Ezra Shafron will be representing GBDS in the Scripps National Spelling Bee semi-finals. After numerous rounds four semi-finalists emerged. These champions were Danielle Wieselberg,Elijah Greenberg,Joshua Krakovsky,and Ezra Shafron. Danielle won the position of "alternate" for the National Spelling Bee. Mrs. Carole Schwack moderated the school rounds and is "beyond proud" of all of the participants. Congratulations to Ezra and Danielle on their win!

 

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By Mrs. Schwack

This past Friday, Mrs. Glassberg’s Sixth-Grade Social Studies class traveled back approximately 8,000 years in time, to enjoy a “Neolithic Picnic”. The feast was the culminating event to a unit of study tracing the development of mankind from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle to a society based on agriculture, on the brink of civilization. Students came to understand the derivation of the era's name as they had the opportunity to use mortars and pestles, as well as an actual stone as a grinding tool. They quickly realized the difficulty first hand of grinding wheat into flour before the age of Cuisinart! Indeed, as they tried to grind wheat berry seeds into flour, and to grind spices such as coriander seed and fennel seed, a new sense of appreciation for the difficulty of maintaining a food supply developed. Our typical menu of grain and berries expanded this year thanks to a recent excavation by the Israel Antiquities Authority. Fava bean seeds, as well as chickpeas and lentils, were discovered at the Middle East site and dated to the Neolithic Era. As a result of these discoveries, we added northern white beans mixed with cooked wheat berries, as well as hummus to our menu. The students ate this feast without utensils, using stone-ground pita as a “spoon”,and truly enjoyed the feast! Hopefully, a memory of this unit emerged that will remain with each student for many years to come!

Here is a sampling of sentiments from the students:

Jared Pomerlan : "They had to live on this food to survive. They depended on it!"

Joshua Kakovsky: "The food was more advanced than I thought. Actually grinding the food is very different than seeing a picture of a mortar and pestle in a textbook!"

Benjamin Bank: " I didn't realize they had to work so hard for food! Just to grind it is so much work!"

Noah Holand:"What they ate was different- stone-ground pita tastes different than more processed food!"

Jack Simon:"No matter how far back you go- food tastes good- especially the wheat seeds and beans!"

Daniella Atiya: " I didn't think they had beans..."

Leeor Ginzburg:"It was hard to find food and make it usable to eat!"

Kaylee Maines:" It is hard to grind!!"

Ariella Burnstein:" The hummus that they ate did not come in plastic containers but it was still like the hummus we eat today..."

Ezra Shafron:"Primitive-people had to spend the entire day trying to get food! Today we take it for granted. Flour was basic and hard to get!!"

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By: Mrs. Glassberg

Middle School Social Studies Teacher

Social Studies Coordinator

The Middle School dined on the harvest from last year's 7th graders TEVA plantings, as their "Bring it Back to School" project. The school's last year TEVA attendees worked hard in Spring 2015, planting the spuds of Jerusalem artichokes in the large planter that adorns the front of GBDS. This fall large green plants were evidence that their efforts were fruitful. Once the plants "died" the Jerusalem artichokes were harvested.

Jerusalem artichokes surprisingly are not from Jerusalem and are not artichokes; they are part of the sunflower and potato family. The 7th graders cleaned, cut, and cooked the harvested crop and then served it at middle school lunch for all to enjoy. The pictures chronicle some of the steps the students took to bring their work full circle from planting to enjoying the fruits of their labor.

 

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Our 7th and 8th grade students spent the last two weeks conducting a guided inquiry lab, exploring the effect of sucrose (sugar) concentration on yeast cells. The initial lab activity led them to discover that carbon dioxide is produced when yeast cells ferment sugars. Instantly, the students made the connection to challah and understood why yeast makes bread dough rise. They then designed experiments to find the optimal amount of sugar for yeast fermentation. The students were surprised to find that less is more; the highest amounts of sugar did not yield the best results. After two rounds of experiments the class concluded that 1.8 to 2.2 grams was the best range of sugar for optimizing yeast activity.

This guided inquiry activity taught the students basic cell culture techniques and developed skills including data analysis, problem solving, teamwork, and critical thinking. As a bonus, now they can tweak their favorite recipe!

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For Thanksgiving, Mrs. Bloomberg, our Math Coordinator and 6th/7th grade math teacher, created an interactive bulletin board in the Middle School hallway. The students were asked to identify "Dana's" relatives who came for her Thanksgiving dinner. Using only the given clues, the students were asked to identify her father, uncle, grandmother,brother, mother, grandfather, aunt, and sister.

The students in the Middle School were encouraged (but not assigned) to solve the problem. All of the students who handed in the correct solution had their names placed into a drawing for a prize.

Congratulations to Daniel Simon (7th) who was awarded the big prize of an Amazon Gift Card by Mrs. Bloomberg. Runners up were Noah Holand (6th) and Danielle Wieselberg (7th) who were each given homework passes for participating in the contest. Look for more math bulletin boards and contests in the future!

 

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