Nelson Middle School News

December 2015

From the Principal's Desk

November was a very good month at NMS. On the 6th, we celebrated the multitude of our students who qualified for the first incentive of the year. Students were eligible to participate based on academic performance, good attendance, and no discipline entries. The vast majority of our students qualified for this event, and I think that is a testament to the quality of students that we serve here.

On November 9, Commonwealth’s Attorney Anthony Martin set aside some of his time to visit with each grade level and share his insight on legal issues that our students may face. His speeches were informative and very well received. Students were able to ask questions, and several had the chance to speak with Mr. Martin personally at the conclusion of his talk.

In addition, we began two recognition programs to bring to light the great work that many of our students and teachers are doing. The Teacher of the Month and Student of the Month programs include two teachers and nine students each month. Teachers are recognized through acknowledgement of the their peers, and students are recognized by teachers at each grade level. The nine student winners include three winners per grade level in the following categories: Academic Excellence, Preparedness/Hard Work, and Pride/Integrity. Each recipient receives a certificate of their achievement and a “Thank You” gift from the school.

Though December is a short month for us, there are still plenty of exciting things going on at NMS. Our boys and girls basketball teams begin regular season play the first week of December. Our newly-formed cheerleading squad will perform at each home contest. On December 3 at 7 pm, Mrs. Powell and her band students will present their winter concert, and on the 8th also at 7 pm, Mr. Kershner and his Chorus students will present their winter chorus concert. Both should be wonderful events. December 18th marks the end of the 2nd nine-weeks grading period and the beginning of Winter Break. Students will be off from 12/19-15-1/4/16, l returning for the beginning of the 3rd term on 1/5/16.

We would like to wish you all a happy and safe holiday season and a very happy New Year.

Student Council Association Officers Announced

The Nelson Middle School Student Council Association (S.C.A.) mission is to encourage leadership through service. The N.M.S. Student Council is responsible for representing and serving the needs of the student body through coordinating student activities and charity fundraisers.

The 2015-2016 S.C.A. officers are as follows:

Co-Presidents: Manuel Meras & Jadakiss Johnson

Vice President:Lily Hufsmith

Reporter: Lila Massie

Secretary: Chase Williams

We look forward to representing the study body throughout the year.

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Thank You for Supporting Our Veterans

The S.C.A has been collecting items for the Salem VA Medical Center which serves Veterans. We would like to thank everyone who donated, and we extend a very special thank you to the 7th graders and Mrs. Armstrong for their support.

Thank you,

The S.C.A

From the Art Studio


Please check out the Google artwork all grades worked on for a nationwide contest that I submitted for prizes. The students worked really hard on these. Those exhibited in the hallway are colored copies. Google has the originals. Could we be lucky winners this year? If so, it will be $50,000 for our school!


Several of the art students from various grades have been working on paper Mosaics. Grade 6 worked on various multi-colored animals while grade 7 students have been working with owls using Neutrals.


Grade 8 students have been working on holiday papier-mache.

All grades are helping with our door decor. We are doing a Grinch theme. Come down to the elective hall and check it out-Reallly Cool!


The Art Club has sold most of the stools on the County's surplus auction, and we have made over $200 to go toward our Costa Rica trip. Also, the Art Club is gearing up to fill stockings for younger students in Ms. Wolf's class at Rockfish where we will be heading on December 11th for a field trip.


Please help continue to support our Costa Rica trip by purchasing treats at the basketball games and other fundraisers we may have. Thanks in advance if you have already helped us out.

Upcoming Events

This month

  • Dec. 2 Girls' and Boys' Basketball v. Monelison @4:30pm
  • Dec. 3 Girls' and Boys' Basketball v. Kate Collins @4:30pm; Winter Band Concert @7pm
  • Dec. 8 Winter Chorus Concert @7pm
  • Dec. 11 Art Club field trip to RRES
  • Dec. 17 Girls' and Boys' Basketball v. AltaVista @5pm
  • Dec. 18 Girls' and Boys' Basketball v. Timberlake @2pm
  • Dec. 21-Jan. 4 Winter Break

Next month

  • Jan. 8 Report cards go home
  • Jan. 18 No school--MLK, Jr. Day
  • Jan. 21 6th grade field trip; Girls' and Boys' Basketball v. Amherst @4pm
  • Jan. 22 Girls' and Boys' Basketball v. Appomattox @2pm
  • Jan. 25 Girls' and Boys' Basketball v. Shelburne @5pm
  • Jan. 27 Girls' and Boys' Basketball v. LCA @4:30pm
  • Jan. 28 Girls' and Boys' Basketball v. Buford Middle @5pm

Student Submissions


We are learning about covalent bonds and ionic bonds. So far we have just grazed the surface of covalent bonds, but we have cracked the ice on ionic bonds. We recently took a test, and if we got a 70 or better we got free time. Soon, we will be finishing up our notes, and practicing writing out formula equations and balancing them out.

