NKC Middle School SAGE Updated October 2023

Welcome to the Middle School SAGE Newsletter!

This newsletter features an update on what has been happening at the SAGE Center on the Middle School Floor!

Parents/Guardians- you can check on your students progress at SAGE by viewing their "First Level Up First Semester 23-24" Badge Reflections in Canvas on Level-up Weeks! Each time students level-up, they reflect on their progress and post how many badges they have completed. Each level-up, students can earn 5 behavior badges, and additional Unit of study and GUILDS badges.

Level-up Dates

Mondays= Oct 2, Nov 6, Jan 5, Feb. 26, April 8, May 13

Tuesdays= Oct 3, Nov 7, Jan 8, Feb 20, April 9, May 14

Wednesdays= Oct 4, Nov 8, Jan 9, Feb 21, April 10, May 15

Thursdays= Oct 5, Nov 9, Jan 10, Feb 22, April 11, May 16

Fridays= Oct 13, Nov 10, Jan 11, Mar 1, April 12, May 17

Units of Study Update

Destination Imagination

Students got off to a quick start and formed teams, which then chose the challenge that they wanted to “solve” for the semester. Teams have been brainstorming each part of the challenge and are getting started creating the “deliverables” that they need. Teams are working on things such as designing pinball machines and beanbag launchers, planning service learning projects, and bringing a piece of visual art to life. DI competition night information will be coming out soon-Save the Date for December 7!


What is FLL “What is FIRST® LEGO® League?

FIRST® LEGO® League introduces science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to children ages 4-16* through fun, exciting hands-on learning. Participants gain real-world problem solving experience through a guided, global robotics program, helping today's students and teachers build a better future together.

Our three divisions inspire youth to experiment and grow their critical thinking, coding, and design skills through hands-on STEM learning and robotics.”

This year’s theme is “Masterpiece” with the essential question of: How can we use STEM to share our passions with others. This is a challenging concept, but we are making our brainstorming ideas. We are building our competition robots as well and are working on programming. Please hold Dec. 7th from 5:00-7:00 open for our competition night. Also Dec. 16th for the 2 winning teams for the regional competition against other KC teams.

Forensic Science

Students have been working with a crime scene. They have sketched the crime scene, photographed the scene, and are currently working with collecting evidence. Students will use these skills to go through our labs and figure out the many different careers that work in a crime scene.

Future Cities

Students designing their digital future cities!

Students have defined what a city is, how it functions, & the wants and needs of a large community. They have selected wants, needs and goals for their futuristic city concepts.

Currently , they are using SimCity software to create & manage digital simulations of their city designs. They will be expanding into regional city networks next & selecting great works goals for their digital citizens.

Game Makers

Students have been working diligently on creating a platformer through GDevelop. A platformer is a game that the main object is jumping from platform to platform. I was so impressed at how many different skills the students showcased during their time. Ask your student to tell you about their platformer?

Advanced students have had a choice to work on a multilevel platformer or an RPG (role playing game). Examples are Pokemon, Final Fantasy, etc.

Graphic Design

Students have explored how artists utilize the basic elements and principles of graphic art and design to create unique works of art. The students have also started learning the basic tools and functions of Adobe PhotoShop by creating their own Andy Warhol style pop art image. They will then use their PhotoShop skills to create mash-up art images. Then students will use their skills to create animations in PhotoShop.

Imagineering in a Box

Students have defined Imagineering: a combination of engineering and imagination. They have analyzed the requirements for a theme park & are using the elements of design to expand their own ideas for an original theme park.

They are using a digital simulation program in class to learn to manage theme parks, encountering a variety of problems. Next, they will use the program to create digital versions of their own park designs.

Interactive Fiction

Students collaborating on their interactive alien planet adventure story.

Students have been creating original interactive fiction, using a variety of techniques. They took the details of familiar, science fiction adventure narratives, charted & combined them in new ways to create their own interactive adventures.

