This Week in Science Class
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Last Friday was the last day to turn in third quarter assignments, so I can get everything graded before finalized grades are due.  Other teachers may be accepting assignments this week, so students should be sure to ask each teacher about their due dates.  This week in Science, all of the assignments will go on the fourth quarter grading period.  We'll be finishing up the Ecosystems Unit with online labs that reinforce the concepts of the effects of abiotic and biotic factors on populations in an ecosystem, how energy is transferred through an ecosystem, and how minerals are cycled through an ecosystem.  The Ecosystems Unit Test in scheduled for Monday, April 1st.  Also this week in Science, I'll be collecting donations of Little Debbie cakes (zebra, strawberry shortcake, red velvet, swiss rolls) for our final lab will take place on Tuesday, April 2nd.  Please send in any donations you have for this fun lab on core drilling!  In school news, there is an Early Release on Wednesday, March 27 to allow teachers to finalize grades for the third quarter.  The Atlanta Field Trip will be the following week from Wednesday April 2 to Friday April 4, for those students who signed up to go.
Posted by Kelly Mundhenk  On Mar 23, 2019 at 10:27 AM
For the next two weeks, students will be learning about ecosystems.  We'll begin with the basic components of an ecosystem, both the biotic and abiotic factors.  Then, we'll move on to the different cycles and relationships that exists within ecosystems.  This week's assignments will be last ones for the third quarter.  The following week's assignments will be on the fourth quarter grading period.  Any missing or late work for the third quarter should be turned in by Friday, March 22.  This will give me time to update and finalize grades.  One of my classes will be traveling to Estes Elementary this week to mentor younger students participating in the Kids Inquiry Conference.  Older students will help with the design and execution of simple experiments, and they will have the opportunity to see their mentees present their findings!  In other news, spring sports have officially begun!  Take advantage of the sunny weather, and watch the girls soccer team play at Valley after school on Thursday.  Also, Evening with the Arts is this Wednesday from 5-8PM.  It will include a showcase of all of the arts programs at Valley Springs as well as a fundraiser to help support those programs.  Come out see the great things our Unified Arts classes have been working on this year!
Posted by Kelly Mundhenk  On Mar 17, 2019 at 5:49 PM
Last week, students should have completed and turned in their Fresh Water Booklet Project.  Grades were updated on Friday, but PowerSchool was taken down for maintenance shortly after.  PowerSchool should be back up and running by Tuesday morning.  So, be sure to check on grades on Tuesday.  This week, students will be given the Hydrosphere Unit Test.  This test will no longer include information on the ecosystems of the ocean, which is why it is being given earlier than planned.  The test will also be given in a different format.  Students will be permitted to re-take the test and correct their answers before official grades are entered.  It will be up to the student to submit a screenshot of their feedback page on Canvas in order to receive a grade.  This format should provide timely feedback and reduce the turnover time for re-takes.  We'll begin the next unit, the Ecosystem Unit, by introducing ocean ecosystems and then move on to general ecosystem interactions and terrestrial ecosystems.  As for other school news:  Students will be registering for high school classes this week with the help of a counselor from TCR.  Also, on Tuesday and Thursday of this week, Nesbitt Discovery Academy and AB Tech Early College are having open house.  Also, parents of students going on the Atlanta trip must attend a meeting this week.  Finally, the 100th Anniversary shirt sale is still going on at and the school ID is 167583.  For each shirt sold, VSMS Student Council will receive one dollar toward the courtyard mural project.  
Posted by Kelly Mundhenk  On Mar 10, 2019 at 6:50 PM
This week, students will complete the fresh water portion of the Hydrosphere Unit.  They will research water quality indicators and water treatment processes.  They're water diagram booklet projects should be finished and turned in by Friday.  At the end of the week, we'll do a lab about the French Broad Watershed.  Students will find specific sources of pollution in our area, and learn about unique organisms that have a habitat in the French Broad River.  Some things to keep in mind this week are:  Open House at TCR Monday night 6 - 7:30PM, signed progress reports are due to homeroom teachers on Monday, completed and signed blue TCR registration cards are due to homeroom teachers Wednesday, and the VSMS 100th Anniversary Shirt Sale is live at  
Posted by Kelly Mundhenk  On Mar 03, 2019 at 2:45 PM
There's a lot to keep track of for this upcoming week.  First, Monday is an Early Release Day.  Students' core classes will be shortened, and they will attend only one of their two UA classes.  Next, third quarter progress reports will be sent home on Tuesday.  These will need to be signed by a parent and returned to a homeroom teacher.  On Wednesday, students will meet with TCR counselors to begin the high school registration process.  Students will receive blue cards that list class options for their 9th grade year.  These cards will need to be filled out and brought back to complete registration the following week.  The UNCA field trip for the Bond team is on Thursday.  Eligible students that turned in their permission slip, photo release form, and ten dollars will travel to UNCA and participate in their Junior Bulldog program.  Finally, students will walk to TCR on Friday morning for a tour.  As for Science class, we'll continue to research the French Broad Watershed and learn about water quality indicators.  As usual, words for this week's quiz are posted on my webpage. 
