Day trip for the William’s Home

It is hard to believe that the school year is coming to a close and our fifth graders will be moving on to new homes next year.

Some of our Native American girls standing at the zoo entrance.
The William’s Home had a great day trip!

The William Home has been busy. Last weekend we took a day trip to Sioux Falls, South Dakota to visit the Washington Pavillion and the Great Plains Zoo.  The weather tried not to cooperate at first but by the time we were ready to get to the zoo it had cleared up for us.

The Pavillion is a very interesting and educational place and the girls are able to do a lot of hands on activities dealing with science.  They really enjoyed getting into the tornado demonstrator where they were able to feel 78 mile per hour winds and their hair really told the true story.

The zoo is always a great experience and we spent a lot of time feeding the animals in the petting zoo area.  We have had a great year with this group of fourth and fifth graders. Though it is always sad to say goodbye to our fifth graders, we are just as excited for the girls that will be moving up next year.

Girls in Engineering, Math and Science

St. Joseph's Indian School kids attended Girls in Engineering, Math and Science workshop.
Marion and Katie work on their bridge.

Our 8th grade girls attended a Girls in Engineering, Math and Science (GEMS) workshop this past Saturday.  It was held at South Dakota State University. The purpose of the workshop was to generate female interest in the fields traditionally populated by males.   The girls listened to female students who chose different fields of engineering and what they enjoyed about their chosen major.   All the girls participated in a series of activities exploring engineering, math and science.

They built and programmed robots, investigated the science of forensics with a “Who done it?” scenario – complete with fingerprinting – and built load-bearing bridges out of toothpicks.  Each participant received a backpack from SDSU loaded with lots of stuff, a notebook, calculator, logo cup, pens and a flashlight, to name a few.

This was an opportunity  that really opened a number of unexpected future options for them.

A look into St. Joseph’s science lab

We are halfway through the 3rd quarter here at St. Joseph’s and it is tough to believe!  The 2011-2012 school year has flown by, and we will soon be starting preparations for the end of the year and 8th grade graduation.  But, until then, Science class continues on its journey to discover and explore new concepts.

The 6th grade class has just started a unit on atoms and The Periodic Table.  These two items can be difficult topics for students to grasp as they are somewhat intangible.  Because of this, donations for the Science lab, such as supplies like different colored, rubber bouncy balls and various sizes of styrofoam balls would be greatly appreciated.  These inexpensive tools can help make the concept of atoms much more concrete for my 6th graders.

In 7th grade, we are about to wrap up the topics of heredity and DNA.  The students have really enjoyed predicting the possible outcomes of different traits by using Punnett Squares and Pedigrees.  Throughout this unit we use dried beans and peas are used to demonstrate possible outcomes of traits. Dried peas and beans seem like an odd donation to a school, but they are greatly appreciated! Different colored clay or play dough is also used, allowing students to fashion their own DNA sequences.

Since the return of students from Christmas Break, the 8th grade has been discussing The Rock Cycle and the three different types of rock:  sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous.  Early in this unit we created crystals using only water, salt, Styrofoam cups, string, and pencils.  Donations of salt would be greatly appreciated!  These crystals depleted my supply.  Styrofoam cups, string and pencils are also welcome tools in the Science lab.  The students thoroughly enjoyed this activity and really took ownership of their crystals.  I had students reminding me it was time for them to observe their crystals.

Thank you so much to all you who donate to St. Joseph’s Indian School and also to those of you who keep our organization in your prayers.  You are very special to us.  You bring inspiration and hope to many.

God Bless You,


Needed supplies for the Science room:

  • Rubber bouncy balls in different colors
  • Styrofoam balls
  • Dried peas and beans
  • Clay or play dough in different colors
  • Salt
  • Styrofoam cups
  • String
  • Pencils

Greetings from the lab

Hello to all!  My name is Sarah and I work at St. Joseph’s Indian School as a 6th-8th grade Science teacher.  I started here at St. Joseph’s as a 4th grade teacher and spent 4 years at that level, then moved to my current position and have been in this age group for the past 6 years.  I have been at St. Joseph’s Indian School since I graduated from college.  Every year has been fun-filled and full of learning for me.

Working with 6th-8th grade students is a wonderful opportunity.  With this position, I am able to see a phenomenal amount of growth in students: academically, physically, mentally and socially.

I love that I am allowed to witness these tremendous changes.

As a Science teacher, I am given a 45 minute class period, each school day with every single 6th-8th grade student.  We cover all areas of science including: Physical Science, Life Science, Earth/Space Science and how Science impacts such areas as technology, the environment and society.

Consider yourselves to have a hand in forming the future.
Consider yourselves to have a hand in forming the future.

Being in the Science arena, also allows me to choose different methods of delivery for instruction.  In my class we cover Science objectives in a variety of ways, whether it is through lecture, laboratory activities, digital lessons or virtual labs.  The latter two listed are new to me this year as we were able to purchase a new curriculum that is available in a print workbook and also entirely online.  It has been very effective thus far with my students.  They certainly enjoy the opportunity to use the computer as a tool for learning.

I try to do lab work as much as possible as the hands-on experience is valuable for many students and also tends to be more exciting.  Our Science Department can always use donations of equipment.  They do not need to be elaborate items, only things, such as everyday household items. For instance, flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, white corn syrup, vinegar, baby oil, vegetable oil and food coloring.  These items can be used in a variety of ways to address topics such as density, chemical changes, and classifying things.

With your generous and heartfelt contributions to St. Joseph’s Indian School, I am able to give our Lakota (Sioux) youth enhanced learning opportunities.  We greatly appreciate you and you are in our prayers.  Thank you to all who donate to St. Joseph’s Indian School.  Consider yourselves to have a hand in forming the future. Pilamayathank you!