Changing States of Matter

Things are hopping in B-5. Among our many other classes and activities, we have been learning about the Earth’s atmosphere in science lately. The students seem fascinated about how something we can’t see, and largely take for granted, can have so many different characteristics and layers, and how utterly dependent we are upon it. We’re mapping our way from the Troposphere up through the Exosphere and the excitement in the room is palpable. Also in science, today we took a field trip to the Seymour Discovery Center to learn how matter changes and moves through various phases in different environments. Using the sea otter and coho salmon as indicator species, the students worked in teams to learn about food chains, varied ecosystems, species adaptation, and how various factors can affect the health of different plants and animals. It was an engaging, experiential learning experience and the kids gave it a unanimous thumbs-up this afternoon during our debriefing session. A big thank-you goes out to our parent volunteers who made it all happen: Carla Erwin, Donna Hoffmanfriedes, Nick Folger, Jose Chavez, and Sherie L’Heureux. In late March we will go back for another science lab, hopefully on our bicycles. You’re welcome to join us!

Speaking of changing states of matter, it is hard to believe that next year is the start of middle school for our 5th graders. With that big transition in mind, Gateway will be offering prospective middle school parents an informative information night next week. On Thursday, December 7, the faculty will tell you about our fine middle school program. With re-enrollment looming in the early months of 2018, this meeting will help you see all the benefits Gateway offers its older students.

The middle schoolers are starting their annual science fair projects and we’ve been asked by one of them to volunteer to be part of his experiment next week. Look for a parent permission form coming home soon that gives your consent for your child to participate. (The short test includes students in 1st, 3rd, and 5th grades and will test their language use by age group.) If your child doesn’t want to participate, or you don’t want them to, no worries on this end; I’ll have alternate activities available for those students. We need to have the permission forms back no later than next Tuesday, the 12th.

Finally, thank you to our hard-working parent volunteers who have been correcting our Wordly Wise vocabulary workbooks on most Friday afternoons. The students really appreciate getting the quick feedback on their efforts. If you’re able to help out, please don’t be shy; we can use all the hands we can get.