• Wednesday May 20, 2020

    Good Morning Spartans!

    Well amigos, I think this is it.  Today will be the last posting of assignments for you, and in general the last posting in science for you as an 8th grader.  With tomorrow being the starting turn in day for your iPads, and the chance for you to pick up your belongings, I don't see how I can post anything tomorrow as many of you will be limited to what you can access from home.  If you do have another way to access this web page Thursday and Friday of this week, we do have some group things for you.  So here are the links for Thursday and Friday:

    Thursday play this Kahoot!  You guys like these and this all about you!


    Friday is our Virtual Field Day--so choose to do something on the link and have fun!  Here is the link:



    As for today, I am thinking about the end of the year and you picking up your things in the next couple of days.  One of the most important things you will be getting is your SCIENCE BINDER!

    I am saddened I did not get to finish the binders with you, but as you know, I always have a reason for everything I do--and your binders were no exceptioin.  Yes, they are a way to get organized, a study tool, and a reflective work, and those things are important as a student, but your binder is also much more in that it is a device for your futures. I know how hard it can be starting high school and being a freshman.  You are going to have a lot of classes, and you will find that the teachers there expect you to come with some skills so that you can get right into the learning part of your year.  There are no more teams, you will not have as many people to keep you up to date on the work--it is now going to be up to you!  You are going to be responsible for getting all your information, deadlines, projects, and study materials together for your use. You will have to work in textbooks and somehow get all that information ready for study.  It is a lot of extra work.  If you have siblings at the high school, you have probably seen this.  You will have to find a way to do this on your own, and more importantly a way to organize every class and all the things in it efficiently.   That is the other reason I taught you to develop a binder. You have learned how to seperate different bodies of your work, organize it for study, and create a very powerful study outline in the form of your notes. Your binder is all those things. By forcing you to develop a binder, I actually showed you how to create a very effecient tool for your high school classes.  If you go to high school with the plan to organize your classes and do well, you may find that creating binders is an easy way to be very prepared.  No you do not have to have a log section, but you can use what you know of how to organize and seperate information to create your own unique binder study system.  I cannot stress enough how important that will be in making your freshman year much easier.  I cannot tell you how many people come back to me every year and tell me that their binders, and the note-taking system, vocabulary organization and lab write up formulas I taught you, have helped them to pass their work as freshman.  Many individuals have remarked to me that they have kept their binders as the information that is in there is easier to understand and have been used for studying at the high school, because it is already broken down for you in an easy to study manner.  That was the point of your binders. You were not just making a class portfolio, you were learning a survival skill for high school! You also created a great study aid for your high school classes. You are on your own now, but take this last word of advice--keep your binders. You may discover what so many have before you--there's some great stuff in their to use.  If you choose not to keep your binders, well, it is your choice, but keep the knowledge of how to build and work in one, and listen to me when I suggest to you, make your own binders for your high school classes. You will be thankful for the organization--of that I am sure. 

    Ok..last assignment for the year. Let;s wrap up the summary of the Evolutionary History Unit.

    We have been looking at how a species can form.  It takes a long time, but when a group of individuals in a population develop their own unique set of traits, so much so that they will only reporduce with the individuals most like themselves, and do not recognize their ancestors or others in the population as like themselves, a species forms.  This has been happening for a long time. It is slow, but it is happening today!  The newts you read about in the last unit are good examples. They are found in the Sierra Nevadas of California, and we are observing today, how each valley has distict populations of newts that once were a common species. These distict groups have thier own unique set of traits, and today we are watching how they are going from one species to seven different species of newts!  

    Part of evolutionary history is just that--HISTORY. There is so much we were not able to see, so we must piece it together the best we can with the data we get from those 4 big bodies of evidence.  Today I would like you too see a bit of this history we have discovered.

    Log onto Amplify for the last time this year! or ever for that matter!  Go to Evolutionary Histroy Unit. 

    Return to chapter 2.  and lesson 2.4 How differences build up over time.  

    Once again, you have nothing to turn in, just take a look and play a bit to gain some knowledge.

    1.  In lesson 2.4 go to the warm up.  You will see a purple letter link called EVOLUTIONARY TREE. Click on this please. It will take you to a sorting tool.  It is a timeline of the Earth. I want you to place the events in the timeline--follow the dates to get them in order. Some big things I want you to realize.  The solar system is about 5 billion years old, and our earth is about 4.5 billion years old.  First life showed up about 3.5 billion years ago--or 1 BILLION YEARS after the Earth formed--that's a BIG time span. Now, Look at the huge gap in time between single cell life first forming to when MULTICELLULAR life appeared (plants, fungi, and animals).   It took almost 3 BILLION years for life to reach that stage!  From that point things picked up a bit faster--first fish, first land plants, first mammals, dinosaurs go bye-bye, and finallly the first human species.  Notice--once we got to the mutlicellular phase, the differences in traits started to become very noticeable.  Also notice how little human ancestors have been around. In fact we have only had WRITTEN language for about 8,000 years--so we missed a lot of the history of Earth.  This is why we must look at other things to put the history together.  (the answers to the sort are on part 2 page 3.)

    In order for a species to develop they must go through a series of changes--

    You  have to start with an ancestor populaton living in a stable environment, where two descendant populations are very similar, but have small differences in thier structure (traits) due to mutations or other genetic differences.  The population will most likely spread out, and eventually the ancestor population gets seperated into different environments.  This allow for descendent populations to begin to look very different because of natural selection to the new environment.  The now, two, populations will in time look very different--even though they may have some similar structures (like legs, lungs, spines, etc.). Two species from one! 

    When the populations have similar stuctures this is proof they are related--and once were a common ancestor population.  This is what paleontologists do--they look for these similarities and how they changed over many generations to better understand the history of living things on Earth.

    2.  Go now to CHAPTER 3:  Identifying related species and go to lesson 3.2 Determining Species relatedness.  In the top box marked T there is a video for you to watch that helps show this. Please watch it.  

    3.  Finally look closely at the mystery fossil, in part 4 of lesson 3.3!  Based on the fossil and its features it shares more features with the killer whale, than the wolf. That is how we know it was a whale ancestor.  Our killer whales descended from this animal, kept some features (Skull shape, front short legs for paddling, long spine, thick tail for steering) but also showed some unique traits (the shrinking and loss of back legs).   This is what Evolutionary history is all about. Placing in the timeline of Earth where certain ancestor species were found, and when new species developed.

    So that's the UNIT!  I know there is so much more to clear up--but we don't have the time anymore--and you will get the deeper understandings in high school.  For now, I hope you get the idea of how species can develop, how long the Earth's history really is, and a basic understanding of the four big bodies of evidence we have for understanding the Earth's history of life.

    Final thought:  today there is a much more powerful way at looking at ancestory than just fossils and comparative anatomy,  and that is our DNA.  We all have DNA--and it was given to us by our ancestors.  We also have A LOT of DNA!  In fact, only a small fraction of our DNA is being used at this very moment!  We have a lot of DNA we call "junk" DNA.  It's DNA we are not using--but it is still a part of us.  The study of DNA is new. Only about 60 years have we been able to study the stuff--cause that was when it was discovered to exist!  But, the cool thing about that junk DNA--it came from our ancestors too!  We have lots of hidden tratis in that DNA--hidden because they never express themselves.  Yet that unused DNA can tell us our history--as it contains the traits of our ancestors!  Today when we read our DNA--we can learn even more about our ancestory than we ever imagined!  It has also really opened up the history of all living things!  For instance, for a long time whales and wolves were grouped together as carnviores.  a group of mammals with shared features.  That is why you may think the mystery fossil was so much like a wolf.  However, recently we have found the DNA of whales and wolves is NOT as similar as we thought.  In fact, whales have greater similarities in DNA to cows and hippos! (artiocdactyls is their group).  So with this new evidence we have had to regroup the whole evolutionary tree of mammals--and move whales with their more likely ancestors--cows!   That's the power of understanding DNA--its opened up so much of our history, that we have to look at rewriting what we thought we knew for a long time!  Our history just keeps getting more interesting!  Science is so cool....

    Just something to leave you with!

    Speaking of leaving you--this is good-bye.  I have enjoyed getting to know you, and working with you.  I wish you the best in your high school career!  It will be great--make it that way!  Study hard, take advantage of all the opportunities you can, and hopefully find a passion for something thay you can carry for the remainder of your life.  If you ever need anything, or just want to brag a bit--I am just an email away!  If you need a more personal good-bye I will be at AUGS tomorrow, Thursday, late afternoon helping with the IPad turn in, if you are around--I can say good-bye in person, otherwise...

    Best to you all! 


  • Tuesday May 19, 2020

    Good Morning Spartans.

    As we are nearing the end of the year, it is no surprise that many of us are now looking at our grades and trying to see what can be done to increase them before it is too late.  This is understandable and expected.  Although many of us are sitting on a good grade, there has been some struggles with the remote learning things, and as I had hoped, my listing your progress in PowerSchool has helped to identifiy where work needs to be done. That being said--many of us have done work on AMPLIFY and turned it in after we had moved to the next lessons.  Work assigned that day is due that day, but we have had workdays to catch up, and many of you took advantage of that. Please remember, Amplify does not tell me if you turn in work after the due date. It does not give a notice or anything.  The only way I will know you made up work is if you tell me.  We have had that issue all year, you may recall. So if you have turned in work, and not received any feedback for it, it is because I do not know you turned it in.  If you want credit for doing the work, you need to tell me you have turned things in late, and I will go back through the archives and find what you have done.  Of course if it can help bring up your grade, I will do what I can for you, but you have to be a little more mature a student as well, and inform me of your late work.  It is not a good habit to have late work, but better late than never! In this instance it will not penalize you.  So if you want to take care of that, I leave you to let me know.

    Yesterday we started going through our last unit on Evolutionary History.

    Evolution History means exactly what it says--it is the History of change in living things over time.  There are four big bodies of evidence we use to look at a living things history and its ancestory:  direct observations, fossils, DNA and genetics, and Comparative Anatomy.

    Fossils are an invaluable piece of evidence as it was a part of a once living thing.  Fossils allow us to have direct observation of now deceased living things.  But as you saw in the text and readings, we don't always get the entire living thing. We sometimes just get pieces. That is why we must use comparative anatomy to identify ancestory and history.  By comparing living things and how their bodies (anatomy) are similar and different-we can better piece together a living thing's ancestory and how it has changed over time.  

    As we have gone through the first half of the chapter, you have seen the "mystery fossil" and you have been introduced to the idea of comparative anatomy.  Today I want to continue that a bit.  Perhaps you have already figured out that the "mystery fossil" is a whale ancestor--lets see some evidence that allow us to know why this is. 

    Log onto Amplify; Evolutionary History, go to Chapter 1 Lesson 1.4. Follow along these things:  once again YOU DO NOT NEED TO TURN IN ANYTHING. To the 3 of you who did turn in things yesterday, thanks anyways, but you do not have anything you must turn in! 

    1.  Go to Lesson 1.4 go to part 2--rereading of the blue whale ariticle and go to the second page of the assignment. Here you will see one of the key data charts we use in evolutionary history--an Evolutionary tree.  Tree Diagrams are used to show where similarly related living things "branched" off with a different trait, and allowed them to become a different species. The closer one species is to another in the tree shows closer ancestory.  Looking at the tree you can see we use a lot of comparative anatomy to do this.  So if you read it--you can see how humans and whales share a common MAMMAL ancestor--we got similar traits from them (things like backbones, lungs, etc...)  BUT you can also see when our lineages broke off--when we got traits that were very different--like flippers and legs.  Take a look at this and try to follow how the tree works to show ancestory.  Trying to see these commonalities in living things can be hard--especially since fossils rarely presearve things like soft tissue (lungs). 

    2.  Look at the Homework in section 1.4 and you will see what I mean.  Look at the two fossils  (A and B).  Can you spot similarities?  You should--look at the forelimb, backbone, and tail.  They are very similar. This was a common trait to their ancestors--and thus tell us they did have a common ancestor at one time.  But you can also see differnces in traits--a back leg and position of the nostril on the skull.  This shows us where they branched away from one another.  

    3.  Now go to lesson 1.5 finding similarities with the mystery fossil and jump to the third part comparing the fossils to wolves and whales. Here is where compartive anatomy becomes so important. If you look at the two modern animals (Whale--this is a killer whale--and a wolf) you can see how they have common bones with the fossil.  Each has different traits surrounding bones--wolf forelimbs are very long (for running) while whales are short for flipper paddling. They have a hip--for back legs on the wolf, but is a left over trait in the whales. If you compare the two to the fossil you can find similarities between both the wolf and the whale. We commonly arrive at ancestory by looking for those that have the MOST shared traits to tell who is related.  This can get really tricky once the traits start to get very different from one another--and new species form.

    4. Now go to Chapter 2!  Investigating body structure differences. Go to lesson 2.1 the second part Hands on to see what I mean by this.  When you log on you will see the front legs of three animals--notice they all have the same bones--same line up and order--but there are size and length differences.  This once common triat has become so different over time in these three species it is hard to image they could be related.  But, they are. They are all mammals.  Look at part 3 discussing to see the three mammals.  This is what makes a species different from another! They started with a common ancestor and all had similar traits--but some of those traits differed or were mutations that aided the individual.  The traits became more common and may have mutated even further, and after many generations--there is a part of the population that is so different from the other part--we get new species.

    5.  To explore that further go to lesson 2.2 now.  And go to the reading--part 2.  Read "Where do species come from"  You will be introduced to the process of Speciation: the process by which one population evolves into two or more different species.  Again, just read--do not annotate.

    6.  If you would try the SIM in Lesson 2.3 you can see how this can happen. So I will leave this as the last thing for you to explore today.  The SIM activity will show you this if you follow the directions for how one population becomes two species.  Please try so that you can see what I have been explaining. YOU DO NOT NEED TO DO THE QUESTIONS. Just follow the directions and observe.

    Ok, we jumped through 5 lessons today, more a summary than anything else. So take what I have explained above into your knowledge, do a little reading, and play with the SIM to see how species develop from a common ancestor, and we will wrap up this Unit tomorrow!  Yes--wrap it up! I will share all that is left for you to discover in the unit tomorrow--before you start turning in your Ipads on  Thursday.




  • Monday May 18. 2020.

    Welcome to your last week as an 8th grader Spartans!  Whoa! are you aware this is your last Monday too?  Yep. Next Monday is Mermorial Day--its a 3 day weekend!  Not real sure if you have any days of work next week--what with turning in i-Pads starting Thursday, and your virtual graduation...so this is it! The last of many things as an 8th grader this week.  I know its not as exciting as we had hoped--but its still a grand achievement!  So lets do what we can with the time we have left.

    You should see that I have been playing in PowerSchool.  I have raised grades where I could for those of you that have been working so well these past weeks.  For some, it made a difference. Others, none at all.  Some it would have made a difference if the work had been consistant, but that time is now past.  If you go on PowerSchool--that is your 3rd Tri-mester Grade.  Comments forthcoming.

    In the time we have left, I want to get some basic information to you regarding our last chapter in Amplify, but first, a quick overview of what you should have discovered in Natural Selection.

    I asked you to try the self assessment Friday to see if you got the main topics.  Thank you to all who attempted. Natural Selection is a pretty simple idea, really.  There are factors in nature that will determine if a living thing has a trait that can help them survive with greater success than others within their population that do not have the trait. These Adaptive traits are passes on through our DNA and genes from one generation to another.  If someting survives with a positive trait--it is more likely to reproduce, and pass on the trait to its offspring.  The offspring now have this trait--making the trait more common in the population.  Over many generations the trait can become so common that most of the members of the population have it--and survive better because of it!  It is a slow process, and not every trait is good or adaptive, and may never become common.  This should make sense to you--and obvioiusly we have lots of data to support that this is what really happens to living things.  The newts, toads, douglas fir, snakes, bunnies, galapogos finches, and all the living things you looked at or read about--those are REAL situations.  REAL DATA...we see it happening all around us. That is why it is hard to refute Natural Selection--it is the way living things change over generations.

    When things change by natural selection--over time living things may not look a lot like thier ancestors.  They will change so much that they no longer recognize their ancestors as being the same as themselves.  When this happens they will no longer reproduce with things that do not look like themselves, but instead only reproduce with the individuals in a population most like themselves.  This is how a SPECIES develops.  A Species is a Group of Organisms of the same kind that DO NOT reproduce with organisms from any other group.  We humans are a species.  We do not reproduce with anything other than our population.  Most living things are that way.  That is why today we have millions of species on our planet.  But it didn't start that way!  It took time, and a lot of changes to traits to give us the number of species we have today!

    YES, living things change over generations--some traits become more common and the living things can begin to take on a very different appearance than their ancestors.  We have a word that we use to mean change--it is EVOLVE.  That is all; evolve means:  to change.  The process of changing over time is called EVOLUTION.  Alll things change over time, so all things evolve and go through evolution. AND I MEAN ALL THINGS!  Fashion, evolves, cars have evolved, building had evolved, our language has evolved (and contineus to change) EVERYTHING changes.  So it should not be a surprise that All living things change over time.  Now,you have seen how that happens: natural selction.  So let me make this clear--ALL LIVING THINGS EVOLVE.  ALL THINGS CHANGE OVER TIME.  In science there is a BIG misunderstanding: many people think there is a thing called the Theory of Evolution. NO. There is no theory! That is a misunderstanding and bad knowledge.  Evolution is NOT a theory---it is FACT, a LAW, things WILL CHANGE OVER TIME!  Everything will change--most obviously--living things.  We can see this happening in living things all the time!  Even in humans.  We are not the same as we were 3000 years ago. If we ever can go to the Natural History museum again, you should go look at the mummies.  Those are the actual remains of a human being--they have been preserved for thousands of years--but still a human being's body. One thing you will notice about those ancient people--they were small. NO people got to six feet tall--if you did--you were called a giant!  The averge height of a man in Egypt was maybe 5'8". women were barely over 5 feet tall.  Their heads were smaller--the volume in the skull for the brain was smaller (yes we can measure the volume of our brains!) They also didn't live very long. A person who was 40 was OLD.  You teenager would have been just about middle aged!   Over the past thousand plus years--we, the human species, have changed--we are taller, have greater brain and head size, we live much longer, and other things have changed as well.  You certainly don't look like our "cave-man" ancestors!  So all things change.  You can see this in your own self.  Chances are you do not look EXACTLY like your mother or EXACTLY like your father. You may have traits from each--but you are a mix of those traits!  You cannot look EXACTLY like them as you only have 50% of your DNA and traits from one or the other.  That means--you are different! YOU show the changes from one generation to another!

    However, many people do not believe we can or did change so that we are different than our ancestors.  So, like all science, we have proof to support the idea.  In the case of Evolution (change over time) we have 4 big bodies of evidence to support the law.  Direct observaton, of the kind we have just seen, is just one of the 4 bodies of evidence.  Its really hard to disprove what we can SEE and observe happening.  But, to prove that things have been changing for a long time we have three other bodies of evidence we rely heavily on:  the Fossil record, DNA and genetics, and Comparative Anatomy. Over the next three days, I want to spend a little time on each of these areas.  Today, we start with the fossil evidence and Comparative anatomy.

