Tuesday, September 1, 2015

It's awesome to see my new students! Let's have a great year, learning together!

Please check PowerTeacher for this week's grades, so far. Portal: https://sis.stamfordpublicschools.org/public/home.html

First homework assignment for the year:
1. Grade 7, periods 3 & 4: Write a Reflection on the first even-numbered page.  Write at least 3 sentences about what you think is the "best thing in science".  Science notebooks and Student Information Sheets are overdue and should be brought in tomorrow, or if not possible, then no later than Friday.

2. Grade 6, pers. 1 and 6:   Science notebooks and Student Information Sheets are overdue and should be brought in tomorrow, or if not possible, then no later than Friday.

* Extra credit opportunities:
1. Supplies: Bring in either 1 (unopened) box of tissues, can of surface wipes, or roll of paper towels for extra credit equal to 1 homework assignment (worth about 1-2% improvement on your grade); or
2.  Word Wall posters, as new vocab words are introduced. They should magnify the new vocab word, define it, and illustrate it.  Make it colorful and creative!

Stamford Youth Cheerleading Opportunity – Registration closes September 4th, please have students register online if interested.

I'll put out a newsletter as soon as I start getting some feedback that students and parents are checking out the blog.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Welcome to my blog!  I'll be teaching both 6th and 7th grade this year.  Some of you may be confused that my link to the school webpage shows that I am teaching 6th Grade, but it will be updated soon!  

It was great to meet most of my homeroom students today, and we got a good start on the school year. If you're in my homeroom, make sure that, on Monday, you bring in a one-subject notebook just for science.

I'm looking forward to meeting all of my new students! 

Parents: watch this space for updates.  Almost every day for the last several years, I have used this blog to let students (and parents) know their homework assignments.  There are also announcements about upcoming school events and educational opportunities such as sign ups for Remind (formerly Remind101).  So you may want to bookmark this page just to check what homework your child is doing for my science class.  Parents, I look forward to meeting you or seeing you again at the Open Schools Night scheduled in the next 6 weeks. I hope to have 100% of my students' caregivers attend Open Schools night this year!

If you can think of any suggestions that will make it possible for you to attend, please let me know.  

Meanwhile, please sign up for www.Remind.com to have 1-way text message reminders of important class events (such as notification of field trip permission slips, progress report or report card releases, upcoming tests or projects) and selected school events.
This is where I'll soon have information for how to sign up for my Remind texts.

Have a great weekend!    Use your cell phone to dial (203) 684-5174.  If your student is in my:
Period 1 class, type in code 71a229 after the @ symbol -- or go to the link at https://www.remind.com/join/71a229
Period 2 class, type in code 72b229 after the @ symbol, -- or go to the link at https://www.remind.com/join/72b229;
Period 3 class, type in code 73c229  after the @ symbol, -- or go to the link at https://www.remind.com/join/73c229;
Period 4 class, type in code 74d229 after the @ symbol, -- or go to the link at https://www.remind.com/join/74d229.
Enjoy the rest of summer vacation!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

This is probably my last post of the year.  Thank you to our students, and to their parents and other caregivers, for their hard work and support!

Our Science Final Exam will be given on Thursday. Below, please find Answers to District Final Examination - Review, Grade 7 Honors:

p. 4   Science Content
  • Unit: Studying People Scientifically
  • Constant variable - factor that you do not allow to change.  Ex: in Dig-In, we used the same amount of soil, same amount of water, same type of equipment, etc.
  • Independent Variable - the one factor that the experimenter makes the CHOICE to change, or manipulate.  Ex: in Feel the Beat, the thing that we changed was the amount or type of exercise. 
  • Dependent Variable - the RESULT that you measure at the end. Ex: the amount of water that percolated through in Dig In.
  • Qualitative -  has information without numbers. 
  • Quantitative -   data that has information with numbers.
  • Sample size - number of individuals being tested. Larger sample size helps account for differences between individuals.
  • Hypothesis - testable prediction. Must begin with "If", and has "then" in the middle. 
  • List 4-5 components of a good experimental design.
    Only one Independent Variable
     Large Sample Size
     Clearly defined variables
     Accurate measurement of data
     An ‘if, then’ statement’ that describes what is being tested
     Many trials to ensure accuracy and minimize outlier data
  • Using “Feel the Beat” and “Dig In”; identify the independent, dependent and constant variables (be able to identify variables when reading other experiments as well).
    Feel the Beat
    Which is the independent variable?                                                                                      *   Ask yourself: "What did we change?"
         *   The one thing that you changed or manipulated was the amount of exercise. 
    Which is the dependent variable? 
  • Ask yourself: "What were we measuring?" or "What was the result of what we changed?"
  • The result you measured at the end was the pulse rate.
    Which are control variables? 
  • Which factors did we not change?  Your pulse-checking routine; test subject (you).

