Thursday, March 31, 2011

Diversity on Campus!

Here at Garrison Forest School there is not only a large amount of diversity, but also a great feeling about it – there are different cultures, races, religions and nationalities. If I were to walk through the lunch room on a busy lunch day where there are Upper School students, you would see so many different cultures that you’d have to blink twice. Even at breakfast I hear different languages being spoken: Spanish, English, Korean, and Chinese. We even have events that support diversity such as Community Connections Day.
We celebrate all cultures that attend Garrison (or even that don’t.) At Community Connections Day, for example, we have the Lower School singing in Chinese, the Middle School chorus singing a song in Korean, and Moncrieff students singing in Spanish. At the Chinese Moon Festival, all the students who take Chinese had the opportunity to engage in a celebration in the Confucius classroom with Dou Xiaoshu (the previous Chinese teacher). Lastly the Martin Luther King dinner celebrated cultures around the world, with African dancing, and flags of many countries hung up in the dining hall.  They are still there to this day.
As you probably have already assumed, we have many international boarders here at Garrison. Ten students from Mexico, Sixteen students from China, and fourteen students from Korea.  All of these students bring a cultural uniqueness to the school. Even in the dorms, they try their best to mix up cultures by pairing roommates with different nationalities.   
Personally I enjoy having many different cultures here on campus. Not only does it broaden my knowledge about different cultures, but it prepares me for my future because the world will be much more diverse in a short amount of time. Not only that, but having these diverse students around me has inspired me to learn more languages on my own, including Korean: 안녕히 계세요 (Goodbye!)
-- Text and Photos by Sidney B. (Class of 2016)

Can you D.I.G. It?

Building with Magnets
Thanks to Mrs. Chrobocinski and Mrs. Oleiski, we have an extracurricular class called DIG, which involves science and math.  Students from Sixth and Seventh grade were able to have the opportunity to participate in this fun club.  Every Thursday the participants meet at the Upper School where we complete the warm-up and move on to the fun activities the teachers had planned for us.  Although math and science are not all of the students’ favorite subjects, we do many exciting activities, such as mixing colors, making goo, and causing explosions!
On March 24th we were challenged to make a structure that would stand with powerful magnetic sticks and balls.  We were split into two groups.  Group 1 decided to use triangles, since that is the strongest structure, and build up, while Group 2 also decided to use triangles but build out.  Do you know which group won?  Group 2 won the challenge!  It stood for more than 30 seconds, while Group 1’s building fell immediately.  After the challenge we all went to the lab for an exciting and a mind blowing experiment.  We put milk in an aluminum pan and we added four drops of colored dye (blue, red, green, and yellow).  Then we put a cotton swab with dish soap in the pan.  Suddenly, the colors came into the center and started to combine.
As you can see we do many interesting experiments and challenges in this club!
-- Text and Photos by Zena S. (Class of 2016)

SCIENCE LAB - This isn't Dinner at Phillip's Seafood Restaurant!

Alex T. and Gabby C. dissecting a squid.
Seventh-grade Science has been full of fascinating topics, all relating to the diversity of life.  Right now we are studying Invertebrates, animals without backbones.  One of the most interesting facts we have learned about Invertebrates is that only 2% of all animals in the Animal Kingdom have a backbone, where 98% do not.  There are so many invertebrates to study, but due to our limited amount time, we have focused on four major groups.  These groups include Cnidarians (ni - dare’- ee - uns), Mollusks, Worms, and Arthropods.  These four groups show a wide range of body forms and lifestyles that we can explore in our labs.
Brianna T. dissecting a clam.
Cnidarians are invertebrates that have two body forms.  They can be a polyp or a medusa.  Both forms have a sac-like body with one opening surrounded by tentacles.  The most common Cnidarians are jellyfish and coral.  In our lab, we observed a type of Cnidarian called Hydra.  It has a polyp body form.  We looked at it under a microscope and watched its movement.  At the end of this lab, we were able to feed the Hydra a shrimp and watch it digest the food.  This part of the lab was the most fascinating, because we were able to watch how the Hydra detected the food with its tentacles and forced it into its food grove.  Once the food got into the Hydra’s body, its longitudinal muscles contracted and helped digest the shrimp.  Once we completed all the lab activities, we recorded our observations in our lab manual.

This is the squid we dissected.
Another type of invertebrate that we studied was mollusks. There are about 50,000 different species of mollusks.  The most familiar mollusks include snails, clams, slugs, oysters, squid, and octopuses.  We studied two species in this group, the clam and the squid.  Both are very different in their body and design.  We first had a discussion on how the animals’ structural features help them survive.  Then we completed labs, where we dissected a clam and a squid to see their features.  To dissect the clam, the first thing we did was open the shell.  We looked at the clam’s body and labeled its various parts in our lab manual.  When we were done, we put the clam away and got a squid.  For the squid, we also dissected it.  We had taken out the mantle, eyeball, beak, and ink sack.  We sketched the squid in our lab manual and labeled its parts.  One of the most fun things for the students to do was write with the squid’s ink.
 Here are some students’ comments:
I loved doing it.  I thought it was really interesting.  I especially liked writing with squid ink.  The squid also had lots of cool parts like the tentacles and mouth.” –Emma B.
“It was really gross but also interesting to see the parts of the squid.” –Hallie A. 

-- Text and Photos by Jackie M. (Class of 2016)
Publish Post