Ridgeline Middle School STEM News 9/21

posted Sep 24, 2018, 12:09 PM by Cynthia Friedman

Welcome Middle School Family!

Welcome to our new and returning families! We are excited to dive into this school year!


You can see all upcoming events and their descriptions on the Middle School Google Calendar by clicking this link!

Please add the Ridgeline Middle School Calendar to your Google Calendars!


Math -

The first few weeks of the year are in the Warm Up Term in the Middle School Gradebook. Right now new students are using class time to familiarize themselves with our systems, expectations, and unique features of the CPM Math curriculum they will be using over the next two years. Specifically, our class work is focused on organized note taking, organization of math journal assignments, and lessons designed to facilitate deeper learning around fractions.  Students often know how to find an answer to a fraction problem but don’t always understand why it works, or what it represents. For homework, they are reviewing fractions by doing Pizzaz Pun Math. Students will have little time in class to do homework.Generally, there will be math homework due four days a week (Monday through Thursday). By Monday morning, Math assignments through the Following Tuesday are in Jupiter Grades.

It is often a challenge for 7th graders to adjust to the homework load. It takes them a while to get the hang of managing their homework in their personal time.  By the end of 8th grade, they will be juggling responsibilities that may seem daunting at this time. We believe in holding a bar for our students, and providing the tools, and the opportunities for them to rise to their potential.  It is an honor to see how much they evolve and mature over the two years we are working and playing together!

Science -  Our big question for the year is,  “How does the Earth (and the organisms that live on it) change over time?” Our class will use a Project Board to keep track of our learning.  As student scientists, they began with a brainstorm, “What do we think we know about this question?” To inspire our curiosity, we took notes as we watched National Geographic: The Story of Earth. Students then came up with questions inspired by the video.  As we conduct our investigations, we will revisit the project board to check in on our progressing understanding.

Our investigations began this week. We created a model and simulated the Earth’s orbit around the sun in order to develop our understanding of the reasons for seasons.

Sometimes student responses are less than specific when you ask them, “What did you learn in school?” Here are some questions and prompts you can use to spark your student's memory.

  • Rotation and revolution are two different movements a planet makes.

    • Describe the movement of Earth when it rotates.

    • Describe the movement of Earth when it revolves.

    • Which of these movements is responsible for the length of a day?

      • The Earth rotates once per day and revolves around the sun once per year (365.45 days).

  • What happens to the direction of Earth’s axis as Earth revolves around the Sun?

    • It remains pointed towards polaris (the North Star).

  • Why are temperatures different during different seasons?

  • In northern Alaska in June, the length of daylight can be 24 hours. In Florida, the length of daylight in June is about 13 ¾ hours. If the Sun is shining for so many more hours in Alaska, why is it generally warmer in Florida in June?

    • The light reaching Florida is very direct, while the light reaching Alaska is very indirect. The more direct the sunlight, the more concentrated the energy that can be absorbed.


Running - Rain or shine, Mondays and Wednesdays we will get out on the Amazon trail and get moving.  Walk, run, speed walk, whatever, but personal goal setting and improvement are required. Students are to start where they’re at and improve from there.  We meet up with our water bottles and spend the first five minutes stretching. Our warm up walk is between Ridgeline and the intersection of West Amazon and Fox Hollow. From there, we run laps on the Amazon trail between Fox Hollow and Snell, then cool down by walking back to Ridgeline where we stretch again and drink lots of water.  Students in the running elective are to bring running shoes, a water bottle, and a can-do attitude. Students are strongly encouraged to wear flexible clothing, sneakers, and bring a water bottle for this elective. Did I mention water bottles? :o)

Best Regards,

Carrie and India