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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sorry friends!

The Internet is down at the Brisbin house! I need to call comcast, but can't sit an wait for them to come check it out. I just want to remind you that run for the zoo registration is due by Friday (the day after tomorrow). If you participate, you will get a free homework or extra points on a test. If you recruit family members or family friends to register and run, you will receive an extra free homework or more extra points on your test. Don't forget to hand in your registrations!!!! If you need extra forms, you can print from the link I posted last week. Here is a picture of gnash sitting under my desk as I work on activities for you all to do!!
This has been a publication from my iPhone..

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Highlights from this week in PE and Science

In PE this week the girls got their chance to play dodgeball. The game was quite fun and there were no injuries this time! Two balls did go over the fence, however, and since they are borrowed, I felt compelled to go over and get them. Our very unfriendly neighbor tried to sick his very friendly dog on me. It was a little comical, but I will never be climbing that fence again, no matter what goes over!

 In Boys PE, we played one of my favorite games: Metamorphosis! Everybody starts as an egg. An egg challenges an egg to rock paper scissors. The winner becomes a tadpole and the loser stays an egg. A tadpole challenges a tadpole; the winner becomes a dinosaur and the loser becomes an egg. The dinosaur challenged another dinosaur; the winner becomes a super hero and the loser becomes a tadpole. The super hero challenges another super hero and if he wins, he is the ultimate winner, and then becomes and egg again. I have to tell you, it is absolutely hysterical to watch! Check out how funny you look...

In 8th grade today, we played a board game based on everything we have been learning about Grizzly bears. The best part may be that the game pieces are chocolate teddy grahams... I mean the best part is how much we are learning!!

The 6th graders checked out the BioVan today and it was awesome!! The 6th grade class was on their best behavior and the educators from the zoo told me that they were one of the best groups they had every worked with! The students asked great questions, stayed focused, and raised their hands when they had something to say. The 6th grade group got a special treat, too! Because they stayed to help the educators pack up all their plants and posters and skins and antlers and skulls... the students got to see the live animals packed up too. One of the educators took the Desert King Snake out of its cage, put it in a pillow case, tied off the pillow case, put the pillow case in a tupperware with breathing holes, and put the tupperware in a cooler with a bunch of other ventilated tupperwares filled with critters. We learned what a snake looks like when it is about to strike and that a snake won't strike at a wide target. The snake likes the pillowcase because it makes it feel comfortable and secure! Strange...
Good job, 6th graders!

7th Grade: Notes on Meiosis and Weekend HW

Hey you 7th graders!

Tomorrow we are having a quiz on mitosis and then we are going to start studying meiosis. Here are the powerpoint slides for the upcoming lecture: Meiosis Notes

Over the weekend I would like you to complete the workbook section on Meiosis- Lesson Q Sexual Reproduction and Meiosis pages 84-87. When completing the workbook section, I would like you to complete all questions in the margins and complete the journal activity on a separate piece of paper. You do not need to make a foldable for this section.

This is a really great website about the differences between mitosis and meiosis that you can use to help you understand the concepts in the workbook: Mitosis v. Meiosis

Run for the Zoo!! And walk too!

The run for the zoo is coming up! I know a lot of you have participated in this in previous years and I am excited for our school to participate again this year! I am particularly excited to see you all run and have the chance to run with you. The run is on Sunday, May 6th and different runs start at different times. The 1mile fun run/walk and the 3mile (5k) fun run/walk are both only $10 for students. If you would like to challenge yourself and participate in the 5k race, which I think is a great idea, registration is only $12.

Because I really want everyone to participate in this event, I am offering extra credit for registering and running in one of the runs on May 6th. If you register and run, you will receive one free homework or 2 extra points on a test. For every friend or family member that you recruit, you will receive an extra free homework or 2 more points on a test. This could really help your grade, so encourage all your friends, cousins, aunts, uncles, parents, grandparents, and brothers and sisters to get out there and run for the zoo!

This event raises money for the Albuquerque BioPark, which includes the zoo, aquarium, and botanical gardens. The BioPark hosts many educational programs, such as the BioVan, which you were all able to experience this week. Without fundraisers like this run, educational programs like the BioVan would not be possible. Please support your BioPark!