    Fossils are the remains of once living things.  They include bones, skin, teeth, shells, footprints, tools, burrows, nests, and sometimes even the entire preserved living thing.  We have an entire branch of science devoted to the study of fossils.  It is called paleontology.  (the study of ancient rock).  Rock is a very long lasting material.  Even better, because of the atoms inside of rock, we can age rock.  That is how we know the Earth is about 5 BILLION years old.  We have rock that is near that age here on Earth! Meteorites have also been found to be that old as well!  Like rock, fossils can be aged--our oldest fossils of living things are about 4.5 BILLION years old--they are bacteria fossils.   Most of the time when we think of fossils, we think of Dinosaurs! But those fossils are only about 300 MILLION years ago!  That's a lot of time between 4.5 BILLION and 300 MILLION--so that is what a paleantologist studies--the history of our Earth and living things that were found on it--long before we came around.

    When a fossil is found, it is examined to find traits that are similar to things we have living today.  This is where COMPARATIVE ANATOMY comes in.  We are comparing body parts of living things and seeing what is similar and different about them.  Looking at these similarities and differences is one way to look at how things have changed over time.  I want you to see and learn a little about this--so we are now going to log into AMPLIFY. NEW UNIT! EVOLUTIONARY HISTORY. Please log on with chrome and go to Chapter 1 Finding Species Similarities.  I am actually going to take you through most of chapter 1 today.   YOU WILL HAVE NOTHING TO TURN IN!  DO NOT BOTHER DOING THE ASSIGNMENTS AS WRITTEN!!! WE DON"T HAVE TIME.  Instead, just walk through a few things with me and absorb the facts to the best of your ability. I am actaully reallly sad we never got to do this together--I have so many bones and fossils we could have done all the assignments with real things--I am sorry we have to do thngs this way and so fast--but that's the way the calender has played out! So do these things today:

    Lesson 1.2  Welcome to the Natural History Museum. 

    1.  Take a look at the pictures in the warm up.  (Don't answer anything--just look)  This will give you an idea of what Paleontologists do.  Explore this further:

    2.  Watch the video under T: Placing the Mystery fossil in the museum.  

    3.  Go to part 4:  How Paleontologists make observations--this will introduce you to the idea of comparative anatomy--compare the body stuctures under page 2.  

    4.  Go to the Homework, READ "The cat that wasn't a Cat at All"  for exactly how tough the process of comparing and learning from fossils can be.

    NOW go to Lesson 1.3;  Still no writing, just look and read:

    5.  Look at the Warm up and compare the bones of you to a cat!  Don't write, look for similarities and differences. This is what we do in comparative anatomy.

    6.  Read:  How you are like a Blue Whale in part 2.  This outlines comparative anatomy--because we have similarities that is how we know both you and a whale are MAMMALS, and closer related to one another than something with very differnt body parts--like a SNAIL or some such thing. 

    7.  Now at this time--you will find this units SIM.  IF YOU WOULD, PLAY WITH IT. SPEND SOME TIME. But, not necessary to go into it deep, LOOK AT THE FOSSILS IF NOTHING ELSE! 

     OK. That's enough for today.  YOU HAVE MUCH TO READ AND INTERNALIZE!  Read all the stuff above, for what I have written you are some of the KEY CONCEPTS and vocabulary you need to know when you get up to the high schools. Do the outlined 7 tasks I have listed above--remember YOU ARE NOT TURNING ANYTHING IN, DO NOT BOTHER WITH THE ANSWERS.  You can think on them, and read, and hopefully get an idea of what we mean when we say what comparative anatomy is and what a fossil is, and how it can be used to teach us a little about ancestory and how living things change over  time. 

    Enjoy your last Monday--I hope I made it easy enough for you!




  • Friday May 15, 2020

    Good Morning and Happy Friday Spartans! 

    Just a little to do today in Science and then off you go to enjoy your weekend!

    Yesterday we continued to take a look at mutations and how they are connected to the greater population and adaptive traits.  

    A mutation is just a different trait. It may not have come about in the typical way--being a random change in DNA--but mutations are just like any other trait in that they can be good, bad or have no effect.  Just like any trait, if the mutation benefits and allows an individual to survive it can become adaptive, and if that happens the mutation (new trait) can be passed on to offspring through reproduction, and over generations many individuals may have this adaptive mutation!  If the mutation is bad--you can expect it to disappear from the population over time.  If the mutation prevents a living thing survival, chances are it will not reproduce, pass on its mutation, and the mutation will disappear. Just like all traits.  This is Important to remember ( a key concept to understand) a mutationn  (Just like any new trait) will only become common in a population when it is adaptive.

    This is what you should have been able to deduce from our work yesterday.  I asked you to start by looking at the reading you did previously on the mutations.  You really had to just pick one of the animals to discuss--but the outcomes should have been similar.  You just needed to identify the mutation for each animal (tough exoskelotons in bed bugs, big legs in toads or lobster color).  You then needed to point out the environmental factor that caused the mutation to become more adaptive (pesticides that couldn't get through exoskeletons, competition with other toads--the lobster was simply one of many gene color mutations).  The effects were your final challenge to identify.  This is were that positive, negative or no effect to all things comes into play.  In the case of bed bugs, they are now tougher to kill and effectively immune to previous insecticides (population increases) a benefit for them.  The toads too had a positive effect--they spread their territory and population and bigger stronger toads emerge (a benefit for them.)  The lobsters it turns out--color means nothing. No advantage or disadvantage to being blue--or yellow, or orange or white--that make it a neutral or no-effect trait.  

    So hopefully you did ok with that review--check for yourself--did you write something along the lines of what I outlined above. If so--great!  If not--probably would be good to review vocabulary and try to reapply it to what you have read.  I gave you a checkmark for completing your work!

    The second part you had to do was a review of multiple choice scenarios and see if you got the key concepts.  Remember these key ideas in Natural Selection in regards to mutations:

    1.  Mutation are changes to genes that can lead to changes in protein molecules, which can result in changes to traits.

    2.  Mutations to genes can sometimes introduce new traits into a population.

    So following those concepts.  YES mutations can sometimes result in an adaptive trait.  YES they can also be non-adaptive (not all traits are good for survival!)  Because not all traits are adaptive it means that they may not become common in the population, so questioin 3 is FALSE.  But--if its a good trait it sure can be spread! So number 4 was TRUE.  I gave you a score out of 4 to let you know how you did---so check the feedback and make sure you understand why the answer is what it is!

    Finally you had to do the Homework--tell Sherman how the bunnies got long furred.  LIVING THINGS DO NOT CHOOSE THE TRAITS THEY GET OR CHOOSE TO CHANGE THEM!  That is what Sherman is implying--the bunnies chose to get long fur because they needed it to survive the cooling enviornment.  THIS IS WRONG--bunnies had no choice!  Many generations ago, when the enviornment was warmer, the bunnies had short fur, but there was a mutation to that trait--some had longer fur.  There was most likely a whole range of hair lengths going from very short to very long.  So you had a few mutant long furred bunnies.  As the environment got colder--that long hair mutation became adaptive because it kept them warmer than their short furred brethren.  Short guys got cold and may not have survived.  So the long furred bunnies had more bunny babies with the long fur mutation because they DID survive, and the short fur slowly began to disappear as it didn't help them to survive anymore.  Today--the bunnies are almost all long-haired for the cold.  (But notice--the short trait is still around--just not in high numbers!)  What if they had no fur?  Would having no fur help a bunny in a cold environment?  HECK NO!  naked bunnies freeze to death.  That would not help the bunnies in a changing environment--so that is the definition of a NON-ADAPTIVE TRAIT.  That is the correct answer for the multiple choice question.  TRICK! You also had to have a second outcome too!  If the trait is non-adaptive, it means it will disappear and become less common in the population!  That's the real nasty trick of mutations--it could have more than one outcome!    The feedback will have your score for that one question automatically given to you.  I will give you a custom score out of 2 if you got them both--or just one--or not correct. 

    Finally you had to read--about genetically modified organisms.  This is the forefront of biological engineering--and the most likely future to farming in order to feed a starving world with a large human population.  We humans have been doing this for thousands of years--adding genes to living things through selective breeding.  We have forced mutations to become common to serve our needs. Just think of dogs!  They are in essence genetically modified wolves.  We selected the genes to pass on through choosing which animals reproduced--and got so many differences.  We even added other species (like foxes) into the mix--and got everything from a great dane to a yorkshire terrier.  What a variety!  Today we don't have to have the right trait in an organism to have it reproduce--we can add whatever we want!  You can buy little fish with jellyfish genes that glow under UV light (we call them glo-fish--they are at every pet store!),  we have pea plants that have a poison in their leaves we added so they don't get eaten--the seeds we eat from it don't have the poison!  We do lots of things!  What if we could take a gene from an animal (like a shark) that almost never gets cancer--and add it to us?  How would that change the human population?  I hope you read the article and started to decide for yourself where we should be experimenting or how we should progress in our learning about artifical selection and genetic modification.  Should we leave change to nature (natural selection) and watch as things slowly change--or should we reduce the time of change through articial selection?  THINK ON THAT FOR A WHILE--I will let you develop your own personal arguements.  

    But for today we have one last thing to do to wrap up Natural Selection.  If you looked at the chapter--we got one more lesson, and chapter 4 we will not be doing--its the assessment and seminar. No time. Sorry.  I want to try and get a little bit of the last unit in before you officailly leave me--so we will be jumping to EVOLUTIONARY HISTORY on Monday.  For today, lets wrap up the unit!

    Go to Amplify Natural Selection. Chapter 3--lesson 3.3.  

    WE ARE ONLY DOING THE SELF ASSESSMENT!  Skip the warm up--it is basically what I just explained above and what you did yesterday.  We skip the SIM and we are not doing the homework because we are not doing the seminar.  SO JUST DO THE SELF ASSESSMENT.  You got five explanations.  If you get them--you understand the basis of natural selection.  Let's see how you do.

    So Recap for today's work:

    1.  Review all the above, compare your responses to what is written. Check your feedback and previous work.

    2.  Show me you understand Natural Selection in CHAPTER 3 lesson 3.3--SELF ASSESSMENT.  Answer the five questions.  I will give information back to you on how you did.

    That's it for today.  Monday we switch to the last unit--I will be sharing only a few of the parts--because the year is coming to a close!! I am sad...





  • Thursday May 14,2020

    Good Morning Everyone,

    Hope you all got a chance to catch up on some work yesterday, if you needed. I did. Later today you will see changes in PowerSchool as I update final third trimester grades, and begin to complete year end grades, and start making comments for you.  I suspect it will take me some time, so be patient with me, but look for those changes to come your way in the next few days.  

    Tuesday I asked you to take a beginning look at mutations.  Remember mutations are random changes to a gene that lead to a new trait.  Now thnk what that means.  Every trait is therefore a mutation of a gene!   Eye color would be an easy one. Blue eyes is a mutation. Green eyes is a different mutation. Brown eyes yet another different mutation. Every eye color is a mutation from the original gene!  That is why I said not all mutations are bad.  In the world of science we tend to evaluate all things in biology as either beneficial, harmful, or no effect.  That means mutations are the same way. Some mutations may be good!  They may help us to survive where other traits may not allow it.  They can be bad--and lead to the organism's death.  OR they can be a null effect--it doesn't make a difference if you have the mutation or not.  Eye color is a good no effect mutation (for the most part!).  

    Mutations are RANDOM!  Spontaneous. Unexpected. Unplanned.  This can happen at any time.  But, most mutations are small things.  A little taller. An extra toe. White hair.  They are not something big--like you get wings all of a sudden as a human. Sorry, No superheroes--that's science fiction.   Mutations however can have a powerful effect on a population--especially if it becomes an Advantageous trait (Mutation) to have.  We will start looking at this today, but first, Tuesday's assignment.

    You had the warm up to do.  I went through your writing and gave you a check mark if all was OK.  Answers were varied, but this is what you should have written:

    For the first question looking at 200 years ago to 50 years ago, you will NOT see a big change in distribution. In fact the numbers for levels 1-9 stayed the same.  So distribution was relatively unchanged. HOWEVER you should have noticed one BIG change--all of a sudden there is one individual with a level 10 poison in the 50year generation, where there were NO level 10s,  200 years ago.  Where did that new level (trait) all of a sudden come from!? It's a new trait--wasn't there for 150 years and then--POP! There it is!  Well--that's a MUTATION.  And if you answered the second question by saying that the change was probably a mutation--a spontaneous NEW trait--you were correct. If you did not say mutation for the second question--well you have the answer now.  

    That is how mutations work--no trait one generation--brand new unseen trait in a later generation!

    Today we are going to dive a bit deeper into how mutations can effect a population.

    We are in the Natural Selection Unit in Amplify. Log in with Chrome please.  Go to Chapter 3  Today we are going to lesson 3.2.  I have a few things for you to think on, so follow this procedure:

    1.  SKIP the Warm up--it involves the SIM you did not do.

    2.  Go to part 2:  Reading. You read this article on Tuesday. Please go and answer the 3 reflection questions after the article. If you need to re-read it, go ahead. If you do not. Give them a shot and lets see if you got the key information from the article.

    3.  Go to part 4:  Reflection.  (NO do not do part 3--evil SIM again. Skip part 3) DO part 4 the Reflection.  Four easy true false questions to see if you are following.

    4.  DO the homework. Silly Sherman needs to be taught about super cute and awesome bunnies--educate him. Show me you understand the connections between adaptation and mutation in your writing and lets see if you get the multiple choice question correct.  There is another article for you to read as well--on making cabbage poisonous!  Oh how I wish we could talk as a group about genetic engineering--we are doing such amazing things.  Some silly too--like you can buy a cat that glows in the dark for a pet if you wanted one.  This article give you insight into this weird world of possibilities!  Read--do not anotate or such things. Just read and imagine the possabilties! 

    So that's today! 


    1.  Lesson 3.2  DO part 2--Reading and answer reflection questions.

    2.  DO part 4--Reflection, four easy statements.

    3.  DO part 5 Homework--written part and multiple choice.  I of course will give a bit of feedback.  Then read the second page article on Poisonous Cabbage.

    Good Luck today, see you same time and place tomorrow!




  • Tuesday May 12, 2020

    Greetings Spartans!

    A quick reminder we have our last Work Wednesday, so I will not be posting any new information/assignments tomorrow. Use the day to get caught up with your work if you need to. Be mindful we are coming to the end, so if you need to take care of anything grade-wise, now is the time, and it is running short. Use your day wisely 8th graders!

    Yesterday, I had you do a little work on Amplify to see if you got the important skill of reading historgrams and got the key concepts on Natural Selection. Pretty easy day actually as the assignments were simply multiple-choice or True-False type things to see if you are on track.

    So I went through them and gave you a score of how many you got correct out of the ones you should have done. You will want to check your feedback for this custom score.  If you got anything incorrect here are the right answers!

    In Lesson 2.4--the Warm UP

    #1 the correct answer was the 3rd.  There are 3 poison levels (1 dot, vs. 3 vs, 7) and no trait was more common than another--there were each 5 individuals with them--that's an equal distribution.

    #2 Yes all poison levels reproduced--at least one of each was left alive to reproduce

    #3 Yes at least one newt from each poison level died.

    #4  the correct answer is there are still  3 poison levels, but one--the 7 group--is more common--there are more of them, so the 4th option was correct.

    If you had other questions--I tried to answer them, but you did not need to do anything there. 

    The second warm up you had to do was in 2.6 and these are the answers:

    The first set You should have marked all of the boxes for neck length EXCEPT 10.  Ther were no real long necked guys in the group.

    #1 Yes some have short necks (1s and 2s)

    #2 Yes some have long necks (8s and 9s)

    #3 Yes--most have medium necks. If we add up the 4s, 5s and 6s--they have the greater number of individuals compared to the long and the short.

    #4 Yes there are no guys with a level 10 neck

    #5 NO--there is a large variance in number of individuals that display a trait in all the different levels.

    Again, You will find a score out of 6 in the custom box, if you got one wrong--check feedback to find out, and I would suggest you go back and see what you missed!

    Finally, I asked you to do the first three questions in part 2--you did not need the SIM for this and you should have been able to answer them.

    #1 Medium necks are most common.  If you add the number of 3s, 4s, and 5s that is the greater number in the population.

    #2 Longer necks would probably be best--because their food plant is so tall! Short necks probably won't get what they need--long necks can reach the food.  So long necks (8s and 9s) would be your best prediction.

    #3  Given this most likely will become an adaptive trait--we should expect that long necks would in time become the more common--as generations of reproduction should show if long necks would become adaptive.

    So again, 3 questions, I gave you a score. Look above to compare how you did and if you understand the reasoning for them--as that is what you should be able to predict if you understand a little on how Natural Selection works.

    On to the new today.  We are going to Chapter 3! Mutations!  So log onto Amplify Natural Selection in Chrome, and go to chapter 3. Lesson 3.1


    Start with the Warm Up--this is taking the important concepts from Natural Selction and once again checking your progress.  I will give feedback.

    You will then need to read an article in part 2.  This is once again in the Library. You are Looking for Mutations:  Not Just for Superheroes.

    You do not need to anotate, or anything again--just read and absorb.  

    Mutations are when one gene experiences a change. This can be caused by exposure to chemicals, damage to the gene, or problems in duplication of your genes when cells are dividing. Remember Cancer is a mutation of genes and a cell.  BUT NOT ALL MUTATIONS ARE BAD!  Some may be quite good actually.  This is all an introductioin for you.

    OH! I just realized that we never really got the answer to why Australians experience higher Cancer Levels--we never got to finish the powerpoint. If I can ever get back to school, I will upload the presentation for you to see--but for now the short answer:  

    Our cells are easily damaged by UV rays.  Luckily in our atmosphere we have a gas called OZONE.  It's job is to block the majority of these harmful waves from reaching the surface of the Earth. Sadly due to climate change and humans creating chemicals that can destroy ozone, our ozone layer protecting the Earth is thinning, and there are large holes in it.  Two of the largest holes are above both of our poles.  Without Ozone to block the UV--it hits the Earth surface and us!  This is causing greater damage to our skin and we are seeing a higher rate of cancer in all the countries where the ozone has depleated--and Australia is one of them. You may remember from the many maps I showed you (or else you can always go back in amplify and look at them) other places Like New Zealand, Sweden, Norway, Great Britian, Canada and Alaska in the US are all having the same problem--less ozone and greater exposure to cancer causing UV.  So there you go!  That's why even the poor penguins in Antarctica are getting cancer! Even they cannot handle excess UV.  So there's the long forgotten lesson. How do we protect ourselves?--well for one thing we can limit climate changing activities and the Ozone holes can repair themselves! But until then--wear SUNSCREEN if you wander into the sunlight for extended periods of time.  Cover up! If you prevent the UV from hitting you, you will not get damaged--and that's good.

