Tuesday, October 29, 2019

10.29.2019 - Tuesday -

10.29.2019 – Tuesday –
* note: apologies for the late update but the wildfires have caused power, here at home, to be off for extended periods *

I.      Math – Rate (Speed) , Distance , Time and Unit Rate.
a.     Warm up / class work: We began with practice on mixed numbers and improper fractions and converting between the two.
b.     Practice adding and subtracting fractions that have different denominators.
c.     Homework: Instead of going forward to Unit 2, Lesson 15 we spent more time of calculating speed, distance, or time – depending upon which was needed.  Rate = Distance / Time.  Distance = Rate x Time.  Time = Distance / Rate.

II.    Science.  Human Body Systems
a.     Current Events” Two notes on the California Wild Fires.
b.     Complete our video and notes on the heart.
c.     Begin digestive system with an eye towards showing how the body systems work together.
d.     Digestive System Anatomy color-in sheet.

III.  STEAM – Scientific Method and the disciplines of engineering.
a.     We watched a bit of “October Sky” – based on the book “Rocket Boys” by Homer Hickam.

b.     Yesterday we built paper building and today the focus was on researching before beginning a build.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

10.22.2019 - Tuesday -


  1. Math:  Ratios and Unit Rates. (With a bit on Conversion Factors.)
    1. Class practice: Calculating UNIT RATES - Ratios where the denominator is one (unit.) For example; If someone spends three dollars for four pounds of bananas, how much do bananas cost per pound.
    2. We touched on conversion factors as students use them, frequently, both in science class and algebra.  It’s also related to cross products and cross cancelling.
    3. Homework - Unit 2, Lesson 9.

II    Science:  Continuing with human body systems, focusing on the nervous system.
      A.  Current Events: CNN 10 happened to have a brief story on adaptive technology, which was a good place to give an example of what can happen when a person’s spinal cord is damaged.
      B.  LAB: Students performed a lab on reaction time. We tested a hypothesis as to who has faster reaction times and will relate this to both the scientific method and the nervous system.
      C.  Homework - Reading on the nervous system from our science text and averaging our results from today’s lab.

III.   STEAM:  Transition to unit on water, boats, and waves.
       A.  A change of lesson as building groups are changed for the new unit. An overview of forces using Bill Nye - One of the major forces we will be studying in this unit is buoyancy.

Monday, October 21, 2019

10.21.2019 - Monday -

10.21.2019 – Monday –

I.  Math:         
         A.  Class work (warm up) :  A review / preview. Students were asked to use rulers and draw a square with an area of 25 square centimeters. A rectangle with a perimeter of 25 centimeters; then a square with an area twice as large as the previous square. (Practice with perfect squares and approximating square roots. Students should know their perfect squares through 100.)

         B.  Class work and homework:  Students had some notes o interpreting speed and time graphs which relates to the UNIT RATE from our work on LESSONS 8 and 9.

         C.  Algebra corner:  Some students and parents have expressed interest in introducing algebra concepts. While it’s not tested on, or the focus of the class, we’re incorporating an algebra tie-in each day. Today we briefly showed the speed (rate) = distance /  time equation.

II.  Science:
         A.  Current Events: Two on the all-female spacewalk. Since the last Apollo Mission visited our moon in 1972, humans have not been more than about 250 miles form Earth; although we have sent robot explorers beyond our solar system.

         B LAB:  We’re studying the NERVOUS SYSTEM. We had some notes on the brain and the central and peripheral nervous system.  Then we moved into a lab activity where students tested their threshold for feeling nerve stimuli along our forearms.

         C.  We touched on reaction time and will do a brief lab on nerve impulses tomorrow. We did the classic test of trying to catch a dollar dropped between two fingers for reaction time. (Nobody won the dollar J - Homework is text pages 143 through 145.


