Friday, March 30, 2012

CRCT Study Guide

Here is a useful CRCT study guide that provides information, tips, and practice questions to prepare you for the test that is quickly approaching (Testing begins the first week of May).  Remember, the CRCT is just another way you can "show what you know", and should not be something that brings you undue stress.  The best way to prepare for the CRCT is to use your classtime appropriately and try your best on all you do during the school day.

UPDATE: I've also included a link in the Useful Links section to the right to a great online practice CRCT test.  The login ID and Password are grade6.

The Week of April 2, 2012

Happy Week Before Spring Break!  I hope you are ready or a great four-day week.  I have a lot of exciting activities planned.

In math, we will finish up our geometry work by talking about volume of cones.  Here is the formula we will use during our lessons:
\volume of a cone

Volume of a cone = 1/3 * π * r 2 * h
where π = pi = 3.14159...
r = radius of the circular base
h = height of the cone

Be expecting some math homework this week.  These will be the first grades on your final term reportcard, so work hard to keep the 100% everyone starts the term with!  I've updated with some new review lessons.  Please spend your free time working on these lessons.

In science, we will be finishing up our work with outer space.  We will focus on comets, meteors, meteroites, meteoroids, and asteroids.  You will also be given plenty of time to finish up your research papers on the planets in our solar system.  I'm very excited to read what you have discovered about our amazing corner of the Milky Way!  We will not have a quiz/test this week in science, but your research paper will be due Thursday.

The book fair ends this week, so be sure to visit the media center to purchase some great books.  Also, if you made your AR goal, there is a FREE book waiting for you!

See you Monday morning,
Mr. Trent

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Solar System Models

Mr. Brandon helped the class create solar system models based on heliocentric and geocentric theories.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

How big is our solar system?

Today we used toilet paper to help us make a model of the solar system. You can clearly see that the inner, terrestrial planets are closer together than the outer planets.

Racks and Tubes

The racks and tubes Montessori material is used to solve long division problems. Here a student uses the material to practice this skill.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

AASU Health and Fitness Day!

We had a great time on Friday at Armstrong Atlantic State University learning all about health and fitness.  Thank you to all the AASU students and faculty who made this day possible!

The Week of March 25, 2012

It's a short week at school Friday.  That means we have a lot to fit in a short amount of time.  Please remember to always work with good purpose so we can make the most of the time we have together.

In math we will be focusing on finding volume of cylinders.  I hope you remember how to use pi, because 3.14 is an important part of the formula for finding volume of cylinders.  Tim and Moby have a great Brainpop movie about this subject that you may wish to check out.  Here is another GREAT practice website to help you understand finding volume of cylinders.  We will have cylinder homework this week, but will not have a test on this until next week.

In science, we will be doing research about our own solar system.  Over the next two weeks, you will be working on a research paper that will tell all about the planets in our solar system.  Be very careful to follow the rubric I will give you Monday so that you get full credit for your work.  Your final paper will be due Thursday, April 5.  This paper will be counted as a test grade (we will not have a final test for this chapter).  We will have a vocabulary test, though.  It will take place this Thursday, and it will be on the following words:

Terrestrial planets- the dense and rocky inner planets closest to the sun (Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars)

Gas giants- planets that have deep, massive atmospheres rather than hard and rocky surfaces like the inner planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune)

Comet- a small body of ice, rock, and cosmic dust that follows an elliptical orbit around the sun and that gives off gas and dust in the form of a tail as it passes close to the sun.

Asteroid- a small, rocky, object that orbits the sun, usually in a band between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.

Meteor- a bright streak of light that results when a meteoroid (space-rock) burns up in the Earth’s atmosphere

Meteorite-  a meteoroid (space-rock) that reaches the earth’s surface without burning up completely.  

In addition to everything else, the Book Fair starts this week!  See Ms. Rebecca for more information about books that will be available for sale.  

