This past Wednesday our class went on a science expeditionary learning trip. We took a bus to a canoe spot and paddled in the Brandywine creek. After about a half hour, we got out and found a spot where we could test the water quality. We needed a place with flowing water because the macroinvertebrates need flowing water to breathe. We put a net in the water and started to scrub rocks that were in front of it. Then we put the net on a dry surface and looked for the macroinvertebrates. We sorted the macroinvertebrates and used our findings to see if the creek had good water quality. This spot had excellent water quality. We paddled down the creek more and then tested the water quality a second time. This time we were by a road so the quality was not excellent, but it was still good. I really enjoyed this trip and hope to experience more trips like this.
Recently we went to go see a live impersonation of a Hamilton and Jefferson debate. It was such an amazing experience for us to see history happening right in front of our eyes. In the days leading up to this event, we got to figure out our own interpretation of the Constitution, before hearing what Jefferson and Hamilton had to say about it. Did you know that it’s surprisingly difficult to interpret simple words? It’s incredible to see how people can come up with 7 different opinions on what one simple word means. That word is “necessary”. “Necessary” is used often in the Constitution and the bill of rights and yet no one really knows what they mean. Some people say that if something is necessary it is something that you simply could not physically do something without. Others interpret the term more loosely and believe that something is necessary if it makes doing something more convenient. For example, is a shovel necessary to dig a hole? Well let’s think about this. Technically you could just dig it with your hands, but it would be done so much more quickly and easily if you just use a shovel, and this is exactly where people like Jefferson and Hamilton disagree. Metaphorically, Hamilton believes the “shovel” is indeed necessary, but Jefferson believes the “shovel” is not necessary because hands can be used to dig holes. We had many group discussions on the topic of necessary, and we even talked about some of the amendments and what they could mean. At the end of the day no one really agrees, but it’s fascinating to hear the other side of things. It really makes you give thought to things you wouldn’t have given much thought to without hearing someone else’s opinion. We heard Hamilton and Jefferson debate in the same way we did, but I must say they were much more stubborn. The main portion of their debate was their arguments for different forms of government. Hamilton wanted one government that would rule over all of the much smaller state governments, but Jefferson wanted each state’s government to have more power than the central government. I think Hamilton made a good call, but it was interesting hearing about how close our government was to becoming an entirely different system. At the end there was time for questions and one question really interested me in particular, and that was “what do you think hamilton and jefferson would think about having an African American or a woman as president sometime in the future?”. They both seemed to be astounded that something like that could ever happen because of the fact that they lived in a time of slavery and discrimination against women, but Jefferson seemed very happy that that’s the way it could be for their ancestors. He wanted people living in this generation to look back at his time and think about how different it is now. He truly wanted our country to move forward for the better and never stop improving. This was a delightful surprise, considering the fact I went in as a bias Hamilton supporter, but now things don’t seem quite so black and white.Their performance was interesting, educational, and even humorous at times, and there’s no doubt it was a great way to learn about our spectacular founding fathers.
Last week we had to share our music project with the class. What we had to do was listen to Boom de ya da and put our own lyrics in. For the verses we had to sing about things we love. For the last verse we had to sing with our partner about things we both love. We had to use garageband to record our voices and iMovie to insert our pictures then add our voice track in. We also had an option to put our project on YouTube. That is what we did for our first music project, and I really enjoyed it.
