middle school news

International School of Panama’s Dolphins are always up to something good, and we want to share it with you. Catch all the good news and important announcements for our middle school right here.

Middle School Community Leaders Help Spread Positive Messages

New students recently had a special lunch with Mrs. Restrepo to share their experiences as ISP students. They discussed important school aspects such as Canvas, making friends, after school activities, and spirit week. They all feel happy to be part of the ISP family. 

A group of 8th grade service learning students chose to teach 5th graders important information about bullying, cyber bullying, and peer pressure. They not only showed to be knowledgeable on the topics but showed great technology and communication skills. It is amazing to see the learning that takes places when students use their skills and creativity to teach their peers.

Innovating Mathematics In Middle School

Math Department PhotosThe ISP middle school Math Department is constantly learning innovative and fun ways to help all students learn. During the first semester our teachers had the opportunity to take an online course offered by Stanford University Professor Jo Boaler centering on developing mathematical mindsets in all students. This semester we are helping students to develop growth mindsets in math through self-assessments, number talks to develop flexible strategies, and authentic real-world problems and projects. The focus throughout math courses in ISP middle school is developing the standards of mathematical practices, including perseverance, collaboration, communication, reflection, and mathematical modeling. 

6th graders are taking their knowledge of Greek city-states from social studies and applying it to sharpen their skills in a number of areas. Students investigate area by designing a map of their own city-state including farmland, roads, and borders. They use proportional reasoning to determine how many roads, schools, and markets they will need, as well as how many seats they need in a grand coliseum.

7th graders recently finished a financial literacy unit learning about deductions and net vs. gross income, as well as the dangers of credit card debt and the importance of investing money early. As part of our pre-algebra unit, students will be writing mystery stories in their Spanish or SAL classes which they will solve using mathematical equations or inequalities. When we can “find X,” we can solve the mystery!

8th graders have been learning about linear and exponential functions. While working in groups, students created equations and graphs to represent a given context. Identifying and discussing key features of any given function has been a key focus of our current unit and will lead us into our study of quadratic functions later in the semester. 

More information about how you can help your child develop a growth mindset in mathematics is available below.

Visit to Safarick's and Embera Village

This past week, the 6th grade students had the opportunity to visit an animal rescue and rehabilitation center in Colón as well as visit the indigenous group of Emberá.


At Safaricks, children went on a guided tour and learned about how Safaricks receives confiscated wildlife, rehabilitates them, and finally releases them back to the wild if possible. Ocelots, spider monkeys, and toucans were just some of the animals children got to see. One of the highlights of the visit was the butterfly garden, which housed different specimens. Finally, kids got to enjoy a couple of hours at the beach on the Atlantic side.


The children spent the day with the Emberá people in their village. They learned about their culture and history. Students got an opportunity to admire and purchase typical arts and crafts of the Emberá people and some even got decorative temporary tattoos applied on themselves using the villager’s ethnic dye/natural mosquito repellent. They also, ate a traditional lunch and participated in a celebration dance. A highlight of the trip was when they visited and swam at a waterfall in the Chagres River.

Overall, the students had an amazing time learning about Panamanian culture, developing an even stronger community as a grade level, all while having tons of fun!

Discovering El Gaital

We got muddy and wet in the ropes course at Crater Valley, observed beautiful blue Morpho butterflies at the butterfly house, and hiked a strenuous trail through El Gaital. This and more, coupled with lesson objectives like collecting data about living organisms and noticing settings for fictional stories in English class, were a few of the things we did at the tropical rain forest of El Valle last week. It was an excellent opportunity for students to explore and make connections between what they have studied in Science and English and directly apply and appreciate those understandings in an authentic setting.

These out of school activities benefit students but also represent a chance for teachers to get to know students better. After all the team preparation and collaboration required I´m sure we can all agree that this was a successful and quality filed trip for both students and teachers. The benefits far outweigh the challenges related to logistical planning that every field trip requires. Based on the smiles, laughs, and good times had, we believe students will long remember it.

6th Graders Turn the Tables

The 6th grade team is collaborating in an interdisciplinary fashion to ensure that all students are prepared to give quality presentations throughout their time in the secondary school. 

To launch this collaborative effort, all sixth grade students and teachers came together in the Performing Arts Center for an 'entry event' into this unit of study. For the event, six speakers gave sample sales-pitches to the students. 

As a special twist, students were given the opportunity to turn the tables! Instead of teachers assessing students, students were given a rubric and assessment guidelines for marking their teachers and administrators. 

This was a fun opportunity to come together as a community and celebrate excellence in public speaking. In addition to being a bit of fun, it provided an interdisciplinary approach to improving communication skills generally and sales skills in particular.

Welcome to Middle School

We are all happy to greet students back to school this semester. We have already kicked off this term with many exciting and new events and activities. We have hosted guest speakers to support a grade eight interdisciplinary project, planned our yearly overnight field trips, and had auditions for our upcoming middle school play, Stone Soup, and this is only the second full week back to school! There are many additional exciting things yet to come this semester, so be sure to continue reading the weekly Dolphin Dispatch for upcoming news, events, and announcements. At this time, we would also like to say a special welcome to our new students. We are happy to have each of you as part of our school!

Making Waves in Grade 8 Science

Grade 8 students conducted experiments to better understand how water molecules vibrate in water when a wave is produced. We are helping them identify how the types of waves are formed and delve into scientific concepts like measuring a wave's amplitude and frequency. We invite you to watch our making waves video to see more.

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