If you need to print extra registration forms, click on this link: Registration Form

If you would like more information about the run for the zoo, click on this link: Run for the Zoo Website

Registration forms and fees are due to me by Friday, March 30th!

I almost forgot, every single person that registers will receive an awesome t-shirt and free entry to the BioPark for the rest of the day! What a fabulous way to spend a Spring Sunday!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Back to School!

Welcome back everyone!

I can't tell you how happy I was to see all your smiling, happy faces today! To those of you who participated in the regional science fair, congratulations! It sounds like you had a really positive experience, learned a lot, and represented the school in a really fantastic way!

Today's schedule was a bit crazy with the BioVan, new daylight savings time Salat, and picture pick-ups, but it was a good day and we will be back in the swing of things soon.

The BioVan educators did a great job presenting information about the habitats along the entire Rio Grande. We looked at Bear and Mountain Lion pelts from the upper Rio Grande in Colorado, we learned about beavers, coyotes, owls, and spiders that live in the Bosque, we learned about cacti, snakes, scorpions, tarantulas, and vinagaroons in the Chihuahua Desert, salamanders and humming birds in the sable palms sanctuary, and sea turtles, sharks, horseshoe crabs, and kangaroo rats on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. The educators really enjoyed interacting with the middle schoolers and the middle schoolers asked some really great questions!

(The sleeping Kangaroo Rat was almost as cute as Gnasher, but don't tell him!)

We also learned about how humans are impacting each of these habitats and discussed ways that we can make a difference.

Speaking of... I am hoping that we can participate in the Sandia Foothills Spring Cleanup. Every Saturday in April, volunteers will be gathering at different trails to pick up trash and clean up graffiti. I think this is a great way to serve the community and the environment at the same time (you will also receive extra credit for participating). The first clean up is April 7th at Copper Trail Head. This is where I hike most and I would really like to help maintain this area. I will definitely be attending this event, and I would love for you to join me! We can carpool from the school to save space in the trailhead parking lot and to be a bit greener. Here is the official website: Foothills Spring Clean-Up
And the official schedule:
April 7 : Copper trailhead. East of Tramway on Copper Ave.
April 14 : Indian School trailhead. East of Tramway on Indian School Road.
April 21 : Menaul trailhead. East of Tramway on Menaul Blvd.
April 28: Piedra Lisa Open Space. East of Tramway on Candelaria Road and south on Camino de la Sierra.

6th Grade
I am sorry I didn't get to spend much time with you today, but you will have your chance to hang with the BioVan animals and educators on Wednesday! The take home test I assigned over break is an important assignment. If you did not do it for some reason, you need to finish it and hand it in ASAP. It is worth a full test grade! If you did not hand in your packets from before break WITH A PARENT SIGNATURE it is also very, very important that you do so. Lets finish this school year with a really fabulous trimester with really high grades!!!
Here is the link for the homework for this week in case you or your parents need it:
G6 Homework March 19-23

P.S. Gnasher got his own back pack :)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Regional Science Fair 2012

Dear Regional Science Fair Competitors!
The exciting weekend is here! You should have received this email from UNM, which has all the information you will need for the weekend. In case you have not seen this, I am copying it here:

Dear Exhibitor,                                                                         

Congratulations, you have been accepted to participate in the Central New Mexico Science & Engineering Research Challenge which will be held on March 15, 16 and 17, 2012. Attached is a Schedule of Events to review in detail.  Briefly, Junior Division and Senior Division students will setup at the UNM Johnson South Gym (West Ramp) on Thursday 3/15/12 between 3:00-7:00pm.  Please note that project set up ends earlier than in previous years.

All students must be at their projects for judging on Friday 3/17/12 no later than 9:15am.  Lunch is scheduled on Friday from 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm (not provided) and judging will be finished at 3:45 pm.  Please check with your school/teacher to see what arrangements (if any) have been made for students.  The UNM Student Union is open and students will be able to purchase lunch at one of the SUB’s food vendors (i.e. Sonic, etc.) if they wish to remain on campus during lunch. Public Open House will be held on Friday 3/16/12 from 4:00-6:00pm.  Exhibitors are strongly encouraged to be at projects, but it is not mandatory. 

