• Students really bring the Energy to Science!

    Posted by Barley Pop on 2/24/2023 3:00:00 PM

    Students have been doing awesome in their scientific explorations. We recently finished our units on Genetic Engineering and Properties of Substances. They took what they learned from their Element Expert Posters to create models of balanced chemical reactions, they argued for or against genetic engineering of food, and they learned what heat is, the role it plays in chemical reactions, and how each substance reacts in its own unique way. They learned how properties of metals in particular make them especially useful for many aspects of our lives.

    This week students have been learning about sound and how it is measured. This exploration of sound teaches them about waves and how we can use math to measure them. They are currently using what we have learned in class to use various materials to create unique sounds in the form of Foley. They are accomplishing this by creating their own sound effects for a video clip of their choosing. Students are being given a chance to think creatively about how the properties of various materials make them good conductors of sound or not, as well as an understanding of how sound is measured in frequency, amplitude, and wavelengths. This weekend they should be putting the final touches on their Foley Projects which we will watch in class on Monday. We will follow up this project with a final reflection on the properties of sound and what they learned by doing this project.

    Next week, we will continue exploring energy as we move into another unit. This unit will teach students about types of energy, energy transfers, and how to decrease energy loss during those transfers. This will also begin moving us towards our deep dive into how human consumption of limited resources affects the biosphere.

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  • Foray into Meteorology takes students into Metallurgy

    Posted by Barley Pop on 12/2/2022 3:00:00 PM

    Mrs. Sanders' students recently wrapped up our viewing of Twister in class, if students were able to view the movie they completed a packet that guided them through key points in the movie that we reviewed as a class once the movie ended, students who did not watch the movie completed a Canvas quiz and an essay related to storm chasing and severe weather instead. As a class we also read several articles examining what aspects of the movie were factual (like Dorothy was based on the real life T.O.T.O. and the house in the end was a real house that had been damaged by a tornado,) and those that were not (like how you should never hide under a bridge or survive being overrun by an EF-5.) They used this information to help them complete a summative assessment on our standard on natural hazards that allowed them to describe how scientists try to predict and prepare for severe weather and other natural events.

    Mrs. Sanders is now beginning a new unit. the new unit aligns with the standard: "8.P1U1.2 Obtain and evaluate information regarding how scientists identify substances based on unique physical and chemical properties." Their first step in this unit was to choose an element. No student in the 8th grade has the same element so each project will be incredibly unique. The students are going to spend the next couple weeks becoming "experts" on their element. Today they began designing a "periodic square" that has information, including the atomic symbol, that will be used to assemble the decoration for our campus's annual door decorating contest. They will also be creating a model of the atomic structure of their element. They were tasked with creating it as an ornament, I encouraged them to be as creative as possible with this endeavor. They can do anything from draw it onto cut construction paper, to decorating an actual plastic ornament. 

    Their next big task is to create a promotion style poster for their element. The poster needs to relate to the uses of their element in some way, so for Gold Mrs. Sanders suggested that maybe it look like a jewelry store ad, or for chromium perhaps they have wheels or a bumper on their poster. Again, the poster is limited only by their creativity and access to materials.They will be given class time to work on this, but were also encouraged to spend some time at home working on it if they are able. The poster will be due on December 14th, and will go in as their first Quarter 3 grade. Students will then complete a gallery walk on December 15th to review all the student submissions. I will be posting highlights from that event on my Instagram page @barleypopquestsofyore for your enjoyment.

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  • Ancient Civilizations and Natural Hazards

    Posted by Teresa Sanders on 11/18/2022

    Wow! Who knew Greece was so disaster prone? From what some students discovered, Greece is at high risk of Earthquakes, Tsunamis, Tornadoes, Landslides, Floods, Blizzard, Avalanche, Drought, and Wildfires. It appears that volcanoes are less of an issue than they once were, which is a relief, but it definitely explained a thing or two about why ancient Greecian stories were so wrought with havoc and destruction. 