         A. Students wrapped up their bridges and some students began on the next unit, which is on boats and waves. Bridges have been painted and named.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

10.10.2019 - Thursday - Science and Math -

10.10.2019 - Thursday - Science - 

  1. Current events:  
    1. The Nobel Prize is currently being awarded. We learned a bit about Alfred Nobel and the origin of the prize.
    2. One note on recycling and plastics. Ninety one percent of the plastic EVER thrown away has NOT been recycled.
II.  Eight facts on one of our eleven body systems -  the skeleton.
A.  Adults have 206 bones
B.  Skeleton is made of living tissue.
C.  Broken bones can repair themselves.
D.  Bones ‘anchor’ the muscles and tendons.
III LAB - Part one of an investigation into our respiratory and circulatory systems. We took our resting heart rate and our heart rate after exercise.  We’ll use these number tomorrow to chart and check independent vs. dependent variables.

0.10.2019 - Math - 

  1.  Math - Text pages 23 - 28 and the “Are You Ready For More?”  
  2. Notes:
    1. Ratios:  We reviewed the number system from Natural Numbers through Whole and Rational Numbers and, finally, a bit on irrational numbers.
    2. A few notes and examples on cross multiplication.
    3. An introduction to algebraic expressions.

Monday, September 30, 2019

09.30.2019 - Monday - Recap

09.30.2019 - Monday - 

  1. Math - Nets and Surface Area.
    1. Warm up:  Students constructed a rectangular prism and a triangular prism (nets cut-out). Students are to calculate both the VOLUME and the SURFACE AREA of each in the notes.
    2. Prisms: Description / Clarification:  Imagine taking a polygon and moving it “through space” so each vertex makes a line.

          II.  Notes and examples of “Nets” 
                      A.  Cutting and unfolding three dimensional figures and labeling / measuring the lateral sides and base.

          III.  Homework
              A.  Pages 122 through 126 from “Open Up Resources.”


  1. Science:  - Photosynthesis and the (obvious) importance of the sun!
    1. We had a few notes on proteins and how the DNA directs cells to manufacture proteins in the ribosomes.
    2. Proteins are important molecules for a wide variety of functions.  The are, in turn, made from smaller molecules called Amino Acids.  
    3. Amino Acids link in chains (Polymers - “Many Parts”) to for proteins.
    4. “The Martian” - A run down of the science from the movie.
      1. The biology
      2. The physics.

          II STEAM.
             A.  Our second paper airplane “fly off.” This one going for “hang the” over distance.
             B.  Begin our unit on bridges.

Friday, September 27, 2019

09.27.2019 - Recap -


I.  Math: 
            A.  Two-part assessment today:
                        1.  Quiz on triangles. Acute, Obtuse, and Right.
                        2.  Check on the classwork / homework:  Students were building cubes and tetrahedrons in class and were asked to calculate the volume and surface area for each. The assessment checked to be sure the work in their books was completed.

            B. Computer work day – Students had tome to begin lesson 14 on using “nets” to find surface area.

II.  Science:
            A. Brief, open-note quiz on the differences between plant and animals cells. Next week we’ll be working on structure and function of each organelle.
            B.  A 17 minute clip from “The Martian” focusing on the science crosscutting concepts of systems and, specifically, how Watney’s “HAB” on Mars is a small, self-contained system. Our Earth is a larger version of the “HAB.” 
            C.  Final focus on proteins as building blocks in our bodies. We’ll be learning what organelles make proteins.

            A.  Some more flight testing today; this time going for maximum “Hang time.”

            B.  We continued our theme of VARIABLES in any science and engineering practice.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

09.26.2019 - Thursday -

Summary and tomorrow’s quizzes

I.  Math: We built paper prisms and measured their volume and surface area to the nearest centimeter.
            A.  Open note quiz tomorrow. The focus is;
                        1.  Triangles
                                    i) Acute
                                    ii) Obtuse
                                    iii)  Right
                                    iv)  Total measure of interior angles.
            B. Naming angles.
            C.  Area formula. (2 dimensional)
                        1. Square
                        2.  Rectangle
                        3. Triangle
            D. Surface area.
                        1.  Cubes
                        2.  Rectangular prisms.
            E. Polygons.
                        1.  Edges
                        2. Vertices

II.  Science: 
            A.  Current Events: California Sea Otters.
            B.  Tomorrow’s open notes quiz: We’ve only begun learning the functions of the organelles inside plant and animal cells. Tomorrow quiz will only focus on;
                        1.  Consumers vs. Producers
                        2.  The organelles that are UNIQUE to plant or animal cells. (Which ones do they share and which ones do they NOT share.)
                        3.  The one organelle with which students should be familiar, and know the function of, is the nucleus.

