Mr. Walser's Projects:
Mountain Middle School is a project based learning environment. Students learn skills and polish multiple drafts with the intention of producing professional and inspirational work.Examples of Mr. Walser’s projects include:
I incorporate a great deal of student and faculty interests into my projects. Projects adhere to state content standards but remain subject to change depending upon student interest, sequencing concerns, and availability of time & resources.
- Blastoff: Rocket Building, Aerodynamics, Engineering, Motion Studies, Scientific Method
- digital design, aerodynamic analysis, efficiency testing
- designing, constructing, assembling & testing miniature rockets
- exploring physics: Newton’s Laws, gravity, wind resistance, acceleration
- experiment design and utilization of the scientific method
- Goldilocks Planet: Solar System, Weather & Climate, Lunar Studies
- size, scale & composition of the solar system
- orbits, ellipses, planetary days & years
- seasons, axial tilt, weather & climate
- lunar studies, tides, eclipses
- star formation, the sun, optics
- Big Bang Theory, galaxies and cosmology
- Fright Fest: Math-O-Lanterns & Dry Ice Chemistry
- coordinate plane, coordinate points, graphing, and area calculations
- collaboration, artistic creativity, and three-dimensional design
- sublimation, phase change, energy transfer, and lab-safety
- What's With the Weather?
- meteorology, weather, and climate
- jet stream, ocean currents
- glaciers, climate change, global warming
- forecasting, weather maps, data collection
- Cape Horn, creative writing, technical writing
- A Walk on the Wild Side
- geology & physical geographic features
- topography and orientering
- weather & climate
- creative writing
- Rockin' Roller Coasters: potential & kinetic energy, gravity, friction, and structural design
- Potential & Kinetic Energy and energy transfer
- Structural design, engineering principles (STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)
- Gravity, momentum and friction
- Sounds like a Didgeridoo: Exploring Sound, Visualizing Music & Building Instruments
- using software to record, analyze and visualize sound frequency & intensity
- examining how shape and size affect pitch (vibrational frequency)
- constructing and decorating a traditional Aboriginal instrument
- exploring instrument building (guest: Andrew Benson, owner of Praxis Guitars)
To view this project's curriculum in a format shared by the state of Colorado, please click on the following link
Example of "Rounding the Horn" by Cameron Cunningham.
Preparation for Climate Change Debate
Learning Target - "I can articulate an educated opinion as to whether climate change and global warming are human-induced, naturally occurring, or a combination of both."
The following videos expose students to renowned climatologists and glaciologists who use data driven methods to investigate climate change. Each of these individuals uses their research to justify claims that humans are both directly and indirectly impacting climate and ecosystems through use of fossil fuels and CO2 emissions.
A reading on climate change from Deep Truth by Gregg Braden will be used to provide an opposing view which posits that global warming and climate change are not human-induced but instead stem from cyclic fluctuations due to fluctuations in the sun's solar output and cyclic adjustments in the eccentricity of the Earth's orbit and axial tilt.
Preparation for Weather Forecast Exhibition
A component of the activity is set up to mimic the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (in days of old prior to computerized trading). Coal prices fluctuated and students have to decide when to sell their product. Teachers assess fines and adjust to the imposed political climate that fluctuates throughout the course of the class period, making the project feel authentic and relevant.
- KWL Weather Chart
- National Geographic's "Weather Gone Wild"
- Big Thompson Flood Notes
- A By the Numbers Look at All That Water Worksheet
- Chasing Water Movie Notes
- Hurricane Development Worksheet
- Equinox Reading and Notes
- Equinox Paragraphs/Summary
- Effects of Heat on the Atmosphere (Lesson 47)
- Conduction, Convection, Sea Breeze, Land Breeze, Global Wind Notes
- Air Pressure Reading
- Air Pressure Notes (and notes on straw/beaker mini-lab)
- Rounding the Horn (Wind - Chapter 3)
- Antarctica & Cape Horn Notes
- Rounding the Horn (Sea-Struck - Chapter 2)
- Sailing Notes & Wind Belt Notes
- Rounding The Horn Creative Writing Assignment
- Making and Reading Weather Maps (Lesson 48)
- Using Weather Data to Predict Weather (Lesson 49)
- TED Talk Observations, Questions, Inferences Note Catcher
- Paragraphs for TED Talk
- Coal Cookie Mining Worksheet
- Navajo (Coal Power) vs. Ute (Natural Gas) Paragraphs
Bold Text indicate important homework assignments
I can keep a weather journal that collects data and explains how variables cause certain weather patterns in Durango, CO and a second location outside of the United States. I can write an expository essay comparing and contrasting my local and international weather data.
