Middle School - May 13, 2016

Dear Families,

In math we have been working with various types of rate problems because they a great gateway to algebra problems. This theme brought us down to the Mohawk on Tuesday where we gathered data to calculate the rate at which the water at the river’s edge was flowing. The class designed their own method and tool for doing this. We took a small section of blue swimming noodle and tied some waxed string through it, making a knot to indicate where the 3 meter mark was. Grace would gently toss the noodle into the water and let Benjamin, or timer, know when the line ran out so he could stop the clock and let Maddy record the number of seconds. In large part due to the wind blowing the noodle about we found that the times were extremely inconsistent (5-28 seconds to travel the 3 meters) so we scrapped our original method and devised something better on the spot. We had noticed lots of gooey globs of algae floating by the dock and were excited to determine that the sections of the dock just happened to be the same 3 meter length as our waxed string. So we could independently pick out a glob and time it during its travel along a single section of the dock. This method yielded more consistent results, though it won’t help us measure the speed of the water in the middle of the river which we hypothesize might be differed than the water along the bank.

While down at the river we learned that the Boat House was open for the season so we came back on Thursday to go kayaking. We explored up stream and were so thrilled to be back on the water that we explored beyond the island where we have stopped in the past. Our paddling took us up to a railroad bridge where we saw an Amtrak train heading north towards Montreal. We also saw where they are building the casino in Schenectady. There were many animals out and we were especially excited to see beavers swim rather close to our boats.

In the classroom everyone has been working on the outlining for their paper comparing the hero journey of Huck Finn to that of another character in literature. There has also been art work and research related to the upcoming RiverRun Olympics. One seventh grader is on each of the three country teams Greece, Brazil, and Japan where they and the other older students can serve as leaders.