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2018 – 2019 Academic School Year

6th Grade Science – Room B7

Dear Parents and/or Guardians:

My name is Randy Monroe. I am a California State University East Bay alumni with a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, a Science Authorization, an Earth and Planetary Science Single Subject Teaching Credential and a Masters of Science in Technology Leadership.

This is my 19th year teaching - 1st year, Intermediate 4/5 Special Education in Antioch USD and the past 18 years in the Mt. Diablo Unified School District teaching science. I spent 5 years at Title-One site Glenbrook Middle teaching all levels, languages and abilities (mainstream & Structured English Immersion and GATE) in Earth, Life, Physical sciences and was the GATE Coordinator. I was also a district facilitator in the former "Talents to Go" Summer School Program through my early tenure at Foothill Middle School. This is my 13th year at FMS. 

As we continue the transition to the Next Generation Science Standards, I am excited to teach the full breadth of Earth, Life & Physical sciences with a renewed emphasis on project-based learning and inquiry at FMS; particularly in embedding earth & environmental sciences.

I am an Education Fellow on the NASA & Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab: New Horizons mission to Pluto. My father Jim Christy discovered Pluto’s binary companion Charon in 1978; naming it after my mother Charlene. This year marks the 40th Anniversary of the discovery - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OkAWfomqC7E. I was at the launch, close approach to the Pluto/Charon System and recently for Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) 2014MU69; aka Ultima Thule

The New Horizons probe was launched in January of 2006. I and my family were VIPs at Cape Canaveral for the launch on a Lockheed Martin Atlas V rocket; the fastest ship to ever leave Earth. It completed its primary objective of the Pluto system July 2015; of which we were present for "Close Approach" at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab in Maryland. Its mission was extended to visit the first Kuiper Belt Object - KBO 2014 MU69 or “Ultima Thule” and arrived this January 1, 2019. Again, I was in Maryland at "Close Approach". Your students will be learning about the New Horizons mission. http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/index.php

I am also an Educator for the NASA & Lawrence Berkley Space Sciences Lab: MAVEN mission - the Mars Atmosphere Volatile EvolutioN- which launched in November 2013 also on a Lockheed Martin Atlas V rocket.http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/maven/main/index.html#.UhvaH9LihAJ

I have worked through Industrial Initiatives for Science and Math Educators (IISME) at Lockheed Martin Space Company in Sunnyvale in the area of missile defense; particularly infrared (IR) technologies, which I embed in the classroom curricula when we study climate and green-house gases. I have also worked with the Department of Energy’s Joint Genome Institute in the Microbial Ecology Department studying extremophiles (extreme- living bacteria). I participated in cutting-edge genomic research and was sent to Yellowstone on a sampling mission to find these novel bacteria; also found at hydrothermal vents deep in the oceans discovered by famed oceanographer and explorer Dr Robert Ballard. I have been developing curricula in the areas of astro-biology and cryo-volcanism, particularly for the icy bodies of Jupiter’s moon Europa, Saturn’s moon Enceladus and the amazing Pluto/Charon system; as I am friendly with Europa Clipper Mission Principal Investigator Dr. Robert Papplardo and on the New Horizons team.

While in Yellowstone I met and began collaborations with Dr. Douglas Smith and Rick McIntyre lead biologists for the 1995 Wolf Reintroduction; whose work I've followed since the early 1990s. I viewed wolf packs from both far and fortunately very near; a few feet. Students will participate in a number of online WISE units including one that I designed called North American Wolf Ecology. I collaborate with a variety of leading environmental organizations to provide flora & fauna and ecosystems stronger protections. And, I am an advocate to see the gray wolf and our state’s iconic Grizzly bear back in the wild of California. Hence, the MSES logo.

I work with Chris Miller from Contra Costa County Vector Control and Mosquito Abatement rearing and raising many species of threatened native fish in the B-7 classroom. Through California Fish & Wildlife, I house a number of native ectotherms or cold-blooded animals in my home classroom; approximately 20 "class" species representatives - reptiles (turtles, snakes & lizards), amphibians (frogs, toads & salamanders), arthropods, crustaceans, chondrichthyes & osteichthyes (fish)   I also have many specimens of macro and benthic invertebrates.