  Dig In  
  • Which is the independent variable?
  • type of soil chosen
  • Which is the dependent variable? 
  • amount of water that was soaked in (or, in some cases, the amount that percolated through).
  • Which are control variables? 
  • Amount of water, amount of soil, equipment. 

p. 5  Unit: Body Works
 Heart, Lungs, Mouth, Esophagus, Large Intestine, Small Intestine,Pulse Rate, Alveoli
o List the organs of the respiratory system and explain gas exchange.
lungs, larynx, bronchii, alveoli, nose/ mouth, trachea, pharynx  

Good image found at: 
Gas exchange: Lungs expand, take in air so O2 can be absorbed through walls of capillaries in alveoli. CO2 leaves blood cells at the same time by moving across capillary walls of alveoli and is pushed out when the lungs exhale.
What is the order of the organs in the digestive system through which food passes?
Mouth --> esophagus -->  stomach --> small intestine--> large intestine --> rectum -->  anus

Explain whether mechanical or chemical breakdown is occurring in each organ of the digestive system.

1) Mouth Both: teeth chew, saliva breaks down
2) esophagus: mechanical, food is squeezed down tube
3) stomach: Both: acids break down food, stomach is muscular to churn food. If you must choose between stomach and mouth, choose mouth as stronger example of an organ that uses both chemical and mechanical digestion. 
4) small intestine: mech: nutrients absorbed, muscles squeeze through
5) large intestine/colon: mechanical /absorption
6) rectum - storage
7) anus - storage

p. 6
Describe the structure and function of the respiratory and circulatory systems and their relationship to each other.
The heart pumps blood to all parts of the body. Blood provides oxygen and nutrients to the body and removes carbon dioxide and wastes. Deoxygenated blood returns to the heart through 2 main veins from the body, entering the right atrium. The right ventricle pumps deoxygenated blood through an artery into the lungs.  In the lungs, the blood cells shed CO2 and pick up O2. Oxygenated blood flows from lungs into the heart's left atrium, then into the left ventricle, which pumps it out through the main artery to the rest of the body.
Describe how the pulse changes during exercise and explain why this change is taking place.
Exercise uses oxygen at a fast rate. Blood must be re-oxygenated more often. Breathing increases and the heart pumps faster to get the blood through the lungs to pick up oxygen and transport it to where it's needed  (the muscles). Nutrients and CO2  must also be transported at a faster rate.
Unit: Cell Biology and Disease - 

  • Nucleus, Cytoplasm, Chloroplast, Mitochondria, Cell Membrane, Cell wall, Magnification, Vacuole, Microscope, DNA.
  • Given various ocular and objective lens magnifications, calculate the total magnification of using each objective lens.  For example, Calculate the total magnification for a 15X ocular and 40X objective:
             15 x 40 = 600x.  Total magnification is 600 times actual size
  • Explain the function of the four most common organelles.
Nucleus= control center of the cell
Cytoplasm= the jelly that holds everything together, allows nutrients to travel within the cell
Mitochondria="the powerhouse of the cell", generates most of the cell's energy
Cell Membrane=  separates the interior of all cells from the outside environment
Cell Wall - tough, flexible, at times rigid layer that surrounds plant cell membranes for support, protection, structure(not found in animal cells)
Chloroplastgreen material in a plant cell, allows absorbtion of light to make food for plants (not found in animal cells)
Vacuolestorage bubbles found in cells. They are much larger in plant cells, used to hold water and helps plant structure. 