--by 7th grader A.M.


In science we have been working on ionic bonds and covalent bonds. Ionic bonding is the complete transfer of valence electrons. It is a type of chemical bond that generates two oppositely charged ions. A covalent bond is a chemical bond that involves the sharing of electron pairs between atoms. These electron pairs are known as shared pairs or bonding pairs.

We are also learning about kinetic and potential energy. Kinetic energy is energy that a body possesses by virtue of being in motion. Potential energy is the energy possessed by a body by virtue of its position relative to others, stresses within itself, electric charge, and other factors.

--by 7th grader T.W.


What is your favorite class? If you are in Mrs. McCray’s class you are in learning about the types of energy. The forms of energy are mechanical, heat, chemical, radiant, electrical, sound, and nuclear. What are some things you are learning in your science class? That is all for this month...until next time keep reading and goodbye.

--by 7th grader X.L.


In Mr. Parsley’s History class, we learned about the Spanish-American War. We were required to write a Spanish-American War newspaper with five different articles. We chose our partners to work with on the project. In the newspaper, we had to put the causes of the war and other important facts about what happened. A minimum of fifteen paragraphs were needed in order to get an A on this assignment. It really helped us to focus on the smaller details of the war.

Sometimes our class watches videos on what we are talking about in class, so we can get more information. Most of the time we have a worksheet with questions that follow along with the video. We learned the main causes for the Spanish-American War and Iraq war. Recently in history, we started to learn about World War I. We learned about the president of that time period, what he did, and also the places that were located in the Central Powers and Allied Powers. We did a worksheet and watched a video on the building of the Panama Canal and how it connected the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean. During the class time, we go over the previous day’s worksheet, and then do our new assignment for the day.

--by 7th graders J.H. and G.L.


In History, we have been learning about World War I. We learned about who was on the Central Powers and Allies. Also we were taught about the Zimmerman Telegram. The Zimmerman Telegram was a telegram from Germany to Mexico saying that the United States were going to join the Allies and that Mexico should attack the United States. Unfortunately for Germany, the telegram came through the United States, so we received it before Mexico. That was one of the main causes for war.

Also in History, we have been working on a newspaper for the Spanish-American War. For the newspaper, you have the freedom to customize it however you’d like. You have to have fifteen news articles or twelve articles with five pictures and yellow journalism headlines for the pictures. The topics to write about are the geography of the war, the main causes of it, yellow journalism, and comparing the Spanish-American War to the Iraq War.

--by 7th grader J.Z.


We have just finished up Chapter 5 in Mrs. Price’s Algebra class. We are working on Chapter 6 now and so far everything has been good about her class. We learned about point-slope, slope-intercept, etc. We just finished the benchmark. Though it is close to Christmas break, and we have just had Thanksgiving Break, we are still continuing to work hard.

--by 7th grader I.M.

Pre-Algebra 7

This 9-weeks, we have been reviewing everything we have done this year. We have been studying 1-, 2-, and 3-step equations. We also have been working on properties: Commutative, Distributive, Associative, Identity, Additive and Multiplicative Inverse, just to name a few. We have also been learning how to solve and graph inequalities and how to graph, solve, and find x and y variables using function tables.

So far, we have been reviewing for upcoming tests. Mrs. Oliver’s tests aren’t hard, but you have to remember everything from the beginning of the year. I hope I past the upcoming test and pass this 9-weeks. When we are studying, we usually get to work the problems out on the board. Mrs. Oliver is a really good math teacher, because she lets us work in partners a lot of the time.


Right now, we are working on mosaics. Mosaics are made out of things like broken stone or glass, but we are using paper. The item we are making into a mosaic is an owl. Most have to use soft, earthy, neutral tones. On the other hand, Ms. Davis told some of us we could use color. She will have a judge come in and pick the best ones, which will get put in a frame. Almost all of them will be in the art show.

--by 7th grader A.M.

Home Ec

Our teacher is Ms.Kitts. She is really nice. Now that our cooking segment of Home Ec is over, we are learning how to sew. We have practiced using the sewing machine on pieces of paper, so we would already know the basics. On the pieces of paper, there were patterns we had to follow, while maintaining a slow speed. If you go at too fast of a speed the needle will break. We have to sew patterns like a football, heart, squares, and other shapes and sizes. We are learning how to thread the bobbin and thread the sewing machine. It is pretty fun once you get the hang of it.

Our class is now focused on sewing a throw pillow. We have to sew 3 sides with the sewing machine, then fill it with cushions, then hand stitch the fourth side. We learned how to whip stitch and blanket stitch also. Once we are done with our pillows, we get to help around in the room. We get to clean and make things look nice. We also help other kids, too. We just finished our throw pillows, and Ms. Kitts is about to grade them.

--by 7th graders J.W., G.L., and N.S.

