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Mr. Walrath's Virtual Classroom


Telescope Night Set

The next (and final for this school year) Telescope night is scheduled for Friday evening, June 19th, beginning at about 6:30, weather permitting. If there are clouds or rain Friday afternoon and it doesn't look like clearing, then the event will have to be cancelled. However, if the weather cooperates, you will have the opportunity to see Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter. For more info, see this NASA TV video

Term 4 Exam Schedule

6 Geography 5 June (Fri)
6 Science 4 June (Thurs)
7 Science 17 June (Wed)
7 ICT Per class schedule
8 Science 15 June (Mon)
9 ICT 9 Jun (Tues)

Have an Idea on How to Stop Illegal Wildlife Trade?

The USAID organization is sponsoring a competition to find innovative, scalable, and realistic ideas on how to slowdown, stem, and stop the trafficing in animals and animal parts, especially the illegal trafficing that goes on.

Since this is something that will directly impact you, my students, and those of your generation and the future, it's something worth checking out. There are some specific deadlines, and some requirements that must be met, but it's a worthwhile cause with a potentially great reward


If the IFrame doesn't show up, the link is Here.

ICT10/IGCSE Revision for Paper 1

ICT 10 students are invited to a revision session between 1400 and 1530 on Thursday, 21 May prior to the IGCSE Paper 1 exam. We will cover in quick review topics including the internet privacy laws, internet/intranet/extranet differences, and any specific questions students may have.

7i ICT Project reminder

As a reminder to the oral directions given in class: EACH INDIVIDUAL STUDENT MUST EMAIL MR. WALRATH WITH HIS OR HER ASSIGNED PORTION OF THE RESEARCH. A single email for the group IS NOT ACCEPTABLE!

Science Investigation Writeups

In reading the writeups from all class' investigations, it is obvious that some more work must be done on the content of these writeups. In science (as in any discipline), being able to communicate, in writing, what one discovers is a necessary skill for success. In addition to that, the ability to read and follow written directions or listen and comphrehend verbal instructions are two skills that are valid for every walk of life: from being a high-level technician, a teacher, a professional athlete, or a homemaker and parent.

When completing your investigation writeup, you are being marked on sections I through IV. Part of that mark is "communication". In other words, you are being evaluated on your writing: is it clear? is it complete? is it Standard English? is it accurate? When presented with the instruction that includes the explanation that this section is, "...a narrative...", that means the section is more than 1 sentence. A narrative tells a story. Frequently in literature, that story is fiction; however, not in all cases. In science, a narrative explains, in paragraph form, the sequence of events, or the results, or your evaluation of the results, or your conclusion.

Several of the investigation writeups submitted thus far exhibit a hurried, "it's not that important", and surface treatment of the investigation. To date, only one of the investigation reports submitted is likely to receive full marks. Many of the others submitted yesterday are likely to receive marks that are very much lower than expected.

Want to know how your investigation is evaluated? As mentioned in class last week and before break, the writeups are assessed using a standard rubric used in Grades 6-10. that rubric is linked in the right-hand navigation column of this page, and is labeled "mark scheme". You should look at it again.

WX Data Online Gap
Tuesday, 21/4 through Friday 24/4

Another WX data gap: from 1845 Thursday until about 1330 Friday. Cause same as prior problems. Also from about 2200 on Wednesday evening until about 0720 on Thursday. Cause unknown at present. That's three network and/or power outages in 3 days.

Power back on, weather reports back on line. The data is stored locally; however, not disseminated to CWOP and APRS-I due to the power outage. No weather reports since late morning when the school experienced a brown-out that impacted the network connections. This will become less of a problem when the APRS station is brought on line at the school and at my condo, sometime in the next 60 days.

The Tree of Life

Sometimes it is difficult to really grasp the myriad life forms on the planet Earth. This image (click on the image for a high-res version) gives you a bit of an idea.

Periodic Table News

Lawrencium’s position on the periodic table may now be up for debate after scientists in Japan... (read more).

Monday's Power Outage

The weather reports are held in abeyance because of yesterday's power outage at GESM. Hopefully the power and network will be back on Tuesday, and the station will be reset, allowing the reports to continue

Term III Exam Weeks

The Term III Exam weeks are set, 4-17 March 2015. The schedule for Mr. W's classes is:

13 March
5 March
13 March
11 March
9 March
10 March

Study guides are linked above.

Watch the bar above

You may notice a bar in the header that either states "No report received at EW6931" or a table with weather data. This is from the school's recently installed Davis weather station. When fully functional, this data can be retrieved at will by using the URL During the testing period, the link may or may not work. Expect full functionality by 27 March 2015.

At Risk for Natural Disaster?

According to a recent article in the Philippine Star, several cities, including Manila, are at risk for natural disasters. This article fits in with the discussions in Geography 6 as far as flooding is concerned. To see the article, visit this link.

IGCSE Information

The ICT-10 class will sit their IGCSE exam on 11 and 21 May 2015. Room location will be confirmed between now and then.

The IGCSE Mock Exams will take place between 9 and 19 February. The schedule for the Mock Exams will be available later.

