In Level 9 this month, the students have been diving into our new book, Moonbird, the incredible story of a long-lived member of an incredible species of bird. This particular specimen, referred to by his tag number B95, has travelled the distance to the moon and halfway back during his yearly north-south migrations. In spite of environmental problems that have interrupted the journeys of some of the other members of his species, B95 continues to make the yearly trip. Scientists are studying him and other birds to try to determine the best way to protect these now-endangered animals from both natural and man-made dangers that threaten their existence.
This book is very interesting for us as it allows us to make a broad variety of comparisons between our own time and Darwin’s, the subject of our previous reading. How is the practice of Science different now from in Darwin’s time? What does science mean in our modern world compared to what it meant more than a hundred years ago when Charles Darwin made his world-changing voyage on the Beagle? How are scientists educated nowadays, and how does that compare to the education of a naturalist like Darwin in the early days of the Industrial Revolution. These are just a few of the questions we will contemplate as we read this book. It will also lead us into discussions of our environment and the importance of conservation.
In writing class, we have continued to refine our persuasive writing, and the students are working on a new draft of a persuasive letter to their parents. The students will attempt to convince their parents on a course of action on how to spend the family’s imagined lottery winnings. With this writing project, we will practice working to rephrase our own writing to improve it by varying our sentence structure and using better vocabulary. The students will also incorporate the use of appositives, something that we learned about during our grammar class.
For this month’s writing sample, I have taken a sample from the students’ online work, in which they imagined the lives of Marie Curie and Charles Darwin had their places been reversed. This project allowed the students to compare the scientific growth of these two famous discoverer’s minds and how it was influenced by their different cultural, familial, and class backgrounds.