2007-2008: Week 32 Reflections

April 11, 2008 (Day 144)

In Morning Meeting, we read the story and looked at the video about the ancient oak tree (one of its branches split) at Middleton Place.  We then played strategy & team work athletic games in the gym.  In Math, we continued our work in graphing.  This included finding solutions graphically to two-variable equations.  In Spanish, we took a dictation and then talked about –er and –ir verbs.  Then we broke into groups and practiced conversations.  In Humanities, we immersed ourselves in a discussion of Act II of Romeo and Juliet.  The class ended with a screening of Act II from Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 film version of Romeo and Juliet.  We continue to marvel at the contrast between ancient English and the modern setting of the play.  Mentor Khailey Walsh arrived during lunch and spent the rest of the day with us.  In Science, we discussed our digestive systems and food presentations for next week.  As we learned later because it was a beautiful day outside, Mrs. Ewing had us experience and think about the sights, sounds, and cross breezes by the marsh near Shem Creek.  She later explained this exercises connection to the theory that some of America’s children are experience nature deficit disorder.   Mentor Zach Thames arrived during Science and spent the rest of the day with us.  In Flex Time, we worked on thank you cards related to our LOTC activities and personal job shadowing days.

April 10, 2008 (Day 143)

Mentor Zach Thames arrived before the start of school and joined us for the first two classes of the day.  In Morning Meeting, we looked at the Walking with Dinosaurs show at the coliseum.  This gave us a chance to talk about advances in robotics.  We then watched the final installments of naturalist Ian Sanchez’s Web of Water trek from the upstate to the coast by kayak.  The last webisodes were Sandhills, Coastal Plains, and Coastal Zone.  In Math, we worked on equations and began exploring coordinate geometry and graphing.  This included comparing and contrasting lines and line segments. In Spanish, we practiced listening and reviewed our homework.  We also were arranged into two teams with placards containing words and sentence fragments.  We undertook several challenges to create a grammatically correct Spanish sentence that matched what Mrs. Rowland asked for in English or to create a Spanish sentence that answered a question posed to us in Spanish.  The vocabulary involved time, schedules, and calendars.  In Humanities, we learned about the creation of political parties in America in the early-1800s.  This provided an opportunity to discuss the contentiousness and debates surrounding political parties during this time and during our time.  We also got a sense of how the American Revolution spawned revolutions in Europe through the spread of ideas, the return of European soldiers to the continent, and the successful throwing off of the British monarchy.  In Science, we had to determine how to neutralize 8 drops of 0.1% HCl  using 0.1% KOH.  This lab pulled together what we know about the pH scale, dilution, neutralization, and indicators.  This information helps us understand how antacids help neutralize stomach acid.

April 9, 2008 (Day 142)

In Morning Meeting, we watched CNN Student news.  It included General Petraeus’ update on Iraq, and this allowed us to explore military rankings and see how Wikipedia entries are quickly updated – and his included links to all of his badges and medals.  The second story looked at the upcoming arrival of the Olympic torch in San Francisco.  This piece was followed by a report from China about their citizens’ thoughts on the protests, and this provided an important reminder about perspective when looking at events as they unfold.  It also gave us a chance to revisit the way media and the internet operate in China.  The state-operated news headlines glossed over the protests and focused on the spread of Olympic cheer. We also looked again at the differences in search results using Google and Google China.  We used Google Earth for a preview of our day’s trek to the College of Charleston’s Addlestone Library and the American Military Museum.  We met Mentor Bucky Buchanan at the library.  One of the C of C librarians, Mr. Phil Powell, gave us tips on using research databases in a special media classroom on the ground floor of the library.  This allowed us to make links to our Making a Difference environmental Science projects, and we searched for scholarly journal articles for them.  Another librarian, Mr. Tommy Gilson, then gave us a tour of the library.  We learned how the library is organized – touch-operated compact shelving for more shelf space, study rooms, web-connected, and a design that makes the library quieter as one ascends.   The use of microfilm and microfiche was also demonstrated, and we are eager to explore some of the pre-1980s documents that are not digitally scanned.  We also looked at some of the items in Special Collections, and these included two of James Audubon’s folios of birds and a primary documents and photos connected with the liberation of concentration camps in World War II.   We ate lunch in the open quadrangle by the Maritime Center, and this was a good preview for our cruise next week on the Spirit of South Carolina tall ship.  We then entered the American Military Museum, and we were given a pre-exploration talk by the curator George Meagher.  The museum’s collections were all personally made or gathered by him over his lifetime, and he told us that history should be spelled “hisstory” because the personal tales make history compelling and alive.  The museum is filled with authentic uniforms only, and each of America’s wars is represented.  Highlights include the model of the USS Constitution that he made, the Hall of the Purple Hearts, the Bell Hat, the Camel bell from the US Camel Corps, and the dioramas.  Of course, the stories he told and the over an hour of time he spent with us were most cherished.

