7th Grade Weekly Note

Good afternoon, parents!

Happy February -- here’s what we’ve been up to in the seventh grade during this first week of the second month.

At the beginning of the week, the class wrapped up our exploration of the “food” Seed of Change by sharing their PSAs with each other. Check in with your child this weekend about whether there were any particularly memorable or effective campaigns!

We then kicked off our next "Seed" – medicine and disease. In language arts we explored some just-over-the-horizon medical technology in gene testing and gene editing, considering the potential promise and the potential pitfalls of technology like CRISPR. We then pivoted to consider more day-to-day medical concerns like checkups, prescription drugs, and healthcare insurance. We examined how all forms of insurance generally work, then moved on to discuss what particular challenges and forces shape health insurance costs and coverage in the United States. We also briefly looked at how the Affordable Care Act attempted to change those forces, and why it hasn’t been as successful at controlling cost as initially hoped. We hope you enjoyed discussing some of these issues with your children as part of their homework this week -- thank you for your time and generosity on that front! Those conversations fueled a great start to class today by helping illustrate just how many choices face the American health insurance shopper and how much knowledge you need to navigate and understand your options.

In science, we got some hands-on experience by learning about bacteria, viruses, and communicable diseases before venturing out into the school building to swab for samples that we’ve been cultivating in petri dishes. We will measure the bacterial growth in the dishes and determine which areas of our school carry the most bacteria. We also explored an issue at the intersection of health and entertainment -- the ongoing issue of concussions and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in football.

In cultural studies we prepared for our trip to the Penn Museum next week by examining images of artifacts and attempting to make inferences and conclusions about the people and civilizations that produced them. We also connected to our Seeds of Change work by reading a chapter from Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel relating to how disease shapes societies.

We also kicked off Black History Month by going to see Hidden Figures at the Roxy on Tuesday and viewing the Netflix documentary 13th in advisories over the course of the week. That film prompted many difficult, deep, and rewarding discussions, which we hope will continue at home. Thank you for supporting our continuing exploration of the history of social and racial justice and injustice in our country. 

Finally, we’d like to let you know about a few events coming up in the next week. First, this is a big weekend for TPS athletics! Tomorrow, the boys’ basketball team hosts their annual invitational tournament, and on Sunday the wrestling team will have a tournament here, as well. If you are around, come out and cheer on the Tigers! Lastly, next week there will be two performances of The Lion King musical, which has been in production in our MacGuffin-partnered musical theater intensive since the fall. Those performances will be in the Garage at 7:00 p.m. on both Thursday and Friday evenings. We hope to see you there!

Have a great weekend,

David, Jake, Steve, and Melanie