7th Grade Learning Previews: November 2019

7th Grade Learning Previews: November 2019
Posted on 11/05/2019
Science: Mr. Mahoney, [email protected]

As we move into November our science unit will begin to focus on heat energy, how it behaves and how students can harness energy to design a solution to challenge that will show their understanding of concepts taught during the unit. This unit on thermal energy transfer begins with the anchor phenomena of videos and photos of astronauts in spacesuits on the moon. Our body temperature is 98.6 degrees F--how can the space suits protect astronauts in those extreme temperatures and keep their body temperature at 98.6 degrees F? After creating initial models of how this might happen and compiling a driving question board of their questions, students begin to investigate key parts of this puzzle using different types of drink containers. They analyze spacesuits and hot/cold drink containers in terms of systems and properties of materials: What are the parts and what do they do? How do the parts work together? What are the parts made out of and what are their properties? These ideas will be important as students investigate the differences in cup systems that are closed systems vs. open systems. In their initial investigations, students test a variety of cups and rank them in order of their ability to keep hot liquids hot and cold liquids cold.Through a series of investigations, students figure out that heat energy is transferred in the cup systems via 1) the absorption of light energy (radiation), 2) transfer of heat energy through the walls and lid of the cups (conduction), and 3) convection. They then develop a particle model of solids, liquids and gases to what they observe happening to temperature of liquids in the cup systems, including the transfer of light to kinetic energy when light is absorbed and energy transfer through particle collisions (including the role of kinetic energy). They also investigate how insulation can be used to reduce/slow down heat transfer. They finally use their knowledge to build an oven in which they will be able cook a cake in. We continue to have Science Literacy homework every Friday and students have an opportunity to express their thoughts on a current science topic. 

Social Studies: Ms. Thomas, [email protected]

Students will be finishing up their Monotheistic Religions unit with a short Upstanders Project and then a Document Based Question (DBQ) essay. Please be on the lookout for emails about both assignments and their due dates. By the end of November, students will begin their West Africa unit. Throughout the unit students will be grappling with the essential question: What do we believe and why? At the end of the unit, students will create a pitch project directed at the Epcot Center in Disney World. Students will be tasked with convincing Epcot to add another exhibit in their park about an African country of the student’s choice. Ask your student how their project is going. In particular, ask them what important information about their country they’re including in the exhibit and why! An email with information and due dates will be sent about this project in December.

ELA: Ms. Gonzalez, [email protected] and Ms. Dear (Harvard intern)

Unit Title: The Outsiders: Writing about Theme

In ELA, 7th grade readers are currently finishing up our first whole class novel of the year, The Outsiders. We will then be engaged in planning and drafting our first literary analysis essay of the year! Scholars have done literary analysis essays in 6th grade. In 7th grade (and beyond), we continue to work on the framework of what makes an analytical essay: thesis, main ideas, evidence, analysis, and sentences that “link back” to the main idea. At this moment, we are working on gathering pieces of evidence to help come up with a theme (message about a topic in the book that says something about human nature and/or society). To help your scholar at home with understanding theme, talk about big life topics like: friendship, love, and bravery, and how it shows up in movies you have watched together.

The prompt for their essay will be: What is a theme that is developed throughout The Outsiders? Use evidence from the text to support your thesis. Essay Planner graphic organizers will be available in Google Classroom starting the week of November 12th. The essay with revisions will be due Monday, November 25th. We will celebrate the end of this unit with an “Outsiders Day” where scholars are invited to dress up as a Greaser or Soc and will watch the film version to compare to the book!

Math: Mrs. Tyler, [email protected]

Unit Title: Measuring Circles

Students are beginning their third unit - Measuring Circles. In this unit, students learn to understand and use the term “circle” to mean the set of points that are equally distant from a point called the “center.” They gain an understanding of why the circumference of a circle is proportional to its diameter, with constant of proportionality. They see informal derivations of the fact that the area of a circle is equal to times the square of its radius as well as circumference equalling times the diameter Students use the relationships of circumference, radius, diameter, and area of a circle to find missing lengths and areas, expressing these in terms of or using appropriate approximations of to express them numerically. Check out the topics yourself by visiting https://im.openupresources.org/7/teachers/3/family_materials.html. Ask your student about where comes from and how they helped to find it with an activity involving some images of circular objects, string, and a ruler!

Also, check out the new 7th Grade Math Website. We are hoping that this resource helps you to support your student’s 7th grade year. It will contain all HW documents, a calendar of events for Math class, as well as resources like vocabulary for you to help support your student’s learning. This resource will also be shared with students! Please let us know if you have any suggestions for how to make the website more useful to you. We look forward to piloting it this year, and thank you for your patience in the process of getting up and running.
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