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Right to Read Week

right to read- 7-1

assistance dogs read2017Back in May, Christ the King celebrated National Right to Read Week with some exciting activities!

Our seventh graders acted as reading advocates and heroes by pairing up with their first grade “buds” to read together. Not only does this enhance friendship bonds throughout the school, it shows our young readers that reading can be fun.

And our students in kindergarten, first and second grades were visited by Assistance Dogs and their handlers. They took turns reading to each other and the animals, as well as learning how Assistance Dogs are trained and how they help their owns with various life skills.

At Christ the King, we love to share our love of reading (and learning) with our fellow students and others in the community.

Stick with us through the summer as we highlight more, in Raiders Rise!

Our Kindergartners Observe the Life Cycle of Butterflies

butterfly life cycle
The Kindergarteners in Mrs. Julie Hansen’s class studied about the life cycle of butterflies this spring.
 
All butterflies go through complete metamorphosis, which includes four stages:
  1. Egg: they begin as small, round, oval, or cylindrical eggs (their shape depends on which type of butterfly laid the egg).
  2. Caterpillar or larva: When the egg hatches, a caterpillar emerges.
  3. Chrysalis or pupa: remarkable changes are taking place within.
  4. Adult butterfly: They learn to fly within a few short ours and begin their search for a mate, to start the process all over.
Mrs. Hansen’s class received a live butterfly kit. They were in the caterpillar stage upon arrival.
During this phase, they started out very small and basically just ate and grew inside containers. They molted, or shed their skin several times during this phase because they were eating and therefore growing quite rapidly.
 
When they reached their maximum size, each caterpillar formed a chrysalis (often mistakenly called cocoons, which are formed by moths). 
 
Inside the chrysalis, the big transformation occurs. When they were nearing emergence, Mrs. Hansen and her students took them outside to our campus’ butterfly garden and let them go.
 
The students were excited to see the ever-changing life cycle of the butterfly. And much like the beautiful butterflies, our kindergarteners were very busy changing and growing this year. 
 
Also like with the butterflies, our kindergarten teachers, Mrs. Hansen and Miss Peatee, are experiencing the bittersweet time when they must allow their students to transform and go off… into first graders.
 
Keep following as we watch our Raiders Rise to new challenges, both inside and out of the classroom!

8th Graders Explore the Battle of Gettysburg

battle of gettysburg
The Battle of Gettysburg was considered the most significant land engagement in the American Civil War. Though it lasted only three days, from July 1st through July 3rd, 1863, it decimated General Robert E. Lee’s Confederate forces, allowing the Union to take control and inevitably win the war. 
 
Last week, Mrs. Angie Rosengarten’s 8th Grade Social Studies class participated in a reenactment activity. The students were divided to Confederate and Union captains and soldiers. The students followed orders including standing at attention while listening to a recording describing different aspects of the battle in details.
 
In the first two days alone of this battle, over 35,000 soldiers died. One of the orders the captains gave was to write “death letters” to their loved ones in case they didn’t make it home.
 
This part of the activity seemed to have the most impact. As students read their letters aloud, they seemed to really grasp the gravity of what the soldiers were facing. Americans fighting Americans. Family members fighting family members. The very real possibility that their “side” may lose and that they may never see their parents, wives or children again. 
 
Another powerful aspect of the exercise was when the students received cards assigning them roles as doctors, stretcher-bearers or injured soldiers. This illustrated how the doctors in the fields had to make quick judgment calls, trying to rescue as many soldiers as possible, and leaving some of the more seriously wounded soldiers to die. 
 
This experiential exercise brought a very important part of American History alive to our eighth-grade students. 
 
Stay tuned for more inside-the-classroom activities as our Raiders Rise!

Mark-Recapture Lab: 7th-Grade Science

7th grade science activity- determining animal populationExtirpation, or local extinction, is the condition of a species that ceases to exist in the chosen geographic area of study, though it still exists elsewhere.
 
For example, several species of bees are endangered in some areas and completely extirpated in others, due to the use of certain pesticides.
 
But how do scientists know how many bees (or any type of animal species) exist in certain areas? 
 
