The seventh graders started the year puzzling over what it means to be alive. They listened to a story about an alien who thought cars were living things, and we explored how cars and other objects exhibit some of the qualities of life but not necessarily all of them. After camping, we started digging into our first main area of study: the cell. The students were introduced to a real middle school student who dropped a weight on his foot and received a severe injury. The students will explore healing in the process of understanding how his foot healed, and they will gain insight into cells, the cell cycle, and some of the body systems involved in maintaining life. We just finished dissecting chicken wings to understand better some of the tissues involved in the injury. They observed skin, muscle, bone, and other connective tissue. We are now honing our microscope skills as we examine skin and blood cells. We will spend some time on the microscopic level to better understand what cells do to stay alive. Over the next few weeks, we will explore the cell cycle and how that might explain some of what we see when healing happens.
As part of their study of Earth Science, the 8th graders have been learning about Plate Tectonics, the driving force behind earthquake and volcanic activity. Throughout the fall, they will be peeling back the mysteries inside the Earth that explain the different kinds of earthquakes, as well as learning more about the seismic profile of the Pacific Northwest. If you’d like to learn more, here is some background information about earthquakes in the Pacific Northwest from the Burke Museum.