Focus On: Academics

Math Update
Contributed by Mr. Zambrano, Dean of Academics
Statistics & Data Analysis
The students enrolled in Statistics and Data Analysis put theory into practice by selecting final examination projects that required collecting real data, analyzing the data, and drawing a conclusion. Did you ever wonder if there was a relationship between a personality trait – introvert or extrovert – and color preference – yellow, green, red, or blue? Four students set out to investigate whether there was independence or not. The table below reflects their observations after interviewing 50 students/faculty, and the conclusion they drew using a Chi-Square Test for Independence at a level of significance of α=0.05.
  Yellow Green Red Blue
Introvert = 7 O = 5 = 4 = 13
Extrovert = 6 = 0 = 9 O = 6
With a Chi-Square value of χ^2=8.52 and a level of significance of α=0.05, the null hypothesis was rejected. We have significant evidence at α=0.05 to show that personality trait and color are not independent. Does the conclusion surprise you? What did you expect?
Do you prefer freshly popped popcorn or packaged popcorn? Three students collected, analyzed, and summarized their findings after having 30 students sample both types of popcorn. They tested the hypothesis that there was no difference. However, their results presented a different conclusion. Freshly popped popcorn is preferred.
Algebra 1
The Algebra 1 students worked their way through the curriculum establishing a solid foundation as they worked to prepared for the next course in their chosen sequence – Geometry, Geometry & Algebra 2. Factoring and solving quadratic equations received great attention. Coordinate plane graphing, slopes, and equations of lines were investigated and mathematical modeling with linear functions helped us to make predictions. In addition, Algebra 1 Honors students solved linear systems and quadratic equations with irrational solutions with the help of the Quadratic Formula. There are many adventures to experience as we expand our knowledge base. We are mathematicians in our formative stage.
Our Precalculus classes began their journey with an introductory review of the difference between relations and functions, quadratic and polynomial functions. Once the notion of an inverse function took form, the adventures
began. Time was spent working with and applying the applications of the exponential and logarithmic functions. If $500 was invested at 10% compounded continuously, assuming no other transactions, what is the value of your investment after 5 years? The newly discovered number 'e^', Euler’s number helped us.
We did not stop there. The Circular and Trigonometric Functions were analyzed. Calculations were made, graphs were drawn, and equations were solved. Right Triangle Trigonometry and the Laws of Sines and Cosines allowed us to explore relationships and solve problem situations so that we could calculate needed values to draw conclusions. Which fire station should be the first to report to the scene of the fire?
With great determination and the assistance provided by the graphing calculator technology, our students can visualize, conjecture, and calculate. Mathematical relationships now can come to life. There are many areas yet to explore. Mathematics provides us with the tools needed to explore new horizons.
Summer Math
Summer mathematics problem sets can be found on the school website for the course that you will take in September 2019. Be resourceful! Review class notes and work with your peers! We will run two mathematics practice review sessions in August. Check our school calendar for the dates, times, and locations.
Science Update
Contributed by Mrs. Snyder, Science Department Chair
Students in Mrs. Snyder's Conceptual Physics and Robotics courses worked on a project using the knowledge gleaned in and specific to their course. In teams of two, the students worked collaboratively to meet the following goals:
  • Conduct research on remotely operated vehicles (ROV), robotic components, and the physics related;
  • Identify the capabilities of Jason and Medea and the capabilities of this ROV;
  • Find out the way to increase capabilities of the ROV to permit it to dive deeper, i.e. to the depth of the bottom of Marianna’s trench;
  • Design a scale model of their improved ROV design, and build a 3D model.
Students conducted research on the cost of building prototypes, created budgets for their ‘company’ and prepared a presentation in the Shark-Tank style. Volunteer faculty members then "acted" as sharks who questioned students on their knowledge of ROV design, investments, and sales during the presentations.
In addition, Mrs. Snyder was interviewed by the National Science Teachers Association about the project. A write up of the lesson and resulting student work will appear in an upcoming issue of NSTA Reports, the NSTA's newspaper, which serves as a source of news and information for and about science educators. Reports includes national news on science education, information on teaching materials, and announcements of programs for teachers. The Academy is honored to have one of it's own featured in this national publication!
