Monday, December 9, 2013

Renaissance Casino: Play to Lose

By Macy Stubbs and Haley Seymour - 7th grade students at St. Albans City School

On November 22, 2013, the seventh graders from Team Renaissance at St. Albans City School, had a mini casino to showcase their learning about probability. To an outsider, our casino may have looked like a mini prom. There were gold and purple streamer chandeliers  and bright white Christmas lights hung from the ceiling. As people entered our “casino”, they were greeted with upbeat lively music playing loudly. The casino had an aroma of foods that were tantalizing to middle school students.  Our tables were decorated with purple and gold table cloths and our games were set out creatively on the tables. From different parts of the building this definitely sounded like a dance, but in reality, we were showcasing our way of learning probability.  
When you walked into our mini casino you were greeted with many varieties of probability games. The games we made were similar to games we had played in Ms. Eichorn’s math class. Some of the games we created were: Ski Lift, Making Green, Coin Flip, Cave Maze, Kings and Aces, and Product of 12. These were games of chance based upon theoretical probability.
Renaissance eighth graders were our customers and each student started off with the same number of poker chips that they could use to pay for our games. It cost one dollar to play each game. They would eventually have to win money in order to keep playing. If they lost all of their money,  they could get a loan from the bank. However, our goal was for them to not win. We wanted the casino to make money!
We actually based the amount of money the players won for each game off of the theoretical probability and expected value for each game.  We used an area model or tree diagram to find the likelihood of each outcome.  We used the probability of winning in order to set a prize and then checked the expected value for each game.  Only one of our casino games was expected to break-even, all other games were expected to earn money for the casino. The experimental probability showed that this does not happen all of the time.
We used the casino as a way to collect our experimental data. We collected data as students and teachers within the school community played the different games. We compared the experimental and theoretical probabilities with each other, and then explained what it meant in our presentation to the 8th graders. Each group had a different comparison and all had to explain in their own way. Every group also had to make a presentation explaining what their game was, the rules to their game, and what they did to find the theoretical probability. We then compared the experimental and theoretical probabilities, and explained if the game was fair, or not fair for the players.
The casino was a great learning experience. The seventh graders had fun designing it and the eighth graders enjoyed playing the games. It was a fun and clever way to teach everyone about probability.

Day of Code

Today students did a variety of activities surrounding coding.  Some activities were unplugged, while others were plugged.  Plugged activities included an hour of code where students learned how to code on Khan Academy.  My Robotic Friends was an unplugged activity where students used arrows to create directions/code for the "robot" to stack the cups in a certain way.  Many students also led My Robotic Friends with other k-3 communities.  In math class, students created a time line of the history of data storage and our 8th graders expanded their understanding of exponential growth.  In Language Arts, student previewed 3 commercials spanning many years and compared and contrasted the technology available.  

Operation Happiness

Students loaded 3,333 items of food onto a school bus last Thursday to take to Operation Happiness.  The items were donations from our entire school community.  We are very proud of our school for contributing to this cause.  Our students unloaded and sorted the items downtown.  Here are some pictures.  Nice work SACS!

Culminating Event

Team Renaissance cordially invites you to attend their Tri-Science Magic Show on Tuesday December 17, 2013 from 5:45 - 6:45.  Renaissance students will be presenting demonstrations based on their study of Physical Science as their Culminating Event for Trimester One.  We are excited for you to come and participate in the culmination of their learning and share in some exciting and interesting demonstrations.  All demonstrations will take place in the double room in the Renaissance Community.  We look forward to seeing you at this culminating event.
Team Renaissance Community

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Casino teachers reach out...

Seventh graders continue to teach probability after the casino.  8th graders will take a quiz on probability tomorrow.

Blown away!

Today we launched a rocket and used our incline-o-meters (more commonly known as a refractor) to find the altitude.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Soda Straw Rockets

 We have learned about many different rockets that Homer Hickham and the rocket boys had to make before designing a rocket that was successful. We are using "soda-straw" rockets to learn about rocket stability, analysis and interpretation of flight data, and design modification.

