Writing, Reading and Speaking.
High School Science
Grade 9 Biology (Mr. Duopah)
It has been a busy and challenging term for the Grade 9 Biology students. They began the academic year with an introduction to the science of biology and can describe the steps used in scientific research. They have learned about the characteristics of living things, and how life can be studied at different levels. The learning has involved several activities where students did a virtual lab on macromolecules. The goal of this lab was to learn how to find out whether a food molecule contains carbohydrates, proteins, or fats. The students have started the next unit in the biosphere and will learn how Earth’s living and nonliving parts interact and affect the survival of organisms.
Grade 10 Chemistry (Ms. Baldwin)
Chemistry students have been working hard to learn the myriad of rules related to naming ionic and covalent compounds. Part of this involves building ionic compounds by balancing their charges, and building molecules based on their names. They are continuing to use dimensional analysis to convert between grams, moles, and molecules so that they will be successful when it comes to chemical reactions and calculating quantities. We all wish we had access to lab materials and experiments, but we are exploring videos and simulations that the internet has to offer.
Environmental Science (Ms. Baldwin)
Students recently chose three projects to complete out of 12 possible options for investigating the atmosphere and the diverse biomes on planet Earth that it creates. Students will be presenting their favorite projects to small groups in the coming week. We have been making use of technological resources such as virtual tours through biomes and Flip Grid for homemade videos and peer feedback options. In the next unit, we will be discussing genetic, species, and ecosystem diversity present in various biomes and the value of such diversity in human and ecological health.
AP Biology (Mr. Duopah)
The AP Biology students have been working on cellular energetics. They have learned about how cells capture energy from light and transfer it to biological molecules for storage and use. Students have previously studied cell structure and function, membrane permeability, mechanisms of membrane transport, cell compartmentalization, enzyme structure, enzyme catalysis, and environmental impact on enzyme function. The learning has involved several activities where students did a virtual lab on cell size. The lab aims to investigate the relationship among surface area, volume, and the rate of diffusion. Students used the results to plot a graph and explained the trend shown by the graph using their knowledge of osmosis and water potential.
AP Physics 1 (Dr. Santiago)
How do you teach Physics outside the Physics lab? That was a common question amongst Physics teachers who were facing the inevitable online teaching at the onset of the pandemic. Fortunately, Physics can be learned well beyond the four walls of a laboratory or classroom. It is more fun to learn Physics when you see in action. In this day and age, the technology to learn Physics is available to anyone. You just need to be a little creative. Any smartphone can be a good video recording device. It can capture slow-motion videos, which are perfect for gathering data in a Physics experiment. This is what the AP Physics 1 students have done in for their inquiry-based activity. They used materials that are readily available to come up with an experiment to verify that the acceleration of an object is moving down an incline is constant. They used their phone as timers or video recorders and used Google sheets to crunch the data.
Online Physics classes come with many challenges. The teacher uses a dual-screen system so that all the participants in the online class can be seen in one full screen while the lecture or demonstration is on the other screen. This provides the classroom atmosphere that everyone is missing. A pen tablet is also a great tool used by the teacher as it allows for writing down Physics equations like how it is done on a whiteboard or chalkboard. The online applications Microsoft Onenote and Kami App have proven to be effective in the aid of teaching online. The Google Classroom has always been a wonderful learning management tool, especially during online learning. The AP Physics 1 students also use WebAssign and the AP Classroom as part of their online learning.
The class has completed unit 1 and is now learning about Newton’s laws of motion. The online platform has not slowed down the enthusiasm of the students. They continue to work hard just like they did when they were physically in school.
AP Chemistry (Ms. Baldwin)
AP Chemistry is a difficult subject and requires a lot of creative and flexible thinking to make use of models and particle diagrams to make sense of chemical processes. Usually, lab materials and experiments help understand these difficult concepts, but we are exploring videos and simulations that the internet has to offer. In our limited class time, we have extended homework help and supplemental lessons to Mondays after school, and have been making full use of the resources available on the AP Classroom site through the College Board. Currently, the class is discovering intermolecular forces, separating solutions, and spectroscopy as a way of analyzing solutions. After this unit, we will be discussing types of reactions and kinetics, and then reviewing the first semester.