    Recap of your job today:

    Lesson 3.1 in Mutations and Adaptive Traits

    1.  Review your work and read feedback from yesterday's lesson

    2.  Do Warm UP--I will feedback

    3. Read! Abosrb! See why you cannot become a superhero mutant...

    That's it. You do NOT do the Homework--it uses the SIM and that is not working. So simple Assignment for you again.

    Don't forget to use your Wednesday wisely if you need to make up stuff!

    Until then, continue to stay safe! 






  • Monday May 11, 2020

    Good Morning Spartans,

    Or maybe good Afternoon, depending on when you check in!

    I am feeling this is our last full normal week of remote learning. Yes we will have next week too--but things are coming to a close as your eight grade year winds down.

    In light of this, I am planning later this week one more update to Powerschool to bump up the grades of those of you who have been working so diligently these past weeks.  I will do that same I did before, treat the days as a daily grade, and give a percentage to the score and see if I can bump up those last 3rd quarter grades.  I am doing this in hopes that some of you may get a higher year end average, which may mean a change in honor role, graduation cords, or just greater praise for a job well done!

    That being said, the days for turning in work before we went on break are nearly over.  Sadly there are still failing grades out there and zeroes to assignments. There is no reason for this.  We have had months now of staying home with plenty of time to get work in. So this is it. Last call for work from before we went to remote learning. Last chance to get above a failing grade for third tri-mester. Again, it is to improve your end of year grades--which are what matter at this time.  (I know that if you are reading this--it probably does not pertain to you--but I gotta keep trying to reach your classmates that have done little these past weeks--just because you are awesome doesn't mean I give up on the rest!)  Yes, I read all attachments sent to me via email--I will act on them quickly if you do your work.

    That's it for announcements, lets get into Natural Selection:

    Last Friday was easy.  Had you do the warm up in lesson 2.2  That was the only written work you had.  The two questions asked you to look at the spider family tree.   The tree shows you how traits from one parent generation travelled to their offspring. So let's answer the second question first--Where do organisms get their traits? From their parents of course!  Yes, parents get them from their genes so if you went more literal that was OK--but not really what the questioin wanted you to answer.  We get our traits passed onto us from our parents. That was one of the Critical concepts I shared with you Friday--so this was just checking if you were on top of things.  

    The first question had a variety of answers. I was really impressed by those who tried to break the visual into useable data! Doing things like having percentages of living things with the trait, or fractions like 1/2 of offspring had some trait--that was really good if you did things like that!  It demonstrated you were prepared to use the data for an arguement, and had the data prepared in a logic and useable format. Nice work!  That was advanced, and I did not ask you to do that--but wanted to express how very smart it was to break data down that way!

    There were actually two key traits you were looking at in the spiders:  Body color and color pattern on abdomen.  You could have also used gender--but that was not a real key trait.  There were  two body colors--brown and white-- and two pattern colors black or blue.  What you should have noticed was that 50% came out just like their mother--interestingly they were only females.  The males took on a mixed trait appearance from their parents--they had traits from each of their parents. 

    This is really the nature of traits!  When an organism is born--it can be very similar to its parents and have the majority of their traits displayed, or they may be a mix of traits.  Mixed traits usually show us those things that are not currently adaptive traits.  This is because not one or another trait seems to be the more common--you get a mix.  Of course this is also proof you don't always get a good trait!  You can get some traits that do not help an individual survive at any time.  If you thought the more common traits (75% of young were white or had a black marking) were the adaptive ones--you may indeed be correct--as they are the more common traits.  So if you noticed things like that--all good!

    As a side note, in genetics when we look at the more common trait (and thus the trait most likely to show up in an individual offspring) we usually refer to those traits as DOMINANT traits.  Please be aware that saying a trait is dominant does not mean it is adaptive. It may be--but not always. All Dominant really says is that it is the more common trait in the populaiton--and thus more likely to be found and show up in an individual.  We call those less common traits RECESSIVE traits.  Keep this in mind. Although there are other factors that determine whether or not a trait is Dominant or Recessive--distribution is one of the big determinants.


    You read how the little newts changed the distribution of their poison trait over generations due to the precences of a snake predator.  This change happened over time through selective reproduction of the surviving adults with an adaptive trait.  This is the basis of the Theory that is Natural Selection. This is an older theory--been around for a hundred years or so, and you got to read about the key scientists that discovered the process: Charles Darwin and Alfred Russell Wallace. Although Darwin is considered the "Father" of the Theory--Wallace's work was key to Darwin accepting what he had discovered. 

    Remember in science we look for patterns--that is where the answers lie.  So two individuals working on opposite sides of the world at the same time discover the same behaviors and occurances are happening in multiple species of liviing things, shows this is NOT a coincidence.  This is a pattern and most likely the correct answer!  Today, we accept this is the answer to how living things change and can adapt--Natural Selection. But we still call it a Theory, because we are constantly discovering new things to ADD to its understanding. Poor Darwin and Wallace did not know about DNA! It hadn't been "discovered".  They just knew there was something in living things doing the job of making traits and passing them on--but had no idea what it was!  So today, now that we know what is doing this--we continue to add to the Theory and refine it. That is the only reason we do not consider it scientific LAW or FACT.  I find it kinda sad that these scientists died without ever learning what was doing all the work they observed, and never knew for sure how very RIGHT they were!  Something to think on now that you have read a little about them..

    In the meantime, lets look at today's assignments.  We will continue to skip around--so to all of you doing every little thing in each lesson--you can stop that. Focus on the big stuff with me.

    Today we will start in lesson 2.4 of the Second Chapter of Natural Selection Unit.

    The only thing I want you to do is the Warm up!  There are FOUR questions you need to answer.  DO NOT DO question 5!  Unless you really have something you want me to respond to.  I will of course, but that may not be a necessary question for your progress, so you may skip it.  These questions are in essence a quiz of the key concepts and if you can interpret the data--so good luck.

    That is the only thing I want you to do in 2.4 We will be skipping the writing in favor or covering more topics in the short time we have.

    You will now be going to lesson 2.6 Reviewing Key concepts.  NO!! We are not doing anymore quizzes--so skip the critical juncture!

    Once again, in lesson 2.6. Start with the warm up.   A series of questions--a quiz to see if you got the concepts and can read a histogram.  Easy. 

    We cannot do all of the rest, as we are not breaking up into groups, or some such things.  I want you to finish this lesson in Part 2 Class--Investigating Adaptive Traits.  DO the first THREE questions!  That is all.  You may skip the second page as it is relying on the SIM--so we will skip. Those last three again will show if you can read a histogram.

    That's the work for today, Recap:

    1.   Read above for answers/reflection to Friday's work--get to know the new vocab word!  Put in memory!

    2.   IN Amplify--using CHROME--go to Natural Selection unit--Chapter 2--Lesson 2.4 DO THE WARM UP.  That's it in that lesson.

    3.   Now go to LESSON 2.6  and again do the warm up.

    4.   Finally in Lesson 2.6 do the first half of part 2--Investigating adaptive traits. Just do the first 3 questions. They are easy to give feedback, do not require SIM, and will demonstrate if you can follow the data.


    Ok, I will review this all tomorrow and then we will get into MUTATIONS--and NO. You cannot become a mutant superhero--sorry. You will learn why in the next couple of days...

    Good Luck,




  • Friday May 8, 2020

    Happy Friday Everyone!

    I don't know about you--but this week went fast! I think it was the nice weather. Sadly it appears it will be changing.  Got an easy assignment for you this weekend as I want to hit the important stuff and try to get as much to you before our days together end, so get ready!

    But First!

    Yesterday I had you tackle the first lesson in natural selction and reproduction.

    The warm up:  The adaptive trait is stronger beaks.  Obviously this was not a choice--the environment required it.  REMEMBER YOU CANNOT CHOOSE YOUR TRAITS! IF you chose YES for the answer: reread what I just wrote--no living thing can "CHOOSE" their traits--that was a key concept from the first unit--get any bad knowledge you have about living things choosing a trait OUT OF YOUR HEADS!  But put this the right information in there now please. 

    The little finches (which are called Galapogos Finches---because they come from the islands of the Galapagos) and their beaks are the result of natural selction and reproduction over generations.  If you recall from our last few lessons. A population of living things will have many different traits.  In the case of these little birds there are some that had slender beaks, some stong large beaks, some short pointy ones and some that were more cone shaped.  Think of it similar to how we all have different shaped noses--but we are all the same species.  These little birds were the same way--just not noses--in beaks! For a bird a beak is much more than a nose (yes it has nostrils in their beaks) it is also their mouth, and some beaks are better for certain foods.  Long pointy beaks are good for grabing little insect foods.  Short cones are good for tiny seeds--like grass. Slender beaks get into flowers for nectar and big strong beaks crush nuts and big seeds.  On the islands of the Galapagos where the little birds live there are not a lot of choices for food.  Some islands had grass, some did not. Others were forested. Some were covered in cactus.  And yet others had no plants--only other animals. Just like all traits--some birds had an easier time getting food because of the shape of their beaks.  They could get food from their environment when others couldn't.  Small beaks cannot crack large seeds. Neither can pointy ones.  Big beaks cannot catch little bugs easy. Over time, on each island, birds with beaks that couldn't be used to gather the available food sources died off.  Only those with a beak shape that could exploit the food sources survived and that beak shape became the more commonly distributed trait.  Over time, all the offspring displayed little variation in the trait any more, they all had a beak to allow them to feed.  That is what happened to the birds Sherman saw.   They are the result of many generations and a shift in the variation and distribution of traits.  

    Fun fact:  On the island where there are no plants only other animals, the little birds found food by feeding on the blood of sea lions and other birds that came to their island. That's right! There are VAMPIRE BIRDS in the world!  They are known as sharp beaked galapagos finches.  Go ahead Google--I know you want to--and see for yourself. Right beak for the right food!  Sharp needle beaks for stabbing prey! FUN!

    However, this is not a smooth process--going from many variations of a trait, to a perfect adaptation.  It takes many generations, because the offspring don't always get the perfect trait.  You can get non-adaptive traits too!  That is why understanding reproduction and how passing on traits now becomes important.  

    What I just wrote above should have been something along the lines of what you told Sherman.  I gave feedback to you if you were on right track, if not--I sent you here to read this!

    When it comes to passing on traits--it is not smooth.  That is why I had you read the Jellyfish article. All living things (Including you!) have an amazing molecule called Deoxyribonucleic acid (oh you are so lucky we cannot have anymore tests--because I would expecct you to know that word AND how to spell it!  You should anyways, but....)  also known as DNA.  DNA is found in most of the cells of living things. It contains all the informantion on how to build the body and the parts of a living thing.  Simply put--it tells how to make your traits.  Each trait is a little sequence code in your DNA. We call them GENES.  For example--you all have a little gene on how to make the protein for hair on top of your head.  Each of us can have a little bit different code--some put more melanin in their hair or less.  That gives you your traits for dark or light colored hair. All living things do this. This is how different traits are made--they are basically all proteins coded as a gene in your DNA. 

    What is suprising is that most living things have TWO copies of each of their genes!  Genes are bundled into groups called CHROMOSOMES.  All chromosomes in animals are paired--that means there are two sets of every gene you have--one on each of the chromosome pairs. (Fun fact you have 23 pairs.)   This is because you like most animals have two biological parents.  One set of the chromosone pair you have came from your mother, the second half came from your father.  That is why all animals have two sets of each gene/trait.  HOWEVER, just because you have two copies of the same gene doesn't mean they both make the exact same trait!  One of the genes could say one thing--the other something different.  For instance--from your mother side you may have gotten a gene that says your hair will be light colored, but your father's half says you will have darker hair.  This means you have two different traits possible in your body. Usually just one of the traits will show itself in the offspring.  Sorry--you can't usually turn one set off and turn the other on and suddenly change your hair color! DNA doesn't work that way. With DNA most of the time ONE of your pair of genes expresses itself--that means you can see the trait!  You may have a good trait--but it may not show up on you!  That is why passing traits is not smooth--you may or may not get a good trait to show.  A guaranteed way to get the good trait is if both parents have the exact same trait.  If that happens you get two sets of EXACTLY the same trait, and you have no choice, it shows up!  But, getting to the point where there is no variety in the traits and there is only one trait for parents to pass on and guarantee the offspring gets it--can take many generations.  

    Whew! That's a lot to absorb!! But, you need to understand this--and the Jellyfish article introduced this.  Hopefully it made sense and you were then able to go to the reflection questions and get them correct.  Amplify will tell you how you did. It is in your feedback. Feel free to go back and see how you did.  I do hope you got all 3 correct:  Parents pass their genes down to their offspring, Genes are instructions for making protein molecules and protein molecules determine traits, and the parents had genes for the adaptive trait, which they passed down to the individual (offspring).  ALL THE REST ARE WRONG--so if you chose any others--go back and make sure you understand WHY they are wrong.

    This idea of multiple genes, passing traits, and getting down to a single "Adaptive" trait is what we will continue to look at.  

    Your assignment today is simple--a little warm up and some articles to read!

    Start by logging onto Amplify Natural Selection with GOOGLE!

    Go to Chapter 2.  Lesson 2.2  Survival and Reproduction

    Please look at the warm up and the pretty spiders. Answer the Two questions--the second should be darn easy!  Feedback will follow.


    1.  Genes are instructions for making protein molecules and protein molecules determine an organism's traits.

    2.  Individuals inherit their genes from their parents.  Genes, and therefore traits, in a population are passed down from generation to generation.

    That's it for lesson 2.2  Do nothing else--we cannot--the SIM again--but the two statements above are all you needed to learn anyways.

    SO now go to lesson 2.3 and part 2 the reading.  Do not do the warm-up--its repetitive.  

    You will have to go into the library and scroll down to the natural selection unit and find the article "The deadly dare"  Please read.  You need not annotate or any such thing--just read and abosrb--look at the images carefully, and make sure you got the information.

    Finally go to the HOMEWORK part 4 in 2.3 Read about DARWIN and WALLACE.  What a great story--this does not do it justice--it was one of the best  and my favorite) stories of scientific competition in the world of science!  I wish I could go into the story--not just this little synopsis--but we do what we can in the time and methods we have! You do not need to answer any of the questions--just read.  We will be coming back to the work of these two gentlemen scientists later. For today. Read.

    So that's it.  Recap of assignment today:

    1.  Review of yesterday's work, feedback and read my answers and background above carefully.

    2. IN AMPLIFY Natural Selection Unit, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.2 do the Warm Up ONLY!  Easy!

    3. IN AMPLIFY Natural Selection Unit, Chapter 2, Lesson 2.3 do part 2 Reading "The Deadly Dare"  Just read!

    4.  Also in Lesson 2.3 do the READING of Darwin and Wallace in the HOMEWORK.  Just read--don't bother with the quesions.  

    We will build on your reading next week! 

    Until then,

    Have a safe but wonderful weekend!



  • Thursday May 7, 2020

    Good Morning Spartans!

    I trust you all had a good day yesterday, and if needed caught up on some work, or if not, got a taste of summer to come--it was a lovely day yesterday, so maybe you got to enjoy it!

    To all who continue to keep me updated on the progress of the SIM, Thank you.  I am hearing from more and more--its not working well. So we will have to continue the skipping of that for now.

    Of which, that is what we did on Tuesday! Skipped the SIM!  You had a few other things to do to show you got the knowledge and ideas from the first chapter of Natural Selection.

    I asked you to do the Warm up in 1.5.  The histograms showed you how the population of newts have changed in regards to one of their traits--the amount of poison they had.  You should have noticed in the first graph--50 generations ago--the population was mostly low-poison, and very few had high poison amounts on their skin. Today the population is much more poisonous--almost all individuals exhibit high levels of poison, there are few with low levels.  So that is how the population has changed--they have become noticeably more poisonous.  You had two questions to answer, and a bit to write about. So using the answers above, I let you know how you did on feedback. If you missed something by mis-reading the histograms, Amplify will tell you. If you missed the way they have changed to becomre poisonous. I let you know that in the comments!

    It was lesson 6 however, that was the real test for you.  By now you should realize that traits are what give a living thing their characteristics. If a trait is good and somehow helps a living thing survive, the livinig thing that possesses that trait will most likely reproduce.  When they do--they will pass this good trait to their offspirng. When this happens there are more individuals in the population with the good trait!  If the trait does not help them to survive, most likely they will be eaten, or die in some other way, and are less likely to reproduce. This means they never pass their trait on to offspring and their bad trait slowly disappears from the population--no new guys have the trait--it was lost because it did not help the parent to survive.

    YOU CANNOT JUST CHANGE YOUR TRAITS! NO living thing can. The newts don't just decide to make more poison--only the ones that were poisonous survived--the rest were snake food--so the only trait available to offspring was the surviving one--the high poison. That's why the population changed! Not because they wanted  to! IT took 50 generations!  You cannot change your traits in a population because you want to.  Sorry, you don't like the color of your eyes (a trait), you cannot change it--sure you can cover it with contacts, but the trait is still there. If you wore contacts to change the color of your eyes, and in the future had offspring, the baby would not have the color eyes of the contacts! It would have the color that is your trait!  So that is what you should have told Sherman!  There are more black moths because that trait is the best for survival.  The light colored trait is present, but few have it because most likely the previous generations with the light trait were eaten by predators because they were easy to spot. The dark ones were not--so that was the trait the offspring could get.  The light color is low because it is not available to the populaiton--the trait is gone. The dark however is very common because more individuals with that trait survived to pass it on to the future generations--and now it is very common!  YOU SHOULD HAVE TOLD HIM THERE IS A GREATER DISTRIBUTION OF THE DARKER TRAIT IN THE ENVIORNMENT BECAUSE IT APPEARS TO BE AN ADAPTIVE ONE!

    You should have written me something similar in the Writing of Expalining Changes in the Newt Populaiton.  There used to be a vareity of traits for the newts. Including low poison. Now they do not. What caused this?

    You should have made the claim that it was something in the Environment that caused a shift in traits.  In this case snakes!  If you said they just wanted to get more poisonous or just became that way--WRONG!  It was something that made it happen.

    The snakes will only eat the less poisonous ones.  They couldn't eat the highly poisonous newts.  Then the snakes would die!  So with the addtion of snakes to the environment, the less poisonous trati began to disappear because every newt that had it was eaten! That means there was no one to pass on this trait to the future genreations. The only individuals left to breed and pass on their traits to the next generation were the highly poisonous.  Which meant that all the new babies got the high poison trait, and the trait became more common in the population over the 50 generations.  THERE IS THE REASON!  THE EVIDENCE WAS IN THE DATA CHART!  More were toxic now than 50 genretions ago.  Sp the DISTRIBUTION OF THE TRAIT IN THE POPULATION CHANGED!  (You should have wrote that).  

    LIVING THINGS DON"T DECIDE TO ADAPT!  You can see the results of adaptation and greater survivablity of a trait, but do not think just because something has changed it has adapted or deciding to change is a part of adaptation! IT IS NOT A DECISION A LIVING THINK CAN MAKE!  IT is a result of shifts in distribution of a trait due to enviornmental factors influencing what traits will become adaptaive or not.

