Friday, May 19, 2017

USGS

The Alchemists had a great opportunity to meet with Richard Dinicola from the US Geologic Survey and Karen Dinicola from the Washington State Department of Ecology to learn more about the Puget Sound watershed. First they visited the USGS water lab and learned about microplastics, how they are being studied and the affect they have on marine life. They looked at water samples under a microscope and got to see the microplastics.

The Alchemists then heard a presentation about the watershed and the many chemicals and pollutants that go into the storm drains and eventually into the sound. They also heard about ways they can help and innovative ways cities are installing rain gardens. Finally they took a walking tour of downtown Tacoma to see the existing problems and how the city is trying to address them.




Thursday, May 11, 2017

EPA Super Fund Site

In their continuing study of Tacoma, the Alchemists went to Point Ruston to learn about the ASARCO plant that was once there and how it became the EPA's first Super Fund site. The plant began in the 1880's smelting ore to make copper but after the refining process the plant created serious arsenic and lead contamination on both the land at Point Ruston but also Puget Sound. The students saw a cool display of the history of the plant, meet with a former employee of the plant who told them the history and got to hear from the Chemical Engineer that is managing the Super Fund for the EPA.




Thursday, May 4, 2017

Sunshine!

The temperature reached 70 for the first time since November so the Alchemists felt the need to get out and catch some rays. They did a little community service, filling three trash bags with weeds from around the school. Dirty work but popsicles seemed to be an adequate payment!






Thursday, April 27, 2017

Chew Shellfish Research Center

The Alchemists went on an awesome field study to learn more about Marine Biology at the Kenneth Chew Center for Shellfish Research and Restoration. The center is working to restore native marine animals to Puget Sound through the use of aquaculture. The first thing we saw were huge tanks where they grow algae to feed the many animals they are working with. Holding huge amounts of water the tanks are lit by the sun and artificial lights and fill with algae within days.

The algae feeds the larvae of oysters, clams, sea cucumbers and other animals to promote research on the animals as well as restoration. The students saw the tanks holding thousands of tiny animals and looked at them under a microscope.

Once the oysters are big enough they are moved outside to larger tanks and eventually returned to Puget Sound.

The center is also doing research on sea cucumbers and the best way to help them reproduce. The Alchemists saw tanks full of sea cucumbers and got to touch one.
Finally, we saw tanks growing sea weed that is used for cosmetics. Off the coast of the center was also a salmon farm.

Thanks so much to Marine Biologist Ryan from the Chew Center and Mr. Winfrey, our class biologist, for a great, educational tour.


Seaburia

The Alchemists have spent the entire year learning about political systems. It began with our November elections, learning about political parties and the issues, and from there they have discussed the pros and cons of different kinds of governments. During this study the class has looked at historical examples of different governments from communism in China, to monarchies in Russia as well as current events in North Korea and Syria.
The culmination of this study is a five paragraph essay that discusses what would be the best government for the United States if we weren't a democracy as well as a simulation called Seaburia.
Initially the students were put in teams of two and given a country which they named. They were then allocated supplies, money and information on their countries economy. Every "turn" in Seaburia students must trade for food and oil to support their country and then produce a product designated by the Power Broker to earn money.

Then countries have to negotiate to solve problems in Seaburia ranging from crop failures and refugees to nuclear disarmament and natural disasters. Using skills they have learned about such as sanctions and treaties, the countries work together to solve each scenario and must come to some kind of solution.

This year we invited back the first class to participate in Seaburia and three of our now HS students came and taught the Alchemists a lot of about the art of negotiation!



Thursday, April 20, 2017

NatureBridge!

We had a great trip to NatureBridge last week.  Here are the slides from the presentation the students gave in Gathering to the other students.  

Merrymere Falls Hike


When we were at Merrymere Falls we learned that if you stare at the falls and then the rocks beside it the rocks look like the rocks are moving up.

Free Time



In free time there was a lot of fun. We did lots of different things in free time. At the beach we made forts out of drift wood.

Beach Time!




Marine Mammals


One of the games that we played was Seal and Sea Lion. A seal on land moves without it’s flippers. A sea lion on land only moves with it’s front flippers. We were supposed to move like a seal one way and move like a sea lion. In another game we played, we each got a card and we put it on our foreheads. Then we gave each other hints and tried to guess what our card was.

Dolphin and Salmon Game


ORT!

 
At Nature Bridge there was this thing called Ort. Ort is left over food from meals. Seabury had 0 Ort every meal.

Games at NatureBridge





Where is Sheepie is one of the games that we played at Nature Bridge. It was a game that you line up somewhere on the beach. When the guide looks away you need to run and grab Sheppie. Then we had to get all the way back without the guide guessing who had Sheepie. The catch was that everyone had to hold Sheepie before we could win. It took about 4-5 times to come up with a strategy to get Sheepie back.

 Tide Pooling


On the first full day we were there we went tide pooling at Salt Creek. We saw lots of cool sea creatures like the blood sea star.
It was super slippery and we were basically walking on mussels. Lots of people fell in the water, including Mrs. Price.

Campfire!


Canoeing





We all had an awesome time canoeing,
we heard some awesome stories (which
you'll be hearing about on Sam’s slide. ) 

Story Time
The Soap Lady story:
One time on the lake there was 2 fisherman and they found a object in the water and is started to look like a person they ran back to land called the police and they pulled the body out of the water it was a human but turned into soap they found a golden braces in her mouth and sent a message to all dentist cause it was gold it was unique. Years later somebody said they made it so they investigated Monty her boyfriend who said she was in Alaska in 1944. They found Monty guilty of secondary murder and Monty was sentenced to like in WA penitentiary .






Thursday, March 30, 2017

More Non Profits

The Alchemists are finishing up their visits to Pierce County non profits with a trip to the Rainbow Center and the Emergency Food Network.
At the Rainbow Center we learned more about the LGBTQ community and how we can be allies. The students learned about how the Rainbow Center provides services to the community through sponsoring Tacoma Pride, providing education and a safe space to LGBTQ people.



At the Emergency Food Network the Alchemists learned how they warehouse and supply food to the food banks throughout the area. By buying in bulk EFN can get food much cheaper and then volunteers bag the food into smaller family size bags. The Alchemists bagged 3,400 pounds of rice! It was hard work but also a lot of fun.









The Alchemists are now completing their action plans for how they will help the non profit of their choice. It will be exciting to see what they are able to accomplish!