8th Grade Chemistry

8th grade is in the middle of their chemistry unit. They have been learning about state changes of matter. By adding and taking away heat, matter can change from a solid, liquid, to a gas. But sometimes, we can actually heat up a solid so fast, it changes to a gas immediately, skipping the liquid state. It’s hard to imagine a liquid oxygen molecule or a solid gas since we are used to living at a comfortable climate, so to understand this, students investigated dry ice or frozen carbon dioxide. At a cool -109 degrees F (approximately) and the outdoor temperature of approximately 80 degrees F, this drastic temperature change creates a sublimation state change for the dry ice; it changes straight from a solid to a gaseous form.  

Students began to understand how the quick change creates a dense gas or fog coming off the dry ice. This dense air sank and created a bubble of air the students could use to float the block on top of the tables. They pushed pennies into the block to see how matter responds at that temperature and how solid gases react to warmer solids colliding into them. By adding water to the block, they saw the water bubble (boil) with white gas filled bubbles and then freeze the water they had once put over the dry ice.

They then related their understanding of what was happening in our solar system back in class on Zoom today. As frozen gases orbit through space, when they come close to stars, they melt, much like our dry ice was doing on the table, and produce a gaseous tail. We recognize these orbiting frozen gas balls as comets.


What Do Our Hands Hold?

In Art class, all students K – 8th did a variation of this hand project to start off the school year. Students created “mind maps” including interests, passions and dreams. They drew symbols that represent these words and then composed them within a tracing of their hand. Younger students used lines, color, and their name to fill inside their hands.

Each is unique in the ways each student is one of a kind. Our hands as artists not only make each creation, but together we hold the power to change the world. All hand projects were turned into the last Swap & Drop, so Ms. Natalie can create one large work of art that brings everyone’s hands together. This collaborative piece will be on view in the breezeway for students to see on in-person visit days. In the coming weeks, we will have each project  and the collaboration piece on our online Art Museum at Artsonia.com under The Saklan School. Stay tuned!


Cha-Cha Slide

According to the interweb, the “Cha-Cha Slide” was developed as a fitness routine in the Chicago area in 1996. David Wilson was looking for a new routine for his aerobics class. He went to his uncle Willie Perry Jr., better known as DJ Casper, or Mr. C The Slide Man. The rest is history.  

The “Cha-Cha Slide” is part of a collection of line dances known as slides, including “The Electric Slide” and “The Cupid Shuffle.” Last spring when the school went home for quarantine we were presented with a challenge. How do you participate in physical education at a distance? All the students were shown the moves and it became part of the online learning routine. Mr. Crabtree’s hope was for all of us to come together physically in the future and dance. He was delighted to see everyone dancing during the middle school campus visit!

Let’s go Saklan!


Fabric Fun with Ms. Natalie – Over the Summer!

“Thanks for teaching me so much about fabrics. I had fun!” – Willow K.

Over the Summer, Ms. Natalie held an online fabric fun class with 2nd – 8th grade. Students learned about Textile (Fabric) Art and processes from around the world, while making each of theirs an original work of art.

Skyler B. (3rd) is filling her soft sculpture with fiberfill and was inspired by Pablo Picasso’s paintings to create her design using fabric markers on muslin.

Willow K. (3rd) holds up her one of a kind bandana which was naturally dyed with Turmeric, over a shibori resist technique, and block printed using vegetables.

Skyler shows the printing process in which they used vegetables and fabric paint to create their designs. Each student gained a new perspective on the Art of Textiles and the parents enjoyed it too! 


Building Roller Coasters

The 8th graders culminating physics project was to design and create a roller coaster for a marble that utilized the forces we learned about in class, had enough momentum to fulfill a loop, and had a slow down stop. Each 8th grader used their creativity, math skills and the scientific method to design, redesign, start over, and eventually create their coasters. 

Students also got inspiration for their coasters by watching a few video clips, where they learned the need for gravitational pull to power the coasters, centripetal force and air resistance to provide thrills, and of course friction to stop safely!

We are extremely impressed with their efforts in this project – especially having to create these at home, and present and work virtually this year throughout this project. They are a great class, and we are glad to see they are ready for high school!


Re-Creating Art Masterpieces 

With art museums closed, institutions such as the Los Angeles Getty Museum made their collection accessible online. The museum challenged their viewers to choose their favorite artwork and re-create the painting. What does that look like?

Well, branching off of performance art, the 4th-8th grade took on the challenge. Using household items, costumes, pets, plants and beyond, they re-created the artwork of their liking. Each piece is nothing short of creative! The question is, who did it better?


Adopt An Arthropod

The 7th grade has been learning about all the different kingdoms of life this spring. Currently, the 7th grade is in the middle of learning about animals, in particular invertebrates. Students were asked to look at the Arthropod (jointed foot) Phyla, find an organism they found interesting, and create a Bitmoji Adoption Ad for the arthropod of their choice.

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Students created themselves in Bitmoji form, so you could tell whose is whose, and shared why their invertebrate would be a great pet for your household! Maybe you have been looking for a bird-eating spider to get rid of that pesty morning wake up call, or a blue scorpion to be the glamorous fashion pet of your dreams. No? Maybe a man eating praying mantis for when your husband drives your crazy… Just kidding, they only eat their own husbands! But you might even find a huge crab you may want to use to scare your children! Find the arthropod of your dreams at the 7th Grade Arthropod Adoption event!


Our Art Fair Goes Online!



When the Art Fair was cancelled, Miss Natalie wanted to figure out a way to still share the amazing artwork created by all our artists. A lot of thoughtfulness, patience, hard work, and creativity went into these amazing works of art. Just too good to not share with our Saklan community and beyond!

Artsonia is the world’s largest online collection of student art portfolios. Schools all around the world use this platform. It does need your consent as a parent because of the online public presence your child’s artwork will now have. This week an email was sent from Artsonia and once you give permission to display your child’s artwork online, you are able to view all other artwork that is public as well. The online art gallery will officially launch next Friday, May 22, 2020.


Le Tour de Quarantine

Hats off (or helmets should we say) to Mac and his family for taking the live storytime to a new level. Mac, Melanie and Ben read The Cycling Wangdoos by Kelly Puller in their Le Tour de Quarantine. If you want a good laugh, take a few minutes to enjoy their live reading.

If you would like to do a live reading, please contact David at doconnell@saklan.org.  Live readings are done through Zoom every Tuesday and Thursday at 7:00 pm.


Protective Paper Towel Masks


Grades 6th-8th made somewhat of a fashion statement making a simple protective face mask using a paper towel, two rubber bands, a stapler, and some markers. They were asked to use one word or phrase to describe how they have felt through this experience of shelter in place. They could also respond with one word or phrase of what they are learning in this moment in time. Students drew other parts to the mask like speech bubbles and an expressive mouth while making the mask colorful.

In the process of making, students talked about why they chose that word or phrase. We talked about what they do to change negative thoughts into positive, and how art and other things can help with those bored, anxious, or stressed out times. They were asked to then take a picture of themselves wearing the mask. As they say, a lot is said within looking someone in the eyes. Looking closer, you can see a lot of emotion in the students’ eyes in relationship to their chosen word or phrase.