JU-A Weekly Note

Dear JU-A Families,

This week was another week full of experiments and hands-on activities. In science, students worked hard to understand Archimedes' pulley system. In groups, they designed and built a “simple machine” system with wheels, ropes and pulleys.

It was lovely to return to the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education this Thursday! It was a sunny day and students were glad to be back in the outdoors. We continued our study of buoyancy there, along with JU-C. In small groups, students predicted the buoyancy of different blocks of wood and calculated their density (mass divided by volume). Students also learned that the same object (such as a ball of clay) can float or sink based on its shape and surface area.

In place of doing spelling for the rest of the spring, we have decided to spend Monday and Friday snack-time preparing students for the ERB tests this spring. This week we focused on giving students practice with "test wiseness" strategies such as process of elimination. Our goal with this preparation is for students to feel comfortable with the test-taking environment, as well as familiar with the topics and types of questions that they'll encounter on the tests.

As a continuation of your identity curriculum, we launched our discussion about race this Tuesday with all of JU. We prefaced our conversation by discussing the difference between a brave space and a safe space. We introduced the terms "marginalized identities" and "mainstream identities" in order to frame our understanding of race in society. Then, we watched and responded to a short video titled Is Race Real? in order to explore the ways that race is socially constructed and how ideas of race change over time. We will continue these reflections next week.

On that topic, thank you to those of you who have talked with your child about our upcoming affinity groups. If you haven't done that yet, please remember to read the email Emily sent out on April 13th about our Identity Curriculum. Please email your child’s advisor before Monday 4/18 to let him or her know which racial affinity group your child will join (“Persons of Color” or “White”). Thanking for your partnership as we engage in this important, complex topic.

Finally, we want to remind you that TPS City Country Camp registration is open. Regular registration ends on May 1. Junior Unit teachers Nick Dekker, Hilary Hamilton, Jenson Cheng, and David Stills are offering camp programming this summer. TPS camps are enrichment programs, allowing children to delve deeply into topics of interest under caring supervision and with the guidance of passionate, talented leadership. Take a look at the TPS City Country Camps Website for a complete list of camp offerings: http://www.tpschool.org/camps.

Enjoy the balmy weather this weekend!

Julia, Jenson, and Emily