Middle School Science

Check out what's happening in Pathfinder science!

April 21, 2017
by Shane Boland Harrison
1 Comment

Crazy Fridays with Lots of Learning

The library building on Friday mornings is nothing but controlled chaos! We have in-depth classes for middle school. One set of students is working on individual projects (9). These include creating Dungeon and Dragons stories to sell online, making an international food website complete with recipes, a border collie training guide, crafts to decorate your room, rocket construction, programing a robot, and cooking. The other set of middle school students (12) is working with a parent volunteer to create the school yearbook. The third and fourth grade has library and after picking out books they either read or play cognitive games which promote critical thinking(18). The first grade is in the Birchview room doing drama(14). Fifth grade is in the science room (9). This is a total of 62 students in our small library building actively learning, collaborating and having fun Pathfinder style!


April 9, 2017
by Shane Boland Harrison

Busy 3rd Quarter!

We had a busy winter! I created this video of class highlights.  While the Science Expo and Gutter Derby were great successes, to share with the public, what went on everyday in our classroom was just as extraordinary. I am excited to see what spring brings:)

3rd Quarter 2017 on PhotoPeach

December 2, 2016
by Shane Boland Harrison
1 Comment

Think, Create, Design 3D Competion

Super proud of the 6 students from 5th, 6th and 7th grade that chose to participate in the Think, Create, Design 3D printer competition. They were up against the clock with my leaving for Ireland, and I have to give special thanks to Caroline for doing some of the videos. Many local schools were invited to compete. Out of 9 projects submitted – 6 – yes 6!!!!! were from Pathfinder! And they even extended the deadline. I think this speaks to the flexibility of our curriculum. Please check out the videos and vote with a like (really stupid way to run a competition!) on all the videos :)! And if you are missing a tape core for your tape dispenser see Rowan! He discovered he can make them for .27 cents versus ordering them online for $4.99.

Thanks to everyone who helped these students succeed!

September 30, 2016
by Shane Boland Harrison

Elk Bugling with 8th Graders!

The 8th graders  will be traveling to Pigeon River State Forest this coming Thursday and Friday, October 6 and 7. We will leave after lunch on Thursday and return on Friday in time for Pizza lunch. The following is the suggested gear list and the students have been charged with creating a menu. This is an annual trip with no two the same but equally full of joy and laughter! Here is a video of what we saw and heard last year.

The supply list is as follows:

  • Sleeping bag (and pad if you have it)
  • Flashlight
  • Rain gear
  • Long underwear
  • Drinking cup that can hold hot liquids
  • WARM clothes / coats – it will be cold when we are out looking for elk
  • Warm hat and gloves
  • Water bottle
  • Toiletries (there are no showers or running water so a toothbrush is really all that is needed)
  • Camera
  • Camp chair for sitting around the campfire if you have one.
  • Binoculars if you have them

Please call, write or text with questions!

September 12, 2016
by Shane Boland Harrison

Blitz The Bear!

Dear Families,

This coming Friday, September 16th, the 6-8 graders will be traveling to Sleeping Bear Dunes to participate in a bioblitz sponsored by the Cerulean Center. Our students will become citizen scientists for the day, working side-by-side with scientists and naturalists to find and record as many plants, animals, insects and other organisms as possible! The data collected will help inventory the biodiversity in the Great Lakes Region.


  • A signed permission slip which is located in your family mailbox. Please turn into the front desk after signing.
  • A disposable sack lunch and water bottle.
  • Cloths that can get wet. Students will take part in an aquatic excursion.
  • Sturdy footwear, sunscreen, hat and or sunglasses
  • Rain gear (if needed) – We’ll be active, rain or shine

Participants will be using the iNaturalist app to record observations. IF your student has a smartphone and IF you give permission for him or her to bring it for use, please download the app. It is not necessary for your student to have a phone to participate. They may also bring a digital camera if they have one.

If you, as a parent, would like to participate you are more than welcome! They are looking for as many volunteers as possible. Information on how to sign up is on the flyer attached to the permission slip you are to sign for your student. Go to the Cerulean Website for more information. I have park passes so you do not have to pay to participate. Unfortunately, there is limited space on the school bus so you will have to meet us out there if you choose to come. The itinerary is also in your mailbox.