IMPORTANT information regarding 15, 16, and 19 January

Due to school being closed on Thursday, Friday, and Monday, students are required to visit their class pages on Thursday, Friday, and Monday for additional work that must be completed before returning to school on Tuesday 20 January 2015. Lesson pages are updated now for all sections to include material that must be completed and emailed to Mr. W before school starts on Tuesday morning.

Welcome to Term III!

Term III unit pages will be activated on or about 9 January 2014. Students will not have homework the first day of their Term III class with Mr. Walrath.

Please keep in mind that the requirement for Cornell Notes will exist for all classes when reading assignments are made or when video viewing assignments are made through the remainder of the school year. These notes are checked when the assignment is due, and must include evidence that SQR3 has been used for note-taking. Students must also include a summary in their note page. Failure to do this will result in the notes being marked as unacceptable and a signature placed in the homework journal.

Some Good news on the Earth systems/Climate Change/Global Warming front!

A recently released NASA-led study shows that tropical forests may be absorbing far more carbon dioxide than many scientists thought. The full story is here, but in essence, it now appears that tropical forests are increasing the absorption of CO2 in response to increased CO2 levels in the atmosphere. Note this isn't long-term sequestration; however, it does lower the amount of increase of this particular "greenhouse gas" in the atmosphere.

Origin of the Earth's water

NASA reports that new evidence raises the debate on the origin of the Earth's water once again. A popular theory holds that ocean water was brought to Earth by the ancient impacts of comets and asteroids. However, new data from the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft indicate that terrestrial water did not come from comets like 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Read more by visiting this link.

Term 2 Exam Schedule

The below is your tentative exam schedule for Term 2 Exams. Please note this is subject to final approval and change through Monday, 24 November. (Grade 6 science corrected... and also here)

Study Guide link
Exam date
6th Science Study Guide Thursday 11 Dec.
6th Geography Study Guide Friday 12 Dec.
7th ICT Study Guide Friday 12 Dec.
7th Science Study Guide Wednesdsay 17 Dec.
8th Science Study Guide


Part 1: Friday 12 Dec.

Part 2: (essay) Tuesday 16 Dec.

9th ICT Study Guide Tuesday 16 Dec.
10th ICT Study Guide Thursday 11 Dec.

Remaining study guides should be posted not later than 1800/3 December 2014

Lunar Volcanism?

NASA Science news reports that the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has found strong evidence of geologically young volcanic activity on the moon. Some deposits appear to be less than 100 million years old, corresponding to Earth's Cretaceous period, the heyday of dinosaurs. For the full story, click here.

PARENTS of Science 6, 7, and 8 students:

I know many students were disappointed with their marks on the Unit 1 test. Since my tests may be different than those for which they are accustomed, I take that into consideration for the first test. The scores, while not as high as I would like, were somewhat typical for the first test in a year with students unfamiliar with my assessments.

The classes have spent time reviewing the importance of essay questions and they have practiced several different techniques to assist them in successfully completing essay responses.

In the second term, Sci 6, 7, 8, and Geography 6 will also be focusing, as needed, on proper note taking skills as well as how to use notes to study. Students will be required to take notes for each reading assignment, each video, and each lecture in class. These notes will be checked for completness, accuracy, and legibility. They will also be used in short study sessions to prepare for quizzes and tests. For Term 2, my students will be expected to use the Cornell 2-column with summary format. That is covered in some detail in the "How to Succeed in Mr. Walrath's Classes" lesson.

Okeanos Explorer Update

The NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer's current expedition, Our Deepwater Backyard: Exploring Atlantic Canyons and Seamounts 2014, is under way and runs through Oct. 7.

Live video feeds of our remotely operated vehicle (ROV) dives began Sept. 19, and can be viewed at okeanos/media/exstream/exstream.html.

All ROV dives will be streamed live to our website.

Robotics Change

Due to the SeaPerch not arriving in time, we will be doing land-based ROVERS this semester. Click on the link to the right for more details.

Updated Requirement: all Mr. W's classes at GESM note.

Effective immediately, when you are tasked with a presentation of any nature for class, you must bring a portable version of the presentation to class with you on the day of presentations. Thank-you for your support in this!

Antarctic Tipping Point?

NASA researchers have discovered data indicating the West Antarctic glaciers may be melting at a rate much, much higher than thought before... watch the video below:

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Each student must take a copy of the course syllabus home and have the classroom/safety contract signed by your parents/sponsors. I will also sign them, as will you. These classroom/safety contracts are designed to concretely remind you that YOU are responsible for your own actions, that safety begins with YOU, and to reinforce classroom rules. Turning in the syllabus within the due date will earn a 10-point quiz grade.

During the first week of school, each student must complete and take a quiz that covers the "How to Succeed In Mr. Walrath's Class" lesson and the "Classroom Safety" lesson

Please note that practical jokes and horseplay in the classroom, especially during periods when the class is engaged in, preparing for, or cleaning after a lab can lead to serious injury or worse. Because of this, any perceived practical jokes or horseplay students engage in will result in 1) disciplinary referral, 2) parental notification, and 3) detention referral. Since we are talking about physical safety for everyone in the classroom, lab safety is critical.

During the course of the year, each student will be expected to maintain an electronic journal and lab record. The specifics of how these will be used and how students will complete their lab records will be covered in the first week of class.