                   C. A bit on “The Martian” to introduce PROTEINS.  Tomorrow’s focus will be on PHOTOSYNTHESIS.

            A.  An experiment to continue with VARIABLES. Does changing the weight on the end of a string cause the pendulum to swing faster or slower. (Or no change.)

            B.  Video clip on running an experiment to determine the diameter of Earth.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

09.25.2019 - Wednesday -

09.25.2019 – Math / Science / STEAM


I.  Math:  Polygons / Prisms / Angles
         A.  Warm up / class work:  Students worked o making their own ACUTE, OBTUSE, and RIGHT triangles along with parallelograms and triangles that have a specific area. (Goal: When students create their own questions and answers they gain a deeper understanding of the subject matter.)

         B.  Notes:  Polygons.
                  1.  The difference between edges and vertices.
                  2.  The difference between exterior and interior angles.
                  3.  Naming angles.
                           i.)  … with one letter, showing the vertex.
                           ii)  … with three letters - the vertex as the middle letter.

         C.  Video clip (4 min) Platonic Solids – Prisms
         D.  Homework:  Complete the glossary on page 115 (Definitions) Attempt pages 112 – 114 – We’ll be reviewing those as a class tomorrow.

II.  Science:  Cells / Consumers / Producers
         A.  “The Martian”  - Mark Watney grows potatoes in Martian dirt; turning it into soil by adding bacteria. Plants will not grow in dirt. Soil contains fungi, protests, and bacteria – ALL essential for plants.
         B.  Plants are PRODUCERS. They do this amazing thing called PHOTOSYNTHESIS – Taking sunlight, carbon dioxide, and water and recombining the atoms to produce sugar. They cast off oxygen in the process; which is great for us animals for that whole “breathing” thing.
         C.  CONSUMERS (Animals) Eat producers or eat something that eats producers. Think about cows. They have the ability to digest plant grass directly (something we can’t do because we lack the necessary enzymes to break it down. Don’t worry – we’ll learn about enzymes in four weeks. Our focus is CONSUMERS, PRODUCERS, PLANT CELLS, and ANIMAL CELLS.

         A.  Flight Web Search #2:  We were going to fly our airplanes outside again today but it was 91 degrees Fahrenheit and completing our web search seemed good for today along with completing the last five minutes of the brief “Mythbusters” Episode on Helium Footballs.

         B.  The “Mythbusters” did an excellent job of illustrating VARIABLES in an experiment.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

09.24.2019 - recap -

09.24.2019 – Tuesday –

I.  Math:  Polygons, Area, Surface Area.
            A.  Warm – up / class work:  Students worked on area questions where the area could be found by either decomposing the figure or using the area formula.  The sheet was composed of questions from a quiz we had last week and we wanted to check progress on understanding area.

            B.  Notes: We took the notes on an open page in our text.  The notes were on the edges and vertices of polygons. (See below.)

              C.  We went through the edges and vertices from the last homework. Tonight our goal is through 109 in our text.
II.  Science: Cell Organelles – Structure and function –
            A.  Current Events: Two notes on coal: 
                        1.  Coal is still the primary source of electricity in the world.
                        2.  Coal is a fossil fuel; meaning it comes from the remains of one-living things. By burning coal we add carbon to our atmosphere and increase the temperature of our biosphere. Coal and methane emissions drive global climate change.

