Engineering Challenge Kick-off

It’s been a couple of busy weeks in science – the girls have kicked off a new unit, and also have a new teacher! To briefly introduce myself, I’m Jennifer Guerrero Flood and I will be teaching 7th and 8th grade science this year in collaboration with Carly. I’ve been working as an educator for 18 years, teaching in the US as well as in Sweden, Chile, and Uganda – you can read more about my background here. My family and I moved to Seattle a few months ago and I am so excited to join SGS and this energetic group of young women.

We recently started our preparation for Mission, a unit that involves engineering, forensics, and astronomy – and culminates with the girls making a virtual journey to space on March 3 to apply all they’ve learned! (More information coming soon on how you can plan to join us that day). The first part of Mission enables the girls to develop as engineers as they design and build hydraulic arms that will be used during their journey into space to retrieve “space trash.” They’ll use the most effective hydraulic models during Mission, and each girl will need to draw on all the skills they’ve learned throughout the unit.

Last week the girls spent time studying and experimenting with hydraulic systems before diving into the engineering design process. To kick off with their engineering teams this week, the girls watched Brene Brown’s TED talk on vulnerability and we had a rich discussion about how it is essential for creativity to flourish. They reflected on how their own courage to put their ideas and themselves out there is critical to the creative design and prototyping process in engineering – and just to human connection more broadly. They also normed on how they’ll create safe and productive learning spaces for their teammates. I was so impressed with their candor, compassion, and thoughtfulness throughout the discussion.

Finally, to share a few snippets of things I heard in the past couple of weeks, along with some snapshots:

“It’s amazing how hydraulics are everywhere and I just never noticed them before…”

“Whoa, it’s crazy how much weight a small amount of water (in a hydraulic system) can move!”

“Where are all the women engineers in the video about hydraulics?”

“I like what she (Brene Brown) said about how people have to really show themselves to be connected.”

“We’ve got to not judge, be open and flexible, and make sure everyone has the opportunity to contribute.”

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I’m looking forward to continuing to get to know the girls in the upcoming year, as we grow and learn together!


Math update

Hello parents! In the next week you will be asked to look at and sign your daughter’s first math test. Please take a look at the many components that are part of this assessment.

  • The Chapter 7 Test Rubric 2015which includes the rubric assessment of skills, a numerical score, and a comment from your student to YOU! This is the top sheet on the test and is blue. 
  • The student assessment (the first page of the test).
  • The actual test (with lots of good student work!)
  • A separate sheet of test corrections with an explanation of what mistake the student made. This is as important as the test because it shows that students are learning from the mistakes they made. This portion of the test allows students to show both the correction to the problem and an explanation of what they did wrong! Students are also able to work on bonus problems if they didn’t have a chance during the test. Students can use any resources to help them with the test corrections (peers, teachers, parents). Growth mindset here at it’s finest.

Before you sign her test, please have a conversation with your student about her work.

  • What parts did she do well?
  • What parts is she still working?
  • How did she prepare for the test?
  • Does it reflect her understanding of the material?
  • What types of mistakes did she make? Are they conceptual understanding or computation errors?
  • Was she able to complete the corrections on her own or did she need support? What does that mean?

As I tell students, this test is a set of data to be interpreted and discussed. The scores and numbers are not a reflection of WHO the student is but HOW they are learning.

Feel free to email me if you’d like to discuss your daughter’s math learning.

Ms. D