Let’s Talk Middle School Science

Mr. Aikar has been teaching Technology courses to our Upper School students this past years using a curriculum that ranges from cyber security and authentic sources, to designing games and building robots.
He will continue to teach technology as a Project to 7th and 8th graders in the Fall 2023 school year–and he will be incorporating technology directly into the curriculum as he teaches Grade 6 Science as well.

Interview with Mr. Aikar

 

  • What I intend to do next year is to make it a lot of hands-on activities. Students will be coming in and playing with things, and experiencing the joy of doing. I will have them get into the area of 3D designing and printing. I want to also introduce to them some coding so that we will gradually prepare them for our High School Robotics program. Then coding will lead to the programs Sketch (for 3d printing) and Scratch (making their own games). Then we will have 3D modeling and making their own remote control cars to play with.
  • We want them to enjoy learning and start their day with something like CNN10, so they can see what’s happening around the world and celebrate everything in class.
  • What I intend to do with Middle School Science is bring the lab into classroom. They can use a lot of props or materials of everyday use and see the science in them. They should be able to take a leaf, extract the chlorophyll out of it and see how the leaf looks without the chlorophyll. They will be able to answer their own simple curious questions. They will feel very fulfilled once they can know the answers for themselves. I don’t want to give them all the answers, I want them to be playful and joyful in the discovery of finding outthose answers.
  • Why students may not like Science and think it’s too hard or difficult to understand is because the approach is exactly the opposite in schools of what we should be doing. We come down with heavy theory and concepts that students feel are too abstract. What we want to do at Maharishi School is take those ideas, those concepts, take those phenomena and break them down into simple concrete theories that are associated with them. So students will learn as if they are breaking down real physical phenomena into simple math and that’s how I believe strongly that by looking at the nature around us we can use math rather than learning math and trying to fit it into nature.

 

middle school students

 

 

 

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Learn More About the Education Savings Accounts (ESA) in Iowa

What is the ESA?

The Students First Act, introduced by Governor Reynolds and signed into law on January 24, 2023, supports the success of every K-12 student in Iowakindergarten by makes state funding available. The bill establishes a framework and funding for education savings accounts, which may be used by eligible families to cover tuition, fees, and other qualified education expenses at accredited private schools in Iowa.

How does ESA work?

Parents who choose to enroll their eligible children in an accredited private school will receive an amount equal to the per pupil funding allocated to public school districts for the same budget school year. Funds will be deposited into an education savings account (ESA) to be used for tuition, fees, and other qualified education expenses as specified in the legislation.

The state has signed a contract with Odyssey to manage program administration for Students First Education Savings Accounts, including applications, financial transactions, compliance, fraud prevention and customer service. Odyssey was selected through a competitive bid process based on its ability to first gradesecurely administer funds, provide families with direct customer service and support and offer the state real-time insight into the program’s effectiveness.

The Office of the Governor, Department of Education, Department of Management, and Office of the Chief Information Officer are working with Odyssey to implement the technology platform. The state plans to begin taking applications during the month of May, but a specific date has not yet been announced. Details regarding the application process will be provided later this month to help families prepare to apply. Applications will be due on June 30, 2023, for the 2023-2024 school year.

 

Who is eligible?

Students First ESAs will be available based on the following eligibility:

Year 1: School Year 2023-24 

  • All entering kindergarten students
  • All students enrolled in a public school
  • A student enrolled in a private school with a household income at or below 300% of the 2023 Federal Poverty Guidelines, $90,000 for a family of four

Year 2: School Year 2024-25

  • All entering kindergarten students
  • All students enrolled in a public school
  • A student enrolled in a private school with a household income at or below 400% of the 2024 Federal Poverty Guidelines that will be updated January 2024

Year 3: School Year 2025-26

  • All K-12 students in Iowa regardless of income

Find more details, here.

