This Week in Science Class
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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
The students hit the ground running after break, and got a lot done!  In just a couple of days, students have learned how to read solubility curve graphs and answer a variety of questions regarding solubility.  They also reviewed the material about mixtures that was reviewed before the break.  Next week will focus on the properties of water.  Students will investigate the properties, create a project about them, and complete a lab demonstrating the properties.  The properties of water will be the last topic for the Mixtures Unit.  The unit test is tentatively scheduled for Monday, January 14.  After that, assignments will be on the third quarter grading period.  The end of the 2nd grading period has been adjusted slightly due to make-up snow days.  Friday, January 18 is now an Early Release Day, and Tuesday, January 22 is no longer a Teacher Work Day, it's now a full school day.  
Posted by Kelly Mundhenk  On Jan 04, 2019 at 10:46 AM
Welcome back from what was hopefully a fun, yet restful break.  We're going to begin 2019 by easing back into school with a short, 3-day school week.  Students will start off the new year with a presentation on cyber safety from the SRO.  As for Science class, we'll review the material from the Mixtures Unit that was covered before the break.  Then, we'll quickly move on to learning about the unique properties of water (polarity, adhesion, cohesion, etc.). The unit test will likely fall near January 14.  The next vocabulary quiz will not occur until after the end of the second quarter.  However, there will likely be a quiz on the properties of water before then.  Speaking of the end of the quarter, it's currently scheduled for Tuesday, January 22, which is a teacher work day.  So, students will need to have work completed and turned in by Friday, January 18.  Depending on the timing, the Mixtures test will likely be the last grade for the second quarter.  The next unit, Chemistry, will mark the beginning of assignments for third quarter.  Other things to keep in mind:  Strings Concert at TCR January 14, Chorus Concert January 15, and No School January 21 and 22.
Posted by Kelly Mundhenk  On Jan 01, 2019 at 1:46 PM
Last week, students practiced classifying matter, learned mixture separation techniques, and were introduced to solutions.  Since we were unable to complete the Sports Drink Lab last week, I'm hoping to do it this Friday.  When students get back to school after the weather cancellations, we will review the online lab and the research they completed with the sub.  Then, students will get a chance to apply their knowledge of solutions and solubility in the lab.  Next week, time permitting, students will learn how to read solubility curves, a skill useful for future Chemistry classes.  After Winter Break, we will review information on mixtures and move on to properties of water.  Due to the weather issues, the next unit test will not be given until after Winter Break.  The exact date is TBD.  In school news, a lot of after school functions have been canceled and some have been rescheduled or will be rescheduled.  Please refer to the school newsletter (Peach Jar) and the VSMS website for updates.  
Posted by Kelly Mundhenk  On Dec 12, 2018 at 2:29 PM
Last week, students completed a lot of testing.  That, along with the unexpected 2-hour delay, hindered our progress in class.  So, while we did begin our next unit, we didn't get quite as far as I had planned.  Students were introduced to quite a bit of new vocabulary related to mixtures.  It will be important for students to able to identify different types of matter using these terms (heterogeneous, homogeneous, solution, colloid, suspension, etc.).  We will practice this skill on Monday and reinforce it throughout the unit.  Students will also investigate how to separate mixtures this week including techniques such as distillation and chromatography.  In lab on Friday, students will create their own sports drink!  We will reinforce how substances dissolve, as well as the parts of a solution.  I have asked students to bring in a packet of drink mix of the flavor of their choice.  The powdered mix should be salt-free and sugar-free since we will be adding those ingredients ourselves.  If a student cannot bring their own, I will have some on-hand, but flavor choices may be limited.  Any donations for this lab would be appreciated.  In other school news:  Make Up Pictures are rescheduled for Dec. 5.  The strings concert is Dec. 10 at TCR at 6:30PM.  The chorus concert is Dec. 11 at VSMS at 7:00PM.  The band concert is Dec. 13 at TCR at 6:00PM.  On Mon. Dec. 10, second quarter progress reports will be sent home with students.
Posted by Kelly Mundhenk  On Dec 01, 2018 at 9:15 AM
After we wrap up the fundamental Matter Unit next week, students will begin to learn about mixtures and solutions.  We'll begin by classifying matter and differentiating between different types of mixtures.  Students will need to answer the following questions - Is the substance pure or is it a mixture?  If it's pure, is it an element or compound?  If it's a mixture, is it homogeneous or heterogeneous?  How big are the particles that make up the mixture?  Once students can classify matter, we'll learn about different separation techniques.  The quiz on Wednesday, November 28 will be a pre-quiz and will be graded on effort.  The next vocabulary quiz will be on December 5, and the words are already posted on my webpage.  Also, one of the labs for the upcoming unit involves students making a their own sports drink.  We are requesting students bring in a drink mix flavor packet of their choosing that does not contain sodium.  Other things to keep in mind this week are:  Make Up School Pictures are on Wednesday.  Also, the ELA and Math Check-In tests are on Wednesday and Thursday.  Finally, the Eblen toy drive is going on until December 7.  
Posted by Kelly Mundhenk  On Nov 24, 2018 at 9:03 AM
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