This is a really exciting event and is just one of many BioBlitzes happening across the country, many in National Parks to help celebrate the centennial.

If you have any questions please feel free to call, text or email.



September 8, 2016
by Shane Boland Harrison

Wonderful Summer Projects!

A collaborative science and LA/SS summer reading assignment for the Pathfinder 8th graders consisted of reading The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway and creating a journal using the voice of the character of the boy in the story. The 7th graders were charged with reading The Man Who Planted Trees by Jean Giono and making a project that reflected conservation and stewardship. Today the students came together and in groups discussed the common threads that ran through both books. Dynamic conversations were heard which included words such as: patience, perseverance, goals, sustainability, compassion, observations – all traits we hope to see in our students! It was a wonderful way to start the first full day of school thinking deeply, sharing and of course laughing!

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September 6, 2016
by Shane Boland Harrison

Creative Writing Opportunity for Middle Schoolers

Dear Middle School Parents,

Here is an exciting opportunity being sponsored by the National Writers Series

Are you a middle school student with many great stories to tell but are not sure where to get started? Our own Duncan Moran will be teaching a long-fiction writing class this fall at Northwestern Michigan College.  Here are the details:


Tuesdays from September 20 – December 6, 2016, 7-8:30 pm
Northwestern Michigan College, Scholars Hall, Room 205
Instructor: Duncan Moran
Cost: $299
Registration Code CRN 4279
Sponsored by the National Writers Series

For  middle school students with a passion for reading and writing, this course will provide the inspiration, structure and critical advice needed to write a piece of fiction at least fifty pages long. The class will examine characterization, the interplay between setting, plot, and character, dramatic plotting, and the craft of writing. The class is ideal for young people who love writing and don’t quite know how to give their stories the form necessary to make it work.

About the instructor: With a BA in Literature and History and an MFA in Creative Writing, Duncan Moran has been a writer-in-residence in the Leelanau County Public Schools, taught as an adjunct professor of English at NMC, and taught middle school at the Pathfinder School. With published poems, essays, and short stories, he has also been a recipient of an Individual Artist Award from the Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs.

To Register:

Call (231) 995-1700 or Click here to register

September 1, 2016
by Shane Boland Harrison

Welcome Back – First Day Plan

Welcome back fellow scientists! I am really looking forward to an exciting year of asking questions, exploring new ideas and experiencing hands-on science. I thought I would let you know what we will be doing on Wednesday your first day back! We will begin at 8:15. All 5th – 8th graders should report to the North Portable (Duncan and Shannon’s classroom) at 8:15. We will have a chance to meet and greet each other, hear from Coach Belanger about sports, and Ms. Tobin about the music program. The Bell Ringing ceremony will begin at 9:00am. After this you will return to the portable to get your locker assignments, schedules, and do some team building activities. At 11:15 we will go to the Memorial Garden to help set up for the picnic. School is OVER at 11:30. You are then the responsibility of your parents. Remember no one is allowed at the Beach without adult supervision.

I am super pumped about this year and can’t wait to see all of your wonderful faces!!! Please contact me sharrison@thepathfinderschool.org or text / call 231-883-8426 with any questions.



July 28, 2016
by Shane Boland Harrison

7th and 8th Grade Summer Homework

We are sure you are bored with summer fun by now and anxious to get your brains working again (well sort of anyway!). Here is the collaborative homework assignment from me and Duncan that was sent to your parent’s email. If you have any questions please feel free to email, phone or text either one of us. Enjoy these last days!

For Eighth  Grade

Old Man and the Sea 8th – Google Docs

For Seventh Grade

The Man Who Planted Trees – Summer Homework – Google Docs



June 8, 2016
by Shane Boland Harrison
1 Comment

2016 Stepping Stone

The last days of school are always bittersweet for our 8th grade class. One final tradition is to make a stepping stone, which represents a piece of each student, forever to stay on our campus as they take their next step to high school.

A lasting memory from the class of 2016

A lasting memory from the class of 2016


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