Saturday, September 22, 2012

What I Am

I can't help myself!  Will.i.Am performs with the Sesame Street gang!  Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Insects Don't Bug Me

Our little entomologists have been working very hard on their insect collections.  We have discovered that taxonomy, the process of classifying insects, is harder than we thought.

All living things fit into five KINGDOMS.
The animal kingdom is divided into 36 PHYLA (a phylum).
Each phylum has CLASSES.
Each class is made up of ORDERS.
Each order is made up of a number of FAMILIES.
Families are made up of GENERA (a genus).
Each genus is mad up of SPECIES.

Right now, we are just trying to identify the common name of each insect and it's order, but insects make up 3/4 of the animal population, so identification is a tough job.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally

I have always thought that the "PEMDAS" rule was a tad confusing.  Because, technically it should be written like this to make sense. 


P: Parenthesis first
E: Exponents next
MD: Multiplication and Division next
AS: Addition and Subtraction last

The acronym PEMDAS can be deceptive, because students think they should do their multiplication before division and addition before subtraction, but that is not the case.  Notice that the M and D are grouped together, as are the A and S. This is because Multiplication and Division are at the same priority level, and should be done in left to right order. Likewise, Addition and Subtraction are at the same priority level, and should be done in left to right order. This is a great video to illustrate using the ORDER OF OPERATIONS.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Eighth grade students were excited to demolish their old cities, Bondidag Cove and Triana.  I can't wait to see where their imaginations take them this year!  The Future City theme is "Rethink Runoff!"

What is Future City?

The Future City Competition is a national, project-based learning experience where students in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade imagine, design, and build cities of the future. Students work as a team with an educator and engineer mentor to plan cities using SimCity™ 4 Deluxe software; research and write solutions to an engineering problem; build tabletop scale models with recycled materials; and present their ideas before judges at Regional Competitions in January. Regional winners represent their region at the National Finals in Washington, DC in February.


I introduced Equate to some of my students this week.  It reminds me of Scrabble, but with numbers.  Students are required to make equations using nine tiles which include numbers and operations.  For older students, there is an advanced version with exponents. It's challenging for all ages!