 

 

 

Middle School Empty Bowls Project

Empty Bowls

The core purpose of the Empty Bowl project, was for the students to raise money for local food banks as well as food for the bowls international community, while working on project management skills. While our 8th graders worked on various layers of the project to ensure its financial success—it was more than tallying up checks, counting dollars, and change—the event strengthened our community, celebrated the preparation of a variety of delicious soups in beautiful pottery made by the students, and raised community awareness about hunger and poverty, both locally and internationally.

The students set an ambitious financial goal of raising $5000 for the Empty Bowl Project but missed the goal by only $687.19! The students were able to inspire donations and ticket sales to raise $4312.81. This is the most significant amount raised since the Maharishi School began hosting this event.

After the expenses ($154.54) were subtracted, the total being donated to Golden Magnolia Sanctuary Fairfield and World Central Kitchen for Ukraine is $4158.27—51.5% and 48.5% respectively.

 

Learning Objectives

  • Learn how to create and set goals for a planned project.
  • Project Planning and Management Interpersonal skills.
  • Communication skills:  sending emails, add input to newspaper articles, outreach to potential guests.
  • Learn how to make ceramic bowls.
  • Experience one of their 16 Principles in real time: “Thought Leads to Action, Action Leads to Achievement, Achievement Leads to Fulfillment.”

 

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Is Your Teen Experiencing Burn Out?

Why does burn out happen?

Once teens reach High School they often feel an invisible pressure called burn out. We’ve all experienced getting burned out at work, or even in our home life when the sink is full of dishes over and over again. But what does burn out look like for a teenager and how can we help them get out of it?

If you’re not familiar with the signs, then a burned out teen is very likely to happen before you even realize it. One day our teen is communicating with us about his/her/their feelings and the next they won’t leave their room. Late nights spent catching up on studying invade on quality family time. While we may feel proud of our teen for taking on the extracurricular and advanced courses that are necessary for getting into a good college, we also have to realize that there can be repercussions for too much activity and not enough rest.

Our Upper School Academic Director Kaye Jacob’s understands this better than most, “This is a high-stakes time for many kids, but we do need to try to reason with them that they need to find a balance, that “more” is not always “better.”

3 signs your teen is heading towards burn out

1. Heightened anxiety and/or overwhelm. Anxiety can look different in everyone, especially teenagers. It can manifest as moodiness or unusual behavior when before there was a calm demeanor. Anxiety can also look like immune system fatigue, causing the teen to get sick more often or even start to have migraine headaches.

teen2. Not sleeping at night. Burned out teens can get so wired from all of their “to do” lists, extra courses, or/and after school activities throughout the week that when it’s finally time to rest, they can’t. Lack of sleep can spiral into a dependency on coffee or energy drinks so that they can be alert enough to make it through the school day.

3. Saying “no” to socializing with family and friends. Teens who experience burn out can’t relax enough to have downtime. They stop participating in family events or socializing with friends because they simply have nothing extra to give, or are trying to preserve their energy.

Burn out isn’t black and white

Burn out can manifest in our teens in so many ways. Maybe you see your teen taking on more honors courses than he/she/they can handle, or perhaps your teen feels overwhelmed with social stresses and wants to hide. There’s another even more subtle aspects of burn out, such as having a lack of support at home, and poor self care. Here are three teen meditationways you can help your teen normalize again.

3 ways you can help

  1. Teach stress management tools. According to the American Physiological Association’s survey showed that teens report their stress level during the school year far exceeds that of an average adult. At Maharishi School we have a tool for our students to manage stress built into their schedules every day, twice a day. It’s called Transcendental Meditation.
  2. Adopt new self care practices. Talk to your teen about what you do for self care. Self care practices can be a conscious time-out away from their daily life that helps them maharishi school student doing yogago inward and tune into their bodily needs. Some popular self care practices include; journaling, yoga, creative expression, exercising, spending time in nature, cooking/baking, reading, swimming, camping, watching a funny movie, etc. While it’s nice for them to have some alone time you can also come up with a list of self care practices that you and your teen can do together.
  3. Talk about mental health. Establish regular check ins with your teen so you can track to see if they’re moving in the direction of burn out. Don’t be afraid to tell them, “why don’t you take some time off school work tonight, I want you to be primed for a long life and I would like to see you pace yourself now.” Make them aware of therapy services that can be a private outlet just for them.

