MA TVC Spuds January Newsletter

ACADEMIC ENGAGEMENT – Learning from the Snow

In our Habitat Project in January the class spent time learning about our own winter habitat here in Teton Valley. After a few lessons on the seasons, hemispheres, heat, and animal adaptations, the Spuds where off to make a hypothesis and try out some of their own theories using the scientific method. There first experiment was to find out how long it takes for a human body temperature to drop when out in winter conditions without the proper layers or shelter. Students took their external body temperature by using an infrared temperature gun on their neck in the warmth of the classroom. With this piece of data the students then made an educated guess or hypothesis about how much their body temperature would drop after going outside in the frigid conditions for ten minutes while scavenging for their next meal (chocolate). When released to the elements the class quickly found all the chocolate within only three minutes. Their temperatures dropped and then dropped again when they were sent to do one final scan of the recess yard. Back in the classroom the Spuds analyzed their new data points as they felt their body temperatures rise once more. We then took this experiment one step further as we learned about small mammals who burrow under the snow and go into torpor during the winter months. Students were given a small jar full of hot water as their mammal and were tasked with creating a shelter that could keep the water in the jar warm. Seven groups and seven jars were then sheltered out in the recess yard with each group using a different method. After revealing our mammals the next morning the class saw that everyone’s temperature had dropped drastically, but the ones that stayed the warmest had been buried deep in the sub nivian with some sort of buffer between them and the snow.

CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT – Checking in with Ourselves and Others

It’s the middle of winter, students and teachers are in the long haul from January to March before their next break, and the reality that we are going to continue to work hard and stay focused for the next three months is setting in. Often times at this part of the school year students are tired and this fatigue can allow for relationships and self care to falter. With this in mind, the Spuds have been putting in an extra effort to check in with themselves and others. This means setting aside time to talk with a teacher, friend, or group of friends to communicate their emotions and reach out for support. During these discussions all who participate have worked on listening first and then responding at appropriate times with their own perspective or perhaps a friendly suggestion. The most important part of these conversations are for students to realize what they can do to help themselves and how they can take responsibility for their own learning, friendships, and the way that they affect others. Our hope is that when the Spuds set aside time to work on themselves, then they can be better learners, better friends, and better communicators. The Spuds can then take their
communication skills and bring them to the classroom, recess yard, Reading Buddies, Community Meetings, and other whole school activities.

COMMUNITY FOCUS – Volunteering to Celebrate MLK Days

Alex from the Community Resource Center of Teton Valley came to speak to the 2/3 Mountain Lions about needs in the greater community of Teton Valley. This helped students connect their work in class to the outside world. Alex shared with them that rent costs, outdoor clothing and equipment are necessary needs in our community, and the Mountain Lions are thinking of ways they can address those needs in Project Lab. 


What is one thing you have learned through your Capstone or Independent Project research?

“I learned that canines are omnivores.” – Harriet

“I learned that it is more likely to die from a bee sting then a bat bite.” -Charlotte

“Japan’s ocean used to be so polluted that when they caught fish and ate the fish they would catch a disease called minamata.” – Josephine

“The Ironman movie was the first Marvel movie ever made. It was made in 2010.” – Westy

“I’ve learned that there are 44, 000 endangered species around the world.” -Thea

“ I learned that the Emperor Penguin is the tallest penguin.” – Rowan

“There are too many extinct animals to count.” – Johnny

“Glacier ice can be millions of years old.” – Colby

“I learned that Frida Kahlo liked to express herself with paint.” – Zoe

“Big cats are one of the most important animals in an ecosystem because they can be found all over the world in almost all biomes.” – Peter

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