Showing posts from 2017

Antarctica Resources

Here are some resources to help you in your research. Remember that you should have in your mind this question: Why do people go to Antarctica?

Here are a few helpful sources that might help you collect information for your Antarctica essay. Remember, you should come to class with a general PLAN for organizing your writing.

A good plan looks like this:

Introduction to Antarctica and your 3 reasons what people go there

If you need more information, these articles might help you:

Here's a very basic and simple site to introduce Antarctica:

Antarctica and Climate Change Discovering Antarctica: "Impacts of Climate Change"
"Climate change jigsaw puzzle: Antarctic pieces missing"
British An…

Antarctica Information

Our next class project will involve a mini research essay on the frozen continent of Antarctica. We will take information from several sources to understand why people travel to such a harsh place.

 Read this brief introductory article to start off:
KidInfoBits: Antarctica

Here's a great website for exploring Antarctica more in detail:
Polar Discovery from the Woods Hole Institute

And here's another great website for exploring information about Antarctica from the National Science Foundation:
NSF in the Antarctica

And of course, there needs to be a video from Tim and Moby of BrainPop!
BrainPop: South Pole

Check out this website of the Secretariat of the Antarctic Treaty, the organization that helps make sure Antarctica is kept safe and peaceful for scientific research:
ATS - Secretariat of the Antarctic Treaty

Want to take a trip to Antarctica with your family? National Geographic offers tours:
Antarctica Family Expeditions

Here's a few interesting videos about Antarctica and t…

Latitude and Longitude Skills

This week in Social Studies class, we're looking at using lines of latitude and longitude to find locations on earth. Using a map to find locations, there are a few points to keep in mind:

LATITUDE lines are HORIZONTAL and measure how far NORTH or SOUTH a place is.

LONGITUDE lines are VERTICAL and measure how far EAST or WEST a place is.

When you write the coordinates of a specific place the latitude number goes first, followed by the longitude number.

Latitude and longitude points are measured in degrees. This is because our earth is round and there are 360 degrees in a circle!

If you were trying to locate the city of Boston, you would say that it lies at (42°N, 71°W). This means that Boston is 42 degrees north of the equator, and 71 degrees west of the Prime Meridian.

Tim and Moby explain latitude and longitude in a video on BrainPop--Check it out by clicking here. If you don't remember the Needham login and password, ask me during class.

If you finish early, you can check out…

Geography Unit Vocabulary

In class we wrote down the definitions of our Geography Unit vocabulary terms.

Geography Unit Vocabulary

Geography is the study of the earth, including:

LandformsClimateNatural resourcesPeopleCountriesLocations
A cartographer is a person who makes maps

3. MAP
A map is a picture of an area of the earth printed on a flat surface

A globe is a sphere that has a map of the earth on it. A globe is more accurate than a world map because it is the same shape as our planet

A hemisphere is a half of the earth
The equator separates the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.
The Prime Meridian separates the Eastern and Western Hemispheres

A map scale shows what distances on the map actually equal in real life

Latitude lines measure how far NORTH or SOUTH a place is

Longitude lines measure how far EAST or WEST a place is

The equator is the imaginary latitude line around the center of the earth.
The e…

Continents and Oceans

During the Geography Unit we'll be having a quick quiz on the continents and oceans. Our quiz will be on Tuesday, September 12th. There are 7 continents, 5 oceans, and 2 special lines to remember:

North America
South America


Special Lines
Prime Meridian

Try not to get this song stuck in your head!!

Try out these cool websites to help you study!

Online continents and oceans quiz
Another online quiz game

Here is a blank map to be used as a study guide. Click on it to print a larger version.

Here is what a filled-in map should look like:

Welcome to a New School Year!

Welcome Students!

I'm very excited to start the 2017-2018 school year. Welcome to the High Rock Middle School! It seems like the summer flew by so fast, but I am very glad to be back. There are so many fun and exciting things about sixth grade; I cannot wait to get started. You will have a tremendous year here in Cluster 3, and you’ll make some friends and memories that will stay with you for a long time. You will also be learning and accepting challenges from all your teachers this year. I am writing to introduce myself so that you can get to know me better.

