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News from the North House Weekly News & reflections from the middle school

Week of December 10th, 2018

Whether it's winter break, spring break, or summer, the weeks and days leading up to our breaks in the academic year are among the busiest at the middle school. Fun, creative, and meaningful traditions keep us busy as a community during every spare moment of the day.

Parts of North House and Garden Lane occasionally transform these days into busy workshops and assembly lines as we continue to nurture the entrepreneurial spirit behind North House Specialties for the upcoming Holiday Sale.

Please come by on Wednesday between 11am-3pm for some great student-made products and a cup of coffee from the Carline Cafe!

North House Specialties' service division continues its work helping to train Annie, a soon-to-be service dog.

Students and teachers have been writing letters of kind words and affirmations to each and every person in the middle school--filling each others' gift boxes with words that will lift our spirits during the holiday season.

Meanwhile, we've been working hard to produce this year's dramatic production for Friday's Solstice Celebration--a fun and meaningful holiday tradition. This year's production will have 4 acts, each based on a different novel the students have read.

Amidst the constant hum of energy and excitement as we approach our break, academic explorations remain a constant presence, as well. Science studies have been engaging students in hands-on and collaborative activities, directing their natural curiosity toward learning the science of anatomy.

The first activity tested our homeostasis (the body's ability to regulate stability by adjusting physical processes toward equilibrium). Students tested their reflexes by catching a ruler dropped by their partner. Then they disrupted their homeostasis by various methods (spinning around to get dizzy, closing their eyes, singing the alphabet loudly), then tested their reflexes again to see if the stress affected their ability to perform the task.

Students measured many of their bones and then compared ratios of body parts. Did you know that the ratios of the human form are consistent for almost all adults?

We created a graph of Wingspan vs. Height and each student put their data on the graph. This information could help an adolescent know if they are about to enter a growth spurt.

We read the Hippocratic Oath and a modernized version of it, then had a discussion about medical ethics and best practices for doctors and scientists.

Students prepared for their test on bones, joints, and muscles by spending "quality time with Rodney" (our skeleton)...

by using an app at the SMARTBoard called Visual Anatomy...

and by putting together a floor puzzle with bones and internal body systems labeled.

Anatomy is to physiology as geography is to history; it describes the theatre of events. --Jean Fran├žois Fernel

Last week, a trip to the Cleveland Museum of Art gave students the opportunity to study the human form in art.

We discussed how and why artists throughout history have chosen naturalistic and abstract approaches to depicting the human body.

Discussions were followed by quiet sketching in the galleries.

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. --Albert Einstein

Our studies of anatomy were concluded with student presentations and by dissecting fetal pigs to explore all of the body systems and compare them to human anatomy.

Presentations were based on individual research topics related to Anatomy. Some studied body systems while others designed an independent project, such as building a prosthetic hand from cardboard and string....

demonstrating how to read diagnostic x-rays...

and demonstrating the workings of lungs and the diaphragm.

The week is sure to challenge us with continued BIG work on various fronts. By the time our final holiday greetings have been said and we all venture off to our holiday vacations, students are sure to feel a sense of accomplishment, knowing that they are fully capable of contributing good and meaningful work to a community and to their own growth.

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