JU-D Weekly Note

Dear JU-D Families, 

It was a great and energizing week back from break. The new year brought with it several fresh starts. 

We began two classroom projects. The Big Map project gives students the opportunity to make our outline map of China a 3-D model that captures what we’ve learned about topography, waterways, cities, and history.  Half of the class has been assigned to this project.  The other half of the class has begun the teahouse project.  Inspired by our trip to the Philadelphia Art Museum, students are now building background knowledge around the differences between Japanese teahouses and Chinese teahouses.  They are also studying the rituals, societal connections, history, and growing processes of tea.  This information will inform their choices as they construct a life-size teahouse which you will get to visit at our Open House on February 2nd.

We also began a nonfiction unit on Life in Ancient China.  This week, students read six pages independently, working (a) to understand what they read and (b) to retain what they learned from the readings.  Today, they took an assessment to gauge their comprehension and retention. We have begun the discussion about what it takes to figure out what is most important and then hold onto that information.  We will continue work with this text and these skills over the coming weeks.

Students also began to prepare for a science experiment around fast plants.  You can read about these interesting plants here: http://www.fastplants.org/about/the_story_of_fast_plants.php. Students will ultimately use their understanding of plant biology to design an experiment to grow the greatest number of seeds possible.  This look at reproductive success will continue as students participate in our bodies curriculum throughout the winter, and it will also connect to our study of the trophic pyramid this past fall. Lots of connections mean a greater chance of long term memory retention.

Not all was new, though.  Students are using the background knowledge they built about ancient civilizations to write a second auspicious places paper.  This week, they completed their research, though some students are filling in gaps over the weekend.  Next week they will write the paper.

Want to start a discussion about school with your child?  Consider asking them these questions:

  • Where did you decide to place your new civilization?
  • On which class project are you working?
  • What body systems did you learn about this week?
  • How did you spend your lunch period this week?

It was an excellent start to the new year, with lots of curiosity and participation from our JUD scholars.  We look forward to more next week!

Enjoy the weekend and stay warm.


Noelle & Nick