This is my thirteenth year teaching sixth grade in Needham. Before this I taught third grade at the Hillside School for a couple years. It was fun teaching third grade, but I really think sixth grade is the best! I am also very glad to be teaching Social Studies, my favorite subject, as I love learning about history, looking at maps, and discovering ancient civilizations.

I am from West Roxbury, and my family still lives the…

Barbarians at the Gates: The Goths Invade

Explore some of the reasons that caused the Roman Empire to fall apart in the 4th and 5th Centuries A.D. There wasn't one simple reason, but instead a combination of factors.

In the 5th century A.D., the Roman Empire fell apart. There were two main factors that led to the downfall of the world's mightiest empire: corruption and weakness within the empire, and invasions from several barbarian tribes. In class we looked at the Goths, a tribe from Eastern Europe that began migrating into the Balkan area of what is today Bulgaria, Romania, and the former Yugoslavia.

Some key points of discussion:
The Goths sack the city of Rome in 410 A.D.The Emperor Valens was killed in a losing battle against the Goths in 378 A.D.The Roman Empire adopts Christianity as the official religion The Goths covert to Christianity under their chief Fritigern The Romans treat the Goths very harshly as they enter the Empire

Roman Emperors: Good, Bad, and Ugly

Once Augustus Caesar established the imperial form of government, Rome was led by four centuries of emperors. Some of those leaders were good, others were pretty awful. Some took power by force, others were the sons or family members of previous emperors, and still others were strong military generals that had the support of the army. All of the emperors in some way pretended that the republic still existed, even though they stacked the Senate with friends and allies, or bullied and threatened the Senators into doing what the emperor wanted.

Using one or several of the following sources, quickly research each Roman emperor on the list. Include their dates, and maybe 5 or 6 bullet points about each emperor's rule. Create a Quizlet about these Roman emperors. Pay attention to each leader's accomplishments, style, and how their reign began and ended.

Augustus CaesarClaudiusNeroVespasianTitusTrajanHadrianMarcus AureliusCommodusCaracallaDiocletianConstantineRomulus Augustulus

Here …

Rome Unit Essential Questions

1. How did the location, geography, and climate of Rome affect the development of civilization there?

The location of Rome influenced civilization there because Rome was in the center of Italy so domination of the entire peninsula was easy. Rome was in the center of the Mediterranean Sea so they could control trade in the Mediterranean. 15 miles from the sea --> Protection from piratesLocated on the Tiber River --> Water for irrigationCentral Italy, center of the Mediterranean Sea --> Great trading location The geography of Rome was that the city was surrounded by seven hills so it could be easily defended. Rome was on the Tiber River so the Romans could trade along it, but far enough inland so a naval attack would not be easy.

The climate of Rome was a warm Mediterranean climate with mild winters and hot, dry summers so a small amount of grain could be grown, but Egypt still produced the most grain in the Mediterranean. Like the Greeks, the Romans could grow grapes and oliv…

Julius and Augustus Caesar

Julius Caesar was a famous Roman general and dictator in the time of the late Republic (around 50 B.C.). His adopted son Octavian would become the first emperor of Rome. Both men came from an old noble family of patricians and possessed great wealth and power. Their rules marked the time when the Roman Republic became the Roman Empire.

While Julius Caesar was famously assassinated by a group of senators on the Ides of March (March 15th), 44 B.C. for wanting too much power, Octavian was renamed Augustus ("the Great One") by the Senate, and he ruled for more than 40 years.

Julius Caesar
(from BBC)

Caesar was a politician and general of the late Roman republic, who greatly extended the Roman empire before seizing power and making himself dictator of Rome, paving the way for the imperial system.

Julius Caesar was born in Rome on 12 or 13 July 100 BC into the prestigious Julian clan. His family were closely connected with the Marian faction in Roman politics. Caesar himself progress…

The Roman Republic

Please copy the following chart of the Roman Republic onto a blank page in your notebook or on Notability. Use two different colors, make it neat, and draw all lines with a ruler if you're using paper. Be sure to label all parts accurately. I will check these tomorrow and ask those who do a poor job to try again.