    Now that the students know how species evolved, how ancient civilizations may have perished, and what we do to mitigate the risks of natural hazards, they are going to watch Hollywood’s take on a disaster that happens more frequently in the Central United States than anywhere else in the world. I can’t wait to see them take what they’ve learned about tornadoes and how they form and compare it to what is portrayed in Twister.


    From our Natural Hazard Unit we are going to be exploring Chemistry through the lens of Farming and Nutrition. Students are going to learn about what plants need to grow, and how the substances in those plants affect the organisms that eat them. Students will learn how scientists know the properties of elements and how that knowledge has affected our progression through history. As an Elf in love with the preservation of history, I am so excited about what Mrs. Sanders has in store for her classes in the coming weeks.


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  • Naturally Selecting the Best Mutants

    Posted by Barley Pop on 9/23/2022

    Students have been learning all about natural selection for the past couple of weeks! Most all of them can confidently explain what happens to traits within a species over time as the environment changes or “pressures” them. They have been deepening their understanding of how species transfer their traits to the next generation and how mutations affect things like genotype (which is how your genes are typed) and phenotype (which is what gene is actually expressed). This week they were assessed on what they understand about how natural selection affects the traits we see in populations over time by creating a comic strip following an organism with two different trait expressions. They had to show the environment and then introduce a pressure that favored one of the two traits. They then had to explain what could happen to the population of that organism after a long time of being faced with that pressure. It was really fun to watch all the different organisms students chose. There were grasshoppers, lions, giraffes, butterflies, and even unicorns! 


    Students also applied their newfound understanding of mutations to learn about cancer and how it forms and why treating it is so unique to each individual person and type of cancer. They should now be able to explain how cancer forms in the body, as well as what type of treatment is used for certain types of cancer and why.


    Next week students are going to continue their study of DNA and hope to smash a bit right out of some poor unsuspecting strawberries. Stay tuned to my Instagram page @barleypopquestsofyore for a reel of that excitement.


    That’s it for this week’s log. I can’t wait to see what these young adventures discover next!

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  • Rocks, Layers, and DNA Oh My!

    Posted by Barley Pop on 9/9/2022

    The first month of school was a whirlwind of rocks, erosion, and layers! Mrs. Sanders’ students learned all about Earth’s geological column and how scientists use the information found in various rock layers to learn about the history of our planet. Students learned all about the forces of erosion (wind, water, glacier & faults) and how those disruptions can make piecing together the puzzle very challenging. They learned the difference between relative dating and absolute dating, as well as how scientists use index fossils to help them make sense of it all.


    They have now moved forward in the story and have begun studying genetics. As they learn about DNA, and how mutations lead to natural selection, they will start to discover the connections between animals that have been found in the fossil record and those that exist today. By the end of the 1st quarter, students will have an understanding of how subtle changes in DNA over many generations have led to the diversity of life we see today.


    Stay tuned for more updates as students dive deeper into their study of natural selection, speciation, and the genetic code that ties all life together.

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  • Barley's Log Post #3: Natural Selection & How DNA Connects Us

    Posted by Barley Pop on 10/1/2021 4:00:00 PM

    September was an incredible month. Mrs. Sanders and her students have been working incredibly hard learning the many aspects of DNA, what it is and how mutations in DNA are the driving force behind natural selection. Students created two models of natural selection, one being a comic strip following the fate of one species. The comic strips that students made were fantastic and showed not only understanding of the topic, but some real artistic ability.


    They then started to break down what DNA actually is and learned that there are infinite combinations of A’s, T’s, C’s, and G’s that not only make every single human (exception: identical twins) different and unique, but that every living thing contains DNA and it connects all of us. Students used Punnett Squares to explore types of traits and applied this information to making their own Monster Family, again showing understanding of the subject matter paired with artistic expression.