Monday, November 18, 2013

... And we are off!

Mr.  Mehaffey visited our class today as we begin learning about rockets.  Today we are making incline-o-meters (or refractors).

Friday, November 15, 2013

Bridge Thickness Experiment

8th grade students tested bridge thickness today.  We are investigating the relationship between the thickness and the breaking weight.  Do you think it will be a linear relationship?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Learning Showcases

Please sign-up for a learning showcase.  Learning Showcases are Student Led Conferences where you will learn about your student's strengths and challenges throughout this trimester.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Bedsheet Basketball

Students from each grade had to hold the sheet and work together to make a basket.

Veterans Day Parade

Yesterday, our entire school walked to Taylor park where we watched the parade and honored our Veterans in a special ceremony with our buddy teams.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Veterans Day Guest Speaker

Renaissance was fortunate to have Patrick talk to us today.  He shared his story and some of his life lessons.  Here's what Renaissance students said about Patrick, and the lessons they learned from listening to him speak. 

"He was a proud soldier and he should be. He talked about some good things about the Army and told us about the bad things. He even showed us pictures of his bullet wound. I had to go up to him and thank him for what he did for our country, I was proud to shake his hand."

"I really enjoyed having Patrick come to talk to us. I like listening to him tell us about how war was and what happened. I found it really interesting to listen to his life experiences. I liked when he showed us things that meant a lot to him. His story really touch my heart how he wasn't afraid to tell us what happened in his life."

"A life lesson I connected with was how I take the things people give me for granted.  That was a lesson a learned because he talked about how he didn't realize how much he needed family support until it was all gone."


"While listening to Patrick speak, I felt that he was a real hero. I think that he was trying to show us that serving our country is a great thing to do. He also showed us that school is very important. He was talking about how he wished he had gone to collage and then go to the army. He said that school is very important in out lives. That education is very helpful."

"He showed us some of his military coins, which I thought was pretty cool. He made the presentation, touching, and interesting and I enjoyed it. "

"He mentioned something about having to go for long runs, workouts, and training in the freezing cold. I believe that shows complete perserverance. He mentioned that a couple of times we wanted to stop and leave but he knew that wasn't an option for him. When he got back from war he went back to college. I think that shows that you are never too old to get a good education and if you put your mind to something you can exceed."

"Patrick really inspired me. He made me want to do better in school. He made me think of what my future would be like if I did just enough to get by.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Making Purple

7th graders checked whether this carnival game would be a good school fundraiser.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

What are the Chances?

7th grade students have begun the second math unit of the year on probability.  We have played three games so far, and are learning about experimental and theoretical probability.

The Multiplication GameTwo dice are rolled.  If the product is odd, player A gets a point.  If the product is even, player B gets a point.

Is this a fair game?  Will the school make money on this game if they charge $1 to play and award $3 to a winner?

October Sky

Renaissance has started Rocket Boys!  A historical fiction novel based on the life of Homer Hickum.  They will be doing many activities based on the Common Core Standards of informational text that accompanies the reading of historical fiction.  Students watched the movie October Sky before reading this book.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Element Project

Students have been working on an Element Presentation.  They will present to their classmates to help us better understand the elements before we learn how they combine to form compounds.  The presentation is due on Friday.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Brain Food!

Students were surprised with a full breakfast Wednesday morning.  We are hoping that the scrambled eggs, toast, and toppings from our garden help students show their best work on their state testing.  Today students took the last Reading session and the first Math session.  Ask them about the R.A.C.E. model or the Q.U.E.S.T model!

Wheel of Theodorus Art Project

8th grade students have been working on an art project in math class. They have been drawing right triangles and solving for unknown lengths using the Pythagorean Theorem. Here are some pictures of their art work.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Parent Night

Thank you to all the families that joined us Thursday evening.  If you missed us, feel free to call or email any Renaissance teacher.  Looking forward to our first Green Up Day tomorrow.

Problem Solving

Given a small amount of materials students needed to work together to create the tallest self standing structure.  Here is a picture of the winning group.