Friday, February 10, 2017

Exploring Culture Through Religion

Seabury Middle School students embarked on a virtual trip around the world this Spring semester via a study of World Religions and Culture. We've spent time learning about what makes up a person's culture, from the obvious things like nationality or food, to less obvious things like being a Girl Scout or traditions in our families. Students created "culture boxes" using magazine clippings to visualize their personal culture on the outside of shoeboxes. Inside they placed "artifacts" from their personal lives. We presented our culture boxes orally to practice our public speaking skills. This week we moved into a discussion of religion as an element of culture. Students explored religion as a concept and attempt to define the difference between religion and spirituality. Today's class involved a comparison of creation stories from the five major religions (Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, and Hinduism) as well as religions from several Native American and African nations. We are excited to begin visiting some of our neighborhood places of religion, beginning next week with a stop to the local Buddhist Temple!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Antarctica

Last week we had a Skype conversation with Dr. Penny Rowe. She was calling in from the Antarctic Peninsula. This was a great follow-up to her presentation on climate change and infrared. She is working with Chilean scientists to study clouds in Antarctica. The kids had lots to ask about how she lives down there (sleeping quarters, weather), and what the South Pole is like. Penguins!

She also told us about her work with radiosondes also called "weather balloons." Each day she is there she launches two balloons, that travel high into the atmosphere sending back information about clouds and their make-up. She is interesting in clouds because they interact with incoming UV and out going Infrared to create changes in climate, some beneficial.

She told us the Peninsula in recent years has seen temperature rises much higher than elsewhere in the world. Meanwhile, Antarctica as a whole has been insulated from global temperature rise by a number of factors including how air pollution and the ozone hole influence the polar vortex.

At Seabury we are excited to bring real scientists' voices into the classroom, and especially when they can share about careers in science.