    So that's what I looked for--something in the enviornment (the claim) changed the newts.  It was the snakes, and they caused the trait distribution to change to a more poisonous newt survived (reason) and this could be see by the entire populatioin becoming more poisonous in 50 generations.  (evidence).

    I gave you feedback if you were good. If not--I told you to come here to read this, For this is the most important understanding you needed to gain from this chapter!  Living things change because of something in their ENVIRONMENT.  NOT because they want to or decide to!

    Be sure to go back and re-read and understand this difference.  MAKE SURE YOU KNOW YOUR VOCABULARY!  wow--the amount of incorrect definitions being applied! Yikes! Know you vocab!

    You will need the above knowledge for the next chapter...we are now going to Chapter 2--Natural Selection and Reproduction--to really drive this idea home!

    We will start in Lesson 2.1  So if you haven't already go to Amplify. Natural Selection Unit. Chapter 2: NS & Reproduction  Lesson 2.1

    Start with the Warm Up.  Re-educate Sherman.  Please keep in mind what I just wrote you above---I will of course give feedback.

    You must skip the SIM--its not reliable, so don't do it.  You will also skip the Hands on stuff--we are not together to do it.  So Skip.  These parts are just introducing to you a reality to traits. YOU DON"T ALWAYS GET A GOOD TRAIT FROM YOU PARENTS!  If your parents have a not good trait--oh you can get that! It may hinder your survival and make it more difficult. That happens!  Natural Selection occurs when a trait gets 'bred" out of the population--and we are going to start lookin at that, and why it occurs in the reading.

    So go to part 4--Reading and read "Glowing Jellies"  Just gotta read and absorb.

    You will finish the lesson by doing the reflection--part 5. A few multiple choice questions reflecting on the reading. Lets see if you get the idea!

    So Recap today:

    1.  Go over Tuesday's work and feedback.  Read above and make sure you understand how traits in a population work!

    2.  In Lesson 2.1 Do the Warm Up.  I will feedback

    3.  Read Glowing Jellies part 4.

    4.  Complete the Reflection question in part 5.  Amplify will tell you if you are right or wrong!  Good Luck!

    Ok, that's it. 

    Just reflecting on our last unit--tonight is a full moon! Go out and see it! NO lunar eclipse however--if you know why...I am proud of you!!!




  • Tuesday May 5, 2020

    Hola Spartans! Happy Cinco de Mayo!  Good day for a little fiesta since we have to be inside anyways!

    Thank you to all who let me know your progress with the SIM.  Based on those that sent me an update today about 20% are having trouble.  If you are having trouble, but didn't let me know---please do. So that I can plan a bit more accurately in the future the things we can or cannot do.  I will let the Tech department know, and see if they find a solution.  However, 80 % of us having it working is actually pretty high--so there must be something simple we are missing.  Again, if you need to let me know its bad--it would make a difference.

    On to yesterday's review.  

    For the warm up you should have found the answer to both the questions was no. Reading the historgram, you can see there was a much greater variety of traits (7) in the first generation and it was heavy on the low fur end.  The second showed less variation in traits (4) and it was a much furrier group.  So they do not show the same variance (one is more than the other) and they do not show the same distribution (one is more, and the traits were different.  Hopefully you can see your feedback--I let you know if you did ok or not.  If you missed one, it will tell you.   SO IMPORTANT:  Remember your vocabulary. I have given it to you these past days here--really got to know that to make this easy.

    The second part you should have done was the Homework.  Your answers could have been a lot of things.  I let you know if all was ok.  For each they asked you to identify things that could make an individual more or less likey to survive in the environment.   You could have chosen many things:  the amount of light amongst big trees, the temperature, the amount of water (rivers, lakes), the defenses of the plants, the other species hunting them, lack of food, seasons, and so much more.  It was intersting to see what you picked up on.  That was really the trick--the articles didn't give much on the environment, but when you read about the animal you had to share traits that might make it survive (color, fur, sharp teeth, keen eyes,size, thorns, etc..)--and more often than not it was those traits that would tell you about what you could find in their habitat and what they needed to do to survive in it.  

    These traits that help us survive are called ADAPTIVE TRAITS.  Hopefully, you remember that vocabulary word.  You probably have heard of them by their shortened name:  ADAPTATIONS.  There are many types of adaptations a living thing can make, including changes of behavior--which is not neccessarily what we mean when we say adaptive TRAITS.  Remember, for most traits, we are looking at things that are genetic, and thus physical features of a living thing.  That's why we don't use the word adaptation to describe them, as these may involve things other than just the physical.  For now, lets focus on the physical part.  

    You have now seen a variety of physical things that can help be considered adaptive traits:  amount of fur, body size, amont of poisons, length of necks, or longer legs.  Of course we are also familar with the idea of coloration as an adaptive trait, and that is what we are going to explore today!

    We are seriously jumping around today!


    Start today in Chapter 1 Lesson 5:  Adaptive Traits and do the WARM UP part.  This will test to see if you can co-relate what in the enviornmnet can cause trait changes.  

    YOU ARE ONLY DOING THE WARM UP IN LESSON 5.  NOTHING ELSE!  We cannot--its all about the SIM again, and right now, we skip that.  This is what you should have learned from it:  Not every trait is adaptive all the time.  It all depends on the environment.  Color is a good way to see this.  If you were a bunny with black fur and lived in the snowy fields of Alaska, that may not be good. You may be more visible to predators.  Here coloration that is white may be better, and help you remain unseen and survive.  BUT that dark fur might be good if you lived on the black basalt fields of the many volcanoes found along the Alaskan Coasts.  Here the dark rock would make it much better to be dark colored--while now the white is a disadvantage and easily viewed by flying predators--not a good trait now!  It just depends on the habitat. NO trait is really bad or good.  It is the place the living thing is found that makes the difference.  Keep this is mind as we go to the next lesson...

    So now go to Lesson 6.  Explaining Chagnes in Trait Distribution.  

    Once again start with the WARM UP.  Teach Sherman.  Let's see if you get it too!  I will be checking for good or bad!

    Now go to part 3--Writing:  Explaining changes in the newt population.  Very similar to the warm up...use the vocabulary. THIS IS A CER!  I am looking for the claim, use of evidence, and reasoning. Be thoughtful, take your time, and this will see if you understand what this first chapter was all about. 

    That's it. don't do the homework or the student discussion--don't need it, can't do it.  So today, easy--but I need to see in writing you are understanding and have use of the vocabulary.

    So a recap:

    1.  Review your previous work and see how you did--look at feedback.

    2.  Go to Lesson 1.5 in chapter 1--do the Warm Up.  That's it in that lesson.  Make sure you read above and understand what the SIM activity we are skipping would have taught you.

    3.  Go to Lesson 1.6 in chapter 1.  Do this Warm up as well.  Feedback will come.

    4.  In lesson 1.6 do part 3--Expalning changes in the newt population.  Looking for good writing.

    Ok--we did two lessons today--but not all of the tasks!  Feel free to snoop around the other parts, but you don't need to do anything in them.  

    Remember tomorrow is another catch up day.  Wednesday I will not be posting any new work, so take your time on today's work and take tomorrow to catch up on any work you need to do.

    Keep at it! I am so proud of the 54 of you who have done constant daily work!  You have shown yourself to be amazing individuals with a strong skill set of learning behaviors. You are great and I miss seeing your little faces.  Yikes! We will end this now before it gets too complementary!





  • Monday May 4, 2020


    I feel like I should assign all of you to watch Star Wars--but that may not be educational enough for the higher ups!  Just know the force is with you!

    Except our Amplify SIM.

    I have heard from many people it is not working.  It doesn't want to load, starts and then stops.  I will admit it took a long time to load for me too.  So long, that my computer wanted to stop the process, but I made it continue.  You may need to try to do the same thing. Keep it up and loading--don't let the screen go dark---and give time  I also reached out to our Tech Dept. to find out if we can do anything--so here is what came back:

    PLEASE ADVICE STUDENTS TO OPEN GOOGLE CHROME, then sign in to Amplify on their IPads as a workaround.  (The simulation opend and worked using a test iPad and student within Chrome).  Also. Please confirm each of the students has removed their WiFi connection ("Forgot this Network") and re-joined their home WiFi.  If it was not clear before, turning on WiFi off and on does not suffice.  Nor does turning the ipad off and on.  (Students should also verify their IPads are current:  settings>Genreal>software update....must be plugged in).

    That is alot of above my head stuff--but the big take away--make sure you are in Google CHROME on your iPad.  Don't just hit the link--especially as it may not take you to Chrome. It may take you to a different search engine.  This seems to fix some of the issues.  We need to try and use the SIM in the furture, but for now I will skip those parts.  PLEASE DO THIS: Try again to jump on the sim TODAY. IF you cannot--email me to let me know. jwiktor@Antioch34.com.  Just so I know if I can determine if the SIM can ever be used.  I don't want to waste our time on things that do not work.

    That being said:

    Last week a few things you should have done:

    I asked you to do the Warm-Up.  A little tricky--it asks you for a claim based on what you have learned so far--not from what you read! Sneaky!  From the previous lesson you should have noted that no individuals in a population are 100% exactly the same.  There will be similarities of course--things that make us a species--but nothing is exactly the same. There are always little differences in traits!  Some are SEEN some are not!  So of the claims, the best to choose in the Warm Up, was the second. This population has different poison-level traits: some have low, some have medium, and some have high.  This most accurately explains the differences in traits.  Being an individual does not mean you will be completely different.  Some others will share your traits (more than one person has brown eyes--even though you may or may not) so the last answer is not as accurate, and the first suggests there cannot be differences--again, not the best understanding. I went through and gave you feedback--correct if so, or if not let you know to read here to understand why the second choice was the best.  

    The second thing I asked you to do was the SIM.  To all who got it to work and were able to complete the Mission---I am glad. But considering the troubles we had, I am just happy if you were able to use it.  i will give more on that subject if I hear back from any of you in the next day or so.

    The final part (homework)  asked you to look at the histogram.  The correct Answers were A, C, D and D in that order.  The first was one trait. Green.  C showed a larger variety of colors as a trait.  D showed mostly yellow with a little differentiation in shade.  B showed mostly green with a little differentiation in shade.  B and D were most like each other--so that was the final answer.  Again, if you completed with 100% I let you know correct.  If not, told you to look here for the answers. 

    Today we will explore the above ideas a bit more and expand on them as well.

    We are working today on Amplify Natural Selection Unit, Chapter 1  and lesson 4.1  Investigating Changes in Trait Distribution.  Please log in with CHROME and here are the things for you to do today--it is not the entire unit--we are kinda skipping the SIM, so just follow below:

    Start with the Warm Up--it is a review of Histograms. Lets see if you remember your stuff--two questions. Turn in for feedback of right or wrong.

    Remember Please what Distribution means:  the number of individuals with a trait.  Natural Selection is the theory that factors in the environment influence the traits a living thing will have.  Yes 8th graders--that is the essence of Natural Selection and that is what every one is all upset about when we discuss this--the environment (nature) determines if a trait is good or bad for the liviing thing (Selects..) AND ultimately if that living thing can and will pass on the good traits to their offspring. In other words if you don't have what it takes to survive in an environment (not the right trait) you may not survive to pass on your traits to offspring.  A pretty simple idea isn't it? Makes a bit of sense too when you think about it.  That is what today's sim mission was trying to show you--environment influences the traits of living things!  The ENVIRONMENT means EVERYTHING (LIVING AND NON-LIVING) THAT SURROUNDS AN ORGANISM.

    Environment include lots of things:  Resources like water, air, light, temperature, climate, soil, rock, etc...as well as other living things like other animals, plants, bacteria, etc... and of course other members of your own species.

    Sometime the difference in our traits may help us to survive in a given environment.  For instance if you had thicker fur that insulated you better than another individual in your group--this may mean you could survive better in a very cold place--like the high mountains--where having thinner fur may make you less likely to survive if it got real cold, or if you got sick, or you got frostbite and lost extremities. When we look at traits we look to see if they are more or less likely to help an individual survive in a given environmental condition. ADAPTIVE TRAITS are TRAITS THAT MAKE IT MORE LIKELY THAT AN INDIVIDUAL WOULD SURVIVE IN A SPECIFIC ENVIRONMENT.  So as I illustrated above--fur could be an adaptive trait--it may help you survive by keeping you warm in the lower temperatures.

    NON-ADAPTIVE TRAITS are A TRAIT THAT MAKES IT LESS LIKELY THAT AN INDIVIDUAL WILL SURVIVE IN A SPECIFIC ENVIRONMENT.  So above, having less hair or fur might be a non-adapative trait in a cold environment.  The individual might die from the cold and not get to have any offspring.

    The SIM would show you this--as you drop temperature over generations only those with longer, warmer fur survive, but if you reverse it having less hair in hot temperatures is better.  In other words--to determine if a trait is adaptive or not, depends on the environemnt.  What works in one place, may not in another.  IF you can try the SIM--do so, and you will see this. But if you cannot log on or get to it, SKIP it and let me know.

    So that's what all the SIM and modelling stuff was trying to show you in this lesson--try it if you can--but otherwise the only thing you have left to do today is the HOMEWORK.  

    Read about the snakes and then choose TWO of the other article:(just two--or all if you wish they are all interesting and short) the awesome harvest mouse, super cool owls, cuddly bears, SUPER big trees or the nasty little holly.  Use the arrows at the bottom of the article to move between them and then you have homework questions to answer.  You are to select the article you read, so if you read them all, choose the two you want.  I will let you know how you did and if you are on the right track through our amplify feedback.


    1.  REVIEW work from Friday, and read above for new VOCABULARY--make it apart of your knowledge.

    2.  Do the Warm-Up #1 in task bar.  I will feedback good or bad.

    3.  Try the SIM IF YOU CAN--follow the mission.  IF YOU CANNOT! EMAIL ME SO I KNOW!  If you cannot, skip--but make sure what I wrote above, you understand.  If you do the SIM, you don't need to turn in anything, just see if you can observe what I wrote above, about fur and temperature and what happens over generations.  IF I do not hear from you I will assume you are able to use the SIM for the future.....I gotta know how bad this is working for us, is it just a few or lots....

    4.  HOMEWORK #5 on task bar.  Read, answer questions, turn in and I will feedback you.  

    I look forward to hearing from you--and hearing you are well.

    Celebrate the day the Star Wars way:  The Fourth will be with you, always.





  • Friday May 1, 2020

    Happy May Day!   (for those who do not know that's what we call the first of May)
    Happy Friday.  And welcome to your last month as an eighth grader!

    As I wrote to you yesterday, you will see that I have closed all the tests, so I hope you had your chance to see how you did and for those of you with growth felt proud of your accomplishments.  You should. I am proud of all of you for the growth and knowledge development you have shown. I am also very proud of all of you who have consistently worked this past unit, and as such you will also see I have been playing in Powerschool, as I said I would. If I can bump you up, I did. Otherwise, even if the grades are not pretty--no worries, they did not effect your grade or percentage, but were simply a reflection of your work for your own knowledge. Maybe a wake up for some who have been lacking in effort so that you know it is not acceptable.

    On to the new:

    Yesterday you did a little work in our new Amplify Unit: Natural Selection.

    I had you start with the warm up.  You will find a + or a - for grade in feedback. + means you were thinking correctly.  The question was just asking you to identify TRAITS.  Those physical similarities and differences in living things.  So if you about things like body size, number of limbs, body coverings, coloration, patterning, size of spots, amount of poison on skin, or any such thing you were identifying the traits.  YOU ALL NEED TO STOP THINKING EVERYTHING IS ABOUT CAMOFLAUGE!   I know you all are fascinated by this--it's elementary.  But, traits are about so much more and thus Natural selection is about so much more--camoflauge is such a small thing. and often you are not using the term correctly, so lets expand our thinking!

    I asked you to skip the Observing traits--I explained all you needed yesterday, below!

    I did ask you to Do the reflection part, one easy question and the answer was This Population has different traits for color:  Some are brown, some are black, some are gray and some are white.

    The other four are wrong.  They do not all have the same traits just because they are a population.  Populations have a variety of traits--that's normal.  Think of all the differences in your classmates--and yet you are a population.  OF course they will have some similar traits--same number of legs, hair on neck, two eyes, etc... so being an individual does not mean you do not have things in common with your population.  IF you are that different--you are probably a different species.  Individuals within a population will have both similar and individual differences amongst themseleves. If you got it right, I let you know--if not I let you know it was wrong. 

    The final homework was a reflection.  After reading you should have once again described some physical traits--skin texture, coloration, stubby legs, tiny teeth, etc... if you did goot I gave another + for you.

    How might they change--amount of a coloration, size of legs, length of body, number of teeth--there are many things that can change--actually almost all physical traits could change, and that is what I wanted you thinking about!


    Today we will dive a bit deeper into this unit and its resources.  Your tasks for today:

    1.  Start with the warm up.  It has you reflect on yesterday's newts.  There is one accurate claim. See if you can find it. I will let you know if you are right or wrong.

    2.  A NEW SIM!  Time to explore!  You will need to launch the SIM and follow the lessons very carefully.  There are two pages. The second has your MISSION.  I will be looking to see if you got it!  Take your time and explore this.  It is a lot.  It introduces you to three imaginary living things.  You will need them as part of the lessons ahead, so get to know them and the SIM.  

    3.  The "T" on top has a video for you to watch. Please do this.  It introduces a graphing method called histograms.  Get familiar with the concept if you are not already.  

    Working forward there are three vocabulary words you will need to know.  A GENERATION is A GROUP OF INDIVIDUALS BORN AND LIVING AT ABOUT THE SAME TIME.  You and your classmates represent a generation, just as myself and my teacher co-workers represent a different generation.  The length of a generation is determined by lifespan of the organisms, and the number of young born within a time period.  In some species it may represent a reproductive cycle (a year)

    All living things have TRAITS.  Within a population those traits can be different between individuals.  Such as some of you have blue eyes, some brown, some green, etc.  Those color difference traits represent VARIATION.  VARIATION is ANY DIFFERENCE IN TRAITS BETWEEN INDIVIDUAL ORGANISMS.   Please note, that does not include traits that are essential for making the species--such as a head, two eyes, four legs, etc..  It can mean differences in head shape, eye size or color, or length of legs.  Variation is all about what makes us different from others in the population.

    Finally when we look at HOW MANY individuals have a trait that is DISTRIBUTION:  THE NUMBER OF INDIVIDUALS WITH EACH TRAIT IN A POPULATION.  For instance if we counted how many of your classmates had blue eyes--that number would be the distribution.  

    You need to understand these things in order to make a Histogram.  Of this lesson. YOU WILL SKIP BUILDING HISTOGRAMS.  Instead, jump to the HOMEWORK.

    4. Part 5 HOMEWORK.  Here is a test to see if you can read a histogram.  Please complete and I will grade it for you. Yes, there are right and wrong answers--easy for me to grade, and easy to see if you can read a histogram.  Good Luck.

