The First Grade Pumpkin Drop

Every fall, as the students head into the final week of October, the first-grade students gather for a special team STREAM project.

The two classrooms combine and break off into mixed groups so that students can get to know some new friends and fine-tune their teamwork skills.

On the first day of their project, each of the students work on their own design strategy, and then they each take turns presenting their suggestions to their group.

The following day, the groups gather and a representative from each of the teams carefully selects the pumpkin they will use in the rooftop drop.

Next, the team selects a box and padding materials for their unique pumpkin drop design.

The goal is for the team to create a design that protects the pumpkin from cracking as it is thrown from the rooftop by Prinicipal Gallivan.

The team has one period to select their materials and design their box before the final products are sent off to Mr. Gallivan for the final event.

For this year’s pumpkin toss, parents were invited to come and see how their student’s design held up against the impact.

There were five teams, and of the five designs, four pumpkins cracked from the impact of the fall. One team did successfully design a launch box that protected their pumpkin from any signs of destruction.

Nicely done engineers!

Mr. Gallivan did have one surprise for the group that made for a very exciting ending to the event.

One pumpkin remained and it was not in a box. What would happen when it too was launched from the roof?

After all the designs had been launched from the roof, the little engineers took apart their boxes to look at the final results. They will discuss their designs in greater detail and share ideas on how they could fine-tune them if they were to repeat the project.

The Final Harvest

The sixth-graders were busy in the garden this week, harvesting the last of the vegetables.

The class broke into teams, with one group digging up the potatoes, another harvesting peas, a group on pea shucking detail, and the last group removed the remaining plants from the garden and tilled the soil.

Seventh grade will be measuring the haul to collect data and to look for dominant and recessive patterns in the vegetables.

And lastly, the eighth-grade students will cut everything into tiny pieces and then mix all those tiny chopped pieces back into the soil.

Since plants pull nutrients from the soil while growing, mixing vegetables back into the soil will help to add nutrients back into our garden beds before we plant again next spring.

These school garden beds serve as a gathering space for this entire community.

In the spring, students map out their gardening plans and plant their seeds. In the summer, families return to campus to weed and water. And lastly, in the fall, the classrooms coordinate who will harvest, what will be eaten, and who will prep the beds for the winter ahead.

Community Service

One key aspect of the middle school curriculum, is the community service projects our middle school students complete in their religion coursework with Mrs. Urban.

Eighth grade oversees mass projections, assists with prayer services, serves at the senior luncheons hosted by St. Mary of Lake, makes quilts for local nursing homes, and brings to life new projects that can be shared in the community to inspire faith and love. For instance, there is currently an art project on display on our playground fences that our eighth-grade students designed.

In seventh grade, the students assist with various sewing projects (like the creation of the quilts) and also train for mass projections.

In sixth grade, in addition to the sewing projects, they too look for new ways to share our Catholic faith in the community, and this year designed one of the displays for our fences.

In February, all of the middle school students work on a partner project with the White Bear Historical Society, creating valentines for residents at nearby senior housing facilities. In April, they help with the Almsgiving baskets in the classrooms, and in May, they make pillowcases and share those fresh pillows with other senior housing facilities and long-term care homes.

This year, in particular, the students have taken to the sewing projects and have enjoyed learning how to sew using sewing machines!

The students and their families have donated fabric and new pillows, and then the students got to work pinning, threading, and sewing!

It is amazing to see the way these students connect with their work, knowing the way it will impact others’ lives!

Putting the FUN into Fundraising

Yesterday we announced the full schedule and details for the upcoming Great Outdoors, 2021 Spring FUN-draiser, and we are beyond thrilled to bring this new event to our great community!

 

The spring event is our most successful fundraiser of the year, generating a significant amount of money that helps support both our immediate needs and our long-term goals. Before the pandemic, parents, parishioners, and community members gathered in-person for a Gala and participated in a live auction that raised thousands of dollars for scholarships, a specific annual area of need (known as our yearly Fund-a-Need project), capital improvements, teacher development, and so much more.

 

As with our 2020 event, our 2021 festivities will again feature a virtual auction, but this year we are on a mission to pump up the FUN in fundraising. The parent-volunteers who have planned for this year’s fundraiser, have created a series of events that celebrate our Falcon community, time with our families, and time outdoors in our beautiful North Star state.

 

Below are the key details to note as we countdown to this community-wide initiative!

 

  • ClickBid registration is open for the Virtual Auction. Please go to this link now and register for your bidding number. Share this link with family members and friends and encourage them to register as well!
    • Families that register for the Virtual Auction may record 5 volunteer hours in Sycamore.
    • The auction preview is live and features over 100 items and packages – we have something for everyone, at every price point!
    • Bidding begins on Wednesday, April 28

 

  • Our 2021 Fund-a-Need will raise funds specific to our science curriculum, impacting the learning experience in every classroom in our great school. In the coming days, you will see several items added to the auction that you can “purchase” to directly support a teacher’s science curriculum.

