As you do your holiday shopping, please remember to use the McGuffey Amazon.com link. Simply start your session by clicking the Amazon logo in the upper right-hand corner of any page on the McGuffey website. This will take you straight to Amazon, but your transaction will be tagged with McGuffey’s ID. We typically receive 6% of your final purchase price, which can add up to quite a bit over time.
Please share this link with family and friends and encourage them to use it. It’s an easy way that friends, family, and alumni can help support McGuffey.
Please note, McGuffey will not receive a percentage of items saved in your cart if they were placed more than 24 hours after you started at our website. To fix this, please take a moment to take the items out of your cart and replace them.
Orders made on the Amazon phone app contribute to this program but at a lower rate.
Using the Amazon link raises several thousand dollars each year by simply taking the time to make one extra click. Please support us with this simple fundraising effort!
The Primary began a year of animal studies by talking about vertebrates and invertebrates. We began our discussion by reviewing the science topic from last week: Alive and Not Alive. We then learned that vertebrates have backbones that support their bodies. Invertebrates support their bodies in a variety of other ways, including exoskeletons, endoskeletons, and shells. By feeling our own backs, we discovered that humans are vertebrates as are all mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles. We were amazed to think of the biggest animals on our planet and find that they are almost all vertebrates but that by far, the most animals on our planet are invertebrates.
We have works on the shelves that allow children to discover the differences between vertebrates and invertebrates. Children can examine x-rays against a drawing on an animal. We have 3-part cards to match as well as a sorting work with animal figurines. As ever, our students took this science subject and made their own work, including art work and finding invertebrates in our outdoor classroom.
Upper Elementary has been studying cell biology, using models, books, online resources and three part cards to study the organelles of animal cells. Each student made a play dough model of a cell. In the student-made cell above, you can see the nucleus, nucleolus, cell membrane, cytoskeleton, mitochondria, rough and smooth endoplasmic reticulum, centriole, and a lysosome. This week, Upper Elementary students stained their own cheek cells and looked at them under a microscope. A cheek cell belonging to one of our fourth-graders is pictured. The nucleus is at the center, and the tiny dark blue dots are normal oral bacteria.
Middle School students have been studying genetics. They began the unit with Mendelian genetics, making little creatures called Bloops (and their chromosomes) to study dominant and recessive traits. After creating a Bloop and finding out its genetic makeup and sex, students crossed their Bloops, creating baby Bloops that inherited traits from their parents. Several Bloop families are pictured above.
Next, they investigated the cell cycle, the structure of DNA and the process of DNA replication at the molecular level using foam models, and took a look at Watson and Crick’s original paper on the double helix from 1953.
This week, they modeled the transcription of genes into messenger RNA. Next week, they will work on translation, and finish the unit by isolating the DNA from strawberries.
Over the last few weeks, we have been observing the changes in our environment that occur during the season of fall. The leaves have been changing color, birds can be seen flying south, squirrels and other animals are gathering food for the winter. We notice that we are wearing long pants and sweaters to keep warm as the temperatures drop.
In the meantime, we are reading books about fall and exploring all kinds of leaf activities—sorting, matching, punching, and making crayon rubbings. We’re assembling puzzles about the seasons. We had a fantastic visit from a McGuffey parent, Ashley Johnson, whose family owns Reserve Run Farm. She showed us two different types of hay that had been harvested in recent weeks and we got to see a video of their family running the machinery used in the fields. We learned about preserving food for both animals and people so that it will last longer and the sweetest part of all, we got to taste their delicious honey.
On Wednesday, October 31st the eighth-grade class began their service learning work at the Oxford Family Resource Center. They will be volunteering there for the month of November.
On their first visit, they were oriented to the facilities by director Diana Ruther-Vierling and Missy Thompson. Our students learned about the many ways the Center helps the marginalized people in Oxford: housing assistance, job assistance, the thrift store, and support for Oxford’s growing homeless community.
This week our students helped out in the thrift store by tagging items and removing older items from the rack to send on to the Salvation Army. Next week we will return and help organize the supplies they hand out to homeless citizens of Oxford. We are very fortunate to be able to partner with the Oxford Family Resource Center as we add service learning to our middle school curriculum.
McGuffey students study a different instrument family in music each grade. Third graders have been learning about and exploring woodwind instruments of the orchestra: oboe, clarinet, saxophone, bassoon, flute and piccolo. They learned that in order to be considered a woodwind, the instrument must be played with either breath traveling over a mouthpiece (the flute and piccolo) or through a cane reed (the oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and saxophone). To give them the experience of one of those distinguishing features, these students had an opportunity to make their own double-reed from a straw. They learned that the shape needs to be pretty precise and were reminded that the shorter the instrument (or straw), the higher the pitch. They also learned that using a reed takes lots of practice and is best learned with copious amounts of laughter.
As we continue our exploration of South America, we began talking about Argentina. A large country, Argentina stretches across the southern half of South America, which means its landscape has a range of climates and geographic features.
With a mix of indigenous people and European immigrants, the Argentine culture is rich in music, dance, food, and traditions. Our students have the opportunity to explore many of these characteristics through the manipulatives on the shelves. They are exploring gourd cups that hold the Argentine tea, mate. We’ve also talked about the delicious milk caramel, dulche de leche.
We discussed Cueva de las Manos (Cave of Hands), a series of caves located in Santa Cruz, Argentina. It is known for its paintings of hands which are estimated to be between 13,000 and 9,000 years old. The cave also has paintings of humans, animals, and geometric patterns. For this Social Study unit Art History installment we decided to make our own version of the Cave of Hands. We studied a picture of one of the cave walls and noticed all of the hands were very similar, the left! The students chose which shade to paint their left hand then imagined they were placing their hand on the wall of a cave. Creating this experience makes the connections so much more meaningful!