I'm looking forward to a great week!
Mr. Trent

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Progress Reports and Parent/Teacher Conference Forms

Today we are sending home progress reports and Parent/Teacher conference forms.  Please sign and return the progress reports tomorrow, and the conference forms ASAP.

Friday Picture Day Information

We will be taking our individual and class picture Friday before we leave for our field trip to AASU. Please come to school wearing what you wish to have on for your photo. After the pics are taken, you are free to change into your "phys ed" outfit for the trip.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

2012 GK-12 Conference in Washington, DC

Without the help of the National Science Foundation and their support of the GK-12 program, we would not have the pleasure of having Mr. Brandon from Savannah State University share his expertise in our classroom on a regular basis.  The program provides the funds for science and math graduate students to come into classrooms and help elementary, middle, and high school students better understand math, science, engineering, and technological concepts.  This past weekend, Mr. Brandon and I attended the GK-12 conference in Washington, DC.  It was a great way to meet other people who are part of the program, share what we've been doing over the past two years, and experience all our nation's capitol has to offer!

I attended many workshops during the two days of the conference.  We talked about using animation to show scientific concepts, increasing cultural awareness in lessons, and using Twitter to increase participation in science and math lessons.

I got a chance to see amazing things like this lunar lander that first landed on the Moon on July 21, 1969!  This, and other amazing pieces of space history, are found at the National Air and Space Museum that is part of the Smithsonian Institute.  

I came across the actual book that contains the first mention of Ptolemy's views on what our universe looks like.  Can you remember Ptolemy's theory?  The first person to comment on this blog with the correct answer will get a prize!

Springtime in Washington, DC is a beautiful sight!  These azaleas were on display in the rotunda of the National Gallery of Art.  

What a wonderful trip!  I can't wait to put to use all that I learned during my quick weekend trip to the GK-12 conference.

The Week of March 18

I'm back from DC!  I had a great time at the GK-12 conference.  I have a lot of pics to share with you of my trip.  I'll make sure to set aside some time this week for a little show and tell time :)

It's no surprise that we have a really busy week coming up.  In math, we will be starting our discussion about finding volume of geometric solids.  This week, we will only focus on finding volume of cubes, rectangular prisms, and pyramids.  Here is a great formula table (from you can use to find the volume of a variety of solids:

Be on the lookout for a number of math homework assignments this week.  We will have a quiz on what we've talked about on Thursday.  Also, i'm expecting you to finish another geometric skytower sort by Friday.  Finally, be sure you are doing as many questions on as you can.

In science, we will be continuing our discussions about stars.  Monday, I will speak about galaxies, and we will be using the Cornell method of note taking.  Be sure to be studying your notes from last Monday, and the ones we take tomorrow so you will be ready for your chapter test on stars this Friday.  Here are some notes on galaxies:

galaxy- a collection of gas, dust, and stars
Types of galaxies:
elliptical- 1/3 of all galaxies, many look like spheres.  Contain old stars.
spiral galaxy- have a bulge in the center and arms that spiral off of it.  Our Milky Way is an example of a spiral galaxy.  Our solar system is on the Orion arm of the Milky Way.
irregular galaxy-  These galaxies don’t fit into any other class. 

There are a few other things happening this week, too:
1.  Monday will be a dress-down day for $1.00.  All the proceeds will go towards the "Kiss a Pig" campaign.
2.  Parent/Teacher conferences are coming up at the end of the month.  I will be sending home conference request forms.  Please return them to your homeroom teacher ASAP so you can get your desired time and day.
3.  We will take the science Quarterly Assessment online sometime within the next few days.
4.  Friday is a busy day.  It is another dress down day, spring picture day, and our fieldtrip that Coach Leslie organized to Armstrong Atlantic University's PE Adventure.  I'll give you more information about how we will coordinate picture day and our field trip as soon as the details fall together.

That's it!  Let's get this week started!
Mr. Trent

Thursday, March 15, 2012

WOW! 3,000 is a BIG number!

