Friday, March 2, 2018

WWII Comes Alive At Seabury School!!

World War II history came alive this week for Seabury Middle School students through various field study experiences!! This semester we've focused our studies on World War II across the curriculum. Students have learned about the history in Social Studies, are reading Anne Frank's Diary in Language Arts, and learning about flight and rocketry in Science. But, learning in the classroom only goes so far- Seabury makes the city its classroom and we are lucky to have so much WWII history in our city (or a short driving distance away!!)

On Monday, we made our second of four visits to the Franke Toney Jones retirement community, where students had the chance to interview several WWII veterans. Realizing they are probably the last generation of students who will get a chance to meet and talk with these people first hand, students were armed with questions and paper, politely and respectfully listening to the stories about events the students had only read about. They all walked away from the day talking excitedly about the stories that they were told and how amazing the experience was. When we visit Normandy, Paris, and Amsterdam in a few weeks, they will be able to have some real stories to connect to the geography!

On Tuesday, the Middle School visited the Museum of Flight in Seattle, where students took a tour of the museum, including its vast collection of WWI and WWII planes, uniforms, and other primary source material. Their study of flight in science prepared them with great questions and comments as they viewed the collections.


Bringing the classroom to the city is an integral party of the Seabury Mission, and this week we really got out there! Reading about things in books, watching movies, or listening to lectures certainly give students the facts, but our students learn more and learn better when they get their hands dirty. Seeing a WWII bomber, trying to fly one in a flight simulator, shaking the hands of a WWII vet- these things have helped bring a war almost 80 years old to real life for our students!!

Friday, February 23, 2018

The Art of Modern War

The middle school students had an interesting Skype interview this week with Mr. Mackenzie's brother, Specialist Saad Almomory, stationed in South Korea. He is a Forward Observer (F-13), one of the most dangerous jobs in the army. He scouts out locations from above for firing weapons, especially necessary when there are obstacles in the way of sight. The students decided to try their hands at this aspect of modern warfare. A wall was created to obstruct vision and students had to figure out the parabola a rubber band would take in an attempt to hit a target on the other side of the wall.

The students also explored more about World War II at a visit to the Washington State History Museum. While they had explored the museum earlier in the year, the students went with these research questions in mind:

1.       What was the Hanford facility and how did it contribute to the end of WWII? How has the activity there impacted the current state of environmental welfare?

2.       How did the demand for labor due to the war impact African Americans, Latinos, and women in this area?

3.       Listen to Roosevelt’s Fireside Chat, 1942, “On the Home Front,” located on the telephones in the “diner” section of the museum. What are Roosevelt’s thoughts on the war production effort? Identify two points that he makes.

4.       Describe the Japanese community in Tacoma/Seattle before the war and how it was impacted by the war. Things to consider include:
-          The Japanese Language School of Tacoma
-          The Map of the Japanese District in Seattle
-          Kenjinkai organizations and baseball
-          The Puyallup fairegrounds
-          Gordon Hirabayashi and the legal challenge to internment
-          Japanese American Citizens League

       5. How did rationing, recycling, and sacrifice impact the Puget Sound region and help the War effort?

       6. How did the War change the role for women in the workplace? How did women balance the need to work with their “responsibilities” at home?

Once they had completed this task, students got the chance to explore the new Toytopia exhibit. They enjoyed playing old video games and seeing old toys.

The students also launched their parachutes out of a window of the nearby parking garage. It was interesting seeing which models did well! 

Throw a snow day on top of all of that, and it was a pretty awesome week at the middle school!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Seabury Connects with Nature!!

Seabury Students got up close and personal with some plankton pals this week at the Tacoma Nature Center! Free and open to the public, the Tacoma Nature Center is part of the Metro Parks Tacoma park system. It encompasses 71-acres of wetland and forest, including trails around Tacoma's Snake Lake. (Don't worry- there aren't any snakes!!)

Seabury students broke into teams to explore the various learning opportunities the Nature Center had to offer. At the Lab, students learned about the various animal and plant life that call the Snake Lake wetland home. They then explored a plankton sample via microscope.

Students enjoyed learning about the different types of plankton in the lake, as well as exploring the fur and skeletal samples of local wildlife.

Students also had the chance to take a hike around Snake Lake. They used their observation skills to note all of the wildlife that they either saw or heard, helping the Nature Center in its effort to monitor local populations. They practiced bird calls, looked for turtles, and saw tons of robins. They also learned about trail etiquette that is designed to help prevent erosion and keep sediment out of the wetland where the animals live.

At Seabury, the City Is Our Classroom and we're lucky that our City has some beautiful nature to learn about. Our hands got dirty, our shoes got muddy, but we left the Tacoma Nature Center with a better understanding of how to keep our local environment safe and happy!

Friday, February 2, 2018

Climbing on Tables to Learn about Aerodynamics

What are the four forces of flight?
How easy is it to crash?
How do planes stay in the air?
Caught Pondering

Middle School Students are pondering these questions, about flight and how they pertain to WWII and Modernity.


They are designing parachutes to explore the force of drag and wind resistance. Students go through the design process to slow their free fall subjects 90% slower.

About to Test a Parachute

The student below is creating air powered rocket car in order to illustrate the force of thrust.

Many students have really gotten into engineering more and more complex looking planes. They have used paper airplanes to explore lift and weight. Our students are learning how airfoils use Bernoulli's Principle to create air pressure that lifts planes off the ground.

Incredible Makers

In connection with these experiments, students will soon be visiting Boeing Museum
of Flight and an air strip to further expand their background knowledge.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Something's Fishy! A Marine Mystery for Seabury Middle School!