DNA  -  molecule that carries genetic instructions for development and function of all known living organisms. 

p. 7  Compare and contrast bacteria vs. animal cell organelles.
  • bacteria - has capsule, cell wall, no nucleus, and a tail (flagellum or cilia)

    animal- nucleus; no capsule, no cell wall, no tail
  • Compare and contrast single vs. multi-celled organisms and provide examples of each.
  • You need a microscope to see single-celled organisms.  Ex: Amoebas, Algae, Plankton, and bacteria are single-celled organisms.
  • Living things made up of more than one cell are multi-celled organisms.
  • Have organs (ex: heart, stomach) and organ systems (ex:stomach, heart, eyes). Many are visible to the naked eye.  You are a multiple- celled organism. 
Genetics Unit

  • Genes, Genotype, Phenotype, Generation, Probability, chromosome.
  • Calculate the probability of future offspring using a Punnett Square.                                             For example, Gg x gg          gives the likely following offspring;                                                                   G       g 
  •                                            g   Gg   gg                                                                                                                                                  g   Gg   gg                        
p. 8
  •      Be able to distinguish genotypes that result in the dominant phenotype from genotypes which result in the recessive phenotype. 

     Genotype means the combination of alleles (different versions of the same gene) that is present in the genes of an individual.  Phenotype is what is visible on the outside. Dominant genes are shown by an upper case letter, such as 'A'. Dominant genotype  includes at least one dominant gene (dominant genotype is shown by either the homozoygous AA or or by the heterozygous Aa). Recessive phenotype appears only when the individual has the recessive genotype for a trait: two recessive genes (ex: aa).

  • Describe the important facts about asexual reproduction: 
    • All DNA comes from one parent, so offspring is identical to the parent. Ex: cloning, budding, fission, runner.  Only seen in simpler organisms and some plants. 
  • Describe the important facts about sexual reproduction: 
    • Requires DNA or genetic contributions from 2 parents (egg and sperm).  Offspring acquire some characteristics from each parent, so they are NEVER identical to a parent. This is typical of animals and many plants.
  • What is the importance of genes and where are they located?
    • Genes carry the organism's building plans or blueprints coded in their DNA, for each trait. Many genes make up each chromosome.  In their body cells, humans carry 23 pairs of (total: 46) chromosomes.
  • Describe what is occurring in meiosis and describe the cells which are produced. 
    • Meiosis is reproduction of sex cells (eggs or sperm).  This process takes place in 8 phases which yields 4 daughter cells that have only half the chromosomes of regular body cells (ex: human sex cells only contain 23 Chromosomes, not 46). 

p. 9
  • Describe what is occurring in mitosis and describe the cells which are produced. 
    • Mitosis is reproduction of body cells. Memory trick: Drop a lamp and hurt your toe. To repair this injury to your toe (body cells), your cells do "mi-toe-sis".   This process takes place in 4 phases which yields 2 daughter cells that have all the chromosomes of regular body cells (46 for human body cells). 
* Unit: Erosion and Deposition -
  • Weathering, erosion, deposition.
  • Describe how weathering, erosion, and deposition create and change landforms.
    • weathering breaks down rock; erosion moves rock particles; and deposition is where the rock particles collect. Examples of how these processes create/change landforms include:
    • landforms constructed by deposition: deltas, beaches, plains (and some hills).
    • erosion has destructive impact to change landforms into: river channels, valleys, cliffs, canyons
    Dig-In/Studying Soils Scientifically
  • Absorbency (how much water gets soaked up in a certain amount of time), 
  • Percolation rate -(how much water flows through soil or other materials in a certain amount of time)
  • How particle size affects percolation rate:
    • larger particle size (e.g., sand) has more spaces between particles, so more water can cling to particles until saturation, THEN water can flow through more quickly. 
  • Describe absorbency and how it affects the soil.
    • Absorbency is how well soil holds water, and this makes water available to plants. too much water in soil will drown plants and make soil particles slide against each other, making the soil unstable for building.  
p. 10
Plate Tectonics -
  • Ring of Fire - most earthquakes and 75% of current active volcanoes where Pacific plate subducts under Eurasian and North American plates.
  • Differentiate between the three plate boundaries, their movement and what can occur at each boundary.
    • Divergent plate boundary - plates move apart, which may cause ocean occupation; Earthquakes; magma upwelling /new crust (ex: sea floor spreading, E. Africa Rift valley).
    • Transform plate boundary - move side by side in opposite directions, cause faults and other lithosphere breaks, Earthquakes.
    • Convergent plate boundary-plates move together; here you get EQs and:
    • mountains and uplift (C vs. C)
    • subduction or crust dive and volcanoes (C vs. O); or
    • island arcs, deep ocean trenches (O vs. O).
  • Describe similarities and differences between CDT and PTT:

  • CDT and PTT similarities: Pangaea, continents broke up and moved apart. Evidence includes similar fossils & mountains found on different continents, coal belts & glacial grooves/deposits that line up; change in climate (ex: glacial grooves in Africa and India)
  • Differences between CDT and PTT: several supercontinents before Pangaea, driven by convection in the mantle with Sea Floor spreading, plates pulled by convecting magma.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Plate Tectonics test was today. If you (or your student) missed the test, expect to take the test the next time that I see you in class.

