In Life Science students just finished looking at cells with a microscope. They compared
and contrasted onion cells with their own cheek cells. We are now looking at atoms and
elements to understand how our body dissociates these elements when we eat only to put
them back together in a form we can effectively use. We will look at the difference between
carbohydrates, lipids and proteins and explain how each type benefits and can harm our body.
We will examine how eating an unhealthy diet can lead to major health issues by watching the
movie “Supersize Me”.
7th grade students will look at cell division and discuss what happens when a cell
develops cancer. We will watch movies dealing with the effects of cancerous cells and see
what happens with mouth and throat cancer. In the laboratory students will remove their own
DNA and look at it, find the blood type of a person, explore how materials move across the
cell membrane, discover how contagious diseases spread and determine the origin, look at their
genetic characteristics and predict the characteristics of their children. Later in the semester
students will dissect and examine many different animals in the laboratory.
The second semester for 7th grade students moves very quickly as we spend a lot of
time in the lab applying the skills we have learned in the classroom. If your child is struggling,
encourage them to ask questions. You can track what is happening in our classroom by checking
out my website at http://jimblankman.weebly.com/. There are many useful links, powerpoints,
and extra study materials to help your child be successful in science.
8th Earth Science
Earth Science students have been looking at categories of motivators, things that motivate
people to choose sides of an issue. We started looking at these motivators by reading a Dr.
Seuss book called “The Lorax”. The Lorax is a good book to show multiple motivators and is a
fun read for the students. Since reading Dr. Seuss, the information students have been reading
has been progressively increasing in difficulty. They have read; about river pollution on the
east coast, how playing video games can kill you, and about school lunches. Throughout the
semester we will delve into environmental issues that can be controversial. We will read and
discuss these issues trying to understand both sides of the issue by focusing on what motivators
led these people to choose their side of the issue. We will look at the issues associated with
tiling farmland including, flooding, groundwater depletion, hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico,
we will study the environmental issues associated with climate change, alternative energy and
Currently we are studying rivers and groundwater. They will determine what watershed
they live in and determine if a raindrop at their house travels to the Missouri River or the
Mississippi River. Students will look at how Iowa has changed over the past 150 years especially
western Iowa. We will learn how groundwater moves and what happens when a well goes dry.
We will try to understand the issues associated with the Ogallala aquifer in Nebraska and why
the Colorado River no longer reaches the ocean.
Every day one 8th grade student researches and presents the day’s weather in our morning
announcements. This has become an extra credit item. If your student wants extra credit,
encourage them to forecast the weather on our local YouTube channel.
This semester 8th grade students will be tested over 100 prefixes and suffixes they will
encounter throughout the remainder of their educational careers. We are encouraging students to
dissect words into parts to understand their meaning. Every Friday students take a 10 word quiz
online at Edmodo. You can track your child’s progress with a parent access code, ask your child
for the code.
You may also have noticed your child carrying less books home from school. The 8th
grade science class has been relatively paperless since the beginning of November. We will
continue to utilize our Google accounts for doing and turning in our class assignments. This has
cut down on late work as the students receive their homework online, make a copy of the
document in their account, and then immediately share that document back with me. With this
application I can track their progress and maintain a dialogue online as they do their homework.
Any questions they have are only a click away from being answered, whether they are at home,
or in study hall. We will try to remain as paperless as possible throughout the remainder of the
Check out my website at http://jimblankman.weebly.com/ to keep up to date on
everything happening with your child in earth science this year. On my website you will find a
tentative schedule for the remainder of the year, you will also find information on the homework,
powerpoints presented in class, and additional information to help your child have success in