Showing posts from 2017

Animal Domestication: Some Fun Videos

In class, we talked about some of the differences between wild and domesticated animals. Sheep, for example, looked more like mountain goats and lived in the wild. Over time, humans bred them to be dumber, bigger, woolier, and more tame.

In the first video, a farmer in Wales (in Great Britain) demonstrates two domesticated animals working to create quite a light show--the trained shepherd dog that arranges the sheep according to the farmer's whistle commands, and the sheep that are herded around the hill side.

In another funny video, an Australian man sets the world record for speed sheep-shearing!

The Agricultural Revolution

The Agricultural Revolution

After reading this article, you should know:

How humans started to farm Some advantages and disadvantages of farming How life in villages differed from hunter-gatherer lifeWhere the first villages of the Fertile Crescent appearedNew technology that developed in farming villages How trading began

Ancient Near East Vocabulary

In your notebook be sure to copy the words and the definitions for our Mesopotamia/Ancient Near East Unit. You only need to copy the definition, not the example sentence.

1. Agriculture:
Agriculture means the growing of crops and the raising of animals for food (also called farming).

The discovery of agriculture was a huge development for humans. Instead of hunting and gathering and having no permanent homes, agriculture allowed people to build cities and to produce more food than they needed to survive.

2. Domesticate:
To domesticate means to make plants and animals more useful to humans.

At the same time humans started to farm, they also domesticated animals, including chicken and pigs for food, cows for pulling plows, bees for making honey, and sheep for wool.

3. Surplus:
A surplus is an extra of something, especially crops.

Because early farm towns produced a surplus of food, people were able to have different jobs like priests, builders, government officials, artisans, and merchants. …

Paleolithic Art: The Lascaux Caves

In 1940, in southwestern France, a group of school boys stumbled upon an amazing sight--a huge cave complex housing over 600 paintings and over 1500 engravings. The images showed several kinds of animals--birds, as well as cattle, bison, deer, and horses--and hundreds of "signs," shapes, dots, and other patterns. After archaeologists had a chance to study the cave art, they determined that the imagines were left by hunter-gatherers more than 15,000 years ago.

The caves at Lascaux contain some of the earliest known art in human history, dating back to somewhere between 15,000 and as far back as 27,000 years ago. The Paleolithic cave paintings consist mostly of realistic images of large animals. The other common theme of the paintings is a number of human hand prints. Pigments (paints) are made from ingredients such as plants, berries, rust, charcoal and dirt. The paintings demonstrate the advancement of Cro-Magnon humans and their way of life, and actually show the quality o…

Prehistoric Life

Paleolithic Hunter-Gatherers

After reading this article, you should know:
How humans lived before the invention of farmingHow humans migrated to new areas of the worldEarly examples of human cultureWhat the Ice Ages were, and how humans adapted

Iceman Murder Mystery

Here's the PBS NOVA episode of the Iceman Murder Mystery we started in class. A few things to look for:

How did Iceman die?
What was prehistoric life like?
Why was the axe so special?

One day about 5,300 years ago a man left a small village in the Italian Alps. He might have been selling flint to other Neolithic settlements on the northern side of the mountains, in what is Austria today. However, his journey took a tragic turn when he got caught in a nasty snow drift and died. In 1991 a couple of hikers came across the body sticking out of a melting glacier and called for help. A group of archaeologists took the body back to the University of Innsbruck in Austria, and "Otzi" became an instant celebrity.

After some intensive studies and examination of the Iceman and his belongings, archaeologists have learned a great deal about the Chalcolithic period of European history. Just try busting that word out at a party: Chalcolithic! It's just a smart word to describe the p…

The Age of an Artifact

The Age of an Artifact
After reading this article, you should know: ·How archaeologists find out how old an object is ·The difference between relative and absolute dating ·Some scientific methods of absolute dating including: oRadiocarbon dating oTree ring dating oPotassium-argon dating ·What stratigraphy is ·Some examples of commonly found artifacts at dig sites

Historical Evidence

Historical Evidence: How Historians Learn About the Past
After reading this article, you should know: How historians and archaeologists learn about the pastDifferences between written and non-written sourcesWhat is oral traditionHow historians evaluate sourcesDifferences between primary and secondary sources

Archaeology Unit Vocabulary

This month we will be starting our Cluster 3 archaeological dig!

Here are the vocab words and definitions. You should have these in your notebook.

Archaeology Vocabulary
Get ready to dig…Like in the DIRT!!

Archaeology is the study of past civilizations by examining artifacts and other remains.

An artifact is an object that was made by humans and was used in the past.

An excavation is the careful digging out of a site.

A stratum is a layer of dirt.

“In situ” is a Latin phrase that means “in the place it was found.”

Stratigraphy means removing one layer of dirt at a time.

History is the study of past events.

A primary source is a document written during the same time period as it describes.

A secondary source is a document written at a later date.

Oral tradition is when history is passed down from older people to younger people by storytelling.

Prehistoric means a time bef…

Archaeologists at Work: Time Team America

There is a great series from PBS called Time Team America. In it, a group of professional archaeologists, scientists, and technicians travel to an active dig site and help the local archaeologists do their work. They teach about different methods that are used to find and interpret artifacts, how items are dated, and how to reconstruct a past civilization.

In class we'll watch the PBS show Time Team America all about the archaeological dig at Range Creek, Utah. In class, you started answering questions on your worksheet that go along with the video clip. Be sure you've written these notes on the bottom:
Range Creek, UtahFremont IndiansOver 1000 years ago granary = a place for storing grain
pictograph = a picture that represents an idea
midden = an ancient trash pile

Aside from Time Team America, there was a great article in the August 2006 issue of National Geographic all about the area of Range Creek, including some detailed photos of the petroglyphs (rock art), the granaries…

Writing an Informational Essay

In class we are learning about writing a smart, thoughtful piece of informational writing. This is the type of writing that historians, scientists, researchers, and other professionals do. Our research essay is about the frozen continent of Antarctica -- and why people go there.

For the RESEARCH PROCESS, we followed this procedure:

1. Choose the topic
2. Develop smart questions about the topic
3. Select and read reliable, interesting sources of information
4. Take organized notes to keep track
5. Review your notes for understanding

Now, it's time to start planning the essay. One great way is to create a word web to put together your thoughts and details. Remember, you should have 3 reasons why people travel to Antarctica. Here are a few of our suggested topics, and always feel free to ask Mr. Guerriero if you are looking for new sources of information:

Zoology (Animal Science)Marine Biology (Sea Life Science)Climate Change/Global Warming ScienceOceanography (Ocean Science)Prepare for Sp…

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…