# All posts by Diana Morris

Hello! My name is Diana Morris and I am an enthusiastic, dynamic, compassionate, and highly motivated educator who is dedicated to creating positive and engaging classroom environments.

# Math – Probability Games

Our math unit on probability was centered around games. I introduced this unit by getting students to identify where we see probability “in the real world” and then looked at the difference between luck, chance, and probability in a variety of games.

Throughout the unit, students were asked to identify events and determine the likelihood of various events in a number of games played in class. Through game play, students increased their mathematical literacy by continuously revisiting key terminology such as (outcome, independent events, relative frequency, and so forth). The learning goals for this unit were made clear to students through a self-evaluation checklist using “I can statements.”

Rich and meaningful discussions were had around the central question of our unit, “How can knowledge of probability be used as a strategy in this particular game?” By incorporating their knowledge of probability, students were able to critique current games and suggest ways to make particular games more fair.

For the final summative assessment, students created their own games in pairs. Students were also asked to individually analyze how probability was used in their unique game. Students presented their games to the class, and then completed a reflection on the game creation process.

# Roman Mosaic Art

In Art, we explored the cultural significance and artistic techniques of Roman mosaics. The students in Division 2 not only created beautiful and meaningful works of art, they also recognized the legacy of Roman art by drawing parallels between the mosaic technique and modern day tiling.

The students and I collaborated on the rubric for this assignment. This not only made the assessment process more transparent, it also made it more meaningful to students.

# The Wonderful World of Chemistry

Our chemistry unit was full of exciting labs and hands-on activities!

• We practiced the scientific method with a fun lab on rainbow milk.
• We explored the properties of matter by creating a non-Newtonian substance (Oobleck).
• We investigated density by building 4-layer density towers with corn starch, water, vegetable oil and rubbing alcohol. We then dropped in a marble, a paperclip, a popcorn kernel, and a plastic bottle cap and recorded our observations. In their lab reports, students learned about making inferences from their observations. For example, students inferred that, because the marble sank to the bottom of the graduated cylinder, it was the more dense than all the liquids we used to build our density towers.
• We tested the acidity of various household materials (vinegar, shampoo, lemon juice, water, baking soda, and crushed antacid tablets) using red cabbage juice indicator. Again, students submitted formal lab reports and used their observations to make inferences about the various substances we tested in the lab. For example, one student wrote: “The baking soda was by far the most basic substance tested in this experiment… as soon as all of the indicator was added to the test tube full of baking soda, it immediately turned a very, very dark blue. This indicated that the baking soda was indeed a base. On the pH scale, the baking soda would score an approximate 9.”

# Division 2’s Journey Through Ancient Rome

Geography was one of the many themes we explored in our journey through ancient Rome. As a summative assessment, students created annotated maps that explored how various geographical features contributed to the success of the Roman Empire.

After geography, we looked into the three major forms of government that ruled during ancient Roman times (monarchy, republic, and empire). Students explored the differences and similarities between each form of government, the associated benefits and drawbacks, and the parallels between ancient and modern systems of governance. To enhance learning, students were asked to act out various parts of the government system in a brief role play.

As a summative assessment, students created comic strips that visually depicted the major features of each form of government. Part of the criteria was to include speech bubbles that enhanced the viewers understanding of what life would be like under that particular form of rule. Students also included brief summaries of each form of government on the back of their comic strips.

Another summative assessment in this unit was an independent research project. Students were asked to research a topic or theme they were interested in by asking 2-3 inquiry questions to guide their research. Students then published their research on their Weebly websites. All students were asked to demonstrate how their topic of choice contributed to the advancement of the Roman Empire. Here are some examples of the webpages my students created.

# Division 2 Makes Pop-Can Holiday Cards

On Thursday, December 5th, Division 2 students put their creativity to work and made some amazing pop-can holiday cards. This art lesson focused on how to use household items (aluminum cans) in creative ways. The students embraced this challenge and created some fantastic festive cards for friends and family.