The science of thrills and chills
 
Fourth-graders will have a newfound appreciation for Six Flags during their next visit. As part of their science unit on forces and energy, the students recently designed and built their own rollercoasters.
 
The students sketched out initial designs. Then, as they learned the definitions of terms such as momentum, velocity, and acceleration over the course of the six weeks, they continually refined their visions. Each lesson brought new insight.
 
Working in small teams, the students used recyclables such as paper towel tubes and milk cartons to devise the final rollercoasters. The end goal was for a steel ball to traverse the coaster course and hit another steel ball, propelling it forward into a cup. That transfer of energy from one ball to another proved a challenge for some teams to master. Students tested, reworked their designs, and tested again, just as real engineers do.
 
“They really impressed me with what they came up with,” said teacher Emily Cali. “Most of the groups were successful. I loved to see their excitement when their planning worked out the way they wanted it to. The reflection and analysis they put into the project showed just how much they learned about the subject matter.”
 
The classes watched a video on rollercoasters too, learning about concepts such as the importance of ramp height in affecting speed. The work on the final rollercoasters was spread over several days.


Shaarav Kore, Antonio Rodriguez, and London Gaskins record the morning announcements

They're on the air

Several afternoons per week, the principal’s office transforms into MtV Studios. In a corner of the room, with a green screen and lighting setup, fifth-graders pre-record and edit the school’s daily morning announcements during their recess.

The process gives students a taste of media production and whets their appetites for communication clubs and courses they can take in middle school and high school.

Content of the announcements includes school news, birthday wishes, lunch menus, notices of national days of observance, and weather reports. The short videos are produced by alternating teams of three students. There’s a news anchor, technical support crew member, and an editor who assembles the footage and chooses appropriate backgrounds for the green screen effects after shooting.

“It’s been amazing so far,” said school counselor Kate Devins who oversees the productions. “The kids love it. Some want to try all three jobs, some kids only want to do one.” 

Tiffani Brundage, counseling intern, writes the scripts and serves as the hands-on producer of the announcements. 

“It gives them a chance to shine,” said Brundage about the students in the production crews. “It involves technology, which they love, and they get to go to the principal’s office. Who doesn’t want to go the principal’s office and record something for the whole school? They consider it a very important job.”

More than 40 fifth-graders signed up to take part in the productions.

Video announcements began during the pandemic when students were learning remotely. Students would record segments on their own. The use of the green screen and lighting began in September and has kicked up production values to make the shows more polished and visually engaging. 

IPads are used for the recording and editing, and one serves as a teleprompter.


Learning about fire safety

To commemorate national Fire Prevention Week, Mountain View students in pre-K, kindergarten, and first grade recently saw presentations by members of Flanders Fire Company No. 1 and Rescue.

The fire fighters demonstrated the protective gear worn when fighting a blaze and reviewed important home safety procedures. They emphasized the importance of home smoke alarms and regular battery replacement, periodic home fire drills, and calling 911 only after they have had a chance to make it to safety.

The visit by the fire company was the highlight of a week of fire prevention activities that included discussions about fire safety and reading related books. Kindergarteners also made paper fire hats that they wore during the visit.

Fire Prevention Week, which began in 1922, is the longest running public health and safety observance on record. It has its roots in commemorations of 1871’s Great Chicago Fire, a disaster that killed 250 people and destroyed more than 17,000 structures.

The Flanders Fire Company has presented fire safety demonstrations at Mountain View for more than 20 years.

 

 


Students at table collaborate

Open for business!

Mountain View's makerspace is in full gear. Finally.

Classes are now visiting once a week, exploring the different construction kits and materials. It's been a long time in the making.

The makerspace, formerly the library computer room, received new furniture and materials in the winter and spring of 2020; however, only a few groups of students were able to use the room before the pandemic necessitated an end to in-person instruction. Because of pandemic safety protocols and an abbreviated school day, the makerspace was not used during the 2020-2021 school year.

Girls twirls creation

Girl uses pipe cleaners

Student makes tower of wooden blocks


Students read at table

A taste of books to come

Second-graders in Corinne Sylvester’s class recently had an opportunity to whet their literary palates. With the classroom set up as a restaurant, students went from table to table sampling books in the genres that the class will learn about later in the year. A table represented each genre: realistic fiction, fantasy, fairy tales, informational, biography, and narrative nonfiction.

“Students walked away excited about reading and the different types of texts that they would interact with throughout the year,” Sylvester said. “The class is very excited about what’s to come.”

After reading each book at the book tasting, students wrote reviews and answered questions. Then, as a class, the characteristics of each genre were discussed.

Books included informational texts about animals, classics from Dr. Seuss, and biographies from National Geographic about Thomas Edison and Helen Keller.


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Sandshore Elementary School

Sandshore Elementary School
498 Sandshore Rd
Budd Lake, NJ 07828
973-691-4003

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Mountain View Elementary School

Mountain View Elementary School
118 Cloverhill Drive
Flanders, NJ 07836
973-927-2201

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Chester M. Stephens Elementary School

Chester M. Stephens Elementary School
99 Sunset Drive
Budd Lake, NJ 07828
973-691-4002

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Tinc Road School

Tinc Road School
24 Tinc Road
Flanders, NJ 07836
973-927-2203

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Mt. Olive Middle School

Mt. Olive Middle School
160 Wolfe Road
Budd Lake, NJ 07828
973-691-4006

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Mt. Olive High School

Mt. Olive High School
18 Corey Road
Flanders, NJ 07836
973-927-2208

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