Music Appreciation
Contributed by Mrs. Cardona, Faculty Member
This past semester, the Music Appreciation class at the Academy prepared for a performance in conjunction with the choir at the annual Spring Concert in May. Approximately 40 girls participated in raising their voices in song and praise. First, the Music Appreciation class sang some selections such as “A Million Dreams”,from the Greatest Showman, “Fill Your Life with Music” , “ I see the You in You” and “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’” and “Give Us Hope”. The Salesian Voices Choir then followed them singing “Count the Stars”, “Jubilate Alleluia” and “True Love”. Then by tradition, the Bergen Catholic Mens Choir joined our Women’s Choir to sing “Keep Your Lamps” and “Let Your Faith Be Stronger than your Fear”. The Bergen Catholic Men’s Choir also performed a few songs on their own. It was truly a night of Beauty, Truth and Joy expressed through these youthful voices.
The annual tradition of giving music students the opportunity to perform alongside the more seasoned members of the choir gives student the experience to sing in an ensemble with an emphasis on teamwork, performance skills, and foundational music abilities, all while enhancing each individual's confidence on stage.
World Language
French: Voyage to a French Speaking Country
Contributed by Sr. Myriam, Faculty Member
For their final project, French students were asked to plan a trip to a french speaking country and generate a detailed guide for their journey. Their journeys were to include a stop at a monument and a museum that interested them. Students were responsible for planning and leading their classmates and instructor through one day, and they were instructed to use a travel site to explore where they would want to go, taking notes about locations, opening hours and any costs involved. If applicable, students were expected to note Metro stops associated with their chosen location. Finally, they had to find a café and a restaurant nearby they could visit and find out menu items and their prices.
As evidence of their learning, students were asked to create a Powerpoint or Keynote presentation showing the trip itinerary, with travel plotted on a map, descriptions and photos of the chosen monument and museum, and pertinent information about the cafe and restaurant including a typical French dish available there. Finally, students enjoyed tasting samples of the French dishes mentioned in their classmates' presentations!
Contributed by Mrs. Palacio, Faculty Member
Spanish 1: Finding a Host Family
Spanish 1 students applied the knowledge gained over their five units of study to complete a persuasive exercise in which they solicited (imaginary) families to host them for a year of study aboard in a Spanish speaking country. The first component of their project required them to write a pamphlet introducing themselves and explaining what characteristics would make them an exchange student worth hosting. Those characteristics included things like social skills and manners, general likes and dislikes, personal interests such as sports and hobbies, academic qualifications, and familial background. Then, based on their pamphlets, students utilized their Spanish language skills to make presentations to their classmates highlighting their "selling points." As a fun twist on the assignment, students were eligible to earn extra credit points to be added to their teacher-assigned grade based on how many "families" (classmates) voted to host them as exchange students. Students were also encouraged to submit a video component with their presentations for further extra credit points.
Spanish 2: Working as a Travel Agent
Students in Spanish 2 also applied their language skills to a project requiring the skills of persuasion, except in this case, students were to imagine themselves as a travel agent who is paid a commission based on how many clients choose to visit their assigned country. Working with a location assigned by the teacher, students created pamphlets and Spanish language presentations to "sell" their countries to the group, but while also demonstrating their knowledge of the units covered throughout the year. Topics included typical food and drink, customary ways to stay healthy and fit, attire for the local climate, holidays, festivals and other native celebrations, and requirements for travel. Following each presentation, the "travelers" (classmates) voted on whether or not they would book their travel to each country based on the the information received. 
Spanish 3 & 4: Promoting the Garden State
In Spanish 3 and 4, students used their language skills and in depth knowledge of Spanish culture and customs to identify aspects of New Jersey that would make it an appealing choice for Spanish families seeking to relocate to a new home. Students based their presentations on their own memories of living in New Jersey, as well as the interests and hobbies they have pursued here, the typical foods available, retail market for clothing and other necessities, and the climate, terrain, and vegetation of the state.
Spanish for Native Speakers: Walk in Someone Else's Shoes
Native speakers relied upon their advanced language skills to focus on some of the real-world social and humanitarian issues that plague present-day Spanish speaking countries for this final project. Putting a humanitarian twist on the project, the assignment parameters required small groups of students to work collaboratively to develop and fictional character living through the crisis of their chosen country. The skills graded included writing fluency, description of the issue and background information, supporting research and statistics, proposed solutions and call to action, and presentation in Spanish.