Seabury Middle School students went on an adventure to Highline College's Marine Science and Technology (or MaST) Center in Des Moines today, where they became sleuths in a marine mystery. The MaST Center is a marine biology facility and aquarium associated with Highline College, which houses labs, classrooms, research areas, and a 15-tank aquarium. The location is open to the public on Saturday mornings, but the rest of the week services as an educational and outreach facility.

Seabury students were faced with the task of identifying the cause of death of a native marine mammal. Armed with data, photos, and necropsy (i.e. animal autopsy) results, students were asked to find evidence that supported their hypothesis of the cause of death. Their brains worked on overdrive, coming up with really clever theories and trying to prove them via the evidence at hand.

After this sleuthing mission, students then had the chance to visit the aquarium and get to know a few sea creatures better through the touch tank. A beachside scavenger hunt ended the day, as students combed the sand looking for items such as driftwood, different types of rocks, and various species of animals. 

It was cold, but that did not stop Seabury students from having a blast learning more about our local environment and the animals we share it with!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Holocaust Artifacts

With our class trip quickly approaching, we are learning more about modern war. Students will begin reading Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl in February, so they are learning about the Holocaust to give them more background information for this. To do this, we have received an artifacts box from the Holocaust Center for Humanity, a museum in Seattle, which we will  be visiting in March. Students watched a short video about the Holocaust and then were able to explore a replica of an artifact from some of the people they watched in the video.

Here students reflect on what they saw in the video or learned about the Holocaust through the artifacts.

One artifact was a Boy Scout card from Shanghai from a boy who fled Germany, Heinz Schwarz. 
"He was a German-Jew and was put on a train to Shanghai for protection from Nazi Germany. Even though his father was a war hero (in WWI), he was still persecuted."

"It is a children's shoe warn by a child in WWII. Before people were killed they took off their clothes. The Germans collected all the clothes and they were sent to the Reich. When people were liberated in 1945 piles of shoes were found."

"The artifact I got is a badge that people used to identify the Jews. I think it was interesting how the Jews had to pay for the yellow stars to sew on all of their clothes."
"Armbands/stars were different depending on the place."

"This artifact is a class photo of Frieda's Jewish school. They were forced to go and wear the yellow star as a label for being Jewish. She was taken to a concentration camp when she was 14. When she returned, all her classmates but Frieda had died. This picture is an artifact because it is one of the very few photos of these Jews as children, as well as the ones who had passed during the war."
"It was cut out because she gave it to her friends' families."

"This artifact is a passport marked with a J belonging to a woman named Elizabeth Sara Swartz. All Jewish women were required to take the middle name Sara, and men had to change their middle name to Israel. They had to do this due to a law passed in 1939."

This is a "small piece of blanket with a rough and scratchy texture." 
"This blanket is quite thin. It is hard to imagine this keeping 6 people warm."

Other reflections:
"These people were children. They were young, but lost their youthful joy that kids have. They had one shot at life and they were so cruel to them at such a young age, and still they had hope."

"I found it interesting that experiments were on twins in particular."

"I thought it was interesting that you were Jewish if you had 3 or 4 Jewish grandparents."

"Something that stood out to me was the gas chambers, because they were just so horrible, and so many people died from them."

"Who knew that World War 2-like incidents were still seen today?"

"Something that stood out for me was the images of the children, because I've heard so many stories and read so many books about all of the events that took place in WWII, but putting faces to all of that was very powerful."

Friday, December 15, 2017

The City is Our Classroom AND the Classroom is Our City!!

We may have been heading into Winter Break, but Seabury Middle School students did not slow down one bit these last few weeks.

Our Classroom IS Our City!!

They first had the exciting opportunity to help guide and shape the development of Tacoma's downtown Theater District through an art project with Spaceworks. It started with a simple window installation for Spaceworks, in one of the windows of the old Woolworth's building downtown. Working as part of art class, students created a vision of Tacoma through cleverly designed cardboard buildings and other structures. But, it did not end there! Spaceworks approached the Seabury art teacher and asked for students to produce an even larger window display on Commerce street, which would be featured as part of First Night. Adding to the display meant that all of Seabury's students had the chance to be a part of creating the installation, adding to what the middle school already created. It was an awesome opportunity for our students to be part of creating an important art installation for our city. The display is part of the "Transform Plan" in which Tacoma is re-envisioning the Theater District and what it could become for our city.

Seabury Middle Schoolers spent one day with the students from the Lower School campus teaching them and guiding them as they created their own additions to the display. It was wonderful to see the older kids working with the young ones. Creativity was everywhere! The little ones came up with their ideas, and the big kids helped them cut and glue and otherwise put their vision into reality. Feel free to drop by Spaceworks at Commerce and 11th to check out the amazing project!

The City is our Classroom!!

Students from the Middle School also got the chance this week to visit the Karpeles Manuscript Museum in Tacoma. Just walking distance from our campus, the museum is one of multiple locations nationwide which house pretty much every important primary source document you could imagine. The Tacoma branch featured an exhibit on the atomic bomb, and students had the opportunity to view original documents detailing the dropping of the bomb, schematic drawings of the impact done by generals during the war, and even Einstein's famous letter of warning to President Roosevelt.

Other documents on display separate from the exhibit included a rough draft with notes of WWI's Treaty of Versaille and a page form the score of Puccini's Madame Butterfly. Various students made comments about how amazing it was to be surrounded by real history, which was especially relevant to our study of Modern War and Policy this school year.