 

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Ten Tips to Prepare for College

It’s not to early to be thinking about…
  1. Utilize AP courses to your advantage but don’t let AP pursuits come at a cost to your grand point average (GPA).
  2. Look for mentors in a field that you can see yourself doing, it helps you start making learning how to network while getting more comfortable at approaching adults that you admire.
  3. Volunteer in your area of passion or something that isn’t related to academia. This shows how well rounded you are and colleges will be looking for that type of individual who stands out in their hours clocked after school.
  4. GPA needs to stay up, in 12th grade there’s often this feeling of “coasting” or “senior-itis” but the truth is that if you let your grades slip during the last few years, your GPA will suffer in the end.
  5. Participate in clubs and school activities. This could mean joining the student council or asking your student council members about how you can get more involved.
  6. Do community service related projects or unique assignments that your teachers offer. If you don’t know where to begin always ask your teachers and they can guide you appropriately.
  7. Internships that are offered over summer break can be give you a huge advantage on your college applications as well as gaining useful skills for life.
  8. Develop strong relationships with at least one of your teachers, they will be the ones who write a recommendation letter for you to get into college so it’s good to have at least one teacher that you can feel closely aligned with.
  9. Start thinking about all of this in 9th grade. It’s not too soon to be considering these tips. Be sure you’re working with your college counselor who will keep you on track!
  10. Look below to find more specifics tips from our college counselor.

 

 

Freshmen preparing for college should plan to:

  •     Take challenging classes in core academic courses.
  •     Work with their school counselors to create a yearly schedule to meet graduation and college admissions requirements.
  •     Talk to an advisor or school counselor about taking Advanced Placement®* and honors courses.
  •     Identify interests and potential career fields through online resources, like this interest profiler, and by attending career fairs and other events.
  •     Get involved with community-based and leadership-oriented activities that best reflect their interests.
  •     Browse the College Scorecard to see what types of schools interest them.
  •     As they find and review them, bookmark resources for college planning.
  •     Start a running list of accomplishments, awards, and recognition’s to use when completing college applications and writing resumes.

Sophomores preparing for college should:

  •     Consider taking a practice test to prepare for the PSAT.
  •     Attend college and career information events.
  •     Start learning about funding for college, including scholarships, grants, loans, work-study jobs, etc.
  •     Consider the types of careers that fit their interests and what college majors they require.
  •     Reach out to school counselors and/or mentors to discuss occupational interests and college requirements.

In the Fall semester, Juniors should:

  •     Take the PSAT if they have not already. Students should generally take the test no later than fall semester of the eleventh grade to qualify for National Merit scholarships and programs.
  •     Attend in-person or online college fairs.
  •     Explore careers and their earning potentials in the Occupational Outlook Handbook.

In the Spring semester, Juniors need to:

  •     Register for college admission exams—SAT, the SAT Subject Tests, and the ACT—and take practice tests. College admissions professionals recommend students have at least one standardized score before the end of their junior year.
  •     Research how to pay for college and what federal student aid may be available to you.
  •     Identify scholarship opportunities to pursue; note deadlines on calendar.
  •     Contact colleges to request information and applications.

During the Summer, rising Seniors should:

  •     Plan college visits.
  •     Narrow down the colleges under consideration.
  •     Make decisions required by colleges’ early-decision or early-action programs.
  •     Complete the Federal Student Aid Estimator.