I was instrumental in the MDUSD's last middle school adoption a dozen years ago; Pearson/Prentice-Hall. I studied Wildlife Biology and Environmental Science initially at the University of Arizona in the mid-80s; which was 1 of only 2 schools in America offering the programs at the time. Then, when I became a science teacher in 2001, I went back and re-took all sciences (Physical & Historical Geology, Biology, Oceanography, Physics) lower division coursework to align our middle school curricula with lower division coursework in college. In 2016, I served on the Editing Team for the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing for their Credentialing Subject Examination Test (CSET) for prospective Earth & Planetary Science Teachers and I am also on the MDUSD's NGSS Middle School Leadership Team. That's in-part how I came to be a team member for the newly adopted Earth & Planetary Sciences CSET for prospective science teachers in California that is overseen by the California Commision on Teacher Credentialing and Pearson.

I am a member of the American Geophysics Union (AGU), Northern California Geologic Society (NCGS), National Earth Science Teachers Association (NESTA), National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), and California Science Teachers Association (CSTA).

Throughout my tenure, I have specialized in numerous standards-based science field study trips that now take place on holiday breaks through Monroe Science Educational Services (MSES). Field/study trips are open to ALL middle school students "on a first come, first served basis and chaperones are always FREE.

Monterey Bay Aquarium & Marine Mammal Watching on Friday 11/12/18 - $95/student (Veterans Day)

SF Science Day at the California Academy of Sciences & Exploratorium on Friday March 29,2018 - $75/student (Spring Break)

Camp Monroe, 3 day/2 night trip to the Lassen Volcanic National Park area - Wednesday - Friday June 5 - 7, 2019 - $350/student (Summer Recess)

Further details are available at www.MonroeScienceEd.com

FYI: I moonlight as the singer & manager of rock tributes “HOT FOR TEACHER” & RockSkool  www.HFTROCKS.com  

Procedures and General Philosophy

I believe that a child’s image and imagination should be nurtured in a positive environment. I will work with your child to develop a strong understanding of science, critical thinking and inquiry. I provide the structure; trust, consistency and earned praise/reward, so that your child will know when s/he has done their very best and knows that mistakes are an essential part of the learning process and the scientific method.

An orderly classroom environment is essential for learning. The following classroom rules will be observed:

  • Students will be in their seats ready to go when the bell rings. No gum in class or at FMS.
  • Students will bring the required materials on a daily basis (i.e. assignments, binder/lab manual, unit packet, pencils, colored pencils, etc.). 
  • Students will respect the rights and feelings of others by neither interfering with instruction nor disrupting learning.

Discipline: I treat all students with courtesy and respect, and I expect them to treat me in the same manner. I make every effort to create and promote a healthy, safe environment for your children. With a large class size, it is often difficult to provide discipline in the classroom without taking away from the other students. I need your help in this area. Please respond to notes, emails and/or telephone calls as soon as possible, and I will do the same.

You are welcome to contact me via e-mail at FMS monroer@mdusd.org or by phone at (925)939-8600 x5727 and after hours at Randy@MonroeScienceEd.com.

6th Grade Lunch Bunch

During lunch, my B-7 room will be open and available for students to work on anything for any class, to catch up on missed assignments/labs or to get extra guided support; schedule permitting. 

Open daily; except when we begin the school day with Period 1 on Mon., Tues., Thur. or Fri. and Period 4 on Wed.

I am also available for extra help almost anytime before or after school.

I am looking forward to teaching your students and I will discuss the Foothill Science Program in more detail at Back to School Night on Wednesday August 22, 2018. I hope to see you.