Wood Shop

In woodshop, we just finished up working with animal and plant science. We learned about the four main parts of a plant which are the roots, stems, flower, and the leaves. There are three types of plant life cycles. There is annual, biannual, and perennial. Annual means that the plant completes its life cycle within a year and then dies. Bi-annual is when the plant takes two years to complete its life cycle. Perennial is when the plant grows and reproduces every year and then dies back, but they return every year from root stock.

We also learned about domestication. Domestication is taking wild animals or plants and you are putting them in a controlled environment to use them for human sources. Domestication first started near the Fertile Crescent, and dogs were one of the first animals to be domesticated. We also learned about animal science. We talked about the beef industry, sheep industry, dairy industry, swine industry, layers industry, and the broiler industry.

--by 7th grader T.W.

Wood Shop

In the second nine weeks we have been in wood shop, we have learned how to center measure, measure, and how to use all the tools in the shop. This nine weeks has been good so far, and I predict that it will be a lot better.

Wood shop is one of the coolest classes of the year. Students get to make objects from scratch like birdhouses and chairs. Students can also make things that you use around the house like a paper towel holder and a bookshelf. Some students also make things that they want like cutting boards and stools. In wood shop, you can use any tool you need to complete a task.

We are also taking drill press safety test. The drill press safety test is about 20 questions in total. The test is a little hard, but if you study, you can get a hundred. Most of the questions are common sense like what protection do you need when you operating a drill press? Safety glasses, knee pads,helmet, or mouth guard? Some of the questions are hard, and the only way you can get it right is either look them up or study. So if you study and work hard, you can pass that test for sure.

Once you have finished all of your tests, you get to go into the shop and start on your wood project. I hope that this nine weeks will be fun, educational, and exciting all at the same time.

--by 7th graders C.P. and D.C.


We have been in the class for almost a whole nine-weeks now. Our exploratories are going to change after Winter Break. In Technology, we are wrapping a lot of things up. We have been working in and on other sites and games like Cookie Caster, where you get to make a cookie cutter and then 3D print it if desired. You would make it on a sketch on, then you would copy it to the 3D printing device. Then you would select print after you are sure the material to print it, which is plastic, and wait for it to finish.

Our next project, we get to pick. Most of us are doing the same project. Some projects we can do are Kerbal Space program, where you operate/build a 3D rocket that you send into orbit on the game. Another is on Sketch-it. If we are on Sketch-it, we build a realistic, exact replica of the Technology room.

--by 7th grader I.M.

Tremendous Technology

The first two weeks in Technology, we worked on a project. The project we worked on was building a robot. Mr. Onderdonk put us in four groups. In my group there two other students and me. Two of us had to build the robot, and the third was the programmer. We had to get our robot to follow a line and pick up an object. Then we had to make our robots turn around and bring the object back to a certain spot. We had to make sure Mr. Onderdonk saw our robot bring the object back twice.

This past two weeks we worked on a new website called, and we also worked on 3D modeling. For 3D modeling we worked with a program called 123D design. Our objective was to make a creative name tag that you could print with a 3D printer. I finished my 3D name tag, but Mr. Onderdonk has not printed it yet. On we worked on programming. We had to make different animations do specific tasks in order to reach the goal.

--by 7th grader M.D.

Finally, we started doing our own project. My two friends and I are working on Kerbal Space program. In Kerbal Space program, we had to go to construction basics first, and then we had to go to flight basics. In construction basics, we learned to build a rocket. In flight basics, we had to learn everything about flying the rocket. Also, in flight basics we had to try and get our rocket into orbit. On 12/3/15 our team got it into orbit! Now that we got it into orbit, we have to build our own rocket.

Terrific Technology

In the last few weeks of technology, we have worked on 3D modeling and coding. When we worked on 3D modeling, I made my own dog tag. When we made dog tags, we had to get into partners and make it on “123D” design. When we worked on coding, we went to studio.code, and we had to go through eighteen stages to complete it. When we finished with 3D modeling and coding, we started Minecraft.

This year in Minecraft, we are working with “turtles” and programming. A turtle is a block on Minecraft that you can program to build things with. While we are doing Minecraft, we have to go through 6 stages and get all of our orbs (or crystal balls) repaired because when you get them they are all cracked. To fix the orbs you have complete the stages, and once you get the orb repaired, you can trade it in for armour and tools.

Currently, we are allowed to make a house or car. For the house or car, some students are using a newer more complex program for 3D printing called Autodesk Maya. My partner and I are making a house.

We also learned how to code on On the website there are nineteen stages to do, with many levels within them. I was the first to finish all of the stages and levels. With the coding, you can make games and drawings. Below is a picture of a drawing I made myself.

--by 7th grader J.W.

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About Us

Nelson Middle School is located one mile south of Lovingston in the center of Nelson County, Virginia. The only middle school in the county, NMS is home to approximately 450 students, 40 teachers, and 15 support staff.