    Next week is the last week of the 1st Quarter and Mrs. Sanders is planning to tie all their learning together by talking about speciation and then taking the classes into the lab to hopefully extract DNA from strawberries. 


    STEM has been just as exciting; over the past month STEM students have been exploring the rules of physics by building self-propelled vehicles and paper parachutes. Each project came with its fair share of hurdles that the students overcame wonderfully. They wrote some very epic essay reflections of their learning from each project. This past week they explored physics and safety in sports, then they decided to redesign knee-pads for sports like Volleyball. Today they presented their designs to the class Shark Tank style and were given a “$500 budget” to “invest” in the design they liked best. Next week we are going to take everything we’ve learned about physics and the engineering design process to build water bottle rockets that should launch next Friday.


    It has been a very exciting first quarter in Union Park’s 8th Grade Science & STEM Class, I can’t wait to see what the second quarter brings.

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  • Barley's Log Post 2: Fossils, Survive or Die, Oh My!

    Posted by Teresa Sanders on 9/3/2021 3:00:00 PM

    The past two weeks have been full of so much learning! First, we wrapped up our learning about Geography. We learned about how scientists discovered fossils and how they use the fossils to learn about Earth’s past. Then all 8th grade students took their first Sanders’ Exam providing students' first official assessment score for the quarter. Overall, they did really well, which after seeing how Mrs. Sanders presented the information and the super fun review Kahoot she made, this was an unsurprising result.


    This week Mrs. Sanders began our journey through Natural Selection. This began with an Epic game of Survive or Die, this game really honed in on the fact that traits cannot be changed, but rather you are born with what you need to survive or you don’t live long enough to pass those genes to the next generation. We used this information to learn about how this affects Natural Selection and talked about certain species that have actually become their own separate species through this long, long process of mutations on genes causing certain traits to be better suited to changing environments.


    Next week Mrs. Sanders is going to continue the quest of Natural Selection, before she moves on to the deeper exploration of genes and DNA. Stay tuned for the epic adventures of Barley Pop and Mrs. Sanders!

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  • Barley's Log Post 1: The Nature of Science & Rules of Rocks

    Posted by Teresa Sanders on 8/13/2021

    This week's quest was epic to say the least!

    Last Friday Mrs. Sanders tormented the students by separating pieces from a 1000 piece puzzle into sandwich baggies and had the students work in small groups to attempt to figure out what the puzzle was. Of course without all of the pieces this proved to be an impossible task, however the students had some really good guesses and ideas.

    This activity helped teach the students how science works, that scientists rarely have all of the pieces to the puzzle they are working on, that they have to make thier best guess based on the information they have. They also learned that when scientists collaborate and compare puzzle pieces it helps them get a better idea of what the bigger picture looks like. They learned that scientists work with what they have, and as more information becomes available sometimes that means revising what they originally thought. This is important for students to remember as they learn more about science and experience science in their own lives.

    They then played an incredible Kahoot game so Mrs. Sanders could get an idea of how much they know. Turns out they know quite a lot about the basics of the history of our planet, but don't know the names of each time period. So that is one thing we will be incorporating in lessons going forward.

    The highlight of the week was going in the science lab and doing a hands on Fossil Dig, if you're curious what this looked like, there is a virtual lab example in their Canvas course. They learned how rock layers form and how to tell which are older and younger, as well as how scientists use the things they find in each layer to help them figure out how old a layer is.

    The next day Mrs. Sanders taught the students all about some of the things that can cause layers to move, change or otherwise end up "out of order." The students all should be able to draw a picture of these examples showing the "Rules of Rocks."

    Friday they did a virtual lab examining how erosion affects different types of rocks. This will set the tone for next week as we start learning even more about rocks and the fossils we find.

    It has been a very busy and exciting first couple weeks of school. Mrs. Sanders is working hard on getting all of the students' work plugged into PowerSchools, but she is so proud of how much the students have learned in a very short time.

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