Grading Policy   

Classwork & Homework          45%                                                                   A = 90 - 100%

Labs & Projects                       40%                                                                   B = 80 - 89.99%

Quizzes/Tests                          15%                                                                   C = 70 - 79.99%

Extra Credit                                *                                                                      D = 60 - 69.99%

                                                                                                                           F = 0.0 - 59.99%

Late work is accepted for the first semester (1st & 2nd quarters) up to a week late for full credit and I do provide EXTRA CREDIT opportunities beginning near the end of the 1st quarter.

*Also to note, students will not receive lab credit for missed labs. When a student misses a lab, I can usually provide them a day or two to make up the lab during lunch or after school, but I DO NOT GUARANTEE IT. 

FYI: In a majority of academic settings when a student misses a lab for whatever reason, most teachers will not allow them to make it up. We all have varying schedules and sometimes a student will miss a class for a variety of reasons such as an untimely illness, doctor's appointment, vacation or family event, Students should contact me for missed assignments. It is also always a good idea for the student to cushion the grade with other learning opportunities and/or extra credit; if available.

6th Grade Parent Letter/Course Description/Syllabus

Our 6th grade integrated science course is designed to provide the necessary skills for a smooth transition from elementary science curricula to high school science curricula. It is guided by the connections between Earth, Life, and Physical Sciences and their applications in engineering. This is accomplished through learning, investigating, and performing hands-on, group-oriented lab investigations about the world around us.

Students will explore and learn about systems by defining them, recognizing their components, and describing how they interact using examples that range from macroscopic to microscopic. To facilitate their investigations, they will rely on instruments and devices used to make quantitative measurements and learn to work in collaborative groups that communicate with the larger scientific community. Students will learn about both body systems and Earth systems; with a focus on heat transfer, water, weather and climate and human impact.

Using the "relevance of science" to students’ lives will help to foster and maintain an interest in science; while also expanding their knowledge to help them make well-informed and evidence-based decisions about their health, behavior and the world around them. Content will follow the California Science Framework and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

1st Quarter - Scientific Method (Claim-Evidence-Reasoning), Metric Measurement, Controls & Variables

Human Body Systems - Microscopes, Cells, Interactions of Body Systems

Instructional Segment 1: Systems & Subsystems in Earth and Life Science

                        *How are living systems and Earth systems similar and different?
                        *What is the value of creating a systems model?                 

2nd Quarter - Human Body Systems - Interactions of Body Systems, Nervous System, Genetic Variation

Earth Systems - Geosphere, Atmosphere, Hydrosphere, Cryosphere, Biosphere

Instructional Segment 1: Systems & Subsystems in Earth and Life Science

                        *How are living systems and Earth systems similar and different?
                        *What is the value of creating a systems model?  

3rd Quarter - Earth Systems - Geosphere, Atmosphere, Hydroshpere, Cryosphere, Biosphere,

Thermal Energy, Water Cycle, What's In Water,

Instructional Segment 2: Earth System Interactions Cause Weather

                       *Why is the weather different in different parts of California?
                       *How is weather related to the transfer of energy?

                       *How do models help us understand the different kinds of weather in California?

Earth Systems - Geosphere, Atmosphere, Hydroshpere, Cryosphere, Biosphere,

The Atmosphere, Weather, Oceans, Topography

                       Instructional Segment 3: Causes and Effects of Regional Climates
                       *Why is the climate so different in different regions of the planet?
                       *Why are organisms so different in different regions of the planet?
                       *What makes organisms so similar to but also different from their parents?
                       *What makes animals behave the way they do, and how does their behavior affect 
                         their survival and reproduction?

4th Quarter - Earth Systems - Geosphere, Atmosphere, Hydroshpere, Cryosphere, Biosphere,

Living Systems - Effects of Global Warming on Living Systems - Climate, Climate Change,

Plant & Animal Structure, Climate Regions & Organisms,Genetics vs. Environment,

Human Impact

                       Instructional Segment 4: Effects of Global Warming on Living Systems
                       *How do human activities affect Earth systems?
                       *How do we know our global climate is changing?


Randy Monroe - 6th Grade Earth, Planetary & Environmental Science Teacher

monroer@mdusd.org  (925) 939-8600 x5727 and after hours at Randy@MonroeScienceEd.com