Currently Viewing Posts Tagged 6-8 team

Hunter-Gatherer or Agricultural Settlement?

Using LEGO blocks to study prehistoric lifestyles.If you lived in 5000 BC, would you prefer to be a hunter-gatherer or live in an agricultural settlement?

This was the question explored by Ms. Ballard’s 6-8 team social studies class.

And what tool did they use to consider the advantages and disadvantages of these two lifestyles? LEGO®, of course! 

Every person alive today is a descendant of expert hunter-gatherers who lived before 10000 BCE. They moved around based on the time of the year and the distribution of their foods, animals as well as fruits and grains.  This lifestyle did not allow people to reside in a permanent home or to have many possessions.

As they learned how to maintain a herd of animals and to harvest crops, however, people ceased their nomadic lifestyle and established settlements, allowing homes to be built and objects such as pottery and furniture to be made.

So, which life-style would you prefer: that of the hunter-gatherer or the agricultural settlement?

To more fully explore the advantages and disadvantages of each, students used LEGO® to build depictions of each lifestyle. Consider, for example:

The life of the hunter-gatherer included regular, moderate exercise and a balanced diet of seasonal fruits, vegetables and nuts. By necessity people lived and traveled in small groups, had limited possessions, and, if they didn’t like their neighbors, they just moved on.

People living in agricultural settlements became dependent on crops and animal herds, and lived with the possibility of famine if bad weather or disease caused crops to fail and animals to die. An increased labor was needed to maintain the crops and herds, and people also had to deal with the issue of how to store and guard the food in case of future famines. And as territorial issues began to arise, governments were established to manage resources and resolves conflicts . . . .

So, again, which life-style would you prefer: that of the hunter-gatherer or the agricultural settlement?


Portrait Photography Encourages Discussions on Expression 

Sophia's edited photoPortrait photography is the opening unit in a new Art and Technology elective for 6-8 grade students.

Students are considering how photographs of a person can capture their personality. Students are also learning how photo editing can adjust a viewer’s perception of the person in the photograph.

Students began the unit by taking photographs of each other in various poses and capturing different expressions. Students reviewed the photos and discussed what they thought the body language and facial expressions of the person in the photograph suggest about their personality or what they were feeling.

Next, students chose a photograph of themselves and used editing tools to adjust brightness and color, or to crop or rotate the images. They then discussed how the changes to the original images changed the way they felt about them; for example, changing an image from color to black and white might make it seem sad or even scary.


21st Century Lesson in Circuits

6-8 Team learns circuitryRemember learning about circuits in science class?

Perhaps you learned how electrical energy travels through a circuit from a source (battery) along a path (wire) to an appliance (light bulb.)

6-8 team students of Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Loar are learning about circuits utilizing 21st century technologies and with a higher level of sophistication.

Students utilize “kits” including the following resources:

  • 9 volt battery for a power source
  • Wire to serve as a “path”
  • Small LED lights in different colors and with wire prongs on the end
  • Breadboard (not wood, but a small plastic strip to which wires can be connected, and which are embedded with metal strips and rods capable of transmitting energy)
  • Microcontroller (a very small computer smaller than a credit card that can read input from sensors and/or set outputs)
  • Ultrasonic sensor


Provided with these materials, it is relatively simple to plug the lights into the breadboard and then use wires to connect a battery to the breadboard and lights. But to turn the lights off and on requires disconnecting ore reconnecting the wires.

Incorporating the microcontroller into the circuit creates the opportunity to control or program the lights to go on our off. For example, when the ultrasonic sensor is used in conjunction with the microcontroller lights may be triggered on when something approached the sensor. A laptop can also be connected to the microcontroller, and coding (computer programming) can be used to program lights to go on and off after a specified duration.

The study of circuits has definitely advanced!

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