Homework Help

Seek, Explore, Analyze and Share!!
        Mrs. B always strives for her students to discover science outside of the classroom, and to explore topics that they have an interest in. This NEW assignment option is due only once a month… on the last school day of that month, and is limited to no more than two pages.  There will be other class assignments which may need to be finished at home throughout the year, so the SEAS assignments are a way to earn additional points. The SEAS assignment sheet itself will not change. The assignment sheet can be downloaded by clicking on the page below:  

General rules regarding SEAS assignments:
All written work must be in the student's own words . The best trick Mrs. Blakemore knows to encourage this is to read the information, even just a paragraph at a time… then put it upside down next to you. Think about what you read, and write a sentence or two in your own words. Parents can help their kids practice this very important skill! Mrs. Blakemore does check for plagiarism, and anyone caught turning in words that are not theirs will meet with our school Resource Police Officer to discuss the legal ramifications of stealing someone else's words.

  All work should be done, by the student, on a computer . We live in a time in which computer skills are a basic necessity. If you do not have a computer at home, there are computers available in our school library and most public libraries. Additionally, many teachers will allow students to use their classroom computers after school. It is perfectly fine for the student to “hunt and peck” on the keyboard at the beginning of the year. Even though this may seem to take forever, the students have been given plenty of time, and Mrs. Blakemore promises you will notice improvement as time goes by . Parents are not to type the assignments!!!

  Each SEAS assignment should be no more than two single-sided pages . Mrs. Blakemore expects each page to be typed with a font size of 16 points or less (please no smaller than 12). Pictures do make assignments more interesting, but will not earn points unless they are drawn by the student. The maximum numbers of pages per month is four, but utilizing a smaller font size (12) can earn students more points, as they are able to fit more information on each page. Many students choose to attach a Homework Assignment Sheet, with their assignment choice circled, or a title page to the front of their report; Mrs. Blakemore has no preference, even assignments without a cover sheet are just fine.

Students will receive one additional point per page if they print their report out on recycled printer paper (old flyers..printer mistakes etc.). Please note that this does not mean printing their homework on recycled paper that has been purchased from a store.

  Cite your sources. Students must either print up the information they used for research and attach it to the back of their assignment, or list their sources as they would in a bibliography. Mrs. Blakemore loves to see a nice printed record of the website with highlighter illuminating all the information that the student found useful in writing their report.

  A parent signature earns three additional points. If a parent signs at the bottom of the assignment sheet (when it is attached to the front of the assignment), or on the last page of student writing in their project, the student can earn a few more points for themselves. This is not meant to be signed quickly as the student shoves their work under the parent's nose before they have had their morning coffee. Mrs. Blakemore hopes that this signature signifies that the parent has looked over the project, possibly even noting a spelling error here, or a grammatical error there. She would love for this to be a sign of the parent proudly autographing their kid's wonderful report while pouring on the praise for a job well done.

The following section explains each possible assignment more thoroughly (Mrs. B hopes):

A. Observe an Organism (living thing) or a non-living thing:

Observation is a very important scientific skill during which the scientist carefully watches something, noticing every little thing about that organism or object . Keep in mind that a good observer is very patient. Mrs. Blakemore tells her students to imagine having a telephone conversation with a relative who has never seen the organism you are observing. The task here is to attempt to describe what you are looking at in such detail that your relative will be able to clearly picture the thing you are observing in their mind… down to the very last detail. How many different colors are represented in the fur of that hamster? How many toes are on the front paws of your cat? Are there a different number of toes in the back etc. etc.? Measure the animal using the metric system; don't rely on descriptors like “big” or “short”, as they may mean something to one person, and something totally different to another person!

The second half of this category involves researching your organism to find out more interesting information about it. Try to find out things that you did not know before. It is not appropriate to tell me everything you know already know about dogs…that is not research! (See Mrs. Blakemore's little trick for writing a summary of information in your own words under the title of “ All written work must be in the student's own words” above).

B. Watch an Educational Program:

Most students are quite surprised when Mrs. Blakemore mentions that they can earn homework credit by watching television! It's true! There are many wonderful science related programs these days, and many students watch them on their own anyway. Mrs. B suggests that students sit down with a little note pad, and use this to take notes during the show. You may write down the names of the animals being discussed, even their scientific names or interesting bits of information regarding their habits or the environment in which they live. Write a summary of what you learned in complete sentences using your own words.

C. Visit an Educational exhibit:

Students will often run home and eagerly exclaim that the family must go to Sea World or the San Bernardino County Museum in order to fulfill their homework requirement. With many other homework categories to choose from, it is not necessary to visit a museum or other educational exhibit each month. If your family is lucky enough, however, to be able to take a trip to one of these wonderful places, then you are sure to find many interesting things to write about for homework. A small notepad to write down interesting facts is very helpful when the student sits down to type their summary. Students can also take this opportunity to practice incorporating any digital pictures taken on the trip into their word document. If a student does his/her own photography, please make sure to note that under the pictuere.

D. Take a Nature hike:

Most students love to go exploring either after school or on the weekends! This homework category allows the student to earn homework credit for their hike if they set out on their adventure with a scientific eye. Students should bring a little note-pad along with them so that they can jot down notes about the interesting organisms they observe. They also could sketch a drawing of a scene from their hike. A bicycle outing could also be used for this assignment as long as the student is observant, and willing to get off their bike if they see something to observe more closely. This activity could also earn the student credit for their Physical Education class, as they are supposed to be recording their aerobic activity for P.E. Homework.

E. Develop and Execute an Experiment utilizing the Scientific Method:

Many students enjoy exploring science through experimentation. Additionally, many students who are required to do a Science Fair Project may "try out" an idea before they launch their official experiment. This category is perfect for both of these scenarios, as the student can earn science credit for experimentation as long as they follow the steps of the scientific method. For more guidance in this category, check out "Science Fair Central" on my links page.

F. Other:

The sky is the limit for this category! Pretty much... if it is science related and does not fit into any other category it's an other. Some possibilities are:

  Find an interesting article relating to science in the newspaper or a magazine, and write a page or two covering what you learned by reading the article.

  Pretend you are the zookeeper at a new modern zoo who has been assigned the job of creating the perfect habitat for the new _______ (insert animal name). What habitat requirements do you need to consider as you build the new exhibit? How large will you make the enclosure and why? What other animals might be introduced into the same enclosure? What are the feeding requirements for these kritters? etc.etc.

  Choose a famous scientist, and write a page or two detailing their important contributions to the scientific community. If you google "famous scientist" you'll come up with many wonderful links. If you are particularly fond of Marine Biology... you may want to try:

Dr. Roger Payne who is world famous for his whale research.

Dr. Edie Widder is the president and CEO of the O.R.C.A. (Ocean Research & Conservation Association) and is world famous for her research on Bioluminescence.

Dr. Roger Hanlon is a Senior Scientist at Brown University concentrating exclusively on research...primarily with cephalopods (the most amazing animals ever!!).

Dr. Clyde Roper, of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History who has dedicated his life to the study of and search for the Giant Squid.

Dr. Eugenie Clark, often referred to as the "Shark Lady", she is known worldwide for her research on sharks.

Dr. Steve O' Shea,  is often featured on television programs as an expert on Cephalopods.