Saturday, September 24, 2011

Science Fair Research Paper

Because SST-Discovery staff knows that cross curricular cooperation is essential for student success the English department is working with the science department to prepare students for this year’s Science Fair.  As part of the Science Fair requirements students must write a research paper about their experiment.  This year middle school students are covering expository (informational) text first, so they are familiar with what this should look like.  They will also utilize some class time to work on their paper.  This paper will be due to English teachers, as a major grade, on October 5, 2011. 

            For English class students papers must be typed and meet all of the following criteria.  English teachers will grade for structure, grammar, completeness, as well as citation format, but not the validity of the content.  This is the criteria for the English paper, students may have different criteria for their Science Fair paper.  Science teachers will discuss this.
Students may use front and back of pages, but note that Science requires front only.
12 point Times New Roman font.  Either double spaced or have 1.5 spacing.
Use single space between sections or parts. 10 points

Introduction: Paper must introduce the purpose of the experiment and have a hypothesis.  The student should identify and variables and provide background information.  10 points

Materials: List materials used. 10 points

Procedure: List steps in chronological order.  Give description of the steps.  Photos, drawings, diagrams, etc maybe used to assist in clarity of directions.  15 points

Conclusion: Students need to refer back to their hypothesis and state whether or not data agrees or supports hypothesis.  What was learned? 10 points

Work Cited page: This must have proper MLA citation and include all references and sources. 10 points   

Sunday, September 11, 2011

“No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.” -Confucius

Each morning students are given 25 minutes to read, this time is called Drop Everything And Read, otherwise known as D.E.A.R. Time.  Students read a novel of their choice and have a few moments to reflect on what they’ve read and log their observations.  This is a valuable time for students to grow their reading skills, however for students to improve their reading as efficiently and effectively as possible they need to read 45-60 minutes each day. 

Because of this students will be required to read an additional 20 minutes a day at home.  Students will be sent home with a reading log which tracks two weeks’ worth of reading.  Every week day students should log at least 20 minutes of reading and summarize their reading. Parents or guardians must sign this log for students to receive credit.  Each day of reading is worth two points, so every two weeks students can earn 20 points.

Students may read novels, magazines, or comic books.  Reading aloud to a younger sibling or reading with a partner also counts. 

Parents and guardians are encouraged to discuss the materials read with students and to ask questions to help build comprehension.  Yes or no questions should be avoided, instead, ask questions such as: What did you learn or read about?
What do you think will happen next?
Describe the protagonist.
What is the conflict? 
What about this book reminds you of things you’ve witnessed or experienced?

If you think your child is having difficulty with their texts please let me know and I will be happy to conference with him or her and make a new reading recommendation if necessary.
Happy reading!