The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, November 17, 2000

Features

Seventh graders use science, other subjects to plan Mars colony

The seventh grade team at the Carlisle School is working together to create a more interdisciplinary approach to learning. Math teacher Susie Brinner described the Mars City Alpha project in which the students research what would be needed to establish a colony where people could live on Mars. This project combines science, math, social studies and language arts, she told the Carlisle school committee at their November 7 meeting.

Problem solving in math

A new component that has been added to seventh-grade math this year is the "daily tune-up", Brinner said. A math problem is given and students must explain in writing how they solved the problem. This type of problem had already been used in eighth grade and had been found useful in helping students with similar problems on the MCAS test.

Interactive social studies

In social studies the students have been developing an "interactive" notebook, special education teacher Jessica Deyesso told the committee. She explained that the students take notes in class on one page, then for homework, they use the notes to write something on the opposite page that helps them to learn and remember the material covered in class.

Deyesso also explained the "daily news video" that social studies teacher David Zuckerman (who was not present because he had gone to vote) uses once or twice a week to focus on current events. He tapes something of interest from the nightly news and shares it with the class. The students then write a paragraph answering a question they are asked about the news item.

Language arts teacher Steve Bober talked about the portfolio-based assessment that has been expanded to include social studies as well as language arts. He explained that since one portfolio is used for both classes, he and Zuckerman have been working together to find where their objectives overlap. All students will make a portfolio of classwork materials that best represent what they have learned, including written reports, reading records, and tests. Eighty percent of the students have chosen to participate in the portfolio-based assessment, sharing their portfolio with their parents at student-led conferences in December, March and June. The rest have chosen to receive traditional grades.


2000 The Carlisle Mosquito