Some of you may not have included your Social Security Number on your entry form.  This information is not a requirement of participation; but without it, prize money cannot be issued by UNM.   If you do win a prize from the 2012 Research Challenge, please call us at 277-4916 and give us your SSN (we have voice mail on in the evenings, so if you leave a message, make sure you clearly identify your name, your school, and the number).  ALL required SSN’s must be received in our office NO LATER than May 1, 2012.  Students who have awards that require SSN’s for payment will forfeit those awards if we do not have their SSN by May 1st.

Also enclosed are the Display and Safety Regulations.  It is STRONGLY encouraged that you review this information closely before registration. This will ensure a faster and smoother project set-up process for you. Please be sure to adhere to these regulations closely.  You may display any items not mentioned as unacceptable. Items listed as unacceptable should be photographed, charted, drawn or simulated other ways.  Don't forget to have your abstract (or a stack of several abstracts) available for the judges to pick up and read about your project. We recommend 10 to 15 copies. It is also important to note that your name and/or school CANNOT appear anywhere on the front of your board.

During the Research Challenge, please make sure that you report any incidents to Karen Kinsman, Erin Garcia, or James Vigerust, Exhibit Hall supervisors at the exhibit hall door or the Research Challenge temporary office in Johnson Center Room 118/120.  We try to make the Research Challenge a pleasant experience for all students.  Every student who comes will receive a Research Challenge pin, t-shirt, and a participation certificate.  Everyone who competes at this level is to be congratulated.  Good luck!!!  See you soon.


Erin Garcia
Program Specialist Intern
STEM Education Outreach Programs
MSC02 1570
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131
Along with this email, a detailed schedule of events over the weekend was included. You can find that schedule by clicking on this link: Regional Science Fair Schedule
I am not sure when/if I will be able to attend the fair. I have yoga teacher training (5-10 on Friday, 8-6 Saturday, and 8-6 Sunday). I wish you all the best of luck and know that you will do an amazing job representing the school and yourselves! Please don't forget to bring anything and everything you need for your project (research report, extra copies of abstracts, etc....) If you have any questions or problems email or text me (parents should have access to my phone number, I am not going to list it here). Take lots of pictures and let me know how judging goes!
Good luck and I am so, so proud of you!!!
Mrs. Maggi

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Break Assignments 6, 7, & 8th grade

6th grade

Your assignment over break is the take home test on chapter 6. Please be honest. You may use your textbook, notes, and internet, but you may not receive help from your parents, brothers and sisters, or friends.

You are also welcome to continue working on the periodic table of elements project for extra credit. I would really, really, really like to see that poster finished! You will continue to receive 1 homework point for each card completed, but you will only receive credit if you include all the necessary information and the cards are neat and good-looking.

7th grade

Please complete your flip books and posters on the stages of mitosis. Bring them into class on Monday. I can't wait to see your creativity and artistic talent! I want to film the the flip books and hang up some of the posters, so make them awesome!

8th grade

You have a chapter in your workbooks to complete about animal behavior. Chapter 16 Animal Behavior pages 225-235. Please do all highlighting asked for, answer all questions in the margins, circle parts of the graphics when asked, and answer all questions at the ends of the sections. Basically do everything except make the foldables.


...Gnasher is. He went to the dog park and got a new toy today...

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

PE 3/6 Dodgeball and 3/8 Yoga in the Park

Boys played Dodgeball on Tuesday during PE. We only had one injury and it wasn't serious (just a couple scrapes after a trip and fall), so I believe the game was a success. Everyone seemed to have fun playing and I had fun watching. Teams were made by counting off 1, 2, 1, 2 so that teams were random and fair. We played with modified rules that allowed "out" players to get back "in" by catching a ball thrown to them by their teammates while they were in the other teams "jail".

Tomorrow (Thursday) Girls will be jogging to the park for yoga class in the fresh air!
I can't wait!!
*Please dress appropriately (sneakers and stretchy pants).

