Friends School of Minnesota Blog

A Quaker school blog about progressive education.

Kris Bennett - Middle School Math/Science Teacher

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6th Graders Taste Test Water and Guess Who Wins??!!

6th graders have been busy following up their tour of St Paul Regional Water Services with a water unit comparing St Paul tap water to commonly purchased bottled waters. Students started with a blind taste test of 10 waters, 8 of which were bottled water, and 2 of which were either St Paul tap water or Minneapolis tap water. They ranked their preferences then tallied the results. Amazingly, St Paul.. Read More

6th Grade Studies Earthquakes

In November, Friends School of Minnesota 6th graders were studying earthquakes. We finished our earthquake resistant buildings (engineering). We practiced earthquake events (by modeling). The students made layers of the earth’s crust out of different colors of modeling clay. They sliced a “fault” through the earth and practiced strike-slip movement, reverse faults, and hanging faults. The next day they modeled different earthquake waves using Slinky springs. They pushed for P waves, shook side-to-side for.. Read More

5th and 6th grade Big River Journey

Friends School of Minnesota 5th and 6th grades went on their Big River Journey, spending the day with the National Park Service aboard a paddleboat on the Mississippi River. The field trip was filled with hands-on river activities including topics such as aquatic insects and river quality, river geology, river ecosystems, river birds, watershed stewardship, riverboats and piloting, archaeology, floodplain forests, and more.

Rocket Launch!

Friends School of Minnesota 6th and 8th graders finished our third round of rocket experiments! They blasted off for the final time after creating their own original design. 

Geometry Challenge: Pass the Popcorn!

Friends School of Minnesota 7th graders embarked on another geometry challenge this week involving popcorn! Everyone knows that movie theater popcorn often comes in buckets, similar in shape to a cylinder. Not everyone knows that the volume of popcorn received varies dramatically with the height of the bucket, even when the lateral surface area remains unchanged. The design challenge for students was to compare popcorn bucket volumes using a lateral.. Read More

Gallon Challenge! Fifth Graders Study Measurement

Fifth grade students are studying measurement in math class this month. Earlier in the year, they learned the metric system in science class, and they are now learning all things “customary.” Today was a lesson on capacity and they were given the “gallon challenge” to prove their conversions. For example: “How many teaspoons in a tablespoon?”  Prove it! “How many tablespoons in a cup?” Prove it! “How many cups in a.. Read More

Using Math to Reduce Packaging

Friends School of Minnesota 7th graders had a design-engineering challenge to re-design a Toblerone package to hold the same amount (volume) of chocolate while reducing the packaging (surface area). While the original package of chocolate held 110 cubic cm of chocolate and required 231 square cm of packaging, the new designs held the same 110 cubic cm of chocolate with only 136-178 square cm of packaging!   Check out other ways.. Read More