Byram 5th graders forge forward

Rough weather, but learning goes on

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  • The enthusiastic Fifth Grade at Byram Middle School Photos provided

  • Tomorrow's scientists with a robot today

  • Byram Police Officer Marcus Lisa schools children on the dangers of drugs

  • Sitting around expanding the mind

  • Fishing new ideas out of Polluted Shark Tank

— Byram Intermediate School has seen more than its fair share of snow this winter, but in fifth grade, the students aren’t letting anything slow them down! They’ve been very busy over the last weeks with a number of different projects. One of these has been the L.E.A.D. program. BTPD Officer Marcus Lisa has been coming in each Monday to teach the students strong behaviors and good decision-making skills. Another was a “book tasting” in Language Arts, in which students were given a chance to sample some different books. Finally, in Science, students have been participating in a project called the Polluted Shark Tank. This project has encouraged them to research and engineer a solution to an environmental problem.

Once per week our 5th graders have been participating in a Law Enforcement Against Drugs (L.E.A.D.) program. Over the course of ten weeks, students cover topics such as Goal Setting, Decision Making, Identifying and Managing Emotions, Effective Communication, Bonding and Relationships, Managing Mistakes, Peer-Pressure Refusal, and the Effects of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Marijuana Use. Through whole class and small group discussions, the students are presented with real-life scenarios in which they are asked to stop, think and make a decision, identify body signals, recognize communication styles, build healthy relationships and refuse negative peer pressure. They also learn about the physical and emotional effects that alcohol, tobacco and drug use can have on the development of their brains and bodies. With these new skills our students will be great LEADers!

Language Arts classes were transformed into Cafe Novella where the students were given the opportunity to “taste” possible book club selections before choosing which book they would like to read. When the students arrived at class for the first day of book tasting, they were greeted their teacher standing outside the room and greeted the students as their server for the day, and welcomed them to Cafe Novella. Once in the classroom the students were met by tables fitted with table cloths, electric candles, and flower centerpieces. Once seated, each student was given a menu of realistic fiction novels that included a short summary of each book. The students placed their order with their teacher-server, who delivered the “course” literally on a silver platter. Quiet cafe music began playing and the students were given the opportunity to “taste” the book for about ten minutes. The students dove right into their course, and silently read as far as they could in the alloted time. After the time was up, the students wrote a short review in their “diner’s guide” to remind them which books they wanted to read. After four to five courses of books were served, students were able to select which book club they were most interested in joining. Groups were created based on the students’ selections. Once in book clubs, students had the opportunity to discuss their books and choose what activities they wanted to complete based on a choice menu. What strong readers we have this year!! Cafe Novella will reopen in the fourth marking period for Point-of-View book clubs. Bon appetit!

Watch out Mark Cuban, Byram’s 5th graders have been working on some Shark Tank-inspired inventions of their own! In Science, students have been learning about ecosystems and energy transfer. As a culmination to the unit, they were challenged to research an environmental problem and invent a solution to help fix it, in a project we called the Polluted Shark Tank! Inspired by ABC’s hit TV show, students had to build a product prototype as well as a website using Weebly for Education, and then they were ready for the shark tank. They had to pitch their ideas to their classmates and try to convince them to invest in their product! Some students got very creative with their ideas. One student created the Fixer Upper, a system designed to clean both plastic waste and oil pollution out of the ocean. Another group created the N.C.T., a robot designed to clean nuclear waste using lead and salt water to protect itself. One group even created a hybrid dehumidifier/water filter, the Master Aqua 2000, designed to produce clean drinking water out of water vapor found in the air! Students had a blast demonstrating their research skills, creativity, and investing prowess.

The action continues in fifth grade with LEAD graduation and a fun-filled picnic sponsored by the BTPD to celebrate their success. In addition, students will be heading to the Liberty Science Center for their field trip. We look forward to the fourth marking period and the exciting activities to come.

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