            B.  Cell parts and function:
                        1.  Students had two “cut and pastes” for their notebooks.  We’ll return to “The Martian” in a bit. While students learn what the various parts of a cell do we are trying to build some context for the definitions – otherwise it is just rote memorization. For example – Proteins and vacuoles – Beyond color-in sheets students need to have an idea of the importance of these organelles. Otherwise it’s just remembering things to pass a test.  Our next test is an open note assessment this Friday.

III.  STEAM – Aeronautical Engineering –

            A. Today we flew our paper airplanes for distance, outside the classroom, and then returned to the class for a brief lesson on variables in an experiment.

Friday, September 20, 2019

09.20.2019 - Friday -

09.20.2019 – Math / Science / STEAM

I.      Math:  A brief quiz on area of triangles and parallelograms.
a. In-class assignments on finding the third interior angle of a triangle when the measure of the other two angles in known.

II.    Math Notes

a.     In all triangles the interior angles sum to 180 degrees.
b.     If a triangle has one angle in 90 degrees it is called a RIGHT triangle.
c.     If a triangle has all three angles less than 90 degrees in is an ACUTE triangle.
d.     If a triangle has an interior angle that is GREATER than 90 degrees it is a, OBTUSE triangle.

   III.  Math homework – Pages 98, 99, and 100.
            a.  Important – Students were given a multi-page math packet that is for class work. The focus is on perimeter and area. It’s not assigned as homework. It’s meant as supplemental classroom practice. Thanks.

   IV. Science: Open note test followed by seed observation and inquiry.

a.     Students were asked to speculate on and draw the seeds we grew in class.
b.     A brief clip of “The Martian” to highlight the difference between dirt and soil. Soil is composed of some non-living and some living material.
c.     In “The Martian” the fictional astronaut, Mark Watney, has to find a source of bacteria before attempting to grow potatoes on Mars

d.     Our current events focused on the equinox! Fall begins Monday, the 23rd.

   V. STEAM:  A web search on flight and paper airplane design followed by a paper airplane building session.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

First attempt at a YouTube channel for math and science


Hi students ... Here's a link to a YouTube channel as a test to see if this might help with clarifying some concepts as we go. 'Good to try new things :-)

Mr. Forbes


Tuesday, September 17, 2019

09.17.2019 - Tuesday -

Science 09.17.2019 – Tuesday –
Study Guide for Thursday’s open-note test

I.  Current Events:
            A.  One note on the busiest airport in the world.
            B.  One more note on hypersonic speed.

II.  Study Guide – Things we’ve covered that will be on Thursday’s test.
            A.  Key vocabulary terms
                        1. Cell
                        2.  Bacteria
                        3.  Cell Membrane
                        4.  Cytoplasm
                        5.  Prokaryote
                        6.  Eukaryote
                        7.  Nucleus
            B.  Elements found in living things.
                        1. Remember our C-H-O-N color-in handout.

            C.  Why is WATER essential (important) for life?
            D.  Characteristics of living things. “How do we know if something is alive?”
            E.  One fact from Current Events.  (Our Current Events always related to something we study this year.)

- Students had time to be sure they’ve completed the text pages 5, 10, 15, 16 and 23 through 26.  We also had a moon observation as our moon is a waning gibbous currently – It was setting around 9:00 am today.

Monday, September 16, 2019

09.16.2019 - Math -

09.16.2019 - Monday - 
Workbook pages - 75 through 84

09.16.2019 - Science -

09.16.2019 – Science –
I.  Current Events:  Two (2) on oil (fossil fuels.)
         A.  Oil comes from the remains of once-living things.
         B. Oil and coal are similar. They are both made, mainly, of Carbon.

II.  Observation:  Seeds
         A.  We added water to seeds last Thursday and today we observed the first stages of germination.
         B.  Students drew a picture of their seeds and described the first stages.
         C. More on water and how essential it is for the chemical reactions of life.

III.  A very brief clip from the beginning of “The Martian” – The fictional story has a stranded astronaut survive on Mars by growing potatoes. 