Mitosis Online Quizes

7th graders!
Test your knowledge!
Try these fun quizzes!
Fun Quiz 1
Fun Quiz 2
When you are finished, comment on this post and tell me how you did on the quiz! And, let me know what picture showed up when you finished!

Have fun!

G6 Atomic Bomb Discussion

We had a really awesome discussion about the atomic bomb in class today. Our textbook includes a "connection to language arts" section in each chapter. In this chapter, the reading was a summary that explained how the atomic bomb works and the effects it had on Japan and the end of WW2. We discussed the physics of the bomb as well as the social and political implications it holds. Our conversation included current issues between Israel and Iran and what we think would happen if a nuclear war ever did break out. The atomic bomb releases massive amounts of chemical energy in an extremely exothermic reaction. Potential chemical energy is stored in chemical bonds and in the stronger "bonds" that hold together actual atoms. Here are some short videos that explain the atomic bomb in history.

One of the students asked if it would be worse to have an atom bomb dropped or to blow up a nuclear reactor. The worst disaster at a nuclear power plant in history was in 1986 at the Chernobyl nuclear reactor in the Ukraine. I am posting a link to a site that has straightforward information about the accident and an interesting slideshow:
Here is a video about the Chernobyl accident:

Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster
More social studies lessons on World Events at

I really appreciated everyone's contributions to our discussion today. I am impressed with how attentive and thoughtful you were!
Please remember to do your HW on the textbook website and write down anything from this chapter that you do not completely understand so that we can review it before break.

I will be posting your takehome test on this blog on Friday. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

8th Grade Grizzly Unit

Hey 8th grade!

You did a great job continuing our discussion about grizzly bears today. I am posting the two clips we watched today and some of our discussion points in case you would like to review them.

Before watching this clip, I asked you to think about some of the changes in the relationship between humans and bears that may be coming about due to the increase in bear population in Yellowstone park. After the clip, we discussed whether your predictions were accurate. Some major points discussed were the bears bringing lots of tourists to the parks and people not respecting the personal space of the bears, people being irresponsible and leaving garbage at campsites, and other people working really hard to make sure that bears cannot get into garbage.

In the second clip we saw that as the bear population s expanding, bears are moving out of the park into towns in the surrounding area. Bears are not able to understand an imaginary line that says this side is protected land and this side isn't. Bears are getting into farms and killing cows and horses for food. This food source is easy and tasty for the bears, but it is really bad for the farmer. Cows and horses cost more than $1,000 each. If a bear kills 100 head of cattle, the rancher loses over $100,000. This is a lot of money. If bears are protected by the endangered species act, they are fitted with a gps collar and released when they make trouble for ranchers. We talked about whether this was right or fair and what each of us feels the right thing is to do with the bears. Several of you thought that the bears that kill cows should be killed. Junte made a point that the bear should be killed, but only after it has come back several times, in other words, it deserves a second chance. In the clip, the rancher decides to move his cattle onto different land. Most of us felt like this was the right choice. I agree. The bears were here first, after all!

Gnash got a bath!

Gnasher had a bath before school today. He pretends like he hates it, but he secretly loves it. After the bath he loves being towel dried and babied. When he gets outs of the bathroom he runs in manic circles with a huge puppy smile. Here he is still looking a bit unsure:
And here he is really happy and excited about being clean:

Monday, March 5, 2012

This is Bilal.

This is Bilal learning about chemical energy during our outdoor reading circle on one of the most beautiful spring-like days of the season so far!

Just for 8th graders!

Hey 8th grade!

I really enjoyed our discussion in class today. Each of you had some really great, thoughtful, and thought-inspiring ideas and I appreciate all of your input!
Here is the link to complete the homework: Grizzly Bear Information 
Remember to click on "Part 1: Bear Ecology" and complete the handout you received in class today with nice complete sentences and quality, thoughtful responses.

In case you would like to review the short video we watched in class today, it is included here:

Tomorrow, we will be going over your homework assignment and continuing to discuss the issues surrounding Grizzly Bears in and around Yellowstone park.

Hooray Odey!!!

Congratulations Odey on getting the most correct answers on Friday's math challenge! You answered 6 out of 10 answers correctly! The next highest score was 3 out of 10 and the average score was 2 out of ten! You rock!!!