Climate Change Debate
Debate Target - I can articulate an educated opinion on whether climate change is human-induced, naturally occurring, or a combination of both.
Students should use readings, notes and graphs to support their claims.
Debate 1 - Naturally Occurring vs Combination of Both (25 minutes)
Debate 2 - Human Induced vs Combination of Both (25 minutes)
- Each group has five minutes to state and justify their position.
- Each group has five minutes to rebut their opponent's position.
- Each group has 2.5 minutes to share their closing remarks.
- Each student will observe one peer who is participating in the debate.
- Students will use the following two documents to assess performance.
Driving Question - Is climate change primarily naturally occurring or human induced?
Primarily Naturally Occurring -vs- Primarily Human Induced
- Opening Presentations (10 minutes for each team)
- Socratic Dialogue (open floor for all team members at the inner table with Mr. Walser as moderator)
- Focus 1 - Naturally Occurring (15 minutes with main points and rebuttals)
- Focus 2 - Human Induced (15 minutes with main points and rebuttals)
- Closing Statements (5 minutes for each team)
Final Question - Do increasing levels of carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere pose a clear and present danger to mankind and biodiversity on our planet?
Mini Socratic Seminar
Socratic Question - Do human carbon dioxide emissions pose a clear and present threat to humanity or other eco-systems and species on Planet Earth?
If they do...
What should humanity do to efficiently reduce worldwide carbon emissions?
Learning Target - I can use quotes, notes and graphs to support my claims during the seminar.
Clouds, Humidity & Precipitation
Weather Forecast Exhibition
Schedule: To see what day you will be presenting your forecast, click on the following link.
For more examples of experiments designed by the graduating Class of 2013 please click on the following link
For more examples of experiments designed by the graduating Class of 2014 please click on the following link
MMS 8th Grade Class of 2011 - 2012
- Forces (mechanical, gravitational, electrical & magnetic)
- Motion - One of the most important fields of study in physics is the study of motion.
- Energy - Potential & Kinetic Energy, Energy Sources, Renewables vs Nonrenewable Energy
- Mechanical vs. Chemical Energy
- Inertia, Momentum, Energy Transfer
- Polly Pocket Race Track & Hot Wheels Track
- Candy Roller Coasters
- Mini Rockets: elastic potential energy, pressure based potential energy, chemical potential energy (See 3, 2, 1, Blastoff)
- Momentum & Collision Lab
- Personal Interest Labs (individual or small groups)
- Potato Cannon
Quizzes & Tests
- 5 Kinetic Energy problems & 5 Potential Energy problems
- James Prescott Joule article, 9 reflection questions, energy notes, energy problems
- Conceptual Physics worksheets: weight & mass worksheet, potential & kinetic energy worksheet, acceleration due to gravity worksheet
- Roller Coaster design (with Potential Energy & Kinetic Energy calculations)
- Polly Pocket Racetrack essay (two paragraphs)
- Candy Roller Coaster lab report
- Kinetic Energy Quiz
- Potential Energy, Mass & Weight Quiz
- Galileo Galilei
- Isaac Newton
- James Prescott Joule
Corresponding Khan Academy Concepts
**note: bold indicates exercises to be completed by all 8th grade students**
Exploring our Solar System
- Scientific Notation
- Speed of Light
- Elliptical Orbits
- Axial Tilt & Rotation
- Earth's planetary motion affects climate, weather & seasons
- Galileo Galilei
- Copernicus & Kepler
- Sir Isaac Newton