Middle School Science

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August 26, 2015
by Shane Boland Harrison

Eighth Grade Summer Homework

Dear  8th grade leaders,

I hope this finds you enjoying your summer yet yearning for some intellectual stimulation. In order to prepare you for your leadership role this fall I would like you read a book about an extraordinary man. In the book, The Man Who Planted Trees by Jean Giono you will learn of a selfless human being who found true happiness by planting trees. There is much here about being a silent hero, not being acknowledged by others, but actions coming from within. I may have read this book aloud to you in class but now I would like you to really read it and annotate what seems important or stands out to you in the book.

In the book the main character, a shepherd by trade, sets about restoring a desolate area by planting 100 trees each day for over 30 years. By this single act of unparalleled generosity and respect for the Earth, he leaves, with no thought of recompense, a world made better. He truly finds happiness, which in this day and age can be elusive.

Some of the key passages that stand out to me are as follows…

  •      Creation seemed to come about in some sort of chain reaction. He did not worry about it; he was determinedly pursuing his task in all its simplicity; but as we went back to the village I saw water flowing in brooks that had been dry since the memory of man. This was the most impressive result of chain reaction that I had seen.
  •      I remember how the land had looked in 1913: a desert….Peaceful, regular toil, the vigorous mountain air, frugality and, above all, serenity of spirit had endowed this old man with awe-inspiring health. He was one of God’s athletes.
  •      Vergons bore evidence of labor at the sort of undertaking for which hope is required. Hope, then, had returned. Ruins had been cleared away, dilapidated walls torn down and five houses restored….flowers grew in orderly confusion.

After you have read the book read about and watch the following video about what happened to Yellowstone Park when wolves were reintroduced.

Wolf Reintroduction Changes Ecosystem

Now think about how humans and wolves can be seen as killers and destroyers yet can also bring beauty and stability to a community.

In seventh grade we studied water issues. Construction run-off, plastics in the great lakes, trash and vandalism following local festivals and the drought in California became real as we understood what is happening to our beloved Earth.

Your assignment is to think about the power of small actions. The land you are currently standing on was loved and respected by the Odawa, later it was thoroughly logged and is now currently being developed at a rapid rate. What will the future hold? Your challenge is to create your vision of the future from the perspective of the Old Man’s, a tree’s heart and soul, or a wolf’s. The most important thing you can do when undertaking this endeavor is to keep in mind the values and traits of the man who planted trees, his patience and perseverance. As you read annotate those phrases that speak to these values and ideas.

Every community, forest or wolf pack must someway embrace a sense of space. When doing so it must find a way to

  •       generate or obtain energy
  •    deal with waste / recycling.
  •    have a source of clean water
  •    feed itself
  •    achieve a sense of stability / balance – be adaptable
  •    house itself or find suitable habitat

You have a choice as to how you want to depict this future vision. You must create a piece of art such as a diorama, a very detailed drawing or painting of at least 18 by 24 inches, a sculpture or collage.

After completing your visual project write a 300-word essay describing how you have incorporated the values and traits of the organism (the Old Man, a tree or a wolf) you have modeled for your vision of the future. What do you hope for? How will man find balance between greed and happiness? What small actions can you take to make a difference? This must be typed, 12 point font, double spaced and proofread.  Horizon books or Amazon can order the book for you. It is a quick read but take your time when reading as it truly is a beautiful book. This will be due on September 10, Thursday. Please call or write if you have any questions.


Enjoy these last days of summer!


May 17, 2015
by Shane Boland Harrison

7th Graders Freshwater Issues

I am super proud of the 7th graders who researched local and global freshwater issues. There are still two groups working on their presentations so stay tuned for those but for now enjoy these two awesome projects!

May 17, 2015
by Shane Boland Harrison

Raised Beds are Ready to Go!

Our annual Spring Spruce Up was held this weekend. This is a time when our school community gathers to clean up from winter and plant new for spring. Grandparent’s and Special Friend’s day is this Friday and students are excited to show off their amazing campus. Yesterday we were able to add 4 raised beds to our garden space near the hoop house. This outdoor laboratory will provide not only fresh produce but a place to observe plant growth and understand the symbiotic nature of growth. We will be planting seeds and transplants these next days and will be eager to see what our toil brings when we return to campus in September. 

A special thanks goes out to Mr. Rob Hansen, our super head of school, who not only wrote the grant but built the beds to make this happen on Saturday. 

New raised beds ready for seeds and transplants! Thank you Rob Hansen!

New raised beds ready for seeds and transplants! Thank you Rob Hansen!

May 10, 2015
by Shane Boland Harrison

Pathfinder April 2015

I have been a bit out of commission due to a fractured knee. I want to thank all of my students and colleagues for their kindness and patience as I work to negotiate my way around on crutches.

I am embedding a video of pictures from April using PhotoPeach. I apologize to the mobile users who may not be able to view it.


Pathfinder April 2015 on PhotoPeach  

April 29, 2015
by Shane Boland Harrison

Newton’s Third Just IN

Dakota, Alex and Noah put together an iMovie trailer to show Newton’s 3rd Law. After some software glitches it came together as you can see. Alex added the vector arrows to express force using Hitfilm3!  Well done guys!


April 21, 2015
by Shane Boland Harrison

Newton’s 2nd Law as Demonstrated by an Ordinary Citizen:)

After a minor disaster, where the videos Marlee and Lillian had compiled were accidentally deleted, the girls spent time after school to complete their assignment. Their creative, extra effort produced this excellent video on Newton’s 2nd Law. A special thanks goes out to their parents who helped make it happen and willingly participated in the process. Great job girls!



April 19, 2015
by Shane Boland Harrison

iPads and PhotoPeach


It has come to my attention that those trying to view the videos I made using the software PhotoPeach, on iPads, are unable to do so. I have contacted both Edublogs and PhotoPeach and they both blame the other as to why this is so. I am really sorry. I am hoping they can remedy the situation. If not I will look for another way to showcase the cool things that happen in our classroom. The videos can be seen on a desktop or laptop computer. 

Thanks for your patience and support!



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