In the Fall semester, Seniors will need to:

  •     Register for and take (or retake) the SAT and/or ACT, if not already done.
  •     Complete and submit college applications prior to deadlines.
  •     Request transcripts and letters of recommendation at least 30 days before they are due.
  •     Work with parents to complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA® form). Before each year of college, you’ll need to apply for federal grants, work-study, and loans with the FAFSA.
  •     Complete and submit scholarship applications prior to deadlines.
  •     Meet with a counselor to verify that they’ll meet graduation requirements on schedule.

During the Winter months, Seniors should:

  •     Review and make any necessary changes/corrections to their Student Aid Report.
  •     Finish submitting scholarship applications.

In the Spring semester, Seniors will need to:

  •     Visit colleges on their “short list.”
  •     Consider college acceptances; compare financial aid packages offered.
  •     Call college financial aid representatives with questions.
  •     Decide on the college to attend (typically by May 1) and contact its offices.
  •     Make informed decisions about student loans.

While some seniors think they’ve “made it” and can coast in their last year of high school, students preparing for college should recognize that college admissions officers will expect to see they’ve worked hard to keep grades up and stayed involved in school and community activities. Parents may reassure aspiring college students that they can still enjoy life and time with friends while remaining focused on larger goals.

 

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The Four Prides at Maharishi School

Curious about the four Prides?

pridesThe Pioneer is our school mascot and we divided the pioneer into four different qualities, thus the four different prides. Trailblazer, innovator, adventurer, and visionary.

The Pride system at Maharishi School serves many purposes to unify the whole school from Kindergarten through 12th grade. Offering Pride related events serves as an opportunity for the students to collaborate, work on projects together and have school-wide teamwork. Not only do teams have to work harmoniously together but they also compete against the other Prides to earn points throughout the year.

We also wanted the Prides to work with our 5 core values (respect, responsibility, service, solutions, transcendence). Our students are able to earn points for their pride whenever they are displaying any of those core values. Again this gives them an opportunity to compete, earn points, to collaborate, and have a sense of achievement at the end of the year.

As the competition goes on, the points tally up and at the of the year is a big celebration to announce the winning Pride. The winners get to have their photo taken, their pride team name written on our Dean’s cup (which is a big trophy), and they will also get a pizza party, or a free dress day or gift cards.

 

After School Activities Log

While the school day is filled with a busy schedule of math, sciences, writing and projects, we understand that each child may have a desire to go more in depth into an area or personal hobby. Check out this list of fun after school activities that your child can get involved in right here in Fairfield.

[The views and opinions expressed by the following venues do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Maharishi School.] 

 

 

  • Horseback Riding – Either private for $45 or groups of two for $40 each (depending on students experience). Lesson run two hours from start to finish. If you have any more questions or would like to sign up please email Tara at tesands@me.com
  • Tennis – Coach Lawrence Eyre offers group and individual tennis lessons for ages 4-18, please contact him at 309-221-3376
  • Dance Class – The Iowa Dance Collective offers a huge variety of class from ballet, jazz, tap to hip hop, acro/tumbling and more! Click here to view the weekly schedule and here to view prices. To get in contact with Tyler you can email him at tyler@iowadancecollective.com or call 319-280-1262 for more informaiton.
  • Ground Zero Martial Arts– offers youth boxing, kickboxing, and jiu-jitsu. Click here to visit there website and see the schedule of classes. Or call instructor Nick Ulin at 641-919-6386
  • Driving Lessons – Safer Driver Solutions in a driving school in Iowa that can help you get a driver license. They also support kids learning to drive with autism, ADHD, anxiety and executive functioning disorders. Click here to learn more.
  • Art Lessons – Bill Teeple is the owner of ICON gallery and can be contacted for art classes at iconbillteeple@gmail.com or (641) 919-6252
  • Photography – Carolyn Waksman has many photography workshops throughout the year, to get in touch with her you can email at cwaksman@barclayhedge.com or call 641-472-8427
  • 4-H & Youth/ Iowa State University – Iowa 4-H Youth Development is the premier youth development program of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Providing research-based education to K-12 youth, Iowa 4-H focuses on Healthy Living, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), Leadership and Civic Engagement, and Communication and the Arts. Click here for more information.