Final exam is 1 week from today. Study Guide will be passed out on Monday.

Field Trip tomorrow to Lake Compounce.  My homeroom students: please bring in the filled out and signed, new copy of the permission slip.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Homework for tonight: 
Plate Tectonics - Study Guide Answer all REMAINING questions.  Here are articles about plate boundaries which could help you answer some questions. http://www.livescience.com/37706-what-is-plate-tectonics.html;    http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/geology/tecmech.html 

Last night: Answer the first 15 questions. 

For every question you can not answer from the first 15, then answer an equal number of questions from the second 15 on the Study Guide.

This Week's Newsletter: 
Raptor dash was a blast!  LOTs of FUN!  If you want to see how, check out RIPPIB on Twitter: https://twitter.com/hashtag/RIPPIB?src=hash


Now its time to get some more work done.  

Here in 7th Grade Science class, we're wrapping up our unit on Plate Tectonics with a chapter test on Thursday.  The final is on next Thursday, June 11.   Students are in the middle of their Language Arts final, with more to come tomorrow.  They can study a vocab list to prepare, I'm told.  In Ms. DiNardo's math class, students are reviewing for their final, and should have a Review packet for math homework.  In Social Studies, students are learning about the Middle East, including nations such as Mesopotamia, and the influence of faiths such as Islam.   

Busy Busy !!!  Events coming up:            
June 1st/2nd  ELA Finals 6th and 7th Grade 
Jun 4th      7th Grade Science test: Plate Tectonics/ Earthquakes/volcanoes
June 4th /5th ELA Finals 8th Grade
June 5th   7th-grade Trip to Lake Compounce 
Jun 8-10  Review for 7th Grade Science Finals
June 10th  8th grade to Holiday HillJune 11th  Science Finals (6th? 8th? All? TBD)
June 12th  7th Grade Science Finals (requested); 8th grade Poetry Slam
          June 15th  Yearbook Distribution 
          June 16th  5th Grade Moving Up -9am- Main Café

June 16 8th Grade Picnic 12pm-2pm (weather permitting) 
            June 17th  Honors Luncheon (12pm); Early Release 
June 18th EarlyRelease                                                                                                        June 19th  Moving Up Day for 8th Graders; Last Day of School for all  .                                              students.  Early Release

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Update for Thurs.,  5/21/15  - No Homework!

Homework for last night: 
5-5 What Are Volcanoes? Answer all questions or get a zero for the assignment. 

This Week's Newsletter: 
Busy Busy Busy!!!  Events coming up:           
May 21st   3rd Quarter Honors Ceremony 
May 22nd   High Honors Afternoon play
May 26th   RaptorDash fund-raising deadline
May 27
th   RaptorDash Assembly; School Governance Council Meeting      .                 Rm. 128 at 3:30.
May 28th   RaptorDash 
May 29th   The Wiz, performed by Rippowam Drama at 7:30 pm.
May 30th   The Wiz, performed by Rippowam Drama at 2:00 pm & 7:30 pm
June 1st/2nd  ELA Finals 6th and 7th Grade 
Jun 4th      7th Grade Science test: Plate Tectonics/ Earthquakes/volcanoes
June 4th /5th ELA Finals 8th Grade
June 5th   7th-grade Trip to Lake Compounce 
Jun 8-10  Review for 7th Grade Science Finals
June 10th  8th grade to Holiday Hill
June 11th
 Science Finals (6th? 8th? All? TBD)
June 12th  7th Grade Science Finals (requested); 8th grade Poetry Slam
          June 15th  Yearbook Distribution 
  June 16th  5th Grade Moving Up -9am- Main Café
June 16th           8th Grade Picnic 12pm-2pm (weather permitting) 
  June 17th  Honors Luncheon (12pm); Early Release 
June 18th EarlyRelease                                                                                                   June 19th  Moving Up Day for 8th Graders; Last Day of School for all  .                                              studentsEarly Release

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Study for tomorrow's test on Soil, Weathering, Erosion, and Deposition.  