    That's it for today.  Recap of tasks:

    1.  Go back and see if you did ok on yesterday's tasks--read your feedback.

    2.  Lesson 1.3 in Chapter 1 of the Natural Selection Unit in Amplify. Log onto AMPLIFY, and complete the warm up.  I will send correct or not feedback.

    3.  Do the SIM--Complete the mission as outlined on AMPLIFY.  I will grade.

    4.  Watch video in part "T" and Read above all the vocabulary and get to know those terms!

    5.  Do the HOMEWORK.  I will grade for correct or not, and see if you can read a historgram.  

    EASY STUFF!  Good Luck,

    and have a GREAT WEEKEND!


  • Thursday April 30, 2020

    Good Morning 8th Grade Spartans!

    Welcome to the last day of April.  Days are ticking away, and I hope you are getting excited for your moving on to the high school.  It will be a grand time!

    Still a bit to do here, so let's get started.

    Tuesday! You were assigned the Post Test or as Amplify calls it the End of Unit assessment.

    I got your grades and scores recorded, sent feedback on how you did.  I will be leaving it open until the end of the day for you to go back and see what you missed.  I will also re-open the Pre-test for just today in case you would like to see how you did compared to four weeks ago.  This time the tests were all about seeing your personal growth.  Many did great. A few need to reflect on their learning behaviors and how to better achieve growth during a unit.  Here are the answers for the tests so you know can really see how you did. Don't bother to re-submit or try to take the test now--I will not count it.  I'm giving you the scores, so any learning of growth would be invalid. 

    1. A  2.  A   3. D   4. A  5. B    6. C    7. D   8. D   9. A    10. A  11.  B   12. B   13. C   14. A  15.A    16. C  17. C   18. C

    For the written part:

    1. You had to choose a claim. (for a point)  As it was he was not fully correct.  The moon should have been filled in half with light.  The side facing the sunlight should have been illuminated, as half of the moon is always illuminated from the light.  In this position, it would then be a FULL MOON.. (I needed to see all that to get a point), however there is an exception and that is if all three bodies are in a perfect straight alignment it is possible to show the moon fully dark as this would be a lunar eclipse.  They just had to be in a perfect straight line--which it rarely is due to the tilt of the Earth and the tilt of the moon's orbit around our Earth. (that got you the final point).

    2.  Once again, choose a claim, (for a point)  here again, she is partly correct.  Correct for the first image. That one the light of the sun illuminates the half facing away from Earth--we see the backside in that position, and it is completely dark--we call that a New Moon.  (needed ALL of that for a point).  She is not correct however in that the second picture is not ALWAYS dark.  Only if it is a Lunar eclipse.  The moon is sill illuminated every night, and half of it should have been (thus a full moon), but once in a while the three objects form a perfect linear path and we see the eclipse. (All that got you the last point.)


    So, there you go. Hope you all learned a bit, and got rid of some bad knowledge during this unit, but as of today we move on.


    As I eluded to on Tuesday, we are going to start the other units, but skip around a bit.

    Today we will begin exploring Natural Selection in Amplify.  We are going to a new Unit:  Natural Selection.  You will need to log onto Amplify via Chrome and select this new unit.  We are going to Chapter 1:  Environmental Change and Trait Distribution.  

    I will tell you, I really am upset not to be there with you to break down the bad knowledge so many of us have regarding the theory of natural selection and the evolution phenomena, so I am going to try and focus on the most important parts you need to understand before you go off to high school, and really focus on the FACTS and EVIDENCE of what is truly happening in our world and its living things.

    Normally we would do a pre-test. Not this time. We are done with those for the year. 

    Instead go into Chapter 1 and go to lesson 1.2  The Mystery of the Poisonous Newt!

    I would like you to start with the warm up:  Look at pictures and reflect in writing.  Look for feedback, there is really no wrong or right, it is simply what you notice.  Be thoughtful.

    Under the T is the video--watch it!  Super cool amphibians!

    In order for natural selection and change to occur we must understand 2 principles.

    1.  Living things are found in POPULATIONS.  POPULATIONS are A GROUP OF THE SAME TYPE OF ORGANISMS LIVING IN THE SAME AREA AT THE SAME TIME!  (oh how I miss your binders...)

         When we speak of populations, key things:  All of the same species.  All in the same place and at the same time.  So if you think about a population, you can change the number by looking at the physical space.  So if we wanted to look at all of our classmates that are Spartans, We are a population!   We are all humans, and all in the same space (AUGS) at this point in time--and there is about 120 of us. That makes us a population. Same species, space and time.    We can expand the population to a larger area or SPACE--such as all the HUMANS in AUGS.  Still the same species, larger space and same time, but now a larger number--over a thousand of us. We could expand to all of Antioch, or all of Chicagoland or all of the US or even the world--still a population. Keep the same species and same time and we are good!   Try to grab onto that simple idea!

    2.  Within a Populaiton, individuals will have different TRAITS.  TRAITS are A SPECIFIC CHARACTERISTIC OF AN INDIVIDUAL ORGANISM.  

    Traits are GENETIC. Given to us by our DNA.  They are usually physical in nature (fur/hair/feather/scale, size of body, shape of body parts, organs we have, color, color patterns, etc..)   Although we all have emotional, mental, and behavioral traits, most of those are NOT from DNA--and thus things we do not look at in biology.  For Instance no puppy is born dumb, bad or unhappy.  They have to be taught how to be good, use their minds, and not be scared of big humans or other animals.  Think about that--none of you were born sad--you were taught what that means and when to be sad. None of you were born genius--you all had the potential to learn and become a genius, and you were not born bad.  What baby is bad when born? You see why we don't look at those traits in biology?  We focus on the PHYSICAL becausse they are controlled by our DNA--something we cannot do much about--that is something we are born with!  They are also not OPINIONS!  Smart, good, bad, happy, crazy--all opinions.  We don't use those things.  But its hard to refute seeing a trait like having a lung, a wing, scales on feet, or brown eyes--we like facts in science remember!  Things we can observe!   Keep all that in mind as well!

    So I have now done the discussion part of the lesson, you now reflect.  Look at part 3.  One question--one correct answer. Good Luck, I will let you know how you did.

    Finally you have the homework.  Read and reflect. You do not need to anotate.  You do need to answer the questions to show you understand the two definitions from above.


    That's it for today!

    ReCap of your tasks:

    1.  NEW UNIT:  Natural Selection. Chapter 1.  Lesson 1.2--Newts!  log on.

    2.  Do the warm up--get feedback of ok or not.

    3.  Watch video!

    4.  Read above info carefully.

    5.  Do Class Reflection (#3) answer question--feedback if wrong or right.

    6.  Do homework.  Read and answer two questions.


    I would also suggest reflect on your progress and tests in the Moon unit while they are open.  I will close them tonight for good. I will then put scores in Powerschool and raise the grades of those i can!

    Enjoy your evening!


  • Tuesday April 28,2020

    Good Day Spartans!

    Reminder! Tomorrow (Weds 4-29) is another work day. So no new assignment tomorrow. Use the time to get caught up with other work--or in this class finish the Post Test, which will be assigned today.

    But First!

    Yesterday you had to show me you understood the correct answer as to why we only see a Lunar Eclipse once in a while.  You first had to make the right claim:  A Lunar Eclipse can be photographed/seen SOMTIMES when the Earth is between the sun and the Moon.  We do not see them everytime--just sometimes.  Once you made this claim you had to write a CER in the homework to show me you understood why this is the case.  Yes, that is what you were writing--a CER.  You had the claim, you then needed  to show evidence you had found while working to support it, and reasonablely show how that evidence supported your claim.  You should have used all the vocabulary words that were listed in the homework as well.  If you had looked at the vocabulary words, they would have aided you on where to find evidence to support your claim.  I have given you all feedback on your writing.  Most needed greater evidece or more specific evidence.  An example of good writing may have included the following:

    Clearly listed claim:  Lunar eclipse can only be photographed sometimes. 

    Some Evidence:  From the reading "An Anchient Machine for predicting Eclipses" said that in order for Earth to block the light from the sun illuminating the moon it needs to be between the Sun and Moon.

    The same text also said it was not enough--it also stated the Earth needed to be in a straight line betweeen the Sun and Moon, so that its shadow would be cast onto the moon and create the eclipse.

    Using the SIM; the images further show that on the days when a lunar eclipse occurs, the Earth is between the sun and moon, and in a perfect straight line.  On non-eclispse days the SIM showed that the three bodies were not in a straight line--which means we only see a full moon, no eclipse.

    Using the SIM you can also prove that the Earth must be between the Sun and Moon--for if the moon was in the middle you got a SOLAR ECLIPSE.  Not what we were looking for.  

    Using your model of Earth Sun and Moon it once again shows that only if all three are in alignment can eclipse occur, and the only time Earth cast its shadow was when it was in a straight line.  But if the moon was above or below the straight line of sun and Earth, no eclipse occured.  This was due to the tilt in the Earth's axis, and the resulting tilt in the moon's orbit as seen in both the system view model and SIM.

    These pieces of evidence explain why eclipse do not happen everytime, because the exact conditions of a straight line of SUN, Earth and Moon, do not happen with regularity, most days they are not in straight line--and thus no eclipse.

    DO YOU SEE WHAT I WROTE UP THERE?  SPECIFIC places where the data was found--Direct EVIDENCE in the form of DATA you should have seen, collected, or modelled.  This is what you need to do to make your writing valid as well.

    I say this as a reminder.  If you are not writing your responses with this type of specificity, you need to.  Especially in order to answer questions correctly--like on today's test.

    So, once you have taken a look at your feedback, and reassessed your writing, today you will be completing the POST TEST.

    So log onto amplify. Unit Earth, Moon, and Sun. Today go to Chapter 4.  Lesson 4.4  

    This is just like the pretest--you know what to do.  Complete the multiple choice and two written responses. I will grade and give feedback ASAP.  If you want to take today and tomorrow to complete this--break it apart like we did the critial juncture, that is fine by me.

    We are going to be looking at this as a measure of growth. When I return your multiple choice grade I will let you know if your showed growth in your knowledge (which is awesome!), or not....but that is given to you for your own self-reflection of your progress.

    Although I cannot count this as a typical grade for you, I will do as I did earlier. If you do well and it will bump up your grade--I will use it.  Some of you have been working consitantly and well, and desearve a reward for it--so if I can bump you up, I will. That means you have little stress if you do not do well.  I will let you know good or bad, but only use it to raise your grades if I can.

    We will not be doing the science seminar. We are down to about 20 days of school, so I have decided to pick and choose what I need you to learn a bit before leaving for the high schools, so we will be bouncing around a bit in the next two Amplify units--my suggestion is not to try and work ahead--you will not be working as regimented as you have this past month.  Focus is on needed concepts and knowledge.  So take this last POST TEST seriously--its the last time you can see the perfect order of progression in amplify.

    Good Luck!




  • Monday April 27,2020

    Good Morning 8th Graders!

    I trust this sees you well, and having had a nice weekend.  As we approach another week of remote learning, I just want to let you know we are wrapping up the Unit Earth, Moon, and Sun this week and gong to move on to Natural Selection.  We have a few things to do before that--but we will be moving on by Thursday!

    Last Friday I asked you to try your hand with the models and Sim to find out why we do not get an eclispse every time there is a full moon.  I know the SIM is tough--that is why you must play around a bit to familiarize yourself with it.  However, some of you did quite well.  IN THE CLASS HANDOUTS SECTION of this website, I have uploaded a gallery of images of what the most common possible responses should have been.  These are pretty much what yours should look like.  I uploaded a full moon and eclispe at a different perspective (as I told you to do) so that you could see the main difference between a full moon and eclipse.  As you should have by now figured out--it only happens when all three objects are in a perfectly straight line from one another.  Our world is tilted on its axis--this means the moon orbits on a tilt as well, and most times the moon never passes in the shadow of Earth--because it is at an angle!  That means most days it is only hit by sunlight--full moon--no shadows.   Once in a while, for a few hours, the angles and positions are just right and we have an eclipse.  If you did not see that in the SIM, maybe the images I have uploaded will help you to play a bit and see this phenomoena for yourself.  The final two pictures show the model of the eclipse and the full moon. Yours should look like these if you modeled them correctly.  If not--take a look and try again!

    At this point if you do not have a grasp on the differencees between full moon and eclipse, how the sun illumiates the moon, or the phases and how they change--you need to go back and relook at the lessons, re-read all the posts below--as today will be your last assignment before the Post Test.

    Today we are working in Earth, Moon, and Sun. Chapter 3. Lesson 3.4  So please log on WITH CHROME!!! (lots of people are experiencing trouble and the reason is you are using the wrong browser--CHROME folks, just like in class!)

    You have a simple task today.

    Look at the Warm Up:  there are two claims. Choose one. One is correct, one is wrong. I hope you know at this time which is wrong.

    Now you must prove yourself correct.  You may skip all parts and go right to the HOMEWORK.  Using the word bank. State your claim. Use evidence to support this and make it with reason of how you know you are correct.  This will be a paragraph of writing. If you wish to look at the other parts and see the  kind of evidence you have already collected, read about, or modelled, feel free to do this. But at this time, you should know the correct answer.  Good Luck.

    I am giving you this simple task so that you will have time today to prepare for tomorrow's POST TEST.  Study.

    No....I never gave the answers to the Pre-test. I did that on purpose. This time we will see if you really learned anything from your time away from class!  It should be an interesting experiment....

      Recap for today's assignment lesson 3.4

    1.  Choose the correct claim in Warm Up...I hope.

    2.  Complete the homework--a written paragraph supporting your claim and how you know you are correct.

    3.  Study!! Review!!! Go back and re-read, look at notes, vocab, and the posts below, review models in the class handouts and get ready for the POST TEST tomorrow!

    That's it. Good luck.  




  • Friday April 24, 2020

    Happy Friday Spartans!

    Looks to be a bit of a rainy weekend, but I trust you will find some time to relax and complete some things that could make you happy!

    Today we will be focused on Lunar eclipses:

    Yesterday was a pretty simple lesson:  Please remember Lunar Eclipse occur only when the Earth is between the sun and the moon.  The Earth simply blocks light from hitting the moon (which creates a shadow of the Earth that moves across the moon surface!).  It can only happen when the moon is in the FULL MOON position.  You must remember that position in order to complete today's assignments.  If needed--go back and look at the paper model you created earlier!  I gave you the correct answer as feedback to your Warm Up assignment yesterday. Be sure to go and look at how you did!

    Today we will be working on Earth, Moon, and Sun Chapter 3 lesson 3.3--so log onto that and here is a rundown of your tasks:

    1.  Skip th Warm-Up.  You do not need to write anything here.  The only thing I want you to see on the warm up is the big question:   Why isn't there a lunar eclipse everytime the Earth is between the Sun and the Moon?  In other words:  why don't we see an eclispse every time we have a full moon?  I want you to keep that question in mind as you explore today.

    2.  Gathering Evidence from the SIM.  You will need to follow the directions as best you can here.  It wants you to use a partner--so you can compare images.  You will need to do both and compare. So launch the SIM and follow the directions:  you are to look at both a full moon and a lunar eclipse and compare the two images for what makes them different and the cause of an ecliipse.  USE THE SLIDER TO CHANGE THE PERSPECTIVE OF THE SYSTEM VIEW.   You will need to be in SYSTEM VIEW, and using the slider--compare the different perspectives for evidence of when eclipse happen.  You will probably want to also compare to Top View--but the System view will be the best. When you find what you think makes the difference--when there is an eclipse--upload the screen image that shows the lunar eclipse and gives you the piece of differing evidence you think is the key!  I will of course let you know if you got the right image.

    3.  Evidence from reading, has you reread the article from yesterday--there are two key ideas you should have discovered in the reading:


          THE MOON IS ONLY COMPLETELY DARK WHEN THE SUN, EARTH, AND THE MOON ARE IN A STRIGHT LINE, WITH EARTH IN THE MIDDLE.  (Re-read this! Gives you a good idea of what you should have seen in the SIM.)

         You do not have to re-read the article, nor do you have anything to upload or do here--just read the key concepts above and remember them!

    4.  Modeling a Lunar Eclipse and a Full Moon.  Here is the real test!  You will need to model both an eclipse and a full moon.  Follow the directions. Upload two images ( there are page tabs on the bottom.  BE SURE TO HIT HAND IN.  You have 2 Different SIMS to use--one for the eclipse, one for the full moon--so be careful to use the correct one. Follow directions. I will be looking for your correct images and give you feedback.

    5.  The Homework--you may skip for now.  It introduces to you a SOLAR eclipse.  Feel free to look at it, and if you can tell the difference of when we have a SOLAR vs LUNAR eclipse--that's our goal in the future!  But for today you do not need to do anything here except look.

    So, RECAP of your work today:

    1.  Skip warm up, but keep in mind lesson question.

    2.  Use the SIM to model and Upload the key difference of when eclipse happen and not just a full moon.  I will look at image and let you know if you got it!

    3.  Skip the reread---just try to remember key facts from article listed above.

    4.  COMPLETE 2 models to show you understand the differences in a full moon vs. an eclispse.  I need an image of each.  I will let you know if you did good.

    5.  Skip homework--but feel free to look and see if you know the difference between a SOLAR and LUNAR eclipse....

    That's it!  Good Luck!  Enjoy your weekend!

    Until we check back in on Monday,



  • Thursday April 23, 2020

    Good Morning.

    or Good Afternoon...depending on when you read this!

    It apears from Amplify, a lot of us took the opportunity yesterday to make up some of our work!  That's awesome to those of you that did so.  To those who are keeping up daily--i am really impressed by you, and hope you took the day off to better yourselves in some positive way!  I stayed up way too late Tuesday to watch for Meteorites...it was a pretty good show!  I stayed out for about an hour on my patio--watched the raccoons cross my yard and listened to the Great Horns hooting across the street--and counted about a dozen meteors.  You really gotta watch--they move so fast and are gone in a blink!  If you did not get a chance to see them--well Wednesday night appears to be too cloudy for visibility. Oh well. I tried.

    Speaking of trying. To all of you who worked Tuesday on lesson 3.1 I have sent feedback with the correct answers.  I would suggest you take a look at the feedback, as I will not be posting the answers here--I want you to have the feedback with your work so you can compare the two and self-evaluate how you did.  Pretty easy concept:  LUNAR ECLIPSES HAPPEN WHEN THE EARTH'S SHADOW PASSES IN FRONT OF THE ILLUMINATED SURFACE OF THE MOON.  That means the Earth must be in the center of the three objects: Sun--Earth--Moon must be the line up.  Some of you did not even come close to demonstrating that understanding in the SIM.  I know it is challenging to work with it--you got to follow directions--and you have to play with it!  The answers take a little effort!  When you give up fast because it is challenging, you will not have any success. So as you go back today and look at your feedback, you may want to go back to the SIM and see if you can get it correct, or at least try to see what you should have had--as usual once you figure it out, you will be upset with yourself at how easy it really is.  

    The big question most of us probably have at this time is: "If the shadow of the Earth crosses the moon as it spins around, why don't we have a lunar eclipse every month?"

    Good Question!  Time for you to start finding that answer!