These past few weeks at PRIED have been amazingly awesome! We’ve had all our subjects and specials and even a field trip! For our field trip we went canoeing in the Brandywine to learn about assessing the cleanliness and biodiversity of a body of water (and not to mention have fun canoeing). We used tools to test the water quality such as a square meter, which is really just a square meter yellow net that we used to collect macroinvertebrates and yogurt cups, which were surprisingly helpful in the process of keeping these creatures wet as we counted them up. We also used spoons and paint brushes to sort through the rocks and leaves and spot any macroinvertebrates hiding from us. Once the creatures were collected, we tried to identify what macroinvertebrates they were and determine if they could only live in clean water which is a huge indicator that the water quality is excellent. If they could live anywhere this is not so much of an indicator of anything. Luckily we found a wide variety of critters, many of which were great for streams. Overall, the Brandywine is an excellent body of water, flowing with copious life. Not only was it amazing quality, but amazing for spotting beautiful birds and other animals of all sorts. We saw turtles, fish, kingfishers, green herons, large spiders, even a leech, and my personal favorite, two massive great blue herons. It was a fabulous sight, and it all ended with a nice swim and a friendly canoeing race (so much fun!). We will soon be doing a follow up project on this great trip, and the project ideas seem so fun!
Last Thursday night we went to a debate. This was a reenactment put on by actors portraying Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton. This debate was showing the differences between Federalists and Democratic Republicans. One of the main differences was that Republicans followed the constitution more strictly, while Federalists followed it more loosely. Another difference was that the Federalists favored a single government, ruling over the entire country, while Republicans thought multiple small governments with limited power for each state would be better. We also got the chance to ask them some questions and take picture with them at the end. I think this was a very fun trip, and I would like to go on one similar to it in the future.
In history we are learning about the Hamilton and Jefferson debates. We went to watch a reenactment of the debate to learn more. They reenacted the debate and taught us about what Jefferson wanted and what Hamilton wanted. Jefferson was an Anti-Federalist and Hamilton was a Federalist. Hamilton wanted a national bank and Jefferson wanted the states to have control of their own money. Towards the end of the debate they let us ask questions that helped us learn a little more about their disagreements. I really liked this debate, and hopefully we can watch more debates like this soon.
Last week, on Wednesday, we went canoeing in the Brandywine. We went for a science field trip to learn about the quality of the water. To learn about the quality we used a net, and we put the net in front of us. Two people held the net and the rest took rocks and scrubbed them to get all the macro invertebrates off. After we did that we got a cup, paint brush and spoon and searched the net for macro invertebrates. After we sorted all the macro invertebrates, we had a chart that told us how many points each one was worth, and then we counted up the points which told us about the water quality of the stream. We tested two spots, and the first spot was excellent while the second spot was good.
Yesterday we went to a Hamilton and Jefferson debate. There, Hamilton and Jefferson acted as if they really were the real Hamilton and Jefferson. They answered questions as the real Hamilton and Jefferson would have. I think the most interesting part of the whole debate was when they got to the subject of the interpretation of the word necessary. Hamilton believed that an object was “necessary” if it made something useful. However, Jefferson thought that an object is only necessary if you absolutely need it to do something. In all, the debate was really fun to watch.
I’m so excited to be starting this new school year! We’ve already done some really fun things, and I can’t wait to do more! One of the things we are doing is creating a project about lesser known terrorist attacks in honor of 9/11. For this project my group is making an iMovie presentation, resembling a talk show. This year, we also have a new science teacher, Connie. I really love working with her because of her wonderful personality and teaching style. So far we have been learning about water quality and watersheds. One day, Connie sang a song about watersheds dressed up as a fish. I think that will be one of the highlights of my year. I’m really happy to see new students this year, and I am excited to work with them!
Last Friday, we went to Ramsey Farm to participate in a Bio Blitz where we helped to observe and record different species. Since we were a small group, we were paired with another small group from Independence. There were four stations that we went through, but one of the ones I liked the most was the plant one. There, we walked around with people from the nature conservancy and identified plants. Most of them the guides pointed out, but some plants we recognized and knew the names of. We could record these using an app on our phones, called I-naturalist, which allowed us to take a picture of the plant and upload them to the app. Sadly, we had some trouble with internet access on the trails, but I still enjoyed taking pictures of the plants and animals that we encountered. This was a very fun field trip, but sadly I believe it’s the last trip. At least there’s still next year!