IV.  Students should continue their moon observations.

V.  Study guide for our first unit test will be on the board tomorrow.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

09.13.2019 - Friday - Math and Science recap

09.13.2019 – Math / Science
I.  Math:  Text – Pages 57 through 74.
         A.  Math Optional Extra Credit is due by Friday.
         B.  Math test on Friday focusing on parallelograms and triangles as well as decomposing figures to determine area and perimeter.

II.  Science
         A.  Lab on using the Triple Beam Balance – Determining MASS.
         B.  Lab on determining the DENSITY OF WATER  (One gram per cubic centimeter.)
         C.  Density and specific gravity are eighth grade standards but we need a basic understanding for cells and earth science in sixth grade as we study;
                  1.  Osmosis
                  2. Diffusion
                  3.  Oceans
                  4. Life on Earth!

         D.  A very brief (12 minute) video clip on the history of our universe. From the Big Bang, 14.5 billion years ago to the formation of Earth 4.5 billion years ago, to the first life on our planet. (About 3.5 to 3.7 billion years ago.)

         E. HOMEWORK: OBSERVE THE MOON! (ongoing for three weeks.)

09.13.2019 - Friday - STEAM

09.13.2019 – Friday
Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math

“Friday light.”

     Hi STEAM students. As we complete the two weeks on Civil Engineering -  focusing on buildings and houses - we will spend some time on aeronautical engineering. Having grown up right here next to San Francisco International Airport (SFO) it seems a natural engineering subject to explore.

     Today we watched a bit of “October Sky.”: Based on the novel “Rocket Boys” by Homer Hickam.  I’ve had the good fortune to visit the area of West Virginia where the novel was based. My father grew up in Charmco, West Virginia and we passed around a sample of coal from the very mine in the movie. We’re only watching a selected piece of the movie but I highly recommend. the novel. The book recounts the efforts of a small group of Coalwood, West Virginia high school students as they attempt to build and fly model rockets to enter a science fair. 

     Homer Hickam was kind enough to respond to a letter and the story is a wonderful example of the scientific method in action.

09.15.2019 Math - Optional extra credit

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

09.11.2019 - Math -

09.11.2019 – Wednesday – Math

I.    Notes on multiplying fractions
a.     Unlike addition or subtraction, there’s no need to find a common denominator when multiplying fractions.
b.    When dividing fractions we take the reciprocal of the second fraction (the DIVISOR) and, then, multiply as usual.
c.     While teaching eight-grade math last year a number of students tried to rely on calculators to convert fractions into decimals before performing arithmetic on the fractions. We will NOT be using calculators to work with fractions. We’ll be practicing working with rational numbers.

II. Class work and homework
a.     Goal for the homework is pages 49 through 55. Be sure to arrive at class with any questions you may have on the homework.

III.      Test corrections are due tomorrow.

IV.         Optional Extra Credit is due Friday.

09.11.2019 - Science -

09.11.2019 – Wednesday –

I.    Current Events:
a.     A very brief clip from “Brainpop” and “CNN Student News” (5 minutes) on the events of 9/11 , 2001. 
b.    Current events often has stories of international relations. No notes required for this part of the class.

II. Triple Beam Balance
a.     Brief notes on the three beams of the balance and how to use careful lab procedures to carry, handle, and use the triple beam.
b.    Our triple Beam balances measure the MASS of an object.
c.     The IS a difference between mass and weight.

III.      LAB
a.     Students were asked to find the mass of eight objects.
1.     Paper clip
2.    1 seed
3.    Graduated cylinder
4.    Golf ball
5.    Toy car
6.    Coin
7.    Pencil
8.    Ten seeds

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

09.10.2019 - Tuesday - All classes recap

09.10.2019 – Math / Science / STEAM

I. Math
         A.  We passed back our most recent quiz and reviewed the test correction procedure. Tests are due back by Thursday with corrections.
         B. The question on the recent quiz about how many “small” triangles make one square unit was a bit unclear and answers of 1/16 and 1/32 were both accepted as correct. The grades will be updated Thursday.
         C. Some examples of decomposing figures to determine area and perimeter.
         D. This week’s optional, extra-credit, was made available. It is due Friday.
         E. Homework: Complete he unit on parallelograms.

