A few of our Middle and Upper School teachers recently shared some of the engaging classroom activities their students participated in this fall. Get a glimpse into just a few of them!
US AP Comparative Government Gets Active with Research & Role Playing
In AP CoGo, Allison has been using different forms of small-group activities to fuel whole-class discussions as students learn concepts. Students recently researched citizenship laws for different countries and practiced identifying legitimate sources online. The class then connected citizenship with diverse lived experiences within a state and considered how such experiences shape political ideology. Afterward, students broke into small groups. They chose a political ideology they don't identify with (such as liberalism, socialism, communism, and fascism) and began working on elevator pitches to convince a stranger that their ideology was the "best" one. They put themselves in others' shoes to more fully understand what they're studying. On Thursday, Allison stood in the “elevator” and was happily surrounded by highly creative students excitedly presenting their arguments!
Engineers from Whiting-Turner Contracting Company Visit Mechanical Engineering and Techniques of Design and Fabrication Classes
Students in the first- (Introduction to Mechanical Engineering) and second-year (Advanced Techniques of Design and Fabrication) engineering courses were visited by two engineers last week. Elyse Hieronymus and Dan DeSmit work at Whiting-Turner Contracting Company, a major, national construction engineering firm—and the engineering firm that worked with SSFS on the recent construction of the new Upper School Pen y Bryn building. Elyse and Dan worked with students to understand the role of engineering and engineers in the construction process, from design to budgeting to construction. Students worked in groups to consider materials and processes needed for construction, as well as timeline and sequencing issues. Students enjoyed getting the opportunity to learn about the real-life challenges of building and construction from the engineers who helped design and build their current building.
Asian Studies Students Connect with Shildeg International School in Mongolia
Upper School Asian Studies students recently had three conference calls with students from Shildeg International School in Mongolia and the school’s founder, Tuya. Students had an excellent opportunity to exchange school experiences, cultural differences, life challenges, and more. Jasmine's students were honored to learn about and build a cultural bridge with “the land of eternal blue sky": Mongolia.
AP Stats Students Perform Barbie Bungee Jumping Experiments
Leslie McDonald’s AP Statistics class built on the 'Barbie Bungee' experiment first attempted by some of the students in 8th-Grade Algebra, now using new-found statistical knowledge of correlation, extrapolation, residuals, and linear and non-linear scatter plots. Students used in-class data points to predict the number of rubber bands required to safely bungee the Barbie off the third-floor porch of the Upper School, and then tested their predictions in real life.
6th-Grade English Class’s “Grammar Spooktacular”
Sixth Grade English students enjoyed a “grammar spooktacular” in Carolyn Donovan’s classroom for the last two weeks of October. As part of the unit, students learned about foreshadowing, the genre of horror, and more, while practicing some foundational grammar skills in a very fun way.
“Design Thinking” Class Designs and Builds Cardboard Creations for Different Age and Interest Groups
Students in Steffany Cartellone’s 7th and 8th-Grade Design Thinking class solve problems and/or answer questions by building products, designing something, or designing a new process. In September, students were tasked with building a “Cardboard Creation” for a particular age or interest group. Some of the categories included making a toy for a five year-old; making a trap that would catch but not kill a spider; making a Halloween mask that a 10-13 year-old would wear; and making a car that can roll down a hill. In this way, students got in the habit of considering their audience before designing their creation.
8th-Grade Science Classes Extract DNA from Fruit
Does food contain DNA? As part of their study of the characteristics of life, 8th grade scholars have been learning about the role of DNA in cell structure and function. To make it more tangible, students tested for DNA in food by examining juice from strawberries and kiwi, following an experimental protocol from a historic experiment, and comparing their results to positive and negative controls. Scholars were able to see DNA, practice recognizing the elements of good experimental design, and begin refining their ability to make scientific arguments, all while getting to play with their food!