 

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Ukrainian Students Share their Rich Culture with Food

Ukrainian students Their story

Mariia, Sviatoslav, and Olena are Ukrainian students who fled their homes with their mothers and siblings. Their fathers have stayed behind to fight in the war. They were living as refugees in Turkey and western Ukraine with nothing more than what fit in their backpacks Ukrainian foodwhen they left. Like all Ukrainian students, they are looking for safety and escape from the trauma of war – and a chance to continue their education. These three teens have reached out to Maharishi School because they want to complete their high school in Iowa – a peaceful, safe environment.

They made it!

ukrainian

Thanks to the generosity of all the donors who contributed to their GoFundMe (and to Paul Winer and Carol Chestnutt for opening their home to the students),  Mariia, Olena and Sviatoslav have all successfully joined the Maharishi School boarding program this year. In celebration of their arrival they shared a very special treat with all of the new boarding students, a traditional feast from their Ukrainian culture.

ukraine food

The meal included two borscht’s, one vegetarian and one with beef. Grated potato pancakes with a cream-based mushroom gravy poured over, and lastly they made varenkyk (boiled dumplings similar to pierogi).

All of the new boarding kids got a taste of Ukraine with this delicious spread, perhaps we will see a cooking club in the Maharishi School’s future.

 

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What is CCLS?

In addition to our students’ practice of Transcendental Meditation, we have a unique course that distinguishes our Consciousness-consciousness educationBased Education approach.

It’s called Consciousness, Connections, and Life Skills. As the title implies, the course has three interrelated aspects:

1) Consciousness: deepening students’ understanding and experience of consciousness

Topics: practice of Transcendental Mediation, yoga, pranayama (breathing technique), advanced TM techniques, brain coherence, theories of human development and higher states of consciousness, collective consciousness, and research on consciousness.

2) Connections: exploring underlying, universal principles and qualities that are common to the structure and functioning of all aspects of life—their academic subjects, in nature, and in themselves

Topics: 16 Life Principles, 50 Qualities and 16 Values of Creative Intelligence.

For example, we see how “Life is found in layers”: whether in the earth’s crust, our government, the analysis of literature, a math theorem, or one’s family and personality.

This is one way Maharishi School cultivates both horizontal and vertical thinking: making connections between all the details on the surface of life and with the big ideas at their basis.

3) Life Skills: developing social-emotional awareness and skills as a foundation for their personal and academic growth.

Topics: Social-Emotional Learning (SEL), Comprehensive Health, Positive Discipline and Restorative Justice


Social and Emotional Learning curriculum in our Upper School consists of 5 main competencies as formulated by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL):

  • Self-Awareness: the ability to accurately recognize one’s own emotions, thoughts, and values and how they influence behavior.
  • Self-Management: the ability to successfully regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in different situations.
  • Social Awareness: the ability to take the perspective of and empathize with others, including those from diverse backgrounds and cultures.
  • Relationship Skills: the ability to establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships with diverse individuals and groups.
  • Responsible Decision-Making: the ability to make constructive choices about personal behavior and social interactions.

Comprehensive Health curriculum: We use the K-12 curriculum from Advocates for Youth called Rights, Respect, and Responsibility. This curriculum includes age-appropriate lessons that cover a wide range of health areas, including relationships and consent, STDs and contraception, dating abuse, etc.

Positive Discipline is designed to teach young people to become responsible, respectful, and resourceful members of their communities. Our overall goal for positive discipline is to culture mutual respect between peers and adults, and to make sure all children are heard, respected, and intrinsically motivated.

  • In Middle School, communication skills and conflict resolution are the main focus.
  • In the Upper School, many aspects of Positive Discipline (such as effective communication and problem-solving skills) are covered in the SEL curriculum and practiced in the classroom. The upper school also utilizes Restorative Justice talking circles and practices, which are much in line with Positive Discipline.

 

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