II. Science
         A.  Current events
                           1.  One note on hurricanes, typhoons, and cyclones.
                           2.  One on the Indian mission to our moon.
         B.  Cells
                           1.  Five facts and an overview of the vocabulary terms from “Bill Nye – Cells.”
         A.  Scale model houses should be secured to their “land” and a compass rose should be added.
                           1.  A brief lesson on considerations in building a house, including the height of the sun in the sky at various times of year and the direction the house faces.

                           2.  Five STEAM questions on building your own house.

Monday, September 9, 2019

09.09.2019 - Math

Math - 09.09.2019 - 
Students worked on Unit One, Lesson three in class and are assigned through the end of lesson four for this evening. We had some notes on parallelograms and will correct he homework and our last quiz in class tomorrow.
A quadrilateral flow chart was introduced, like the one below.

Science - 09.09.2019 - Monday -

O9.09.2019 Science – Monday –

I.  Observation: Properties of water.
         A.  We had some drops of water on waxed paper an observed how the water tended to stick together and was repelled by the paper; much like a car after it’s been waxed.
         B.  Wax is very similar to fat or LIPIDS. Cells have a lipid layer that makes them like little “bubbles” of water.
         C.  The water molecule is POLAR – It has a positive and a negative side. Water molecules tend to stick together. Almost like tiny magnets.

II.  The second part of the class had students observe food coloring dropped into water. Students were asked if it was possible to avoid having the food coloring mix with water.
         A.  Atoms and molecules are always moving.
         B.  Water is a SOLVENT.
         C.  The food coloring will eventually mix no matter what – so long as the water is above ABSOLUTE ZERO! (But, that’s for eighth grade chemistry J)

III.  Finally, student used our in-class textbooks to make a list of the similarities and differences between PLANT cells and ANIMAL cells.
         A.  Plant cells have vacuoles to store water.
         B.   Plant cells have cell walls to help the plant stay rigid.

         C.  Animal cells have lysosomes to help remove waste.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Math and Science Notes and Assignments - 09.06.2019

Thursday and Friday update ...
We had Back to School night on Wednesday and our first math quiz on Friday. The math quiz was based on the composing and decomposing of figures that we did both in class and for homework. Students could use their text for the test and the Area and perimeter questions were straight from the homework assigned on Tuesday.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

09.03.2019 - Tuesday - Math -

09.03.2019 – Tuesday – Math –
I.  Warm up:  A quick, word-problem, challenge to introduce/review the concept of CONVERSION FACTORS. These are important in both math and science.
         A.  Word problem of how long it would take Los Angeles to be next to San Francisco of the San Andreas Fault is moving the cities about two inches closer – on average – each year?

B.    We’ll jump back into “Open Up – 2.2 – Comparing Shapes – “ tomorrow. Students had a bit more practice on area, perimeter, and working backwards (key problem-solving skill) to calculate the length of a side of a square given the area.
C.     Perimeter and area practice work sheet was assigned. Some students completed it in class. If not completed in class it “rolls over” into homework.

II.  REMINDER: A basic calculator is required for this math class.

09.03.2019 - Science -

09.03.2019 – Tuesday –
I.    Current events:  Student news (8 min.) – Two different science stories.
a.     Hurricane Dorian had the strongest winds ever recorded I an Atlantic hurricane.
b.    The donkey has been used as a work animal for about 5,000 years.

II. Science Notes – Introducing the GRADUATED CYLINDER.
a.     (Student drew the cylinder.) Used to measure LIQUID VOLUME.
b.    Remember, VOLUME is how much space matter takes up.
c.     Students shared 25mL graduated cylinders in their groups.

III.      mL stands for milliliter. 1000 mL = 1 Liter
IV.         Definitions: Students worked in groups – with the class set of textbooks - to define; (In science notebooks.)
a.     Cell
b.    Cytoplasm
c.     Eukaryotic
d.    Prokaryotic
e.    Nucleus
f.     Cell membrane

g.     Bacteria