Learning Updates for November 1 to November 5

November 5th, 2021

Spanish Students Learn Traditions of Day of the Dead

El Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a Mexican tradition to celebrate life and honor the loved ones who have died. The holiday is celebrated from October 31 through November 2. Spanish students at BDS celebrated and honored this tradition; we watched videos and engaged in different activities. Sixth grade students learned the history of the holiday, the differences between Halloween and Día de los Muertos, and drew altars inspired by the four elements and guided by this video; seventh grade students wrote biographies and created altars for a person they chose, and eighth grade students focused on this information to construct altars and bake pan de muerto. Please click here to see the creative approaches students took to celebrate el Día de los Muertos. 

Fifth Grade Explores How Languages Get Started

During the fifth grade language, culture, and community class, students observed and discussed how humans started learning language and learned some scientific theories for the first words. After a series of activities and observations, the students wrote their hypotheses and shared them with the group. It was so fun to see them working as linguists and explaining and discussing their theories.

– Ana Maria Restrepo, grade 5 foundations for language learning and middle school Spanish teacher 

PE Update: Trail Adventures

If you happened to be out walking through Lone Tree Hill this week you may have noticed very polite and adventurous students enjoying the late fall sunshine. Our physical education classes were trail-oriented this week, with cross-country, outdoor adventures, and hiking units occurring across the lower school grades.

The trails offer an incredible opportunity to learn about stewardship, develop fitness, and practice mindfulness. We learned hand signals so our shouts wouldn't disturb other nature appreciators (be they human or animal), paused to listen to the sounds or observe the sights around us, built cairns, and tried our hands at catching falling leaves. It was a reminder of how fortunate we are to have such wondrous landscapes accessible directly from our campus, and a chance to connect with the land and with one another.

– Alex Tzelnic, physical education teacher

Arts Update: Sixth Graders Start Strumming String Instruments

After sharpening their rhythmic and collaborative skills with bucket drums, the sixth graders in music class have begun learning to play the ukulele. This week, they kicked off the unit by learning one of the most famous ukulele songs of all time: Aloha 'Oe by Queen Lili'uokalani. After learning about the fascinating history behind the song, the song's composer, and the cultural context in which it was written, they learned how to play the chords and strum a steady pattern–the first step in playing any accompaniment instrument. Later in the week, they start to play melodies, learn the names of the notes, and compose their own strumming patterns for songs. The unit focuses on breaking down the musical elements of ukulele playing and tinkering with them. What would happen if we strummed in 3 instead of 4? How would it sound if we used different chords here? Questions like these are what we explore in our musical time together.

– Tyler Cotner, music teacher

Eighth Grade Science Learns About Blood Types, Human Inheritance

In eighth grade science, students have been studying patterns of human inheritance, specifically how blood types are passed from parents to offspring. On Tuesday, students had the opportunity to test their own blood to determine their blood type. Using an Eldon card, students combined a small sample of their own blood with the antibodies on the card. Then they waited for the blood samples to react with the antibodies on the test cards. On Thursday, students then took some time to look at the distribution of blood types in their class relative to the distribution of blood types in various races. They found that the distribution of blood types matched pretty well for some blood types and not as well for others for each of the races. For example, about 50% of students who tested their blood were type O while 11% of students were type AB. This activity also allowed students to revisit the concept of probability and the idea that there needs to be sufficient data to ensure that the outcomes provide meaningful information.

– Sandra Trentowsky, grades 7 & 8 science teacher

Second Grade Combines Science and Art for New Garden Mural

Second graders have begun work on their class mural based on the book, Up in the Garden, Down in the Dirt, by Kate Messner. This collective mural of the BDS garden will highlight the interconnectedness of the insects and birds to the success of the garden and how the different plants thrive and grow. Each student is using photos of the various garden items including insects, birds, and a variety of vegetables and colors to create a mural showing how our garden grows. As a group the students will paint a background to show the soil and root vegetables below, the plants growing above ground, and the variety of species of insect and birds helping out above the garden.

As part of their science curriculum, students make weekly visits to the garden to explore, to use all their senses, to participate in garden maintenance, to observe our honeybee hives, and to learn about vegetables and pollinator plants and their importance. These activities set a foundation for their later exploration in the classroom of food access and food insecurity.

– Nancy Fell, grade 2 teacher

Recipe Written in SpanishLower School Student Building A CairnSixth Graders Learning to Play the UkeleleEighth Grader Testing Blood Type in Science ClassSecond Graders Painting a Garden Mural