It’s hard to believe that we’re already planning for the end of the year.  Our science students are studying a wide variety of topics and all the students are looking forward to getting outside and experiencing the nicer weather of spring.  Our clubs are also getting ready to help plan and plant the class gardens and planning for our harvest next fall.

On Friday, April 20th, we celebrated Earth Day by having a tree planted on the school grounds in recognition of Jaden Campbell.  Jaden is in Mrs. Hoplight’s class and was the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Region 9 winner of the Arbor Day poster contest held each year to celebrate the importance of trees in the environment and our lives.  This year’s theme was “Trees for Bees” and the tree donated by the DEC was one that provides food and shelter for bees.  Jaden and her classmates helped plant the tree and will also be a source of shade for the student’s using the soccer field (although it may be a few years before there will be enough for more than a couple of kids).

The fifth grade students are wrapping up their health unit and are reporting on what they’ve learned about the dangers of drugs, tobacco, and alcohol.  Each of the students designed and is presenting a poster on one of these subjects that will be displayed around the school to share with the other students.  Their presentation involves talking to their classmates about their research and the key ideas that they felt were important enough to include in their poster.  Their creativity is clearly evident in the quality of their final product.

The sixth graders are wrapping up their introduction to Earth Science. We started the year studying astronomy, got a little closer to home and looked at the atmosphere around the planer, and just finished our study of the changing face of the Earth.  In our last unit, we’ll be looking at what happens beneath the planet’s surface and how the forces under our feet are still making our home planet different.  We’re also planning on taking a trip down to the Penn-Dixie Paleontological Site in Hamburg next month and try our hand at collecting fossils.  We’ll be able to use these fossils to determine what the environment was like in our area millions of years ago and the type of creatures that called it home.

Seventh graders are studying their introduction to physics and have just completed their study of energy, the different forms it can take, and the ways it can be transformed and harnessed for our use.  We’ll be wrapping up the year studying all types of waves, (sound, light, and the electromagnetic spectrum), magnetism and electricity.  We’re also looking forward to visits from the local Catholic High Schools to see what each school has to offer so they can make an informed decision next fall.

Living Environment in eighth grade is studying human development and will be getting ready for the Regents exam coming up in June.  They are also working in the greenhouse raising some of the plants that will be sold as part of their annual spring plant sale.  The information about the plant sale has been included in the weekly family envelope and is included in the church bulletin.

Our greenhouse is being used for a number of different projects.  Mrs. Corsini is growing some gourds that will be part of projects that the students will be doing in the fall.  Some of the vegetable plants we started a month ago will be going into the class gardens, and we’ll be planting some seeds directly once the soil warms up and we’re sure that the warm weather is here to stay.  We will also be installing our new hydroponic units that we’ll be using to grow plants without soil.  These units were made possible through the grant from the Diocese and we’ll be using them to raise a crop that should be ready before the end of the year.  In the future, we’ll be using the system to show how plants respond to different nutrients, and use our produce in the Culinary/Life Skills program.

Last but not least, the Beekeepers have been working hard to get our beehives ready for their new occupants.  Thanks to the generosity of the folks who supported our Honey Sale, the students were able to purchase new beekeeping suits and have assembled four new hives.  The next step is to paint the boxes and decide if they want to decorate them in any special way.  We’ve been invited to take part in a Honey Harvest the first weekend in October where the students will be able to work at removing the supers, uncapping the honeycomb, loading and operating the extractor, and bottling and labeling the honey.  While our hives may produce a little extra this season, this will definitely be an opportunity to see a small-scale apiary and honey house in operation.