You should have your Study Guide with the answers that we went over in class. Please see the answers reproduced below.


Name ________________________ Class _________ Date ___________

Soil, Weathering, Erosion, Deposition Study Guide

1.     What is soil made of?
        Soil is made up of sand, silt, clay, water, air and organic matter.

2.     What is weathering?
Breaking up of rock into smaller pieces over time

3.     What are the two classes or types of weathering? Give examples of each.
Chemical (ex: acid rain, plant acids) and mechanical (ex:temperature changes, ice wedging, animal action, plant action, etc.).

4.     What is erosion?
The movement of weathered rock by wind, water, ice or gravity.

5.     Glaciers:

a.       What is a glacier?
                           a large mass of moving ice and snow.

b.      Which Earth Processes are caused by glaciers? and
             Erosion; deposition when it melts.

c.       How can glaciers re-shape the land?
                      Erosion of walls of mountains to create U-shaped valleys,also moraines (piles of soil, rock, debris left by a glacier.  Ex: Long Island).

6.     What are agents (causes) of erosion are likely to act on the landforms shown in the table below?

Tall mountain (especially North)
Erosion from wind, ice/glaciers
Erosion from flowing water, rain, flood
Erosion from flowing rain water, wind, etc
Seaside Cliff
Erosion from ocean waves; rain water flowing over the edge of the cliff.
Wide Valley near rolling hills
Erosion from flowing water (any river, rain from hills water collects over large area of hills and then flows down hills into valley)
Plain near a River
Erosion from flowing water (flooding river)

         7.     What is deposition?

Deposition is when eroded soil, or sediment, settles and piles up to enlarge or make new areas of land.

8.     What is a constructive force?

An Earth process that builds up structures on land.

9.     What is a destructive force?

An Earth process that tears down earth materials.

10.  Distinguish between weathering, erosion and deposition:

a.       Can you have deposition without erosion?  Why or why not?
No, because if the material isn’t moved, then it can’t be collected to a certain spot. 
Alternative answer: Deposition is when eroded soil, or sediment, piles up to enlarge or make new areas of land. It is only soils that have been eroded that pile up to make land, so you cannot have deposition without erosion.

b.      Can you have erosion without weathering?  Why or why not?
        No. Erosion is when weathered rock gets carried away by wind, water, ice or gravity. Since weathered rock is necessarily part of this process, erosion cannot happen without weathering.

c.       Which Earth Process (weathering, erosion and/or deposition) is a constructive force? Give an example of a landform that can be made by each constructive Earth Process
Deposition is a constructive force, because it makes new or expands existing land, such as deltas, plains, glacial deposits (a/k/a moraines).  Erosion can be constructive when it makes new land forms such as canyons, beach.

d.      Which Earth Process (weathering, erosion and/or deposition) is a destructive force? Give an example of a landform that can be taken down  by each destructive Earth Process
Weathering, the breakup of rock, is a destructive process. Erosion can be a destructive force when it remove particles from land forms such as mountain, seasisde cliff

11.  Fill out the table below to compare advantages and disadvantages of building on certain Landforms:

Advantages (give two)
Disadvantages(give two)
low, easy to access, easy to fill in, no need to build protective structures.
Wet,loose soil, Structures built on this may flood or sink. Some erosion. Sediments deposited here may need to be redirected.
 elevated areas make flooding unlikely. Hilltops can be used to even out valleys.
Building on changing/ irregular levels.  Erosion, mudslides poss., low rate of deposition; some homes are built on lower levels. Need to flatten hills valleys.
Seaside Cliff

No flooding. Built on erosion resistant soil /earth materials.
Under attack from several agents of erosion; undermining.
Wide Valley near rolling hills
Building on flat lands, no need to build protective structures.
Some erosion possible (water, ice), mudslide, as is flooding from water washing down from hills. 
Plain near a River
Building on flat lands, water supply nearby, no protective structures.
Some erosion & weathering flooding from water from hills mudslide,
Banks of a river
water supply nearby, easy to level silt/clay sediments for flat building surface
Non-absorbent soil. Flood over bFlood, sink, erosion likely.
Next to a beach
easy to level
Structures built on this may flood or shift. Erosion likely.
Bottom of hill near small Lake
Water can flood down hill. Structures built on this may flood, mudslide, buried in sediments, Erosion.


12.  How does human activity, such as construction, affect the land? 

Human activity tends to speed up earth processes.