6th-graders' study of Japan leads to a trip to Nagano


January 29, 1998|By Sally Buckler | Sally Buckler,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

SCHOOL SCIENCE classes can be boring. Some students think they don't relate to real life.

Do you agree? The sixth-graders at Mount View Middle School don't.

They study the Blue Ice curriculum developed by Howard County resident Peter Wasilewski at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Goddard Space Flight Center.

Wasilewski studies snow and ice in many places, including Antarctica and Japan. He goes on expeditions and works with schools around the world, coming up with ideas that teachers can develop into science lessons.

Most of the schools that use Wasilewski's ideas are in ice and snow belts. One such institution is the Yamagouchi School in Nagano, Japan, home of the 1998 Winter Olympics.

On Feb. 13, Wasilewski is taking Mount View Middle School sixth-grade students Evan Allen and Taylor Zanelotti, sixth-grade science teacher and team leader Gayle Gavazzi, and Principal Marion Payne to Nagano as members of the Blue Ice International Project.

They are part of a group of 10 students and 11 adults from the United States who will be guests at the Yamagouchi School.

The trip, which includes a day at the Winter Olympics, is a cross-cultural educational program.

Mount View sixth-graders are studying Japan during a monthlong social studies project, knowing that classmates Evan and Taylor will be their ambassadors to Japanese students.

Media specialist Joe Duckworth and other teachers at the school have used Mount View's closed-circuit television system to broadcast lessons about Japan.

After the lessons, students participate in activities such as origami -- the Japanese art of paper folding.

In Japan, students have read biographies of the visitors from Howard County and have seen their pictures.

They look forward to the presentations that the students, Gavazzi and Payne -- who is president-elect of the National Middle School Association -- will make about Mount View, Howard County and Maryland.

While Japanese and American students become involved in "outdoor school," perhaps building an igloo if there is enough snow and ice, the adults will teach each other, too.

Howard County Science Supervisor Lee Summerville and the Goddard Space Flight Center's education office are developing lessons about satellite remote sensing and measuring and plotting weather conditions using the LandSat satellite system.

The Blue Ice group will stay in a nature center owned by the Yamagouchi School.

Payne says it might be like outdoor education on the other side of the world.

Evan and Taylor were chosen by the sixth-grade team teachers as representatives of sixth-grade boys and girls at Mount View.

Evan's and Taylor's parents are preparing gifts from our county, state and region to present to their hosts.

Payne promises to share information about the group's adventures after they return Feb. 22.

Black history

Black History Month begins next week. It is a time to honor the contributions that African-Americans have made to all walks of life. It is a month to recognize milestones in black history.

The cluster of United Methodist churches in western Howard County invites you to celebrate and observe Black History Month by joining church members at First Sunday activities.

Rev. B. Kervin Smalls from Jerusalem -- Mount Pleasant United Methodist Church of Montgomery County will deliver a speech "From Slavery to Success."

The celebration begins at 4 p.m. at Simpson United Methodist Church in Poplar Springs.

After the celebration, participants will gather for a potluck dinner and fellowship.

Information: 410-489-7185.

Bravo, musicians

Eight Glenwood Middle School students are participating in the 1998 All-County Gifted and Talented Band.

Each student auditioned and won a chair in the group, which will perform this spring.

They are bassoonist Jonathan Durant; trumpeters Jonathan Tomlinson, Mike Deegan and Christy Medlock; trombonist Brendan Wise; percussionists Susan D'Angelo and Laurie Grim; and oboist Siga Vaskys.

These instrumental music students successfully auditioned for Junior All-State Band: From Glenelg High School, tenor saxophonist David Black, French horn player Carolyn Schmid, and trumpeter Kimi Mongello.

Trombonist Julie Adolphsen is an alternate.

Flutist Laura Buschman, trumpeter Leigh Bender, trombonist Ryan Bender and string bassist Samantha Johnston are members of the Senior All-State Band.

Alternates for the Senior Band are trombonists Alex Asher and Kara Ford, French horn player Rebecca Bostron and clarinetist Andrius Vaskys.

Come to the concert

Glenelg High School's Choral Department holds a Pops Concert at 8 p.m. Feb. 13 in the school auditorium.

Come hear the men's and women's choirs, the Madrigals and barbershop quartets.

You may purchase $5 tickets from any of Glenelg's singers, or at the door.

Information: 410-313-5528.

To satisfy your sweet tooth or buy something for your sweetheart, purchase candy from Glenelg's Choral Department during February.

Most candy is $1.

Proceeds help fund the students' spring trip to Florida.

Young authors

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