    Today you are on Lesson 3.2 in the Earth Moon and Sun Unit.  So hop to Amplify. We are in chapter 3.  Lesson 3.2  You will see you have 4 parts and a T (teacher) part in the lesson.  We will not be doing all of that.

    Start today by doing the Warm Up.  It is an easy multiple choice question and a written response. These are the only parts you have to turn in today--so be mindfuil!  I will give you feedback of course.

    You then will be doing a reading.  That is part 2 "An Ancient Machine for Predicting Eclipses"  Please read.  YOu will need to click on the Amplify Library letters or else go the the top sandwich menu and open the library from there.  Have a read.

    I know it asks you to Annotate.  We have found lots of problems trying to anotate on Amplify during this time--so do not try to do that. If you have your binders and want to jot down some key things you learn and discover--that is a great plan!  However, what I really need you to do is read carefully with the intent of putting the information to your memory for future use and knowledge development. You may want to read it a few times--that would be great.

    That's it for today.  The remaining lesson parts and homework asks you to refer to your annotations, so we must skip that, as its not working well!  Considering how liittle you have today--multiple readings of the article is not an unreasonable request of you.....

    So recap:

    1.  Do the Warm up.  Turn in and I will feedback.

    2.  Read the article--at least twice!

    Tomorrow we will be putting this new knowledge to use!  

    Until such a time,



  • TUESDAY APRIL 21, 2020

    Hello 8th Grade Spartans,

    This is a lot--sorry--but a lot is happening!

    Some information:   All feedback from the tests and yesterdays SIM have been sent. Look it over.

    I am sorry for the confusion on Amplify yesterday.  As I wrote to you mid day yesterday--it appears Amplify chose the group SIM you would be doing.  I had hoped that we would experience them all as this was supposed to be a group project and you were to report back to each other with the answers to the different color groups, so that you all would get the same information (A divide and conquer sort of thing).  We obviously could not do the group dialogue easily, but all of you should have had access to each other's information on amplify in order to have a class share.  Obviously something happened, and we had to change plans.  Whatever group you were assigned is all you had to do--and we will stop it there.  Each group did a little something different, but all covered the same material--so whichever group you were assigned and did, You were good.  To those that did not attempt--you have make up work. Your group is assigned. Get to it.   (still not a fan of technology on this end!)

    Along those lines--reminder that tomorrow (Wednesday) is another Teacher Workday so you will not have a new assignment.  Use the day to complete ones you have not done so as not to fall behind. 

    Of which--I am seeing a big problem with a lot of people's understanding of the illumination of the moon.  THE SUN ALWAYS ILLUMINATES HALF THE MOON!  It is our view of the orbiting moon that causes the change of phases.  There is no light from Earth bouncing off the moon to make it bright!  The moon is 300K miles away--the distance means the Earth has no effect on if or how it gets illuminated--that is all done by the sun at all times.  Our Earth only influences the view of the moon once in a great while--the LUNAR eclipse.  Obviously, it is time we got into that as many of you are demonstrating a lack of understanding of how rare this event is, and what it is really about.  Again it's just our view--it doesn't mean the moon is not illuminated.  But lets get into that in a minute....

    I want to give you a special assignment for Earth Day (Wednesday) and TONIGHT:

    Many of us seem to be struggling with the difference between NEW MOON and Eclipse.  Well, Wednesday is the new moon. That means the moon has moved to position where it is between the Earth and the Sun.  When we look up at the moon tonight you will see only the last little sliver of light illumating the moon before it disappears from our view on Wednesday.  Think of it this way:  If you are standing behind someone, you cannot see their facial features.  You only see the back of their head.  THAT IS THE NEW MOON!  You are looking at the backside of the moon.  It cannot be seen because it is not being illuniated--only its face is.  That's why it looks dark to us.  This happens every month!  And when it does--the night sky is much darker as the moon is not reflecting any light that is hitting it,  back to us!  So you will notice that the nights this week are much darker than they were in the past weeks I had you walk outside. This is different than an eclipse!! Eclipse tend to occur only when the moon is full--you will see that in our new lessons.

    Off topic FUN!  If you go out tonight or tomorrow night two fun things are visible.  There is a very bright "star" in the Western sky just after sundown.  If you know your consellations it is near the Pleidies star cluster in Taurus--but that's not a star--that's VENUS.  With the new moon and darker skies, Venus is very bright to us and easily visible.  If you got a good telescope you can even see some of the greenish tint to its atmosphere when you observe it.  Also, we have the LYRID METEOR SHOWER occuring right now.  Every year our Earth passes through multiple trails of dust left behind by orbiting comets.  We are passing through a large trail right now.  When we do this, our gravity pulls some of those dust particles into our atmosphere and they ignite and burn up!  We call these shooting stars!  Not stars--burning pieces of comet dust.  Nonetheless it is a fun natural light show.  Tonight and Tomorrow are the peaks for the meteors.  With the new moon it will make spotting them very easy as they will be bright in a dark sky.  Look to the constellation of Lyra (if you know it)  it has a very bright star that is a part of the summer triangle; you will see it coming up over the horizon in the high SouthEast sky.  The meteors seem to originate from Lyra--hence the name Lyrids.  But if you don't know the constellations--just look high in the southeast and you may see up to 20 meteors shoot across the sky in an hour!  Best viewing is very early mornings (like 2 am) but you may see them anytime before or after this time!  Of course--based on some of the times you guys are turning in your work--it appears some of you are up at 2 am--so maybe this one day do something productive and look at a meteor shower.  Then go to sleep! 



    During a lunar eclipse the MOON IS COMPLETELY DARK BECAUSE THE EARTH BLOCKS SUNLIGHT FROM HITTING THE MOON.  This can only happen once is a great while;  it can only happen when the Earth is perfectly aligned between the sun and the moon.  

    Today you will start to explore this in Amplify.  Go to Amplify Unit Earth, Moon and Sun.  We are now going to CHAPTER 3!   Lesson 3.1

    Your tasks:

    1.  START WITH THE WARM UP. Answer the question. Feedback if you are correct or not will follow!

    2.  Go to part 3:  EXPLORING LUNAR ECLIPSES SIM.   (yes you are skipping 2--that is a lab we cannot do)  

        In part 3 you have a SIM assignment. FOLLOW THE DIRECTION ON AMPLIFY TO COMPLETE YOUR TASK.  There are two pages--so be careful to go through it completely.  You will need to upload a image.  I will be checking if it is correct.  You will get feedback if you are good or not.  You will also have a question to answer--so do that...it should be easy--the answer is a few sentances above this one.....

    3.  FINALLY you will need to complete the homework.  It asks you to perform and reflect using a new SIM called: Modeling a Lunar Eclipse.  You will need to go onto the link and open it.  Follow the directions on Amplify and familiarize yourself with this new sim.  It's not hard--please don't go crazy--its very simple if you FOLLOW the DIRECTIONS!  There are two parts again--and there  is an article for you to read on the Arctic tern.  Read this please.  There are questions that go with it.  Let's see if you got it.  I will have feedback for you to see if you are correct.

    OK, recap of today's assignemnt:

    Lesson 3.1

    1.  Do Warm Up--answer questions.  Get feedback

    2.  Do SIM exercise part 3:  Upload image, answer question, get feedback.

    3.  Do Homework:  try new sim, answer questions, read article!

    That's it.  You will next hear from me on Thursday Morning with your new assignment!






    Hello all,

    well it seems that Amplify has its own plans for today, so I must modify our lesson.  

    I had asked us all to do the blue group--but apparently Amplify is assigning you a group to do and not allowing all of us to have options of going to the different colors--so just roll with it!

    Whatever color group Amplify assigns--tackle that one. I will still give you feedback on how you did and on the bright side it may be a more challenging level for you and allow you to avoid repeating things you already know.

    I will also modify the rest of the week's plans and give you a differnt challenge tomorrow.

    Thanks to all who reached out for clarity--Don't ya just love technolgy!


  • Monday April 20, 2020

    Welcome Back to anoher week Spartans!

    I hope you all had a nice weekend--the weather seemed to have worked in our favor--so I hope you got a chance to get outside.  This Wednesday is Earth Day--so that makes this a good week to be mindful of the impact we humans have on our planet.  I have been greatly amused by the remote cameras in the National Parks.  Better than YouTube!  The animals of our world are really liking the lack of human vistitors to their parks--it is fascninating to see some of their natural behaviors show up when no one is around to watch them!  Give it a look if you find the time, but in gerneral this is a good week to enjoy our Earth and the natural wonder that it is!

    Ok, to business....

    Last week you completed the critical juncture.  I am still in the process of working through the written responses.  Sorry it takes me more time to read those than the multiple choice!  Be on the lookout for the feedback envelope for you.  It is obvious some of us have a strong grasp on the topic--others we still have a little work ahead.  Today's lesson we will start breaking that up a bit.

    First however, this is what I was looking for in your written responses, so you can reflect on your writing, and how well you understand things.:

    Question 1.  

    The correct answer was that Ciara was wrong.  So that is the first thing I looked for--your claim.  You could have claimed either way, but the correct answer is she is wrong.  That was the first point you could earn on this question.

    The reason she was wrong is because the sun always illuminates half of the Moon--the part that faces it.  The Diagram should have shown a half illuminated Moon.   You needed to share that to get the second point of this three point question. 

    The final point is earned when you can explain that when the Earth is positioned between the Sun and the Moon--our view from Earth allows us to see the entire side of the moon when we are postioned such--and we see the moon as a fully illuminated FULL MOON.  If you wrote she was wrong because that was a full moon.  You got that point.

    You could have given other information--how we see only fully dark when it is in the opposite position or how Ciara drew that as an eclipse, which can happen--but rarely--but that was beyond the scope of the quesiton.  So not necessary--but a great way to show your depth of knowledge.


    Question 2:

    Once Again you need to make a claim--that gets you the first of the three possible points.  For this you probably would have two claims.  The top series (A) Deshawn is correct.  The bottom series (B) Deshawn is occasionally correct.  But whatever you wrote I looked for a a claim.  You could argue either way--the point was earned when you took a stand and made a claim and tried to back it up!

    The remaining two points earned by your support of the claim.  If you claimed A was correct, and used the EVIDENCE of the images-- the sun is illuminating half the moon at all times, and it is in that position it is viewed as a full moon that would have been great.  You could have also used this to say Deshawn was wrong in B for the same reason--it should be illuminated like A and see a full moon there as well.  You would be correct if you said that!

    BUT you could have also argued he was correct in B, although the sun illuminated the half of the moon--there are rare occasions when the three celestial bodies (Sun, Earth and Moon) form a straight line with one another and the shadow of the Earth blocks the sun's rays and the moon looks completely dark--an Eclipse.  If you chose to argue that, it could be correct if you knew about the perfect alignment of the three objects and it being a rare event.  I did not expect you to know that, as its the remainder of what you need to learn in this chapter, so you got points based on how you argued and used the evidence.

    Take a little time to reflect on your answers--reflect on the feedback I give you when you get it, and move on:


    Today, we will continue testing your knowledge before we move to eclipses.  We are in Amplify Chapter 2 still.  We have one more SIM to work on before we progress.  So in  Amplify go to Unit Sun Earth Moon,  Chapter 2 and you need to go to lesson 2.7  Scroll down the screen to see it.

    There is a warm up:  SKIP IT!  You are going to show me what you know in the SIM--not in your writing.  

    You are to go to Part 2:  Sim Activity.

    When you get to the screen. At the top left you will see a colored box with an arrow menu.  There are three colored boxes (Blue, Purple, or Green)  After the critical juncture you would be placed in one of these colored groups.  I would assign you that.  What I want to do is work on all three levels over the next 3 DAYS!  We will tackle a level each day.  Today is the BLUE group.

    So make sure the box is the blue one and then simply follow the directions on AMPLIFY.  You will have three pages to scroll through and you will need to hand it in at the end.  PLEASE Make sure to hand it in!  It will grade you for the right and wrong answers, and I will send you feedback on how you did, but only if YOUR HAND IT IN!!!  

    Tomorrow we will try one of the other levels--and simply resubmit, but for TODAY everyone try the BLUE GROUP!  That's enough for today.  You will NOT be doing part 3 or the Homework.  Just do part 2: BLUE GROUP SIM.

    I am pretty bummed I will not be seeing your little faces back at AUGS for class--but you know me--when I get bummed, I focus on work and it gets me through--so not sure how you are feeling about the new stay at home order--give yourself a little work to do and it may help you to process this as well. Take your time on the SIM--be thoughful and immerse yourself in the work for a bit--it is a nice distraction!

    Talk to you LATER!


  • Friday April 16, 2020


    It is Friday, so today should be a pretty easy day for you, that way you can enjoy your weekend--its supposed to get "warmer", so get out and enjoy it!

    But before you do that, a little to take care of today.


    Yesterday I asked you to do the Critical Juncture Assessment--the Multiple Choice Part.  

    To all that did it, I recorded your scores, and sent you the scores as feedback.  Just as an FYI.  In order to pass the Multiple Choice you needed 8 correct.  Which is what I would expect at this time. A passing grade shows you are on track and working well.  CONGRATS! to the large number of you that scored higher--including a lot of perfect scores. Amazing!

    I would strongly encourage all of you to go and see how you did--you can reopen the test and see what you put.  Here are the answers:

    1.  D  2.  B   3.B   4.A    5. D   6. C   7. C   8.A    9.  B   10.  A   11.  C   !2.  D

    Go back and see if you can figure out, if you got it incorrect, where you went wrong.  See if you understand the answers when you now know them.  I would really suggest you do this before you tackle the 2 written questions.

    This is your assignment today:  Complete the assessment by answering the two written response questions.  Let me remind you a few things:

    Make sure you have answered every question in the prompt.   

    REMEMBER TO USE EVIDENCE from the prompt


    This should be a thoughtful answer--that's why I made it the only assignment today.  

    Good Luck. 

    I will give you feedback of course.  Look here Monday for greater details of what you needed to do for the written part, and to begin the last chapter in this unit--Eclipses!

    Have a great weekend,



  • Thursday April 16, 2020

    Welcome Back Spartans!

    I spent most of my day on Tuesday and Wednesday going through and catching up on recording all the work that has been done/turned in late by y'all!  I hope you took advantage of this time to do some of the catch-up work, or at the very least STUDY.

    On Tuesday I posted in the CLASS HANDOUTS a shot of the correct ways to complete the homework from 2.5  There are actually two sheets--scroll down the page to see them both--as there was more than one way to complete the assignment.  I have given you feedback on your work.  Most of us need to take a look at the correct answers.  I am thinking a number of us are struggling with the modelling tool, have not played with it enough, or looked at the directions carefully as there were a number of problem areas.  PLEASE look at your feedback...remember I can tell if you have or have not, so, read it! it may help you!--and make sure you understand what you did wrong compared to what the answers could have been.  You may want to take a few mintues to do this before you get into today's assignment.

    Today, we must start the Critical Juncture Assessment.

    This is Amplify Unit 2.6

    We have done this before, so you should know what to do.  You have three parts.  The first is the Multiple Choice.  THIS IS THE ONLY PART I WANT YOU TO DO TODAY!!! JUST DO THE MULTIPLE CHOICE!!

    I want to break this up--we will do the written stuff Friday.  SO TODAY JUST DO THE MULTIPLE CHOICE PART!!!  I am doing this so you can see the correct answers to the multiple choice BEFORE you start writing--don't work ahead--you may not be on the right track, we will find out after the multiple choice parts.  I will give you feedback on how you did by giving you a letter grade, as usual. 


    Bonne Chance! (Good Luck--you are now learning French!)


  • Tuesday APRIL 14, 2020

    Hello 8th grade Spartans.

    OK, lots to get through today--so here goes.

    1.  I have uploaded the completed Moon Phases model to Class Handouts.  When you click on the tab to the left on this website it will open and show you what you should have for your complete model.  It should have the moon as it is illuminated from the sun.  It should have labels of each of the phases (I asked you to try labelling last week--so here are the answers) and finally it shows what the moon would look like from Earth.  Shaded is of course darkness, and would not be seen--only the bright white to show you the shape of the phases.  It is labelled as Waxing or Waning.  The time between new moon and full moon--as the moon's appearance goes from nothing to a solid sphere is called the WAXING.  Each day during the waxing phases a little more of the moon is visible.  The WANING refers to the period of time and phases between a full moon and a new moon.  It is the time our view of the illuminated part of the moon lessens each day until nothing can be see once again. (The New Moon).  CHECK YOUR MODEL.  You should have attempted this drawing/filling in of the spheres---HOW DID YOU DO?  Did you get them all correct?  Take a look and fix your model if you did not, but more importantly try to figure why it is the way it is shown, and what REASONING you need to have to remember THIS IS HOW THE PHASES MOVE.    Keep this model you have created in your lab section of your binder if you have it, if not--hold onto it until you can put it in when we return.

    2.  This week is officially midterm.  So you are aware, when it comes to grading during remote learning, I cannot "lower" grades for lack of work.  So what that means is the grade you had back on March 13th or so when we started this, is your midterm grade.  If you made up any missing work from that time,  during these weeks and got it to me, I have modified your grade to reflect your real scores.  I can however, use remote learning to "help/increase" your grades. So here's what I will be doing:  IF you have been working daily, and turned in the things we have been doing consistently, I am going to be giving your grade a bump up.  You will see what I mean.  I am treating it like a daily grade--most of you who have been working dilligently desearve some kind of "grade reward" so sometime today you will see this.  If you have not been working; Well, I made a note of that too in Powerschool--it just won't be lowering your grade.  Instead it is meant to let you know you have not done what you needed and encourage you to start putting forth some effort.

    3.  Tomorrow is a New Teacher Workday.  That means you will not have a new assignment tomorrow.  Tomorrow (Wednesday the 15th), you should use this time to get caught up on anything you have not completed from the previous weeks and to STUDY the material that we have been doing.  When you get to Amplify today, you will see you have a QUIZ on Thursday--it's that time in the unit.  SO, a little studying would not be a bad idea. Use your time tomorrow wisely.  You will see the next update/assignment from me Thursday morning.  

    4.  Your Assignment for today

    Log onto Amplify.  We are in Chapter 2, and the Lesson is 2.5 Orbit and the Pattern of Moon Phases.

    You may skip the Warm-Up.  We have done this many times before--its the same question.  IF you cannot answer it--you need to do some studying.

    You will also be skipping the Hands-On Part. You have now done this--it is the model you finished yesterday and checked today! Hooray! DONE!

    LOOK at part 3:  Taking pictures of the moon.  There is nothing to do really--except choose a claim.  I need you to look at the features of the moon.  When the moon is full you can see these craters and moon features very easily.  SOME days they are visible during the other phases.  I want you to think about where these are on the full moon--and what phases could you see them if it is not full moon.

