Thursday, March 15, 2018

Rising Star Cave System in South Africa

6th-grade Catalyst students joined a live Google Hangout visiting the Rising Star Cave System in South Africa! They went underground into the Rising Star Cave System and met Marina Elliott and Becca Peixotto. Marina is a biological Anthropologist and National Geographic Explorer, Becca is an American Archaeologist. They're on a 3-week expedition at the Rising Star Cave System in South Africa. This cave system is the site of an astonishing discovery of over 1,500 fossil elements.

Rising Star Cave Systems

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Hydroponically Grown Lettuce

Catalyst students enjoyed hydroponically grown lettuce, in their salads, that was started 8 weeks ago and harvested last week.  Ingredients for a salad bar was determined after receiving input from students on their favorites as well as combinations that would work with cultural recipes in connection with a  7th-grade project. Thank you to Mrs. Bauman for assisting with all the chopping and serving. Your help was greatly appreciated.

February 2018 Salad Bar

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Jungles of Borneo

Justin Grubb | Live in Borneo

6th-Grade Catalyst visited the jungles of Borneo live today via Google Hangout along with the help of a satellite BGAN unit. Students had an opportunity to listen and ask questions about the reasons behind poaching and what the group is doing to help the problem. During the Hangout, students learned about the climate of the jungle, how the group tracks the various species along with some stories about snakes, leeches, and vegetation.

Wildlife filmmaker Justin Grubb has taken one of our textbook-sized satellite BGAN units to the jungles of Borneo! He's camping in the jungle with local anti-poaching units and helping to train the rangers in areas like the use of GPS. The jungles of Borneo are incredibly biodiverse, but in real danger from habitat loss for palm tree oil and exploitation of species, especially the poaching of exotic birds. There are 10 species of hornbills in Borneo and some are under the threat of extinction as they are hunted for their bills. Justin is joining a conservation group that is training the rangers in the field to watch for poachers but also to monitor the birds and checks on artificial nest boxes to see how they are breeding. We'll join Justin and some of the rangers he is training around the campfire in their camp to learn about the jungle, the threats it is facing, the training of the rangers and of course the hornbills!


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Collaboration (8th-Grade & Journey)

First grade Journey students from Mrs. Long's and Mrs. Phillip's classes worked with Catalyst eighth graders in preparing for their upcoming Gallery Walk. Eighth-grade students helped the first graders to create a short sentence promoting a local business or organization. Then they listened as their first grader practiced their presentation out loud.

Books and Beyond

6th-grade Catalyst students joined writer/artist, Alex Simmons in a Google Hangout to discuss a mini-project for Books and Beyond.

"Books & Beyond seeks to develop globally- minded students who are prepared for life in the 21st century by increasing critical literacy skills, addressing the Rwandan "book famine", and developing models for cross-cultural teaching and learning."

Students are illustrating books as a part of a project that will send "children-created" books offering high-quality reading material for students in Rwanda. Alex spent time in a mini-lesson on the basics of shapes when drawing animals. The theme of this project is "unusual friendships" and will continue into a future project with students developing children's books to be shared with students in a lower grade level.

Books and Beyond

6th-Grade Gallery Walk

6th-grade Catalyst students shared a variety of projects during the Gallery Walk in February.  Projects included:

  • Black Inventors' Timelines
  • Gamazing Games
  • Aliens Do Exist

6th-Grade Gallery Walk

Monday, February 12, 2018

8th-Grade Gallery Walk

Catalyst families enjoyed learning about their child's work in our latest project, "The Next Avatar" during our Gallery Walk evening. The Driving Question for this project was: How do organisms play unique and important roles in their environment? The students were given this task:

After receiving a request from a movie studio, students will work individually to create a model of a unique organism and design its environment that will star in their next big sci-fi movie. Each student will investigate how organisms are classified, what types of behaviors or adaptations allow them to survive, and the elements necessary in an environment to allow that organism to prosper.

Final products were posters students researched and created to feature their "creature"' Dichotomous keys they worked on collaboratively were on display, and iMovie trailers played on the "big screen" in the classroom.