It's not break yet, 6th graders!

Here is the link to your homework for the week. This is handed out on Monday, but just in case you don't have it handy, you can always look at here too.

Homework March 5-9

Watch these videos!!!

Video on Conduction
More science lessons on Heat & Temperature at  

Video on Convection
More educational videos on Heat & Temperature at  

Radiation Waves
More science lessons on Heat & Temperature at  

After watching these videos, try this fun quiz, if you haven't already done so!

Fun Quiz!!

Comment on this post and tell me how you did on the quiz. Also, let me know what cool picture showed up when you finished the quiz and how you think it is connected to the topics we are studying!

Have Fun!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Friday Combined Class

Friday class started with 20 minutes to complete a math challenge. The winner will be announced later on the blog and in class! 

 After the math challenge, the students were challenged in a different way. "Build the Tower" is an initiative that involves team-work, problem solving, cooperation, and collaboration. I built a tower out of construction paper, tape, paper cups, and popsicle sticks and kept it hidden behind a tri-fold. The students were divided into three groups and each group chose one representative to look at the tower. The representative looked at the tower for about 30 seconds, was given a envelop full of supplies, and went back to their group to build an exact replica of my tower. My tower was made out of:
  • 15 Paper Cups
  • 25 Popsicle Sticks
  • 5 sheets of Construction Paper
  • enough Masking Tape to hold it together 
Group 1 received:
  • 1 roll of Masking Tape
  • 10 Paper Cups
  • 25 Popsicle Sticks
  • 4 sheets of construction paper
Group 2 received:
  • 12” strip of Masking Tape
  • 25 Paper Cups
  • 15 Popsicle Sticks
  • 8 sheets of construction paper
And, group 3 received:
  • 6” strip of Masking Tape
  • 10 Paper Cups
  • 35 Popsicle Sticks
  • 3 sheets of construction paper 
Together, the groups had enough supplies to build three towers that were identical to mine, but on their own, it was impossible for any one group to build a tower just like mine. The groups worked for a while and quickly figured out they did not have enough supplies to build the tower. Two groups decided to cooperate, but together could only build one complete tower. Despite not building three towers identical to mine, the students learned some lessons about communication, listening, and teamwork. During discussion, some great points were made about cooperation and collaboration. Aminata pointed out that some countries have some resources but may lack others, while another country may have what that country needs, but is lacking something else. In order for people to stay fed and comfortable, countries need to trade and work together. Another student pointed out that this is necessary, even if the countries don't agree about everything or like eachother. Mohammad Shaikh brought up the point that for a technology company to build something like a computer or a cellular phone, they need to purchase technology plans and parts from other technology companies. Mahmmud said that the one student in each group that was able to see the original tower was kind of like the teacher and the other students needed to listen and follow instructions in order to learn and be successful. I can't wait to do more problem-solving and team building with the middle school!

 Don't forget to do your Homework!
6th grade: try at home mini-lab and handout multiple choice questions
7th grade: coloring packet- "mitosis and cell division"
8th grade: coloring packet- "mammals" 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

This is for you, 6th graders!

Watch this:  
Heat as Energy
More science videos on Heat & Temperature at

And then try this fun quiz! 

Leave a comment to let me know what you thought of the video, and how you did on the quiz!


Radiation Experimentation

Despite a bit of wind, we enjoyed some quality radiation from the sun today!

8th graders went outside for another reading circle and fresh air. We finished the chapter on mammals and birds. HW over the weekend is a coloring packet on mammals.

6th graders went outside for a lab about... radiation! We wrapped one jar in white paper and one jar in black paper and put 250ml of room temperature water in each. Then, the jars were put in direct sunlight and the temperature was measured every two minutes for 22 minutes. I am interested to see everyone's results. Do not forget to answer questions in 2 complete sentences!


7th graders missed out on lecture today due to picture day, but we will continue with the mitosis presentation on Monday. I, however, got to spend some time with the 4th ad 5th graders, who are very sweet. 7th graders will receive a handout on cell division and mitosis tomorrow to complete over the weekend.