Happy Chinese New Year, parents and students! This month was a great month for Level 8, and I hope that all of you enjoyed your holiday.

Level 8 began this semester starting a new research project. This time, we are learning about the steps of performing research, writing a research paper, and presenting a report on a research topic. This means that rather than choosing a topic for the students, I am teaching them how to choose their own. At the end of the semester, each student will have completed a research project on a topic of his or her own choosing, and I think the students are excited for the opportunity to select something independently based on their own interests.

Science class has seen the beginning of a unit on physics and chemistry, and the students have really enjoyed it so far. We did an excellent experiment showing the chemical reaction between yeast and hydrogen peroxide. The results were quite dramatic! We also talked about the periodic table and learned how and why the elements are organized in this way. Additionally, we talked about the structure of atoms.

In Social Studies, we discussed the founding of the United States of America, including the failure of the Articles of Confederation, which led to the creation of the Constitution, still in use to this day. The students showed a strong understanding of the different branches of government, their different powers and responsibilities, and the checks and balances that keep any one branch from overpowering the others. This led to an interesting discussion about the separation of powers and what happens when different branches disagree, and we even discussed it in terms of some interesting cases happening in the United States right now.

Finally, in writing class the students have been working on a long-term project, one of writing and delivering a persuasive speech. The students have now learned several rhetorical devices used in persuasive speaking and have written their first draft. We are looking forward to revising our drafts and eventually presenting them as speeches in front of the class.