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Middle School Happenings

Field Trips With Impact
Chaim Steinberg, Middle School Social Studies, and Cara Shuckett, Middle School Language Arts and Literacy Coach

Middle School students recently took two field trips that continue to spark dialogue and inquiry in their Social Studies and Language Arts classes.

The 7th and 8th grades both visited the Smithsonian-affiliated Heinz History Center, which is also home to the Rauh Jewish Archives. Located in a building once used to store ice, it is one of Pittsburgh’s most interesting museums, with a collection of materials chronicling the history of western Pennsylvania from the 1700s onward. The Rauh Jewish Archives it houses are a comprehensive and growing source of information about all things Jewish that happened in the Pittsburgh area over the last 150 years or so.

The use of primary sources is a central theme in Middle School Social Studies, and this field trip made possible by chief archivist Eric Lidji was an incredible opportunity for our students to see the actual sources, not just a copy of them or an image on the screen. 

Eric put together activity stations for each grade that related to some of the topics we’re covering in class, and the students spent nearly two hours doing hands-on work with an expert in the field. We had great conversations about how in history we have to study both content and context. 

This year we will have our second Jewish American History Fair, and the Rauh Archives will be a fantastic resource for the students to use during their research. 

Thanks to the generosity of Hallie Donner, the executive director of the Alumni Theater Company (ATC), the 8th Grade also attended a production of “Wears Your Mask?” on December 13. The show was a collaboration between the JCC Pittsburgh and ATC, which included several CDS alumni.

Seven girls co-wrote the show, exploring the themes of race, religion, and identity. Our students were mesmerized throughout the entire performance as they watched the artists express the challenges and joys of what it means to be a black or Jewish girl living in Pittsburgh in 2019.

There was so much for our students to take in during the performance, and there is no doubt that the students left with new insights into themselves and others. 

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Middle School Student Council has been enjoying Spirit Days this week together with the rest of the school, which will culminate with Blue and Gold Day and tomorrow's annual showdown at the CDS 8th Grade vs. Faculty Basketball Game. See you in the Ulam Sport!

Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science Winners

Congratulations to the 12 CDS Middle School students who presented their Science Fair projects recently at Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science (PJAS) at Duquesne University, including four 1st Place winners.

MS Science Fair STEM-ulates Minds

Our Middle School students (and some enterprising 5th graders) participated in the 2020 CDS Science Fair, with plenty of grit, determination, creative inquiry, scientific knowledge, passion, and communication skills on display for the expert panel of judges.

Field Trips With Impact

Middle School students recently took field trips to the Rauh Jewish Archives at the Heinz History Center and to see an original Alumni Theater Company and JCC Pittsburgh production of "Wears Your Mask?" featuring several CDS alumni. Both experiences continue to spark dialogue and inspire inquiry back in the classroom.

Pixel Art Taking Shape

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Winter Wonderland Dance

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Mathletes and Athletes

In CDS Middle School, our mathletes and athletes are getting a great workout this winter! Pre-Algebra "mathletes" recently put their math skills to the test while competing in the Metric Olympics, while basketball season is underway with a full slate of games on the schedule for our student-athletes in the months ahead.

CDS Advisors Win Statewide Student Council Award

Middle School Student Council advisors Ronit Pasternak and Jackie Goldblum were recently named Middle School Advisors of the Year from among 1,500 middle schools in Pennsylvania by the Pennsylvania Association of Student Councils.

8th Grade Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

As part of their World Culture Spanish class and in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, 8th graders completed multimedia biography projects about Latino and Hispanic-American heroes such as Luis Fonsi, Roberto Clemente, and Frida Kahlo. 

CDS Podcast Studio Live

Thanks to a grant from the CDS Parent Association, our school now has its own portable podcasting studio. In a weekly Exploratory, Middle School students are researching, writing, prepping, and practicing to record a 10-15 minute professional-quality show.

Hakuna Matata

Every year, the best-kept secret in the CDS Middle School is the selection of the Spring Musical. Anxious students count down the days, then the hours, and finally the minutes waiting to learn the name of the show. This year's choice didn't disappoint!