II. Study Guide
– Things we’ve covered that will be on Thursday’s test.
A. Key vocabulary terms
3. Cell Membrane
B. Elements found in living things.
Remember our C-H-O-N color-in handout.
C. Why is WATER essential (important) for
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.
B. Math test on Friday focusing on
parallelograms and triangles as well as decomposing figures to determine area
A. Lab on using the Triple Beam Balance –
B. Lab on determining the DENSITY OF
WATER (One gram per cubic
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;
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.)
HOMEWORK: OBSERVE THE MOON! (ongoing for three weeks.)
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.
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
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.
A. We passed back our most recent quiz and
reviewed the test correction procedure. Tests are due back by Thursday with
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.
Some examples of decomposing figures to determine area and perimeter.
This week’s optional, extra-credit, was made available. It is due Friday.
Homework: Complete he unit on parallelograms.
A. Current events
1. One note on hurricanes, typhoons, and
2. One on the Indian mission to our moon.
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
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.
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.
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.
Hi Science and Math
students. Today we reviewed the grading policy where we have most of the credit
(fifty percent) coming from weekly tests and quizzes. We’ve been together in
class for a week now and I waited until now to review the grading policy, as I
like getting into routines and teaching right away. In math and science we touched on area and perimeter. One thing about sixth grade is that
many of us have come from different schools and different science subjects may
have been gone into more deeply in some places than others so we’re all getting
up to speed on these things together! Enjoy the ride through middle school J
I. Math: Area, Perimeter, and Volume -
A. Students were given regular prisms,
cylinders, and spheres and were asked to share and look at page 126 from their
binder reminders and apply the formula for determining volume. It was an
introduction to using volume formula.
B. For Pi students were asked to use
3.14. When Pi is involved in the
formula you know you’re dealing with a circle. (Cylinder or sphere today.)
C. First period was given a few extra
challenges to attempt this evening. (First four on either side of the paper
only.) We didn’t get quite that
far in third period.
Elements and life.
A. Students are arriving at Taylor with a
range of knowledge on the Periodic Table and elements. While we get into
chemistry in depth in seventh and eighth grade, we do introduce the concepts of
atoms, elements, and compounds.
B. The Periodic Table of Elements list the
92 naturally occurring elements plus other that have been produced in labs. We
gave a quick introduction to C, H, O, N, Ca, and P.
Plants make their own food through PHOTOSYNTHESIS.
D. Photosynthesis takes water and carbon
dioxide and makes sugar while releasing oxygen.
Science LAB: Observation and
inference. “Form follows function.”
Students were asked to observe, draw, and make a rubbing of various leaf
1. Why do you think a leaf has the shape
2. What was the approximate area of the
leaf in centimeters squared?
3. Name at least five things that look
similar to the veins in a leaf. Example: It looks like a map of a river system.
A. A very brief video clip on
B. Students were asked to answer a few
questions on their paper skyscraper build.
1. Why might we want to build high?
2. How do available materials limit how
high we can build?
3. What force is constantly trying to pull
Hi sixth graders and parents. We’re five days into the school year
and I’ve been trying to arrange to room and plan the curriculum for a year that
prepares each student for middle and high school. In math we’re beginning the
curriculum with area, perimeter and volume and in science we’ve touched on
cells and the scientific method.
I. Introduction: A review of perimeter, area, and volume.
Perimeter: One-dimensional – example – 12 meters
Area: Two-dimensional – example – 12 meters squared.
Volume: Like the volume of or classroom from our lab – 324 meters cubed.
II. Examples of perimeter, area, and volume
from construction and building.
III Math lab – We checked
out salt – NaCl – and figured that about 20 salt grains fit across one
So, 400 (20 x 20) salt grains would cover one square centimeter.
And, in once cubic centimeter, you could fit 8000 salt grains. (20 x 20
IV. Volume and perimeter
homework was collected and, tomorrow, we’ll use the salt math lab to give an
example of how we deal with very large numbers in science and math.
No homework in math this
I. Introduction: Current events. Two notes
on weather predictions for the US for this winter. Notes might include;
Winter begins on December 21st –
The “Old Farmers Almanac: uses a complicated – and not, particularly
scientific, method to predict the weather.
II. Notes: Elements and living things. We
do not get far into the Periodic Table of Elements in sixth grade, but we do
need a background on elements to understand some of the concepts in biology.
Living things are, mostly, composed of the elements;
C – Carbon
H – Hydrogen
O – Oxygen
N – Nitrogen
Ca – Calcium
P – Phosphorus
Student placed, into their science notebooks, a color-in sheet hat
visually represents the percentage of each element in a plant or animal. (By
mass, we’re mostly Oxygen!)
I.In our introduction to engineering we
did not add to our paper skyscraper today because of time constraints but we
did complete the “Imagineering” video clip and draw a first-draft design of a
house. The ultimate goal is to build a small model of a small home. Beginning
with plans, estimating costs, and considering materials and aesthetics.
HI sixth graders and welcome to Taylor Middle
School. Thanks for visiting this
site where you can find a recap of what we did in class, the assignments, and
an outline of our journey so far …
Middle school is the twenty-seven school
months we have to prepare for high school. I’m privileged to be your teacher and am excited to begin a
new school year in the city where I grew up.
Millbrae is a special place not only for
it’s location in the vibrant Bay Area but also as wonderful environment to
explore and create and discover your unique interests as we prepare, together,
for the adventure of middle and high school.
math review/preview) – Today we reviewer the ideas of SCIENTIFIC NOTATION.
a.In out galaxy, there are about 200 billion stars.
b.Astronomers estimate there are about 200 billion
galaxies in or universe.
c.That means the total number of stars in our
universe is about 4.0 x 10^22 – or 40 sextillion. That’s a four with twenty-two
zeros after it!
a.In our math lab today we continued with finding the
length, width, and average height of this classroom. (The “average height” is tricky because ceiling is not a
III.Math homework / assignment –
a.Textbooks were distributed and our homework is page
seven and to “flip-a-coin” and chose one of the figures from page eight. No
more than one-half hour on the homework please. If it takes longer than that
set it aside as we’ll review it in class tomorrow. Homework is meant to be practice,
not a burden.
I.Introduction: Current events:
a.Two notes on the current fired burring in the
Amazon rain forest.
i.Farmers are setting fires to clear land for cattle.
ii.About one fifth of the oxygen on our atmosphere
comes from the rain forest.
II.Notes – LIFE
a.A review of the Viking landers which reached Mars
on the 1970’s
i.Students were in table groups and asked that, if
they were on the engineering team for the Mars landers, what TESTS could you do
to determine of there was LIFE on Mars.
ii.In other words, how can we determine of something
III.HOMEWORK – (To be completed on notebooks.) –
Observation skills –
a.Image you go back in time 100 years and find
yourself among people who believe our Earth is as flat as a pancake.Assuming you can communicate with them,
what evidence could you use to try to show that or EARTH is, really, a sphere?