• Chicken Wing Dissection

    Posted by Billie Lanigan on 5/20/2022 3:00:00 PM

    A little backstory for today's lesson.

    We were going to start the new unit with lesson one today. Makes perfect sense. Mr. Corbett and I were making plans for lesson two to do a chicken wing dissection as scripted in the second lesson of the curriculum. When I taught in North Carolina, I started doing these dissections with cooked chicken wings. You can check out the story here: Middle School Teacher Encourages Students to Eat Dissection Projects. We arranged for the district office to cook the wings and they were supposed to be delivered next week in time for the activity. But they were delivered last night! So a quick change of plans and we dissected today!

    We started by answering some questions on the Chicken Wing Dissection lab sheet and labeling the parts of the chicken wing with the related parts of a human arm. We discussed the reason for dissecting a chicken wing because we can't see what's beneath our skin.

    Each pair of students received a fully cooked chicken wing and we dissected it by starting with the skin. We peeled away the skin to expose the muscles. When we started removing the muscle to expose the bone, the kids were welcome to eat the meat (muscle) to get it out of the way.

    Because Fridays are short class periods, we had to clean up before completing the questions on the lab sheet. We will come back to this lesson when we get to lesson two, after finishing lesson one next week. 


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  • Natural Hazards Final Project - Watch Party!

    Posted by Billie Lanigan on 5/19/2022 3:00:00 PM

    Heatherwood Middle School Announcements for Thursday, May 19, 2022


    Today we got to see the end result of all of the hard work the kids put into their final assessment. The goal was to learn about a natural disaster and then explain to their audience the cause of the hazard, what engineers have done to help communities, alerts the public should be aware of and how to respond to them.

    We were supposed to have popcorn as we watched the videos, but the microwave we were using to pop the popcorn caught on fire! Everyone got a Jolly Rancher instead. 

    We had a really good time. So many creative 6th-graders and some with wonderful senses of humor. Some included commercials and bloopers, so the videos were very entertaining. 

    Tomorrow we start the Cells and Systems unit!


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  • Mount St. Helens Eruption Anniversary

    Posted by Billie Lanigan on 5/18/2022 3:00:00 PM

    Mount St. Helens erupted on this day in 1980. In honor of that historic day, here's a really cool video!

    ABC News - Volcano! The Eruption of Mount St. Helens

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  • Natural Hazards Project Video Edit Day

    Posted by Billie Lanigan on 5/17/2022 3:00:00 PM

    Tuesday and Wednesday were the last days for recording and editing videos. Many kids were using the green screens to add cool effects and some were experimenting with the different functions in WeVideo, like adding text and music. 

    Tomorrow we will have a watch party to relax and learn what other groups can tell us about natural disasters and how to respond.

    We will start the final unit, Cells & Systems, on Friday. 

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  • Natural Hazards Final Project - Day 4

    Posted by Billie Lanigan on 5/16/2022 3:00:00 PM

    Heatherwood Middle School Announcements for Monday, May 16, 2022


    Students worked on finishing up their scripts and started recording their videos. Tomorrow and Wednesdays will be block schedules so we will use that time to finish recording and editing the videos. The videos are due at the end of class tomorrow for periods 3, 5, and 7, and at the end of class on Wednesday for periods 2, 4, and 5.

    Students will be using WeVideo to edit their work. The link for it is on Canvas. Students must use the link in Canvas and not go directly to the WeVIdeo website. Every student in the district has an account and it is free for all features. There are several tutorials on Canvas as well including how to join a class in WeVideo to work collaboratively with others in their group. I have been using WeVideo for a few years now and I am here wandering around the classroom helping groups with editing. Basic editing is all that is required. Using text, green screens, and music is all optional. 

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  • Natural Hazards Final Project - Day 3

    Posted by Billie Lanigan on 5/13/2022 3:00:00 PM

    Students continued working on their Natural Hazard Final Project today. They should be on Part 3 - Plan and Script. This is where they are taking the information from their research in part 2 and creating a script for the video they will be making. Each class will have Monday to finish the script and start their videos. We have block schedules on Tuesday and Wednesday, so there will be plenty of time to complete their videos and edit them. 


    Students have plenty of time to complete this here at school. There is no requirement to do any of the work at home.

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  • Natural Hazards Final Project - Day 2

    Posted by Billie Lanigan on 5/12/2022 3:00:00 PM

    Heatherwood Middle School Announcements for Thursday, May 12, 2022


    Work on research for specific natural hazards continued today. Some students are working on their Plan & Script and most are finishing up the Hazard Communication Planning. All students should be able to start their videos tomorrow and Monday. 

    Reminder: The video is only worth 15 points. It's more important to do quality work on the research.

    All of the resources students need are in Canvas. For parents who are curious about these resources, click on the links below. 

    Natural Hazards Resources

    Family Hazard Plans

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  • Natural Hazards Final Project - Day 1

    Posted by Billie Lanigan on 5/11/2022 3:00:00 PM

    We started our final assessment for the Natural Hazards unit today. The assessment is in the form of a project. Students will research an assigned natural hazard that could affect a community. The final product will be a video. Students are encouraged to work in a group and we are fortunate to have the opportunity to work with students from Mr. Corbett's class if they have science the same period. 

    Today we started by students choosing the people they want to work with and using Determining Stakeholders to identify the people they will be trying to help. They used maps that show where the hazard they are researching might occur and identify the people who might be affected by a disaster caused by their hazard.

    Most students were able to move on to the second step in their research by using Hazard Communication Planning. They had several resources to use to find information about the hazard and how scientists and engineers work together to come up with solutions to warn communities and reduce damage caused by the natural disaster they are investigating. 

    For students who are absent, the resources are in Canvas. The entire assignment is in the Natural Hazards Project module. The research documents are all in Canvas as assignments and they can all be done digitally. 


    • Each student is responsible for their own work.
    • All research documents must be submitted by individual students - NOT by one student on behalf of the entire group.
    • For the video portion, each student is only graded on their role in the video. If a member of the group isn't participating and doing their part, only that student will be penalized when graded.
    • Students are NOT required to work in a group.
    • If a group member is being disruptive, not cooperating, or causing problems with their group, they will be removed and be required to do their own project.
    • All work must be done in class. If a student chooses to do work at home, it will only be supplementary - it is NOT required. 

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  • Rube Goldberg Revisited

    Posted by Billie Lanigan on 5/9/2022 3:00:00 PM

    Heatherwood Middle School Announcements for Monday, May 9, 2022


    This week, to take a break from the Natural Hazards unit before we start the final project, we will be spending Monday and Tuesday building Rube Goldberg Machines. We did this way back in the fall. In a normal year, we do this in between every unit. With the new curriculum and navigating our pacing, we didn't get as many opportunities as we normally do to make these crazy chain reaction machines. 

    For inspiration, we started by watching a couple of videos that showed some ideas for what kids can build. Also, a video about an annual competition for Rube Goldberg machines hosted by Rube Goldberg's granddaughter. 

    The creativity of my 6th-graders is wonderful!




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  • Tying Up Loose Ends

    Posted by Billie Lanigan on 5/6/2022 3:00:00 PM

    Today's Warm-up:

    • What natural hazards can affect our community?
    • How do we know our levels of risk for these hazards?


    After discussing the different hazards that could happen here in Mill Creek and which ones we probably don't need to worry about, we watched the second half of Mt. St. Helens: Out of the Ash  documentary that the kids started on Tuesday. We will be starting the final assessment project next week, but we will take a break and work on Rube Goldberg Machines before we start research for the project.

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