NMS in the News!

3M grant gives Makerspace goodies to Nissitissit Middle School

Nashoba Publishing

POSTED:   11/21/2017 12:35:31 PM EST

 

By Anne O’Connor

aoconnor@nashobavalleyvoice.com

PEPPERELL — Middle school students will be going even more high-tech in a hands-on classroom where they can make things that work.

A $2,500 grant from 3M will enable the school to purchase screens for the Raspberry Pi teaching computers it already owns. They are set up in the school’s makerspace.

“It will give each kid a workstation,” said Evan Worth, technology and makerspace teacher at Nissitissit Middle School.

The innovative classroom comes at little cost to the district. “The whole thing is really grant funded,” he said.

“I’m lucky that we have some parents from 3M,” Worth said. “They kind of tipped me off about it.”

In the classes, which meet, once a week, students might make an electric circuit using tinfoil and batteries or print something on a 3D printer.

“All over the spectrum of STEM,” he said.

The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education sets standards for science, technology, engineering and math in the curriculum.

Students learn the basics of programming and making their own robots, Worth said.

“They love it,” he said.

Makerspace learning has been compared to technical classes from an earlier era, he said. Instead of cutting wood and designing shelves, kids use computers and other new technology.

The learning style can engage students who are not strong in traditional subjects.

 A couple of his students are really good at programming, Worth said. They made a really cool clock.

Teaching in a non-traditional classroom is a lot more work than teaching the standard curriculum.

“I’m making this, the whole curriculum, up,” Worth said.

The district is considering a new curriculum from a Massachusetts company, FableVision, which uses project-based learning.

“I think that will be good,” he said.

Using the makerspace as part of a project-based learning might mean something like an English teacher using the lab so students can use paper-cutters to tell a story.

Follow Anne O’Connor on Twitter @a1oconnor.

Read more: http://www.nashobavalleyvoice.com/ci_31470402/3m-grant-gives-makerspace-goodies-nissitissit-middle-school#ixzz4zAboZd7y

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Nissitissit River Trip!

“There’s a snake in my boot!”
“No, that’s just water!”, Mr. Pineda told one of his students.
Students and several teachers went to the Nissitissit River WMA on Hollis Street last Friday morning.  After a short walk, nets and tupperware containers were picked up at Mr. Pineda’s truck as children rushed to wade into the river to catch shiners, crayfish, dragonfly nymphs, clams, frogs, and toads.
Fifty gallons of water and many specimens were hauled back to school to set up the classroom aquarium.  By hauling water, problems in adjusting water pH and temperature are avoided.  Over the next several weeks, the aquarium will be a discussion topic as local ecosystems are investigated.
According to Mr. Pineda, there was one question that was asked over and over again:  “When is our next trip?”!🐟🐸

Merrimack River Watershed

The Merrimack River Watershed – shaped by human and natural influences – served as a living laboratory for the study of ecosystems and earth science for our 5th grade students last week!

Our students traveled by boat in Lowell’s canals to explore how natural and human forces are changing the Merrimack Watershed.  We collected water samples, performed tests, and analyzed data. Students also built and tested water filters to assess their ability to clean polluted water and used models to explore how the world’s water is distributed.  What a great learning experience. A big thank you to Mrs. Worth for organizing this trip!

Amphibians and Mud!

The study of amphibians in science class was enhanced by perfect weather….namely, rain, drizzle, and cool temperatures.

Our vernal pool was found to have more egg masses of Spotted Salamanders and Wood Frogs than ever before!  Some of the Wood Frog tadpoles are being used in the classroom to study embryology and metamorphosis.
Further fieldwork turned up both color phases of the Red-backed Salamander…and more Two-lined Salamanders in Varnum Brook (the brook itself) than we have previously recorded either.  Both of these salamanders belong to an unusual salamander family, the Plethodontidae, that is lungless and whose eggs undergo metamorphosis right in the egg, skipping the tadpole phase!  No need to travel to the tropics to study this cool kind of biology….it’s right on our campus!
Nevertheless, students may agree that the highlight of their fieldwork was watching Mr. Pineda fall into the mud!

CROWDFUNDING Opportunity

Interested in helping young people in our community?  Camp Invention is a week of fun that gets children excited about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). Your donation will help provide this great opportunity to students in our community who have a financial hardship. Help foster innovation by donating or sharing this link with others.

https://connect.clickandpledge.com/Organization/NIHF/Campaign/C-MA30-13390-17/Donation?param=xdx5nY5Bbi4%3D

Mr. Pineda’s students learn how to pick up chicks!

Yes, you read that correctly! Mr. Pineda’s students learned how to pick up chicks last week! Students learned about incubators and how important they are when they studied the conservation of endangered species like California Condors and Whooping Cranes.  Then, they had the chance to see how it’s really done, as the incubator was set with 40 Nankin Bantam eggs from Mr. Pineda’s farm.  The chickens are used to help study genetics, anatomy, physiology, animal behavior, flight, ethics, and ecology.  But, we don’t think the kids even notice how much they’re learning because the chicks are so much fun to play with….oops….we mean study!

3D Printing Project

Sixth graders have been learning about the new technology of 3D printing for the last few weeks in technology class. Students began by creating their own name tags in tinkercad and have recently been working on designs that will make teacher’s lives easier.

Students brainstormed ideas and then drew a prototype of what it might look like. Next, they used tinkercad to create a 3D model of their design. After printing some test pieces to test their design, some groups were ready to have their’s printed!

All groups were able to present their ideas to the class and each class voted for their favorite. Here are some highlights!