They have plotted multiple story tree branches for the more complex plots that interactive fiction requires. Next, they will be creating their own interactive storytelling game narrative.

Invertebrates Zoology

We began by defining the six characteristics that make an animal an animal. Next, we looked at classifying animals into phyla. We will now focus on 8 different phyla. We began with phylum porifera, sea sponges, and are now doing our cnidarian lab. The Phylum Cnidaria includes jellyfish, corals, sea anemones, and hydra. Students will be observing living hydra to study their behavior, structures, and functions.

Invention Convention

Students were introduced to the invention process through an Invention Grab Bag activity sponsored by Dr. Reeves at the Linda Hall Library. Next they identified a problem and have been doing research on that problem. They are now beginning to ideate possible solutions and invention ideas.

Kitchen Chemistry

Students have been busy learning about acids and bases. We have been putting our knowledge to work through pH testing common household substances, and then creating chemical reactions in both pancakes and muffins. Students have been learning that science happens when we cook; we just don’t always stop to appreciate the science.

Laser Etching

In 7/8 laser etching students have been laser etching a deep etch that will be filled with epoxy in the near future. Students have been practicing safety as they learn how to use the drill press and router. After students complete their first 2 projects, they will start to work on their independent project.

6th graders that are in laser etching are just finishing up their first project- a tile coaster. Students used the image trace tool in Adobe Illustrator to convert a pixel image into a vector image that is etchable. Students will make an acrylic keychain with an animal on it. The animal will be created using the shape and cut tools in Illustrator.


We are so excited to begin our Moneyball NFL competition next week. Over the past few weeks, we have been working hard to research players’ statistics and make decisions on the players to draft. As well, we have been working hard to learn to use Microsoft Excel as a data tool, specifically learning to collect and organize data and use formulas to make our scoring calculations more efficient.


Students started by building background knowledge of photography through learning the history of cameras, how the camera and the human eye are similar, and how a basic camera works. They then learned the proper way to hold a camera, put on/take off the lens, adjust the focal length and focus, and to upload their pictures from the camera to their computer. The next step is for the students to start experimenting with using the camera to determine the importance of proper lighting and different lighting styles, trying out different lenses for the camera, and altering their position/point of view for different visual pieces. Students will continue to learn how to adjust the settings of the camera for shutter speed and aperture to create specific images as the semester progresses. We will also be taking a walking field trip around Gladstone and the SAGE Center to work on Composition skills. Students will combine all their learned skills for a larger field trip to the Country Club Plaza in November. Permission slips will be coming home soon.

SAGE Start-up

In SAGE Startup, we are so excited to begin prototyping our company’s product(s) as we build an inventory to begin sales over the next couple months. We began the semester by researching important roles that make companies work; from CEO to Web Design, our students are developing job skills in identifying, applying, and interviewing for jobs. Finally, we are just finishing the initial process of building our companies by creating a mission and vision statement and developing products and company names. We are excited to make and sell our products soon—be ready!

Simulated Adventures

S.O.S. Our trip to New Zealand in Simulated Adventures has gone terribly wrong. We have crashed somewhere in the ocean. We have calculated our approximate location by using the formula speed multiplied by time equals distance. A storm is fast approaching so we are building a shelter with the scaled factor of 4. Hopefully help is coming.

Special Effects

In Special Effects, students are wrapping up their first introduction project to Premiere Pro. The intro project teaches students how to add clips, essential graphics, effects, transitions, and music. Students second project is an introduction to After Effects. Students manipulate the built-in effects to create a word that moves, changes size, rotates, and disappears.

Sports Medicine

In our Sports Medicine class, we began our semester by learning to identify success criteria for our work. In a quick challenge, we created an emergency solution to a broken arm on the field. We identified the most important aspects of the solutions we created to ensure the patients’ needs are met. From learning medical vocabulary to learning and using sports psychology strategies, our student are working incredibly hard to learn best practices for medical professionals in the world of sports.