6th Grade Learning Previews - January 2020

6th Grade Learning Previews - January 2020
Posted on 01/07/2020
Science: Mr. Phil Nerboso

In our new Earth Science unit, students are presented with an anchor phenomenon (a video of an erupting volcano). The observations and questions gathered from watching the video are used to create a driving question board, from which questions that drive the learning in the entire unit are pulled. Students create initial models of what they think is happening/causing the erupting volcano, then begin the process of gradually putting together the pieces of the puzzle of plate tectonics. They make sense of evidence gathered by Wegener in the early 1900’s, and later scientists, attempting to explain why these phenomena occur (continuously revising their models and ideas). This unit is designed so that students are not told about tectonic plates--they discover them on their own using authentic evidence. Only at the end of the unit is the theory of plate tectonics revealed. The stories of the scientists involved in these discoveries are also highlighted to encourage personal connections between students and professional scientists, and to feature how scientific ideas change over time based on new evidence. Ask your student what their current theory is on why volcanoes erupt and make sure to ask them why they think that!

Social Studies: Ms. Gisel Saillant

We celebrated the 6th-grade social studies mini-unit, Understanding Race the Friday before vacation. Students shared personal statements they have written about race, racism and racial identity. It was powerful, difficult and necessary for our community to come together and listen to their voices. Ask your student what the stories made them think about. This month, students are beginning their third unit on ancient Mesopotamia and we’ll investigate the following questions: “What is a society? How does water access influence societies? How do people build power, and what did it look like? Check out our Early Humans Newsletter: http://bit.ly/2Q8wxVT

ELA: Dan Tobin, aka Mr. Tobin

As the year begins, we’ll finish writing the short stories we began in December. From there, we shift into Book Clubs, where students will be choosing between four books to read and discuss in small groups. The books students can choose will be Hatchet, Ghost, Out of My Mind, and The War That Saved My Life. We’ll focus on things like plot, character, and theme, and this will culminate in writing an essay comparing the book club book to another book students have read. This can either be Seedfolks or an independent reading book of their choosing. Keep your students reading! Homework will continue to be reading 30m a night, and students should aim for at least 8 complete books by the end of January to keep pace for the expected 15-25 books.

Math: Ms. Alexandra Spencer

During the month of January students will be kicking off their fourth unit on dividing fractions. Students will be using a variety of methods to represent this work including the use of interactive applets on the computer. Can you think of a story problem that could be represented by ⅘ divided by ½? Ask your student! During this unit you should be impressed with their ability to model division using diagrams and also connect it to real-world situations. Your student can expect a unit assessment towards the end of the month. We will continue to offer our optional drop-in review sessions before and after school. 
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