I have taught at the Lyme school since the year 2000. Previous to my time in Lyme I taught at the elementary level in several Upper Valley Schools in both Vermont and New Hampshire. Before my time in education I was a historical interpreter at a living history museum.
Grade Six Science
The emphasis in sixth grade is on physical science topics. At the start of the year the children begin a year long exploration of weather. As "Weather Watchers" they use the school weather station to make daily weather observations and forecasts. They also record data from a station on Charlestown Middle School to compare weather south of us to conditions in Lyme. About twice a month small groups of sixth graders video chat with Charlestown Weather Watchers about Upper Valley and New England weather. Once a month the children tromp out to Grant Brook to perform place based natural science activities in collaboration with the Charlestown Middle Schoolers and as a cross curricular activity with the language arts program. In the classroom the children perform experiments to explore heat and its effects on matter and investigate insulators and conductors. Basic chemistry is explored through experiments with solutions, mixtures, types of chemical reactions, and acids and bases. After the chemistry unit we move into investigations of moving objects that demonstrate Newton's Laws of Motion as well as investigations of gravity. Energy that moves in waves is usually investigated in late winter. Activities that investigate the refraction and reflection of light and sound help the children learn about these invisible forces. By spring the children do a short unit on body systems. Following that we begin an exploration of Earth and Ocean Science in preparation for our trip to the New England Aquarium in mid-May.
Grade Seven Science
The children in grade seven spend the year studying life science. Cell structures and their functions are examined first followed by learning about cell processes and reproduction. The children become quite skilled in the use of the microscope as they look at various cells and prepare their own slides. As a segue to cell processes we study cell reproduction and the processes of heredity. Several modeling activities are employed during these units to help the kids develop a thorough understanding of processes such as mitosis, DNA copying, and how probability effects the outcomes of sexual reproduction. The Theory of Evolution Through the Process of Natural Selection is examined in detail by mid year. As we progress into the spring we examine organisms in the six kingdoms of life. Microscope skills developed in the fall become useful again as the children examine bacteria, protists, fungi, and plant parts. In the spring we explore some human body systems and functions.
Grade Eight Science
Eighth graders spend the year learning about Earth Processes. We do a brief unit on the nature of science followed by some explorations of matter. An introductory experiment on pendulum motion is followed up by a tour of the antique pendulum clock in the church tower. Soon after that the eighth graders learn about the property of density by immersing themselves, if they want to, in a barrel of water. By October the children are doing experiments to learn about minerals and rocks. This sets them up for investigations of energy using fan driven windmills and modeling consumption of mineral resources. By midyear the children are learning about forces, such as erosion, that change Earth's surface as well as internal processes driven by plate tectonics that change our active earth. The children also learn about space exploration and the vastness of the solar solar system when by creating scale models of our solar system. Near the end of the year the kids work on a STEM project called Junior Solar Sprint in teams of two. In this project the kids design and build solar powered cars that they race against teams from other Upper Valley schools.