April 8, 2008 (Day 141)


In Morning Meeting, we watched CNN Student news.  There were three major stories: the state of the American airline industry, an update on the Olympic torch protests, and an examination of cyber-bullying among adolescents.  We stopped repeatedly throughout the webcast to discuss the massive economic consequences (especially for the airline industry and the cost of travel) of the $500,000 it cost for Al-Qaeda to launch the 9/11/01 attacks.  We then continued work on our online-course presidential campaign finance project.  In Math, we spent the period graphing Cartesian coordinate systems.  In Spanish, we reviewed our new vocabulary together and then went over homework.  We also practiced our listening skills, and we used the school’s weekly preview calendar of events as a basis for our subsequent discussions of time and schedules.  In Humanities, we heard the last group of student Romeo and Juliet soliloquy presentations.  Mrs. Logan then read “The Lady, or the Tiger” by Frank Stockton.  We found it thrilling, and it prompted much reflection and hypothesizing.  In the story, a princess must choose to lose her lover to another forever or have him killed by a tiger.  Mrs. Logan mentioned that the title has become an allusion itself to dilemmas with no perfect solution.  In art, we continued our work with acrylic paints.  After reviewing a number of examples with us, Mrs. Johnson charged us to create beach and sky scenes with a palmetto tree.  In Science, we continued to digest the cheeseburger.  We were organized into two teams who will be presenting the digestion of the “Cheeseburger In Paradise” next Monday.  Then, next Friday, each team will prepare a delicious and nutritious meal to share with the other team.  The meals will be graded on nutrition (70%) and creativity (30%).  Taste counts as creativity because cooking is an art!  Presentation and the colors of the meal are tallied towards creativity.  This endeavor will help us understand how to make tasty good choices in our diets and to understand what our body does with the food we eat.

April 7, 2008 (Day 140)

In Morning Meeting, we watched CNN Student news.  It features stories on George Bush’s and Vladimir Putin’s final meeting, the Olympic torch relay protests in Europe, and campaign finance of elections in America.  We used the last story as a jumping off point for an on-line course assignment on campaign finance.  It involves discovering the federal regulations covering campaign contributions by reviewing the websites of the three remaining major presidential candidates.  This was followed by moving to the website for the Federal Election Commission and launching the graphical chart for donations by state.  We then looked more closely at South Carolina, and we picked a candidate and began to look for patterns in the contributions made to that candidate.  In Math, we took a general review assessment on the topics from the last quarter.  In Spanish, we reviewed our vocabulary involving time/calendar/the future.  We also took a quick quiz and reviewed it, and then we practiced speaking about our daily schedules.  In Humanities, we recited our soliloquies from Romeo and Juliet.  The day also brought a discussion of America’s first president under the Constitution – George Washington.  In Science, we toured the digestive system via The Virtual Body website.  We then played a game on the website to arrange the organs in the proper place.  When we finished touring the digestive system, Mrs. Ewing had us work in groups to identify the nutrients that are found in a cheeseburger with pickles, lettuce, tomatoes, bacon, mustard, mayo, and ketchup on a sesame seed bun.  She then challenged us to identify where the body begins digesting each component of the burger and where the body absorbs the nutrients.  Each group made a chart of the information and will continue working on it until next Monday.  This is a lot harder than just knowing the names of the organs in the digestive system, but it is also much more interesting and useful. Mentor Zach Thames arrived during Science and spent the rest of the day with us.

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