Mr. Jason Szynkowski is teaching our seventh graders about how wildlife biologists determine a species population census in the field. In this method, animals are (humanely) trapped, then marked or ear-tagged, and then released back into the wild. Another sample is then captured and counted, comparing the unmarked animals to those who’ve already been captured and marked. This process is repeated many times. The population is then calculated in an area based on the ratio of marked to unmarked animals.
 
This week, our seventh-grade scientists ventured into the lab to simulate the method using elbow macaroni to represent the animal population. They separated into groups and were given a numbered brown paper bag with a certain amount of macaroni inside. Mr. Szynkowski marked some and kept track of each bag's total population and marked population.
 
The students gently shook the bags, and without looking into it, removed 30 macaroni. They counted the number in that sample of how many had been marked and recorded it on their data sheet. They returned the sample to the bag and repeated the process four times, each time documenting their marked count in their log.
 
They used the following formula for each capture to generate a population estimate: N=(M∙S)/R
N: population size estimate
M: marked individuals
S: size of population
R: marked individuals recaptured
 
After five trials, they calculated the average population size. The students then emptied their bag onto the table and counted the actual population size. Mr. Szynkowski confirmed the accuracy of the population size.
When asking the students what they thought of the project, Marielle said, “The experiment really brought the lesson to life.” Nina agreed, stating “It made it easier to understand what we’ve been learning in class.”  Kaci offered, “Because the experiment related so closely to the lesson, it will definitely help us on the test.”
 
As an observer, it was exciting to see the students so engaged. They worked together to count the macaroni population, hypothesize why the actual count and estimate were close but not exact, and to ensure each group member was participating and understanding what was happening throughout as well as its significance to the lesson.
 
Way to go on another fun and educational experience, Mr. Szynkowski and 7th-grade scientists! 

5th Grade Building Bridges: The Engineering Process

bridges

Ben Franklin once said, "Tell me and I forget, teach me and I remember, involve me and I learn."

 Kinesthetic, or tactile, learning is when students take an active, hands-on approach to learning (as opposed to watching a demonstration or listening to a lecture.). 
 
The fifth graders at Christ the King recently had an opportunity to learn about the engineering process. Two guest speakers (who were different types of engineers) came and spoke to the class. 
 
Afterward, science teacher, Mrs. Carrie Alvarado, assigned a project where the students were divided into teams of three to explore the engineering process in building a bridge.
 
There are five main types of bridges: beam, truss, arch, cable-stay, and suspension. Their first step was to research each type and describe the different aspects of each. Next, they were to brainstorm on which type of bridge they wanted to build. 
 
The teams were instructed to draw a blueprint/prototype of their designs which should include the materials that would be used, the measurements and the testing process. Each bridge was to span a space of a minimum of 25 cm, but no longer than 50cm. 
 
Finally, using the materials provided by Mrs. Alvarado, the teams built their bridges, recording their observations in an engineering log as they went. To test, they slowly added weights until the bridge would either flex to 2cm, tip over, or collapse.
 
After testing, they were able to redesign their bridges. They made modifications using any of their own materials. The redesigns were expected to meet measurement requirements, length, and height and holding a minimum of 500g without bending under pressure.
 
The students were interviewed during the build and redesign processes. And each expressed enthusiasm with the project. Many of them stated that they didn’t realize how much went into building a sound and safe bridge and would be paying more attention to the bridges they travel over in the future.
 
Hannah Schoen said, “It was a lot of fun. And challenging. After a few tries, we got it!”
 
This was the first year Mrs. Alvarado assigned this project. She was excited to see how engaged the students were and is looking forward to doing more kinesthetic projects in the future. She says, “We had two engineers come into the classroom to speak about their jobs. A thank you to Mr. Reimer and Mr. Keil for inspiring many students to think about a career in engineering.”
 
In addition to being a fun, hands-on lesson, it encompassed a cross-curriculum learning- as students used science, math, and technology to complete it.
 
Stay tuned to our new blog area for more insights into the different classrooms at Christ the King and watch our "Raiders rise!"

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