Wednesday, November 13, 2019


Students use pipettes to add cold alcohol to their test tubes
FCCPS Photo/Carol Sly

Extracting DNA from Cheek Cells

George Mason school logoThe lab in Honors Biology had students, mostly ninth-graders, chewing gently on the insides of their cheeks for 30 seconds to obtain enough cells to deposit in test tubes and proceed with a lab that resulted in a view of their DNA. The students followed multiple steps to collect the sample, break open the cells with the addition of lysis, remove the proteins with the addition of a protease and salt solution, warm in a heated water bath, and finally make the DNA visible by pipetting super cold alcohol into the sample. The strands of DNA became visible about 5 minutes later.
Photos: Biology Lab to Extract DNA

School Board Receives Four Calendar Options

The Falls Church School Board received four options for the 2020-21 school calendar from its Ad Hoc Calendar Committee during its regular meeting last night. The options include two that would see school opening two weeks before Labor Day and two with the first day of school on the day after Labor Day. The Virginia General Assembly last year changed the law allowing school systems to open up to fourteen days before Labor Day.
Tomorrow night, there will be Community Outreach Meeting in the GMHS Mustang Cafe at 6:30 p.m.  There will be a presentation of the four options and answers to questions from the public. On Friday, a public survey will open for two-weeks on the four alternatives, with survey results published on December 5th. The School Board votes on next year's calendar on December 17th.

School Board's Four School Calendar Options
Summary of Calendar Option Differences
Student working on Chinese calligraphy
Student working on Chinese calligraphy
FCCPS Photos/Meg Flajser

Early Forms of Writing and Human Expression

Thomas Jefferson school logoApprentice calligraphers from third grade are hard at work, learning how people communicated in ancient China. The activity is part of the PYP unit "Where We Are in Place and Time." The central idea the students are exploring is how time and energy cause change. Leading up to the calligraphy, the class talked about the written symbols and how they have evolved. The contribution of writing and the art form of calligraphy also fits into their PYP unit, "How We Express Ourselves."
FCCPS Photo/Courtesy Susan Janec

Robotics at Henderson
Results from Weekend Competition 

FIRST Lego LeagueThe FIRST Lego League held a robotics tournament at Henderson this past weekend. On Sunday, four teams of MEH students and friends competed. Two teams - Boolean Buds and Space Donuts - advanced to the Virginia State Championship for Division 1! The Boolean Buds above also won First place in Division 1 for their Innovation Project. The Space Donuts also won first place for Robot Design in Division. TeamWhoMustNotBeNamed, narrowly missing first place, won second place in the Robot Game for Division 2. And team Banana Peel Robotics showed massive improvement from last year. See photos of the teams here.

GM Robotics
Cycling Event Benefits Team's Budget

George Mason school logoThe GM Robotics Team is having a fundraiser at CycleBar this Sunday, November 17, at 2:00 p.m. Their Torque-y Day Ride can help you burn calories ahead of Turkey day while helping the team raise funds for their upcoming season. Each bike costs $30 for the 45-minute ride. See all the details on this flyer. All are welcome.

Getting Ready to Travel Back in Time

Thomas Jefferson school logoFCCPS Photo/Lisa Allan
Fourth graders spend time just about every day integrating reading and social studies. The topics yesterday were in preparation for the annual class trip to Jamestown, leaving early Thursday morning. The weather should be seasonally cool, in the mid-50s. Students should come prepared for a day of outdoor activities. 

Early Out for All Students

FCCPS logoToday all FCCPS schools have an early release. The times are below. Next Wednesday, only JTP, MD, and TJ have early out. The week of Thanksgiving, schools are closed Wednesday through Friday. See the FCCPS calendar for all the details. 

Today's Calendar

Start times 

  8:05 a.m. - Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School  Early Release - 12:10 p.m.
  8:05 a.m. - George Mason High School  Early Release - 12:10 p.m.
  8:20 a.m. - Jessie Thackrey Preschool  Early Release - 12:40 p.m.
  8:50 a.m. - Mount Daniel Elementary  Early Release - 1:15 p.m.  
  8:50 a.m. - Thomas Jefferson Elementary  Early Release - 1:15 p.m.   
  6:30 p.m. - ESOL Advisory Committee Meeting (Central Office
Flyer for FCC Town Hall
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