Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Dig It!

We're currently in the midst of an archaeology unit for 6th and 7th grades, and the students are working on excavation and field lab methods, as well as observation and pathology studies.  Back in August, I contacted Potash Corporation in Aurora, NC to ask about getting some of the waste material from their mine, which is full of marine fossils like bivalves, fish bones, and teeth from sharks, dolphins, and sperm whales.

Just for kicks, when the students asked where I got the dirt, my first answer was, "In three 5-gallon buckets from FedEx".

Anyway, these fossils are 19-20 million years old, and they washed down to the North Carolina coastal plain from the Appalachian mountain system (which includes the Blue Ridge mountains).  This means, of course, that the Blue Ridge mountains were once under the ocean!

Click here to go to Marine Biology Web and learn more about lots of topics related to ocean life.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Is DNA as accurate as we think???

Those interested in following my eighth-graders' journey through It's Not Fair!, our justice unit, might like to take a look at the essay linked below.  Renzulli Learning has this description:

What is the likelihood that someone on trial for murder is innocent, if the odds are a billion to one against anyone else in the world sharing the DNA found at the crime scene? It's more likely than you might think, if you take all the odds into consideration!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Let's vote!

In case you aren't aware, there's an election in a few months :)
Many of my students are deeply, emotionally involved in the political process.  Since we're located near the District, part of this fascination is probably because of sheer proximity, but I do have quite a few students with parents who are politicians or who work with politicians and public policy.  Many gifted students also have a keen sense of fairness, an interest in leadership, or a personal connection with a particular issue, so they tend to pay more attention to politics than the average student.

This one's for you!

With this link, you can explore both the history and the math behind the Electoral College, and then work with a computer model and an imaginary country to see whether you can devise a system that would be more fair:

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

I'm a little embarrassed...

I'm awfully sorry, everyone.  It's been almost a year since my last post, and I can't believe how quickly it got away from me.  I've started to write so many things, but then something comes up  and I have a meeting or there are stacks of essays to assess or my classroom needs work or there are justsomanyotherthings which are important RIGHT NOW and, before I know it, it's been months.

So, all that to say I'm sorry, please forgive me, and I'll do better, I promise.

Since I have to go assess the aforementioned essays, I'll leave you with a really neat link related to the archaeology unit my 6th- and 7th-graders have just begun.  Enjoy!


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