Another Awesome Week @ManorNewTech (Week 11)

During Week 11 at Manor New Tech, many classes finished projects and held presentations in preparation for finals review and exam week next week.  I observed classes in science, engineering, math, and humanities as part of an effort to give all MNTH teachers at least one round of walkthrough feedback before the end of the first trimester.

Early in the week, I observed Ms. Davis and Ms. DiMaria team teaching a project on truss bridges.  The students were creating fairly complicated Inventor assemblies that modeled different parts of the bridges with the aid of workshops and one-on-one tutorials.  The Inventor manipulations were complicated enough that Ms. Davis had to demonstrate the same operations multiple ways: on a 3D model, on a color-coded diagram, and on a screen viewing of Inventor itself.  Ms. DiMaria assisted by circulating around the room and helping students not involved in workshops.



In the Environmental Systems class, Ms. Hart’s students built eco-columns and gathered quantitative and qualitative data over time in order to investigate the nitrogen cycle.  The students practiced how to make careful measurements of various types and how to notice and relate several data trends observed over periods of time lasting several days.



In the Calculus class, Mr. Merced’s students investigated the meanings of the first and second derivatives and the integrals of position versus time (velocity) graphs by gathering golf ball trajectory data.  They videotaped the motion using their iPads and used Desmos to analyze their data.



In the Biology course, Mr, Ray’s and Mr. Adeboyejo’s students are in the middle of a zombie project on DNA mutations.   On the day I dropped by, students were creating different types of mutations in their DNA models and comparing the appearances of the DNA chains before and after the transformations.



In Ms. Hart’s Anatomy & Physiology classes, students finished creating models of amusement parks with organ system themes.  The students represented the digestive system and one other organ system of their choice in their parks.



On Thursday, we were visited by several teachers from an elementary school in Beijing, China.  Although their visit lasted only a couple hours,  they got to observe several presentations and observe a lot of samples of student work at our school.



They got to watch the Gr 12 Humanities Fantasy SCOTUS presentations.  In the presentations, the students impersonated Supreme court justices and lawyers.  ALL the students applied a lot of critical thinking and had a lot of fun while acting out their roles, even students who are typically hard to engage in tough projects.  I really enjoyed watching the lawyers present their cases and watching the justices deliberate in the back room.  In one case, the justices declared neither side the winner because they thought that neither side used the Constitution to make a strong argument.



Our Chinese visitors also got to view and interact with some of the new student art installations around campus.   They got to go inside the finished installation shown below.  Prior to hanging up the tarps on a wooden frame suspended from the branches of a tree in our courtyard, the students invited many teachers and staff members to place their handprints and signatures on the tarps.  The tarps form a box that’s filled with hand prints and positive messages about persistence and teamwork.



The art installation shown below asks viewers to use paper attached to the iPhone’s Google doc icon to write positive messages.  Then the messages are placed inside the iMessage icon box or the Mail icon box.  I think our visitors left at least one message in Chinese.



The piece on the bottom left appears to be a haunted house on the outside.  On the inside are many images of war.  On the right is a tribute to a special educator who will not be named in this blog article because it’s a surprise.



Later that same day,  our counselors and students on an Anti-Bullying committee hosted Mix It Up Lunches during A and B Lunch.  Students had the opportunity to meet new people while eating lunch at mixed up tables.  They also facilitated games that help students see how much they had in common with other students they may not know.



On Friday,  I watched Gallery presentations in the Electronics class.   The students applied their knowledge of series and parallel circuits to wiring model homes.  It was cool to hear them explain why they wired some bulbs in series and some in parallel.



Also on Friday,  I watched the Grade 11 Humanities presentations.  They created and acted out skits based on their research of religious/scientific conflicts that impact educational settings.  Following their performances, they presented their themes and the thought processes behind their scripts.



On Saturday morning, the Robotics team presented at the FIRST in Texas conference at the University of Texas in San Antonio.  Sarah and Zuleima presented to a room packed with many rookie team members.  I thought their presentation was very detailed and yet clear enough for rookies to understand the importance of the inner workings of scouting.  A mentor from Grease Monkeys (FRC 457) asked a lot of questions and complimented their presentation.



Also on Saturday, two FIRST Robotics mentors, Dr. Jeffrey Erickson and Marguerite Shaffer got married.  Dr. Erickson has mentored our school’s Robotics team, FRC 2789, since 2010.  Marguerite mentors FRC 4610 from Bastrop High School.   Mr. Garcia, our interim principal, was the best man at the wedding.   I loved their robot place cards.  They even included a version of a Robotics bingo game to get people to mingle.  The wedding ceremony and reception were really lovely.  The vows were so sweet that I got a lil’ choked up; I’m sure I wasn’t the only one.


There were so many FIRST Robotics mentors there.  Many of the same mentors that presented in San Antonio drove back to Bastrop in time for the wedding.  It was nice to see the mentors looking relaxed and in nice clothes, as opposed to harried and running about Robotics venues in goggles and uniforms.  I didn’t recognize a few at FIRST.   I still had to wear my prescription goggles to the wedding because Kat (my dog) ate my glasses.  


For my final moment of Zen, here is my final tribute to the great work of our cafeteria staff because I’m putting myself on a slow carb diet until Thanksgiving to prepare for eating my way through NJ/NYC during the Thanksgiving break.  Bye Bye Asian Tacos!  Bye Raviolis!  Bye Bye Grilled Cheese Sticks!  Y’all were so great!


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