MS Blazer Buzz 9 Dec
This week's highlight: Mooresville Soup Kitchen
Cutting fresh flowers. Ladling spaghetti sauce. Unloading boxes of frozen turkeys. Stocking inventory in the back. Picking up trash. Wiping down tables. Chatting with volunteer staff.
These were some of the ways that Woodlawn seventh graders helped out at the Mooresville Soup Kitchen. The class of 34 students worked in November just before Thanksgiving during one of its service learning days.
“I helped prepare and package the food, like spaghetti, chicken, beef, and potatoes,” says Emma McGeough. “I liked how friendly everyone was in the kitchen.”
“You could see a lot of people who were grateful they were able to get food from the soup kitchen,” says Wesley Neal. “I handed out desserts and bread. People were happy with what they had.”
James Folds, Christopher Brooks, and Zac Churchill helped unload boxes of frozen turkeys donated for Thanksgiving. “There were a lot of them, and we tried to separate them by weight. They were cold and heavy. It was fun,” says Zac Churchill.
Unsold flower bouquets were donated to the Soup Kitchen, and students salvaged the good flowers and rearranged them into new bouquets for table centerpieces. Georgia Kratt, Leila Wilhelm, Grace Evans, Emmy Belloni, and Vivian Moore made the bouquets.
“That was really fun,” says Grace Evans. “It made me happy to know that we could make some people smile. I have arranged flowers before. Sometimes I make arrangements at home over the summer.”
“It was really fun, because we got to find all these flowers and make our own bouquet and put them on the tables. I’d never done that before,” says Georgia Kratt. “They were colorful and pretty and made everyone happy.”
The seventh graders also worked at the Mooresville Christian Mission, which is just down the street from the Soup Kitchen.
“We broke down cardboard boxes and put them in the dumpster,” says Jack Hager. “We sorted clothes as well. I was sort of nervous abut doing something wrong in the warehouse, but I became more comfortable.”
“We sorted 1,000 goodie bags for a fun run,” says Abigail Woodall. “I sealed envelopes, too. They were for holiday letters to people who have donated to the Mission.”
“I put stickers on bags, and I hung up clothes,” says Ally Fleming. “It was fun. I was working with my classmates, and we worked well together.”
“I folded and taped boxes,” says Hank Grzeszczak. “We loaded boxes into a truck and carried donations into the warehouse. It was awesome knowing that you were doing something to help out.”
MS Blazer Buzz 25 Nov
This week's highlight: Rube Goldberg
Earlier this trimester the eighth graders worked outside with several wheelbarrows, ramps, levers, and pulleys in an attempt to move some rather heavy objects. This involved some basic understanding of simple machines as well as the students' mechanical advantage. Recently, the eighth graders have taken that understanding to the next level with the construction of several Rube Goldberg machines. Rube Goldberg was an American cartoonist, sculptor, author, engineer, and inventor most notably known for his cartoon depictions of complex gadgets that perform simple tasks. He inspired the Rube Goldberg Machine Contest, which challenges participants to create a complex machine to perform a simple task. This year, participants were charged with creating a machine to zip a zipper.
Prior to beginning the large construction of their Rube Goldberg contraptions, the students spent time mastering some common elements. Each student created his or her own device with one or two components that, when put in line with their classmates' device, would move a wooden ball from one end of the classroom to the other. After some important trial and error and valuable learning experiences, the student were prepared to tackle this years task of zipping a zipper. Working in groups of four and within a pre-constructed 4'x4'x4' frame, the eighth graders spent two weeks designing, building, and tinkering with their devices. Following completion, the class toured each machine, watched it run, and selected a winner from the class. The student-selected Rube Goldberg contraption represented Woodlawn School on November 16 at a regional contest in Charlotte at the McColl Center for Visual Arts. Members of the class presented the device and received feedback from a panel of judges that included Joseph Herscher, the world renowned kinetic artist in residence. On a previous field trip to Charlotte, the eighth graders got a chance to watch Mr. Herscher work and ask him questions about his design and construction of a piece he was working on called "The Dresser." The middle school exhibition was a great opportunity to showcase the amazing work of our students and allow them to describe their design process. The project as a whole definitely emphasized the importance of trial and error!
MS Blazer Buzz 18 Nov
This week's highlight: Vital Veggies
Woodlawn’s sixth grade students have been vitally involved this fall in the Vital Veggies project. Students began the project back in September during science class, preparing the Woodlawn garden vegetable beds by removing the weeds and summer plants and then amending the soil with composted manure. The sixth graders planted fall cold-hardy vegetables such as lettuce, radishes, and carrots and various fall greens that included collards, chard, and beets. During September and October, student cared for the vegetables by watering, weeding, and observing the growth of the plants — from week to week the progress was often stunning! Students recorded growth data, harvested their vegetables, cooked delicious dishes for their families, and also learned quite a few facts about vegetables. Students learned that it is possible to eat the green tops off the beets as well as the root. They learned not to ignore Grandma when she says, "eat your veggies," because fresh vegetables are full of important vitamins and minerals that help fight off the flu and colds. In fitness class, students tracked what they ate for a period of time and learned about healthy eating habits. Click here for recipes and other garden news!
MS Blazer Buzz 11 Nov
This week's highlight: What is Beauty?
"What is beautiful is good, and who is good will soon be beautiful." - Sappho
What is beauty? That is the question the seventh grade life skills students have asked themselves, their teachers, and other Woodlawn students. A sunset, the first snowfall, family, honesty, nature, love, forgiveness, a smile — beauty is often in the eye of the beholder. The seventh graders found out that beauty means something different to each person, and yet they all agreed that real beauty comes from within. Jack H. reflected, “Everyone in this world has some form of beauty in them; sometimes you just have to look a little deeper in order to see it.” That is never more apparent than in the book the seventh graders are currently reading called Wonder
R.J. Palacio. The main character, August, was born with a severe facial deformity. On the outside, he looks very different from his middle school peers, yet on the inside, he has the same feelings, thoughts, hopes, and dreams. From August, the students are learning the importance of accepting someone for who he is and celebrating each person's individuality.
MS Blazer Buzz 4 Nov
This week's highlight: Eighth graders learn about 18th century Charlotte
The eighth grade students traveled on the CATS city bus to Charlotte for a science, art and history field experience. While at the McColl Center for Visual Arts in uptown, the students met with environmental artist, Jason McDonald. McDonald shared his concerns about the way humans interact with our environment. He spoke about the need to think of Earth as a building material and, therefore, be conscientious of recycling its nutrients. The students were also able to interact with the artist-in-residence, Joseph Hersher, a kinetic performance artist. Hersher's largest machine to date, The Dresser, is a Rube Goldberg-inspired contraption that will be viewable through a live performance on November 9. The students will be applying their knowledge of physics from Mr. Van Amburgh's science class in the creation of their own Rube Goldberg contraption. The end result of the contraption is that it be able to zip a zipper, and the student projects will be presented at Mccoll on November 16. Following the visit at the McColl, the class refueled at a local pizzeria, before heading out on a historic walking tour of Charlotte to address eighth grade's essential question, “How did we get here?” The students now have a better sense of life in Charlotte during the 18th century.