HTML coded space websites and a field trip to the Blue Origin rocket factory!

In Computer Science this term, the 8th graders have been working very hard to learn how to code websites in the HTML and CSS coding languages.  While they are still very much works in progress, each of the students have linked their websites and narrated screencast video explanations of their HTML code — all can be found on this student showcase website!  Students are currently in the process of editing their websites content, debugging their HTML code, and adding color and design to the websites as they learn how to code in CSS.

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Additionally, Astronaut Candidates and their Commanders visited the Blue Origin Rocket Factory this week.  Some of the student takeaways after the trip are listed below!

  • What I took away from the trip is that some projects can seem really, really big and difficult but when you work with other people collaboratively, the project becomes smaller and less difficult.
  • I learned that it takes a lot of math and calculations to make a perfect rocket. Also that there are not nearly as many women in the space industry as there should be.
  • I absolutely loved being on the floor and looking at all the rockets being made.
  • I think it is really good that they are focusing on reusable rockets and cleaning up space trash.
  • I really loved learning about what Blue Origin is making and I learned a lot about what they plan to do in the future and when the flights will be open to the public. I also learned a lot about the engines and what a career at Blue Origin entails.
  • I realized how complicated it is to take people into space and how many different pieces there are and how each one is really important.
  • The machinery was enormous and it was funny that they had to put an extra 5 feet or concrete beneath it.
  • It was amazing!
  • I hadn’t previously known that they were working with reusable equipment, which I think is very interesting because I care a lot about the Earth and all the space trash that’s surrounding it really isn’t very good for the planet or it’s surrounding area.
  • Our guide said that our mission mantras were pretty much the same as Blue Origin mantras.  She said they will come in handy in adulthood and that rockets are BIG.
  • I liked being able to be there and see the rockets being built and the science behind it.
  • I thought their big end goal was pretty cool.
  • We are lot further along than I thought.
  • That the space industry isn’t just NASA launching satellites or rovers into space, it’s also smaller but still big companies such as Blue Origin sending tourist flights into space and such.
  • I thought it was so cool how they are working to give ordinary people the opportunity to go into space and how they designed The Shepard. I loved their approach and . Learning about how they build rockets.
  • I loved learning about how they were made/are working on fully reusable rockets because, for me, this has always been a sore spot about rocket and space exploration.
  • I thought that the New Shepard Capsule was super cool and it was really interesting to learn about how they make the first stage reusable. I also really liked how they named the spacecrafts after famous astronauts (Alan B. Shepard, Jr. and John Glenn)
  • It was an incredible experience. I was so amazed at what they were building and I am really considering it as a future career. It is something that I have wanted to do ever since I was really little.
  • I really appreciate Blue Origin and the commanders for making the trip possible!
  • I have always learned and heard about space. But to be able to be truly involved in a top secret environment and to be able to see all of these items that are the real thing was really cool.
  • I thought it was really cool how they used metal 3D printers to create giant rocket parts!
  • From our trip to Blue Origin, I have taken away a belief that commercial spaceflight can one-day be a reality. I have taken away a hope that if Blue Origin grows larger, that they may open more “sections” and have a place for biologists/neurologists to work. I have also taken away that rockets are in fact much larger than I previously thought.  
  • I found the mission of Blue Origin very inspiring and how their slogan is “slow and steady” because they are accomplishing so much but taking things slow so they make sure it’s their best.
  • One of my takeaways from the Blue Origin field trip was that it takes a lot more work than I thought to make spaceships, like the planning, physics and engineering. Also that what makes Blue origin work so well is that all of the people there love what they do.
  • It was really cool to see all the software behind rockets and things.
  • How do these people keep their work such a secret because it is so cool!?!?
  • I learned that working can be fun and that there is so much in our world and outside that is hard to explore but also fun to explore.
  • The biggest thing that stood out to me was the machines that were so big. I’m really interested in engines and machinery, and seeing things like the pressure welder was really cool.
  • It was an unforgettable trip!

Classp photo Blue Orign

Writing, Writing, Writing

In Language Arts, over the last couple of weeks, students have been working on using peer and teacher feedback to edit, revise, and develop polished drafts of their Personal Narratives. After completing them, they began to put themselves in someone else’s shoes by exploring personal narratives through Virtual Reality software. This not only allows them a unique opportunity practicing and reflecting on empathy, but it also will provide a fun connection to our future work with the novel Ready Player One.

Once Personal Narratives were handed in, we shifted our focus back to analytical writing. We reviewed the difference between writing that analyzes and writing that summarizes and compared analytical essays to science labs and math proofs. In the coming weeks students will craft essays investigating the correlation between the theme and the conflict within their new Choice Books and tracing the hero’s journey of a movie character of their choice.