    You may skip 4--Introducing the homework--I am going to do it right here:


    You will find there is a Launch tool:  Photographing moon features.  Launch that.  FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS IN THE HOMEWORK!!  This is a bit of a challenge.  Start with the image on the bottom.  This will be easier if you start with the bottom image.   YOUR JOB is to choose and rotate a moon phase shape so that the TERMINATOR (dark/light border) is on the 'X" of the feature.  It should look like one of the views you drew on your model yesterday!   Once you have seen what it would look like--what phase would this be?  To show this on the top picture choose the half lite moon shape!  PLACE IT IN THE APPROPRIATE PLACE IN THE MOON'S ORBIT where the view you created would occur.  USE YOUR MODEL!!!!!! The answers are there--show me you got it.  You will need to upload and image, and answer the question.  There is a right/wrong--so I will give you feeback on how you did.  

    OK! That's it for today.  You really only have the homework to complete--but make sure you are ready for quiz on Thursday, and have your model done and ready to use.  (You can use it on the quiz too!)  Use your day tomorrow for your betterment!  

    Look for feedback Wednesday!



  • Monday April 13, 2002

    Welcome back Spartans!  

    Hope you all had a lovely holiday weekend. Hope the giant rabbit was good to you.  If not--that means you need to be nicer to bunnies!

    So last Thrusday, I had you complete lesson 2.4 in Amplify.  That was not so good.  The only part you really needed to do was the modeling part.  YOU ALL NEED TO MAKE SURE YOU ARE FOLLOWING DIRECTIONS!  Much of what was incorrect was because of not reading the directions on Amplify correctly.  It means you get things mixed up.    LOOK at your feedback for confirmation. 

    At this time you should know two things:

    1.  The Phase order of the moons!  We ALWAYS start at the NEW MOON.  That is phase one.  It moves to the crescent, half, gibbous and then the full moon.  Past the full moon the phases reverse going gibbous, half, crescent, until we arrive back at the new moon, about one month later!  YOU NEED TO MEMORIZE THIS ORDER!!!!!   We always follow the path of the phases in the direction the moon orbits around our planet.  The moon travels in a COUNTER-CLOCKWISE direction.  It actually moves in the same direction as we both do around the sun.  COUNTER-CLOCKWISE!! Remember this.

    2.  You should know the view we have of each of the phases, when we see them, and why!  That is what we have been doing since this little remote learning thing has started, so today is a test:



    Last week Monday you started a PAPER MODEL of the moon cycles.  IF YOU DID NOT--it is on the left margin of this website under class handouts.  You were supposed to draw in the VIEW OF THE MOON and its ILLUMINATED SIDES.  I posted the answers on the same tab to see if you got them correct.  IF you go to class handouts on the left, the answer key also has a new space--a second place for you to draw in our EARTH VIEW of the moon in those positions.  TODAY YOU NEED TO COMPLETE THIS MODEL AND DRAW IN THE EARTH VIEWS!  

    You can either print out the page and use the circles provided to draw in the model.  OR if you started a hand drawn paper--simply add the images so that it mimics the template in the handouts  OR if you printed the first handout and just want to now add the new drawing on that printed paper that is fine too.

    This is how you will know if you understand the order and the views of the moon phases.  For those who keep jumping ahead--you will notice this is the next lab in Amplify--we must do it this way as I cannot hand the templetes to you in person.  TOMORROW I WILL POST THE ANSWERS FOR YOU TO CHECK YOUR WORK.  Feel free to return to amplify and the modelling tool or the sim to help you--but don't just try and google search the answers--you will never know if you understand it if you do.  And you have a critical juncture quiz this week--so you may want to test yourself, and not you google skills.



  • Thursday April 9, 2020

    Happy Thursday Spartans!

    Three day weekend ahead.  So you will not see any new posting or assignments tomorrow, or for that matter, until Monday the 13th.  Enjoy your long weekend.  I hope you all take the time to be amazed by giant bunnies that give candy.  It is appropriate to have a holiday devoted to bunnies--they get crabby when not properly honored.  

    So this is what you need to focus on today, and when done--enjoy the 3 days of no work.

    Yesterday. Wow.  and by that--not an awesome wow.  Pretty easy assignment, but lots of incorrect answers. VERY IMPORTANT. Go back and look at the feedback. If you were good. I told you it was.  IF not, honeslty not sure what the problem was.  Near as I can see--not reading the directioins.  I give you a guide here--but you got to read the amplify instructions, and follow them.  Easy to mess up if you do not. So be carefly today, as we are all on Amplify.

    Today's lesson is 2.4 So go to amplify, Earth, Sun Moon, Chapter 2 lesson 2.4


    1.  LOOK at the warm up.  You do not need to answer. Look at it. 

       The circular line the moon follows around our planet is called its ORBIT.  An ORBIT is THE NEARLY CIRCULAR PATH A SMALLER OBJECT (like the moon) TRAVELS AROUND A LARGER OBJECT  (like Earth    

        Yes, that is the next Vocabulary word.  If you got your binder add it.  IF not, learn and remember it.


     We cannot do the moon sphere model of part 2.  I would look at it as it shows you our solar system orbits.  But it asks you to do somethings that may be too confusing.  So here's the important stuff:

    You need to remember that the moon is actually quite far from us--that is why it is so rare that the Earth's shadow falls on the moon.  That is also why it is simply the position of the moon that determines what it will look like to us here on Earth.  Remember also, that the new moon is in the position where it is between the Earth and the Sun.  In this position we see only the back dark side of the moon--a new moon.  The opposite, where the Earth is between the moon and sun, allows us to fully see the light side of the moon--that is the full moon.  I am hoping you all got that in yesterday's lesson.  If not got back and re look at the model and sim to see this.  

    The moon orbits our planet. This pattern that it follows around our planet is why we see different views of the moon as phases.  It takes about a month for the moon to move completely around the Earth one time. As it moves around the Earth we see the same pattern of phases, because it always takes the same path in its orbit.  We always see a new moon, followed by a cresernt, half, gibbous, full, gibbous, half, cresent to a new.

    The next part 3--the student to student discussion we cannot do either--so skip this.  But if you have not--remember these key things from above (yes, put in notes if you have binder!):

    There is a pattern to the position of the moon, because the moon orbits around the Earth.

    It takes about a month for the moon to orbit Earth, so it takes about a month to see the full pattern of moon phases. This pattern repeats with every orbit of the moon.

    2.  We can do the fourth part--the modelling tool.  So Launch the Orbit and Match views. FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS ON AMPLIFY!!!! ANSWER THE QUESTIONS.  This I can grade--and will.  Look for feedback. If you got yesterday's stuff wrong--really pay attention to directions today, so you can get it right!

    3.  Finally READ the Article in the HOMEWORK.  You do not need to answer the questions. JUST READ IT--it will help next weeks lessons! 


    So recap of today's assignment.

    1.  LOOK at warm up in 2.4--don't do.  Update vocab and notes with above information if you have binder. If no binder--memorize!

    2.  DO Modeling tool (Part 4) in lesson 2.4 turn in all questions for feedback.  FOLLOW AMPLIFY DIRECTIONS. DON"T PLAY!  FOCUS!

    3. READ article in HOMEWORK section.  Do not anser problems. Just read.


    That's it! Enjoy your bunny celebration!

    Yay! Bunnies!





  • Wednesday April 8, 2020

    Good Morning Spartans!

    This week is flying by!  Short weeks seem to do that--its already Wednesday!

    DID YOU SEE THE FULL MOON LAST NIGHT LIKE I ASKED YOU TO?  It was a beautiful night by me in Aurora, can only assume the same by you.

    Full moons are given many names each month.  April's full moon is called the Pink or Flower moon (because April flowers are seen including pink phlox flowers)  it is also called the Frog moon (because at night you can hear spring peepers and other tree frogs calling) It is also called the Wind moon to remind us that April storms and changing weather is the norm this time of year!  

    Last nights full moon was also special because it was a SUPERMOON.  The moon does not orbit the Earth in a perfect circle.  It is more an elippse, and tilted.  So sometimes the moon is closer to the Earth than at other times. Last night it was at the closest it gets to us--only 225K miles away versus the average 239K!  That means it will look larger in the sky--a supermoon! 

    So there's some fun full moon facts for you.  You can still see some of this tonight as the full moon officailly ceases at about 10:35pm--and begins to move into a gibbous phase.

    Speaking of Phases!  Did you attempt to label your paper model of which phase would be seen with each moon?  Here are the answers, so check or modifiy as needed:  Moon 1 is New, Moons 2 and 8 are Cresents, Moons 3 and 7 are halves, moons 4 and 6 are the gibbous and moon 5 is the Full.  You may want this today for your Amplify lesson!  

    Yesterday you worked on proving that it is the movement of the moon that causes the appearance of moon phases.  I have given all who completed the work feedback with correct answers.  See how you did!  Were you on the right track, or does seeing the correct answers help you understand a bit better?  

    Remember these KEY CONCEPTS TODAY: 

    From Earth we can only see the half of the moon that is facing us.

    Becausse the Moon moves to diffferent positions around the Earth, we see different amounts of the illuminated half of the moon.  This is why we see different phases of the moon.

    Today we are going to be working on predicting what we would see!

    Please log onto Amplify.  Chapter 2 in the Earth, Moon, and Sun unit.  Lesson 2.3 today.  

    SKIP the Warm up!  Doesn't really help us today--so skip it!

    Go to #2--Modeling moon Phases.  This is a new modelling tool.  Play with it.  Launch the Predict moon phases and follow the directions.  There is nothing to write or upload.  PLAY!  get familiar with it.  Try to DO what the directions in this section tell you to.  You will need this shortly--play.

    when done playing go to the T--Video.  Watch video please. Again. Nothing to upload or do--just Watch and ABSORB the information.

    Go to #3 SIM--Why we see phases of the moon.  PLAY!  Follow the directions in Amplify of the DO.  There are actually two parts (look at bottom to move back and forth).  I know it says partner stuff--you are on your own.  Nothing to upload or write.  DO, LEARN, PLAY.

    Finally do #4.  Go back to the predict moon phase (Violet letters take you to link)  This time you have a screen shot to turn in.  So follow the DO--you are going to show what the moon would look like in each of those positions.  You did something similar, so lets see if you got it now.  There are three.  Use the pencil to select a shape and rotate it appropriately.  I will give you feedback of right or wrong.  This is the only thing you need to turn in today!  So pretty easy again today.


    1.  Check the above answers with your Paper model of the moon phases--the labels for each of the 8 moons.

    2.  Use modelling tool on Amplify 2.3  part 2--follow directions.  Nothing to turn in.

    3.  Watch Video on 2.3 part T.  Nothing to turn in.

    4.  Use SiM tool and follow directions 2.3 part 3. Nothing to turn in.

    5.  COMPLETE MODELING TOOL REVISING MOON PHASE MODEL (2.3 part 4) and hand in your screenshot of your model.  This will let me know if you were working today--so this is the important part!

    OK! Hope you guys are keeping up--we will be doing some of the testing things next week to see how you are progressing with this unit's concepts.  (Before we take the POST TEST).  Don't worry--we won't take that until I see you again in person! 

    Have a great day! 


  • Tuesday April 7, 2020

    Hola Amigos!

    FULL MOON TONIGHT! GO OUT AND LOOK AT IT!  A good reason to get out of the house--you have homework to look at the moon!

    I hope you all have been able to get out and watch the moon over the last few nights--been clear for me in Aurora, maybe the same in Antioch?  Observing in nature can be a great way to learn and better understand the concepts we are looking at--so maybe that has helped.  And that is where we are today--MOON PHASES.

    If you tab to the Class Handouts sheet in the left column of my webpage, you will now find the answers to yesterday's worksheet.!  

    You should have drawn each of the moons just like the ones you now see.  Half of the moon is always lit---the half that faces the sun.  Hopefully you got that concept firmly planted in your minds.  THIS IS A MODEL!  But you are making it, and we have more to fill in, so PLEASE keep your model!  Ultimately it will go into the Lab section of your binder--if we ever get to gather those again.

    If you have observed the moon outside, you have noticed that even though half of the moon is always lit by the sun--our view of it changes.  Sometimes we see a lot of the moon, othertimes not at all.  These different views are the Phases!  At this time you should have read about the FIVE major Phases of the moon.  THE NEW MOON, CRESENT, HALF, GIBBOUS, and FULL MOON. 

    Based on your knowledge so far--you should be able to predict on your worksheet models where you would see these five phases in the eight moons you have drawn/printed.  (Remember there are Waning and Waxing of the moon phases--so cresents, gibbous, and half moons are seen twice in a lunar cycle.  I would suggest you try to label where you would find each of the phases on your model--but we will dive deeper into that later this week. 

    TODAY, we have a little amplify to do. So log onto it--We are on chapter 2:  Moon Phases, and are on Lesson 2.2 Gathering evidence about moon phases.

    START with the WARM UP--look at the pictures.  Respond.  I will get you feedback with the correct answer, so you can see if you were on the correct path to enlightenment.

    SKIP part 2--the hands on.  You are already doing this on the worksheet you started yesterday.  DO NOT DO ANYTHING ON THIS PART.

    You will find at this point Amplify wants you to choose a claim as to why we see moon phases--either it is caused by the shadow of the Earth or they are caused by the position of the moon.   I think you already know the correct answer--so it makes the lab silly.  In case you do not--claim 2 is the correct one.

    You may also SKIP part 3, as it has you re-read the article from Friday and find evidence for both claims.  Lets not do that.  Let us focus only on the good--so

    GO TO PART 4:  Choosing a claim.  You should choose claim 2 and give me evidence of how we know!  GO BACK and REREAD article (link is in part 3 if you need) and pull some evidence--how do you know this is the correct claim--what evidence do we have.  We may know it for fact--but we gotta have proof.  I will give you feedback on your evidence choices.  

    Finally today I would like you to jump to the HOMEWORK and READ THE ARTICLE!!!  YOU DO NOT NEED TO DO THE QUESTIONS.  Just read it--it has the theory on how the moon was formed--very interesting stuff!

    OK! That's your tasks for today. A recap:

    1.  Check your worksheet and try to label where you will find the 8 phases of the moon.

    2.   Do Warm Up in Lesson 2.2--feedback to come

    SKIP PARTS TWO AND THREE of lesson 2.2--no bueno.

    3.  Do part 4--for the second claim only--find evidence!  Give me your evidence--feedback to come.

    4.  READ article in HOMEWORK--part 5 of 2.2

    That's it for today--silly children trying to work ahead--stop that! You are doing more than you need to.....I guess you are missing me and having lots of work to do!  Admit it! You are missing shcool! HeeHee....


    P.S.  Thank you to all who are making up the missed Post test!  You did your part--I did mine--grades updated.  Now matter how you did--they went up!  Hooray!

    The rest of you----time is ticking! Take care of it TODAY!




  • Monday April 6, 2020

    Happy Monday Spartans!  Short week!  Three day weekend ahead!  Not that we need more time away from the classroom--but Hey! A day without school responsibilities is something to look forward to.  

    Today we are going to deviate from Amplify for once!  I have a little something else for you to do...


    If this were a normal week we would be looking at Midterm this coming Friday.  

    I can and will still take missing work to raise your grade before the midterm hits--and quite frankly it may very well be close to a final grade if we continue doing this on line thing!  So send me email and attachements and I can grade what ever you send me.  I have done this for some of your classmates already--don't let yourself get further behind!

    There are a number of you that must make up the Light and Waves Post Test! IF you have a zero for that assignment.  TAKE THE POST TEST NOW!!!!  Go onto Amplify. Light and Waves Unit. Chapter 4 Lesson 4.4.  It is open for those of you who still need to do this!  IF you are one of the people who need to do this, and if I do not see it done by the end of day TOMORROW, you will be receiveing a stongly worded email from me letting you know my displeasure of those who are THREE WEEKS overdue on their assignment!

    If you are not one of those who have not done your work.  You are wonderful.



    Last Friday you began learning about the moon phases.  I have sent all of you that completed the warm up on Friday a feedback with the correct answer to what you  were seeing.  I am not sure what some of you were attempting to answer with your response--so I have shared the answer with you.  At some point you should go to see that feedback and double check what you had was correct or if not--take a look at what is the correct answer and look back at the images and work towards understanding what you are really looking at!

    Today's assignment:

    I want you to start a worksheet that will show if you really understand the idea of light and the moon.   

    Look at the left side of this webpage--look for the bar that says CLASS HANDOUTS.  Click on that.  You will see a worksheet (5.1) Investigating the moon's reflected light.  You got two choices--if you can print the page out do so.  If you cannot print it--get a blank sheet of paper and draw this diagram out. Your job today is simple--fill in the light as it hits the moon.  So what you will need to do in each of those 8 moon shapes is draw the terminator and shade in the dark side of the moon.   Notice the sunlight is coming from the left of the paper--just as it has been doing on the SIM you have been using.  Show all EIGHT of the moons as they appear in that position lit by the sun!  DO NOT DRAW WHAT WE WOULD SEE (the phases) Simply color in how the moon is lit up.  If you need help--go to Amplify and log onto the SIM.  It should help you with what to draw.  EASY!  Don't overthink.  Tomorrow I will post the answer sheet, so you can check your work. 

    MAKE IT PRETTY!!!  I like pretty.....




  • Friday April 3, 2020

    HAPPY FRIDAY!  Well we made it through one full week of remote learning. Gotta say I am impressed by those of you who have been consistent with the work and getting things done! Even more impressed by those of you getting up at the regular time of day to do the work!  I know I like sleeping in, and assume you would too, so impressed by all those getting up early with me to do this!

    It's Friday, so today is gonna be a little easier on you!

    Yesterday--lots!  Easy stuff, but lots to look at.  We have finished the first chapter on the light and dark sides.  Most of us seem to have the basic grasp that the EARTH HAS NO INFLUENCE ON THE LIGHT OR DARK SIDES OF THE MOON!  The sun controls that! To those of you who still cling to the notion that the Earth shadows the moon to create the dark side we see--THIS IS WRONG! GET IT OUTTA YOUR HEADS! BAD KNOWLEDGE! The only influence the Earth has on the "light" of the moon is during the rare event of a lunar eclipse. We will look at that oddity in chapter 3.  SERIOUSLY! GO BACK AND PLAY WITH THE SIM!  Look at the moon, the shape of the light and the dark, and notice even when on the side of the Earth, there is darkness, even though there in no way for the Earth to cast a shadow on it.  I left lots of feedback--GO BACK AND READ IT!  This is the best way to make sure you are on track.  

    ALSO! Follow my directions.  Some of you are doing so much more than you need--that's lovely and all, but I really want a focus on what will help you gain the key concepts in this unit, so don't go overboard and flood your brain!  

    That being said--today we move to Chapter 2 Moon Phases!  So log on, we are going to lesson 2.1. Follow the directions:


    1.  Do the Warm Up.(1)  This is the only thing I will be grading today.  So think carefully.   Answer, and turn in --feedback will come.

    You should have noticed in the Sim, from the models, photos, and your own observations of the moon (Lovely night last night--warmer and clear with a bright moon!) that the border (terminator) between the light and dark on the moon changes location.   In this unit you will see why and what we call those changes:  Moon Phases.

    A MOON PHASE is the shape of the illuminated part of the moon as it appears from Earth.  