 Use the definitions of your vocabulary words to know the role of each government office.

1. Start by labeling the chart "The Ancient Roman Republic, 508 B.C.E. - 49 B.C.E." Underneath the title, write the definition for republic.
Republic: A system of government in which citizens elect leaders to make decisions 2. Now, make a key that includes one color for patricians and another for plebeians. In this chart, patricians are purple and plebeians are pink, but yours may be different colors if you want.
Patrician: A member of the upper class of ancient RomePlebeian: A member of the middle or lower classes of ancient Rome (mostly shopkeepers, artisans, merchants, so…

Life in Rome: Engineering an Empire

In the time of the ancient Roman Empire, huge building and engineering projects were undertaken by different emperors who wanted to make their mark. Meanwhile, the rich became even more wealthy as the poor struggled to survive, and the slaves continued to live difficult lives as someone else's property.

First, watch the segments of the video called Engineering an Empire: Rome and make notes on the sheet you downloaded from MyHomework. Especially focus on the segments about aqueducts, roads, the Colosseum, Hadrian's Wall, the Pantheon, and the Baths of Caracalla. Think about what each of these structures' purposes were, and if they are still in existence (even as ruins) today.

Now check out a couple more videos about the life of ancient Romans:

And finally, want to see some truly exciting Roman entertainment? Check out this chariot race scene from the old classic movie Ben Hur (1959)!

And as a bonus, check out this time-lapse video from the Melbourne Museum in Australia sh…

Rome vs. Carthage: The Punic Wars

The Punic Wars were a series of three wars that Rome fought with the city of Carthage in North Africa between 264 B.C. and 149 B.C. Carthage was originally a colony of the ancient civilization of the Phoenicians. Defeating the Carthaginians meant that Rome was well on its way toward creating a vast Mediterranean empire.

The First Punic War
Roman Commander: Marcus Atilius Regulus
Carthaginian Commander: General Hamilcar
Why did the War Start? Romans and Carthaginians fought for control of the strategic island of Sicily
What Were the Results of the War? Rome wins in 241 B.C.E. and takes possession of Sicily

The Second Punic War
Roman Commander: Scipio Africanus
Carthaginian Commander: Hannibal
Why did the War Start? Carthage attacked a Roman town in Spain called Saguntum
What Were the Results of the War? Rome completely defeated Carthage taking all of its territory, ships, and money

The Third Punic War
Roman Commander: Scipio Aemilianus
Carthaginian Commander: Hasdrubal
Why did the War Start? In 149…

MFA Field Trip Preview

Next week, our cluster will be visiting the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. There, you will see one of the best Egyptian collections outside of Egypt, a huge Greek and Roman collection, and some of the oldest artifacts of human civilization. Here's a preview of selected artifacts that I would like you to notice when we're at the MFA.

If you want to preview even more, the MFA website has a tremendous online gallery, interactive tours, and a very detailed catalog of their immense collection. I highly recommend you take a look...

The first artifact is one of the most important artifacts in all of Egyptian art history. It is a statue of Prince Ankhhaf, who was the brother of one pharaoh and the son of another. He helped to build the great pyramid at Giza around 2500 B.C.E.

What the Museum won't tell you is that the Egyptian government would love to get its hands on this statue to bring it back to Cairo. The problem for them is that it was legally excavated by Harvard and the MFA…

The Mysterious Etruscans

Before Rome was anything more than a collection of Neolithic fishing villages on the banks of the Tiber River, the Etruscans established their civilization throughout central Italy. This mysterious culture showed signs of being from Eastern Europe or beyond, used an alphabet based upon those of the Phoenicians and Greeks, and traded with several Mediterranean kingdoms including Egypt.

The High Rock Media Center database has some great information:
The Etruscans originated in central Italy around 900 B.C. and were absorbed into the Roman Empire in the 80s B.C. During the first millennium B.C., they developed the earliest complex society in Italy. In common with other Mediterranean civilizations of their time, the Etruscans lived in city-states, had a specialized agricultural and craft economy, and exchanged goods and ideas with their neighbors. Distinctive to the Etruscans was their religion, social and political structure, and language. There is a wealth of archaeological evid…