Guess what?!?  We've just had the 3,000th visitor to this blog!  Thank you so much for taking the time to view!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Happy Pi Day!

Today we celebrated Pi Day by making pizza pies and calculating their circumference and area. Yum!

Cumberland Island

I wish you all could have come along to Cumberland Island with me today! I had a great time investigating this beautiful Georgia barrier island. 

Here's a pic from the dock in St. Mary's where I departed from.

The ferry we took to the island got us there in about 45 minutes.

I enjoyed exploring the Dungeness Mansion ruins.

Wild horses roam the island! Here is a cute newborn and its mother.

Look, I found a shark's tooth! It was hidden in the piles of sand dredged from a nearby river to allow room for the submarines from the Kingsland Base to pass.

I explored the beach and dunes looking for shells and seeking examples of wind erosion.

I came across a snake! Can you see it? Don't worry, this one isn't poisonous.
My favorite part of my journey was the maritime forest.  Its twisted trees were amazing!  

If you ever get a chance, visit Cumberland Island.  Coastal Georgia is such a beautiful place to call home!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Wonderful Week of March 12, 2012

There are a lot of things happening this week that have me very excited!  First, I will be going to Cumberland Island on Tuesday with a  few other science teachers to study erosion on the barrier island.  On Friday, Mr. Brandon and myself will fly to Washington DC to attend a science conference.  You will have a substitute teacher on Tuesday and Friday, and I am expecting exceptional grace and courtesy reports.  I'll be sure to take a lot of pictures and put them on the blog so you can share what I am seeing on Cumberland Island and in DC!

This week at Ellis we will continue to study surface area of cylinders in math.  As you know, the more we practice a concept, the better we will get at it.  I have a feeling we will all be surface area experts by the end of this year!  Be expecting some math homework and a quiz on Thursday.  I've notice a lot of people using Ten Marks to help practice their math work!  This is WONDERFUL!  Keep it up!

In science, we will focus our next two weeks of instruction on stars and galaxies.  On Monday, I will share with you some information on the lifecycle of stars.  Here's a preview of what we will be taking about:

You will get a choice sheet (Seeing Stars) to complete for next Friday as well as the following vocabulary words that you will need to know for a quiz this Friday:

Apparent Magnitude- the brightness of a celestial body as seen from earth.  The lower the number, the brighter the planet or star.

Constellation- a region of the sky that contains a recognizable star pattern and that is used to describe the location of objects in space.

Black hole- an object so massive and dense that even light cannot escape its gravity

White dwarf- a small, hot, dim star that is the leftover center of an old star.

Supernova- a gigantic explosion in which a massive star collapses and throws it outer layers into space.

Galaxy- a collection of stars, dust, and gas bound together by gravity

Globular cluster- a tight group of stars that looks like a ball and contains up to 1 million stars.

Nebula- a large cloud of gas and dust in interstellar space; a region where stars are born.

Quasar- a very luminous object that produces energy at a high rate; they are thought to be the most distant objects in the universe. 

Protostar- a ball of gas and dust.  Gravity pulls the gas and dust together, and its center gets hotter (the first stage of the lifecycle of a star)

Let's get this week going!

See you tomorrow,
Mr. Trent

Friday, March 9, 2012

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Parent Involvement Library

Looking for strategies to use to increase your child's performance in school?  The Parent Involvement Library can help!  It has many .pdf booklets on a number of subjects, including science, math, and even study skills.  Check them out!

Gallery Walk

Today we checked our homework by having a gallery walk. Sharing what we know about surface area is a great way to help each other learn!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Armstrong Health and Physical Education Adventure Field Trip

On March 23 from 9:30-1:00, 6th graders are invited to attend the Armstrong Health and Physical Education Adventure at Armstrong University.  This trip is dsigned to enhance the knowledge and skills of middle school sports and health issues.  The sports skills will be basketball, volleyball, flag football, and tennis.  We get to go and learn from Health and PE majors and collegiate athletes.  THis is a wonderful opportunity, and I hope you will take advantage of it.