 

  • On Thursday, April 22 every student will be given an Adventure Challenge Booklet to participate in a Great Outdoors scavenger hunt. This activity is optional, but an amazing way to have fun together as a family!
    • The booklet will have instructions on how to complete each of the challenges and is scaleable for all grade levels.
    • The challenges fall into four categories: at-school, at-home, in White Bear Lake, and Acts of Service.
    • Students will return their completed booklets on Monday, April 26 and winners will be announced on Tuesday, April 27.

 

  • The Virtual Auction will open for bids on Wednesday, April 28 at noon and will close at 9:00 p.m. on Friday, April 30. 
    • Get in there early and claim your favorites!
    • Continue to share this amazing opportunity with friends and family members. The amazing line-up of auction items makes this initiative a win-win for all!
    • Your purchases support the enhancement and expansion of Catholic education in White Bear Lake. WIN-WIN!

More on the Fund-A-Need

Each year as we launch this critical initiative, we identify a specific area of need, known as our annual Fund-a-Need project, which supports an aspect of our STREAM (science, technology, religion, engineering, arts, and mathematics) curriculum.
In 2020, Virtual Auction participants played a significant role in helping us raise enough money to complete the school Chapel, supporting our religion curriculum. Our 2021 Fund-a-Need will raise funds specific to our science curriculum, impacting the learning experience in every classroom in our great school. In the auction preview site, you will see several auction items that you can “purchase” to directly support a teacher’s science curriculum.

Ready to Get Your Bid Number?

Visit this link now and get your registration number so you don’t miss any of the fun!

A Look Inside Tech

Our kindergarten through fourth-grade students rotate to specialists throughout the week, fully rounding out their STREAM (science, technology, religion, engineering, and math) curriculum.

From Spanish and technology to P.E. and music, our Falcons are being challenged in new and exciting ways, keeping them fully engaged each and every day!

Recently, in technology, our students have been tackling a rich mix of projects and balancing the hard work with some friendly competition at the end of each class.

The kindergarten and first-grade classes have been wrapping up their coding lessons and developing their typing efficiency.

The second-grade students have been writing stories about a dog, using the Keynote app to prepare a presentation that shares the tale.

In third grade, the students are mastering Google Slides by writing a presentation on a specific country.

Lastly, the fourth-grade students, are working on tinker modeling, which we will share more about on the Falcon Feed blog in the weeks ahead.

The technology room is very quiet as each of the students focuses on their projects, and in the final minutes of class, breaks out into excited chatter, happy dances, and encouraging chants as students compete against each other in educational brain-break games.

Oh, but all the games are in Spanish, adding a different twist on brain-break time!

Discovering Pi

While Pi Day may have taken place while the students were out on spring break, there was no way Mrs. Heinz (our middle school math teacher) was going to let the day go by unrecognized!

What is Pi Day you say?

Pi Day is celebrated on March 14th (3/14) around the world. Pi (Greek letter “π”) is the symbol used in mathematics to represent a constant — the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter — which is approximately 3.14159. Pi Day is an annual opportunity for math enthusiasts to recite the infinite digits of Pi, talk to their friends about math, and eat pie.

At Frassati, our sixth-grade students did a lab experiment to discover (and celebrate!) Pi.

In this lesson, students blew bubbles on their desks and then measured the circumference and diameter of the bubbles they created.

The sixth graders then recorded their data for analysis and reviewed their findings as a class. To sweeten the lab, the experiment ended with slices of pie for all to enjoy!

Board Games Inspired by Books

How do you teach middle school students to dissect a book? To dig into the plot? To define the roles of the characters? And to look for themes?

Some teachers would assign a book report, some a basic Q & A sheet. However, in Mrs. Schmidtbauer’s class, the seventh graders were given a different kind of assignment that challenged them to not only consider the basic elements of their book but how to creatively share the theme of the story with others.

Each of the seventh-grade students read a book of their choosing and were given a month to design a board game based on their book. They had to create all the materials needed to play the game, along with an instruction sheet that would allow others to play the game without the creator’s guidance.

Mrs. Schmidtbauer (our middle school language arts and literature teacher) has saved other students’ board games over the years, so before digging into the assignment, the students had the chance to play board games from previous years to see how other students had completed the project.

As the students turned in their completed projects, the class broke into groups and took turns explaining their board games and how to play them. Each group then had time to play their creations and showcase their creative thinking!

2D to 3D Thinking

In Ms. Geppert’s technology class, fourth-grade students are stretching their thinking from 2D to 3D, in preparation for upcoming lessons on 3D printing.

The students were given cards that had flat, 2D diagrams displayed on them, that guided them on where to place Keva planks to create various angles. Over the course of the lesson, students needed to create three different perspectives, and check their designs with the photo examples they were given.

This exercise helps students think about all 3 dimensions, which prepares them for their intro to Computer Aided Drafting (CAD), and how to think through alignment and design in 3D.

Ms. Geppert said that “it is pretty common for a student who is new to CAD software to make a creation and think it is aligned until they change the perspective on the screen and then find it’s leaning. Before we print, we want to have thought ahead about these kinds of design flaws.”

The fourth-grade students will continue their practice with Keva planks before moving into their computer work.