Posted by Kelly Mundhenk  On Feb 24, 2019 at 12:55 PM
Last week, students completed the Chemistry Unit and started learning about the hydrosphere.  Test and project grades will be posted soon on PowerSchool.  Students have been able to view their test grades since Tuesday, and a re-take has been available since Wednesday.  They have until this Tuesday to re-take.  The first vocabulary quiz for the new unit will be this Wednesday.  Words are posted on my webpage.  Aside from the quiz, students will continue to work on fresh water diagrams and will complete the water filter lab.  Lessons this week will focus on how water moves over and into Earth's surface.  Some important dates to keep in mind are:  Mon. Feb. 25 - Early Release and Field Trip Forms Due, Tue. Feb. 26 - Progress Reports, Wed. Feb. 27 - High School Registration Cards, Thur. Feb. 28 - UNCA Field Trip,  and Fri. Mar. 1 - TCR High School Tour.  
Posted by Kelly Mundhenk  On Feb 16, 2019 at 12:01 PM
Next week, school will be back to a normal schedule with no planned field trips, testing, or early releases.  Students will start the week by finishing up the Chemistry Unit.  On Wednesday, we'll begin the next unit by reviewing the distribution of water in the hydrosphere and the processes of the water cycle.  Students will also start their water diagram project that they will work on for most of the unit.  The week will be topped off with a water filter lab.  Next week is also Spirit Week at Valley!  Students are encouraged to participate throughout the week.  The themes for this year's Spirit Week are:  America Monday (red, white, and blue), Twin Tuesday (dress like someone else), Sports Wednesday (support your favorite team), Valentine's Thursday (red, pink, or white), and Spirit Friday (Ram gear, blue and gold).  Parents should also be on the lookout for a field trip form for the UNCA Junior Bulldog Program that will be sent home this week.  The Bond team will be going on February 18, and WLOS will be covering the program that day, so in addition to the normal field trip form, there will be another form to fill out.  The return deadline will be on the forms.
Posted by Kelly Mundhenk  On Feb 08, 2019 at 6:55 PM
Due to schedule changes, there was limited class time last week.  However, students were able to complete the slime lab, review ionic bonds, and begin balancing chemical equations.  Next week, we'll review balancing and learn how to identify different types of chemical reactions represented by chemical equations.  Monday, will be a normal day.  On Tuesday, there will be a Math Check-In and an Honor Roll Tea, so core classes will be short.  The Nesbitt/Early College field trip is scheduled for Wednesday, which will limit class time as well.  Thursday will be a normal day.  Finally, on Friday, class time will be shortened to accommodate the Early Release Day.  With such an altered schedule, I anticipate postponing the Chemistry unit test to the following week.  Once the Chemistry Unit is complete, new vocabulary words will be posted for the start of our Water Unit.  In school news, Spirit Week is February 11 - 15.  Themes include:  America Monday, Twinning Tuesday, Sports Team Wednesday, Valentine's (wear red, pink, or white) Thursday, and School Spirit (Ram gear/blue and gold) on Friday.  Also, be on the look out for information on high school registration, as it is fast approaching!  An informational sheet was sent home with report cards last week with details about upcoming tours, open houses, and registration dates.  Be sure to check it out!
Posted by Kelly Mundhenk  On Feb 02, 2019 at 9:52 AM
Last week was short and disrupted by weather.  Students completed their first chemical reactions lab, as planned.  They observed how different household substances react with water and release or absorb heat from their surroundings.  Then, they investigated covalent bonds and applied their knowledge of Lewis Dot Structures and the octet rule to determine how many bonds would form for each non-metallic atom.  Finally, ionic bonds were reviewed again.  On Monday, we're back in the lab to create a non-newtonian fluid (AKA slime).  This process will include making two aqueous solutions that will be combined to form a precipitate (an insoluble solid).  Students will be permitted to take their slime home under the conditions that they cannot have prolonged exposure and must wash their hands after handling the slime.  Not only is this lab an example of a precipitation reaction, but also an example of a unique phase of matter - one that has properties of a liquid and a solid depending on the pressure applied to it.  Tuesday will be used to solidify knowledge of ionic bonding (metals forming cations and non-metals forming anions to create polarity).  The rest of the week will focus on chemical equations.  In the next couple of weeks, there will be a lot of irregular school days.  There are two testing check-ins (ELA and Math), there is a field trip to Early College and Nesbitt Discovery Academy, there is a PBIS reward, and there is an Honor Roll Tea.  It will be important for students to make the most of class time, and stay focused as high school registration is quickly approaching!
Posted by Kelly Mundhenk  On Jan 27, 2019 at 8:27 AM
The end of the 2nd quarter came quickly!  Tomorrow is the last day for students to turn in work before the quarter ends.  Grades will be input shortly after that, and report cards are scheduled to be distributed on January 29.  In Science class, we have completed the Mixtures Unit, and started the Chemistry Unit this week.  All Chemistry assignments will be on the 3rd nine weeks grading period.  The Chemistry Unit should last about 3 weeks, and then we'll move on to Aquatic Ecosystems.  Also coming up in the 3rd nine weeks will be high school registration and field trips!  Any student on track to pass 8th grade will be working with high school counselors to sign up for classes next year.  All students will have the opportunity to attend field trips to Nesbitt Discovery Academy, Early College, UNCA and TC Roberson High School.  Parents should be on the look out for report cards, registration cards, and a field trip forms.  We'll be very busy during the third nine weeks ensuring students are aware of their options for next year and beyond!
Posted by Kelly Mundhenk  On Jan 17, 2019 at 1:32 PM
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