The required dress for the fieldtrip will be shorts of the appropriate length or loose fitting warm ups and a Charles Ellis t-shirt if you have one.  If you don't have an Ellis shirt, then a plain while or grey t-shirt will be fine.  For maximum safety, ALL students must wear tennis shoes.  No jeans, tank tops, short shorts, or other items that are listed in the student code of conduce will be permitted. 

We will be eating lunch on Armstrong property, so a bag lunch is required.  You will have the opportunity to get a school lunch if you need one.

Please return the permission slip that was given to you today by this Friday to attend the fieldtrip.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Ten Marks: Great Math Practice

Be sure to log-on to for some wonderful math practice.  You can get some extra help with what we have been studying in math, and with some things that we haven't done in a while.  The more you do, the more games you unlock!  Ten Marks can also be a great place to check if you have questions about completing your homework because it is packed with how-to videos.  See Mr. Trent if you need your username and password.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Week of March 4, 2012

Welcome to the first full week of March!  I hope you didn't float away from all the rain this weekend.  While the rain surely stopped any outside activities you may have had on Saturday, we desperately needed the precipitation to help all of the beautiful flowers and trees to grow.  Spring is right around the corner!

This week in math we will be doing some more work with surface area.  Instead of focusing on rectangular prisms and cubes, we will take a look at cylinders.  Here is a video that reviews surface area of cubes and rectangular prisms and also shows surface area of triangular prisms:

A video that shows how to find the surface area of a cylinder can be found HERE.

You will have a lot of math homework this week.  Be sure you are completing it every night so you will be comfortable with finding surface area.  We will have a quiz on surface area this Thursday.  Don't forget to be submitting a completed geometry sky tower each week, also.  Finally, good news: is working again!  I will give you your username and password so you can use it to practice current topics of study, review topics we haven't talked about in a while, and brush up on anything you need more practice doing.  You will have access to this website at school and at home.

In science we will be continuing our discussion of the sun, moon, earth connection.  I will give you a lesson on Monday about solar and lunar eclipses.  This week, you must also complete your "Lunar Lunchbox" choice sheet.  Use any extra class time to study for your test this Friday.  Here is a study guide to focus your studying:

The Earth, Sun, and Moon Study Guide

The sun is found at the center of our solar system.  The sun is made of hydrogen and helium that is held together by gravity. 

The sun’s energy comes from nuclear fusion.  This is when two or more nuclei fuse, or join together, to form a new nucleus.  This process releases a huge amount of energy.  In the sun, two hydrogen nuclei fuse together to form helium.

Sunspots are cooler, dark spots on the photosphere.  The sun’s magnetic fields slow the movement of gases.  This causes certain areas of the photosphere to become cooler than others.  Sunspots can affect the Earth’s climate.

Solar flares are extremely hot, bright regions on the sun’s surface.   They can extend up to several thousand kilometers within only a few minutes.  They can interfere with radio and television waves.

Earth’s moon is also called Luna.  It formed 4.6 billion years ago when a large body collided with Earth.  The collision blasted a part of Earth’s mantle off into space.  Over time, these parts joined together to form the moon.

As the moon travels around the Earth, varying amounts of sunlight is reflected by it.  This causes the moon to appear to change shape. This is called phases of the moon.

An eclipse happens when the shadow of one body in space falls on to another.  A lunar eclipse happens when the moon comes between the sun and Earth.  Then, the shadow of the moon falls on part of the Earth’s surface. 

A lunar eclipse happens during a full moon when the moon passes through the shadow of the Earth.

The above study guide is the same one I gave you last Monday.  Please study the diagrams found on that paper copy, too.  In addition, review your vocabulary and phases of the moon because they will be found on Friday's test, as well.

I'm very impressed that some students are completing bonus work on their choice sheet.  That shows good initiative and a drive to go above and beyond expectations.  Keep up the good work!

See you tomorrow,
Mr. Trent