    Keep this definition in mind as you move onto part 2:  Reading Phases of the Moon.  If you have your binder--add it into vocab!

    2.  Read the article Phases of the Moon.  If you have your science binder, I would suggest, if you see some key bits of information, or things that you found intersting, that you should write it in your notes.  I do not expect you to annotate, although you are more than welcome to do so.  What I want is for you to take your time, read carefully, gain the information from the text on what phases are, and if necessary re-read to start getting it into your memory. Take your time on this--cause when you are done--you are done for the day.  You cannot do the discussing part as you have no partners to do this with--so it is the reading that is important today.  There is no homework part either! IT'S FRIDAY! 

    SO Warm up question and reading is all you need to do today.  Enjoy your weekend! 

    Go out and look at the moon! 


  • Thursday April 2, 2020

    Good Morning Spartans!

    Yesterday should have been a pretty easy day for you in remote learning science.  I hope you all got a chance to attempt to model the moon in your own way.  Today you will need to demonstrate the understanding that goes with it.  It was supposed to be a lab--but we had to take a little short cut by doing it on your own.  Today you will have to do a lot of uploading.  Should be easy! Just follow AMPLIFY directions.

    Yesterday I was also much more detailed in your feedback--giving a little more in depth to what the answers should have been.  Please go back and look at the feedback and see if you were on the right track in your thinkiing!  It is the only way I can keep pushing the right information at you, while trying to get rid of the bad!

    Today!  Log onto Amplify.  Going to lesson 1.4!  Simulating Light and Dark on the Moon.


    1. Warm up. Take a shot--this should be an easy one sentance answer.  If you got it I will let you know.

    2.  Sim. Investigating darkness on the moon.  You will need to have the Sim so that it shows only two views (the regular view when you open it) the Earth view and Top View of the moon around Earth.  As you move the moon around the Earth you should notice that ALWAYS only half of the moon is illuminated.  This is a key concept--Know this:  THE SUN ILLUMINATES THE HALF OF THE MOON THAT IS FACING IT, AND THE OTHER HALF IS DARK.   The reason this occurs is because the LIGHT FROM THE SUN TRAVELS IN STRAIGHT LINES toward our planet and moon.  This is another important piece of information for you to remember. 

    As you are moving the moon around. Stop it at a point where you think best illustrates WHY PART OF THE MOON IS DARK.  Screenshot this and upload the image.  Use this to answer the two questions that follow it.  You will need to back out of the sim to answer the questions--they are in the regular lesson.  The multiple choice has a correct answer--it should be easy for you--but I will be looking for right or wrong--the written part should be your demonstration of the REASON why the picture you took from the SIM is a good piece of EVIDENCE of Why part of the moon is dark?.  I will be looking for some real thoughtful writing this time.

    3.  Move to the MODELING TOOL.  The purple text is your link to the Modelling tool.  Follow the directions.  Click the pencil in the corner and select a shape to make the moon and move it into the space--rotate it as you need to show what the moon would look like in that position as a top view.  If you need to revisit the SIM you can!  Once again upload your image.  I will be lookiing for right and wrong on it.  You should also answer the question--WHY IS THER A BORDER BETWEEN LIGHT AND DARK ON THE MOON.  (Hint: shape).   

    4.  You may skip the student to student discussion--feel free to look at it, but obviously you have no one to discuss this with!! So go to the HOMEWORK: Take a look at the pictures and answer the question.  I will let you know if you got it correct.  I am most concerned with the multiple choice--so be careful in your thinking.

    The final part of the lesson is a Self-Asssessment.  You may do this IF you want.  It shares ALL the things you shold know by end of the unit.  Some you should now understand.  If you do not--revist these past 3 lessons and see if you can figure it out.  The rest tell you what is to come.  AGAIN, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO DO THIS.  It is simply for you to see if you are progressing in undertanding the material.  If you are uncertain about anything, feel free to email me and we will try to clear it all up.

    ROUND UP:  Looking for an answer in the Warm Up.  I will let you know right or wrong.

                       Need an Image from the SIM uploaded, and questions answered--I will give you feedback of right or wrong--you gotta know if it correct or not!  Looking for the thoughtful EVIDENCE and REASONING.

                       Need an Image from the MODEL and response--I will let you know if right or wrong--you will need that too.

                       Homework:  Need a written statement, but will let you know right or wrong in the MULTIPLE CHOICE--that's the key step as we get to chapter 2 tomorrow!


    That's it!  I got a nice view of the moon last night, high in the sky and very bright--Terminator was very visible!  How are the skies in ANTIOCH?  Take a look tonight if you have not.....

    Have a good rest of your day!





  • Wednesday APRIL 1, 2020

    Hello Everyone,

    Good to see so many of us busy yesterday.  I do not know if Antioch was better than where I am, down south in Aurora, but skies were cloudy last night, and I couldn't see the moon.  Maybe you did? If not, try to look out tonight--but today's lesson may help to explain what you have seen why looking at the moon!

    A few bits of business:

    I have looked through all of your work turned in yesterday.  I cannot stress this enough--HIT THE TURN IN BUTTON!  Some of you complete things, but I cannot access them as you have not hit that button. IF you have not received feedback for something--this may be the problem.  I have left some more detailed feedback to those who were expressing some incorrect knowledge and or misunderstanding from the reading--so once again go back and look at feedback. 

    IF you are turning in missing work on AMPLIFY, you must EMAIL ME to tell me you did it.  We are not in the past unit, and amplify does not notify me when there are new submissions--so if you are doing your make up work--let me know.  I went back yesterday and found some made up work, but it would be best if you tell me as I cannot do that every day!  

    DO NOT work ahead!  Yes, I know the lessons are right there and you know where we are going, but if you work ahead, you are likely to do things you do not need to, or misinterpret the ideas.  Go slower--no rush on any given day.  We are going to be at this for a while.  I would also suggest if you do not have your binders at home--get a spiral notebook or something to keep notes on--you will find this a handy reference for the future.  It is also a good place to keep vocab, and some of the big ideas (important stuff) that is discovered. 

    Key things from yesterday:  

    1.  The Moon does not produce its own light.  The Sun ILLUMINATES the moon. Just as it illuminates our planet.  The moon cannot create its own light--just like our planet cannot.  Man Made light does not illuminate the moon--it really cannot make it there as our atmosphere absorbs or reflects most of it right back to us (we call that light pollution).  This is important!  The Sun's light reflects off the moon just like it does here on Earth.

    2.  The moon does not revolve.  In other words it does not spin around itself like our planet does.  There is no day or night on the moon.  The moon REVOLVES around our planet.  It is always facing the same direction because it does not rotate on its axis.  This will be important to remember--especially today.

    3.  The moon is about 25% the size of Earth--it is smaller, has little gravity, and no significant atmosphere.  It is also almost 239,000 miles away from us.  This is important! There is a great deal of distance between our Earth and Moon.  This makes a difference in illumination.  We will explore this today! 


    Today in AMPLIFY, we go to Lesson 1.3  Modeling Light and Dark on the Moon.  So log on--LEAVE THIS TAB OPEN and FOLLOW THE PROCEDURE!:

    1.  Warm Up:  Look at the picture and make a choice in the boxes.  Submit please.  This is going to get you thinking about the idea of scale--something you learned a bit about yesterday.  SCALE is THE RELATIVE SIZE OF THINGS.  That is our next vocabulary word.  When we look at the relative size of things, scale helps us to see the big picture and size of objects in relation to one another. We can scale things up (larger than life) or down (smaller than life).  Most models go for scaled down images as it allows us to see the whole picture.  When a model is "to Scale" object sizes and distances are larger or smaller than in the real world, but the same relative to one another.  Some models need to be "not to scale" to be useful.  This is a key concept, try to remember this.  The Simm you played with yesterday is not to scale, but still useful!

    So look at the two images and choose what you believe to be the best answers, I will let you know how you did in the feedback.  

    2.  We know that the moon is illuminated by the light from the sun, but we also know from observing the moon at night and from the Simm that at least sometimes part of the moon is dark.  Today I want you to try and model this phenomena on your own by creating a model for yourself.  This would normally be a lab--so see what you can do.  You will need a light source:  a desk/table lamp would be best.  This will represent the sun.   You will also need a sphere (Ball) of some sort--like a tennis ball, golf ball, ping pong, or some other small circular object--if you need to, a volleyball or basketball could work.  You got to be able to hold it in one hand.  This sphere will represent our moon.

    Look at tab 3:  Introducing the moon sphere model.  The moon can usually be seen in the sky day or night, but in both of the images you will notice you cannot see all of the moon.  Part of it is always dark.  If there is no light--we cannot see it. During the daytime the dark part of the moon is not seen because it is never illumiated by the sun and blends into the blue daytime sky and is hidden from our view. During the nightime, we cannot see the dark side of the moon because it blends with the dark night sky--and again--its not hit by light! WE CANNOT SEE THE DARK SIDE OF THE MOON.  Remember the moon does not rotate on its axis--it stays in one position.  Look at that line that seperates the light from the dark--do you remember its name from yesterday?

    TO Create the model.  Darken the room you are in as best you can, and turn on the light source.  This should iluminate things like the sun would.  You now need to step away from the light---put a distance of about six feet between you and the light.  Remember the light is the sun---your HEAD is the Earth.  Now hold the Sphere you have chosen in one hand and stretch it out in front of yourself.  This is the moon.  Please notice how when you hold it in front of you--the front of the sphere is illuminated--but the side facing you is darker. That is because the sunlight is hitting the front of the ball--not the back, obviously!  The front side of the ball is the illuminated face of the moon (the light side), the side facing you is the dark side.  Notice you have to move your arm to see the lighted side of the moon.  IF you held it directly in front of your face (at arms length) you only see the dark side--not the light.  

    Now, SPIN THE BALL/SPHERE MOON.  Keep it the same position in your hand and now move your arm to your body's side--outstretched.  So your arm is stretched to the left or right of your head.  Look at the ball.  You should now see the light and dark sides--the light side is still facing the "Sun", the dark is facing away.  You should be able to see a terminator line.  If you were to look at this ball and draw it what shape would the light side appear?  Most likely a half circle!  Now swing your arm to the other side of your body--and you can see what it would look like from the other side of your body.  

    During the SIMM--you had two choices for your model.  A top view and an Earth view.  Top view would mean you are looking down from the ceiling onto you and the lamp/ball.  Earth view would be what you see when you hold the ball in your hands.  You should notice that at all times--only half of the ball is lit up, but our view may be different depending on the angle we are observing.  You can slowly swing your arm back in front of you and notice that the ball is always half lit--only one side ever gets hit by light--but as it swings around us--we see less of the light side until it gets in front of us, and your cannot see the light at all.  

    That's the lab!  Hopefully you can observe this phenomna--half of the sphere is lit at all times, even if we cannot see it as it moves around our Earth.  If you wish to go back and look at the Simm--and practice it again while thinking about what you just did, you can do that to gain greater insight.  Try to remember what you saw in this model when you go outside tonight to look at the moon.  Where would it be compared to you as the model?  If you are a real stickler--face North and look at the moon in relationship to yourself and that is exactly what you just did--but for real.

    3.  Homework tab:  Read the article and respond.  I will give you feeback on if you got the main idea!

    That's it for the lesson today--two little things to upload to show you have done your job.  Tomorrow we will look a bit deeper at modelling the moon and the light that hits it!

    Until then--stay safe!!


  • TUESDAY MARCH 31st. 2020

    Good Day Spartans!

    Nice job to all of you who successfully completed the pre-test yesterday.  I have sent comments back for all of them--even the written parts!  You should take a look at how you did and in particular read the comments for the written questions as that will give you some insight into what we need to learn, and what you will need to have in those questions to get full credit in the future.  If you do not see feedback given, make sure you turned in the test.  I cannot grade it if you don't turn it in!  

    Today you will be working on the next lesson in Amplify.  So once again, log on and find Earth, Moon, and Sun; Chapter 1.  Today we do 1.2!!

    I might suggest you leave this tab open and follow my directions here as well as in Amplify--just so you don't do more than you have too.


    1.  Start with the Warm Up. That's tab 1 on the top of the page.   Read the question and reflect in the space provided.  I will give you feedback with a + if you are on the right track, a - if you are not.  Just so you start using your background knowledge--again, not a real grade.  The plus will tell you if you thinking is accurate or if we got some bad knowledge to kick out!

    2.  There is a cute video to watch --as usual.  Enjoy! Its like every other unit--this will introduce you to the big idea in this unit, and what we will be trying to answer.

    3.  Switch to the next tab at the top of this lesson--2.  Taking Pictures of the moon.  Here you will need to learn a little vocabulary:  The first is a TERMINATOR. The terminator is the border between light and dark on the moon.  As we progress and look at images of the moon--remember this definition.  In the first tab, look at the image, and because we are not together--look at claim 2.  That is the correct claim.  We cannot see the features of the moon every night.  The reason is simple if we want to see something it must be hit by light!  That is what we call ILLUMINATE:  To shine light on an object and make it visible.  The next vocabulary as you click on the bottom tabs is  MOON:  A rocky sphere that travels around a planet.  If you have your binder--I would add these words and definitions to your vocab list.  The remaining slide asks you a simple question:  Where does light from the moon come from?

    4.  Move to the next top tab:  Investigating light on the moon.  This is the SIMM for this unit.  Open the simm and follow the prompts that follow the link.  The third tab on the bottom will ask you to make a prediction of where we get light from the moon--drag your answer into the box and submit it.  I will once again give you feedback as either right or wrong.  Look for that feedback upon your completion.

    5.  The last two tabs are homework.  In the first, read the article, and respond.  I will give you a + if you are on the right track, a - if you need to rethink your answer.  The Family experience homework you may skip--BUT!!!! TONIGHT! Go look at the moon!  Reflect on what you see and why you think it looks the way it does tonight.  I can only hope we have a somewhat clear night.  But for this unit--get in the habit of looking at the moon, it will be a great resource for you as we go through this unit, and give you a chance to show off how smart you are to your parents! Over the next few night if the sky is clear I would like you to observe the moon and notice changes to it as the days progress.

    That's it for today!  I will be looking for 3 submissions--easy!  Play on the simm as much as you like.  Manana, we will see how you did, and I will share with you the big answers you should have found for yourself!

    REMEMBER:  If you owe me anything, or need to take the Post test from LIght and Waves--take care of it, I will grade immediately for you when you either send it to me or let me know you completed it!  If you need anything--I am an email away.  Unless there's a really good cartoon on! (Hehe!)




  • Good Morning! 

    Happy Monday! Hope you all had a relaxing Spring Break--I suspect that we all were a bit more relaxed than we might like, and if you are at all like me, you are ready to do something a little more productive--so today we begin our next unit in science:  Earth, Moon and Sun.

    You do not have a log today--we are not in class, and that means no log.  Just get right to the good stuff:

    As in all of our Amplify units we must start with a Pre-test today.  This is just like we have done for four units before this one, so no stress--easy start to remote learning!

    You will need to log onto Amplify.  This should be no different from home than it is at school.  Log on as normal--use Chrome, and your google account.  If you have troubles, back out and log on again, try refreshing page, or restarting the i-Pad:  in other words all the little things we have done before.  Just in case go to:   learning.amplify.com

    We are in Chapter 1 of the new unit and need to complete Lesson 1.1--Pre Assessment.  Just as before there are three sections:  Multiple Choice and 2 Written responses.  Take your time going through them.  I have unlocked the assessement, so it is ready for you to go.  I would STRONGLY suggest you do like we have always done and keep a paper record of what you answered for these questions.  This way, when we take the Post assessment, you can look back at your own growth in learning the topics.  If you happen to have your binder at home (like a good human!) use your note section to do this as you have done previously.  Don't forget to hit the hand-in button!  

    I will be monitoring the test.  As soon as I see you have it done, I will send you feedback on how you did, so you can look it over.  Remember to find the feedback, use the  button with the little envelope in Amplify.  I will be available for questions or concerns during the normal school hours--feel free to send me an email.  jwiktor@antioch34.com  I will respond as quickly as I see it!   I will be taking attendance this way:  when I see the test has been started/completed you are present!  

    IF you are one of the many individuals who were absent the Friday before our escape, and have not completed the POST Test for Light and Waves--YOU NEED TO COMPLETE THIS NOW!  I have left the test open for those who need to do so and would recommend you get that done, so that I can update your real grades in PowerSchool.  Right now we are scheduled to return to school right around Midterm, so most likely what you see right now on PowerSchool is your midterm grade!  IF you owe me conclusions, or any other work, you can always send it to me in an email, I will grade, and update PowerSchool for you.  So take care of things if you need to!

    That's it for today--it should take you no more than the normal class period to complete this task, and tomorrow we will start chipping away at the Amplify lessons that we would be doing normally--just for now--it will all be done on that I-Pad, GET READY!

    Good Luck on the Pre-test:  and remember pre-tests do not count for a grade--YET!--you will see it all again for the Post-Test where it will count!

    More to come.  Later,


  • Greeting Spartans!

    Happy Spring Equinox!  Enjoy your spring break and get prepared to start work here on Monday March 30th.

    A few bit of business before we begin:

    1.  I have updated your grades to include your daily grades. I did this as it looks like we will not be returning until the week of Midterms.  So, what you see in PowerSchool is now your midterm grade.

    2.  I will need to collect you binders when we return, but in all honestly I do not think that task will be complete before Midterm grades are due as I will have to give you a day to get things organized and ready for grading ( I anticipate very few of us remembered to bring home our binders in the mad dash to leave that last Friday).  If you did remember you binders--be prepared for me taking them for grading within the first couple days of our return to the classroom.

    3.  IF you owe me work!  Conclusions, tests, etc...  you can still turn it in while we are away.  SEND me any written work via my email--just attach the document. IF you have a test to take on AMPLIFY.  DO IT!  If you were absent for either of the tests (Midpoint or End of Unit) the test is open for you to complete it.  DO IT NOW!  Simply log onto Amplify like you would normally (learning.amplify.com) and proceed to the tests.  Midpoint is 3.4  and End of Unit is 4.4 in the Light and Waves Unit.  IF you take the tests before the 30th, Please send me a quick email saying you did it, so I will grade it for you immediately and update your grade.  

    4. You are excused from DAILY LOGS. We are not in class=no logs.  We will resume log writing when we return to class.  Concentrate on any missing assignments (if you have any). 

    5.  The ISA (Illinois Science Assessment) is postponed!  Do not worry or think on it.  We may pick that up in April when we return--or if we get lucky--we may not!  That is a state mandated activity, and things are changing all the time at the state level, so that is the least of our worries!

    6.   Our first assignment upon our journey into eLearning will be to complete the PRE TEST for the EARTH SUN and MOON unit in Amplify.  I will open it on the 30th for you, and will send you feedback as soon as you complete it. It would probably be a good idea to make sure you practice Loging onto Amplify at home if you have never done so, and finding the feedback areas, as this is where you will get information from me.  More instructions will follow on the 30th.  

    Until then, Enjoy your quality time at home!  Cartoons await!