Seventh Grade

Newtown Friends School :: February, 2016

Clay & Mosaics

Students began the course with an "ugly" mug challenge. Students we asked to use a slab rolling technique. They were then challenged to demonstrate additive techniques using slip and scoring and also to add handle. Next, students will be using that slab roller again to create handmade tiles for a mosaic project we will use later on in the quarter. Students will also focus on other hand building techniques like coiling and using molds to create functional ceramic pieces. They will work with new transfer and glaze techniques to embellish these pieces.


Now that we have finished the dystopian young-adult novel Surviving Antarctica, students are working on a critical essay about the book, analyzing evidence from the text in support of a theme of their devising. This assignment builds on our previous essay work while allowing for more nuance and autonomy, as students leverage the critical essay structure to make their individual interpretations of the text compelling. Our next major unit will explore nonfiction reading and writing. Students will expand their reading horizons to include memoir, biography, informational texts, and other examples of the genre. We will use these texts and our work in writing to examine the various modes of rhetoric, some of which we have already used this year. New additions will include definition, process analysis, and classification and division. After examining exemplars and studying their use and effectiveness, students will consider how best to apply the modes in an original feature article for a seventh grade blog.


This month the seventh grade Latin students will begin Lesson XIII, which introduces two new concepts. Firstly, we will learn how to address people directly using the vocative case of nouns. Then we will master the ablative of place from which, a type of prepositional phrase that is used to express motion from a point of origin. Once they complete this work, we will be ready to move on to Lesson XIV. This lesson introduces a subset of second declension nouns and adjectives that end in –r instead of the –us we are used to.


On Level

In January, students solved and balanced equations of all types, increasing in complexity and isolated a specific variable. In February, students will continue with the inequalities unit where relationships between quantities are not equal graphically and algebraically. There is a range of possible solutions. This includes figuring out the maximum or minimum value, called the boundary point, for various situations. For instance, students can figure out the minimum number of people that have to come to the fundraising event in order to break even with the associated costs to run the event or the lowest score they can get on the next assessment to still maintain an A average. Using actual emissions data from transportation and food creation students will race to figure out the smallest carbon footprint and still get the job done. Analysts will also calculate their household’s carbon footprint and propose one change the family can make to reduce their carbon footprint.


Seventh graders are in the midst of determining the function rule, identifying the domain and range, and deciphering number sequences and patterns. Students will then explore several aspects of linear functions and apply the thematic unit to real-life scenarios. Mathematicians will find the slope using a formula or graph as well as analyze various slopes and describe their relevance to a situation. Furthermore, students will synthesize the special relationships of slopes between parallel, perpendicular, horizontal and vertical lines. Students will also re-write equations in standard, slope-intercept and point-slope form.

Students have chosen to work on one of two projects during this unit. One group is in the process of investigating whether mathematical evidence exists for social media influencing the Egyptian Revolution. Meanwhile, another group of students are analyzing the number of tickets they receive for beating certain levels in a video game, processing customer complaints when the functions malfunction, and designing five games based on mathematical functions. Toward the end of the month, students will begin their proposal on a fundraising event for the cause of their choice.

Musical Theater

We are so excited to begin our show preparations for “Shrek the Musical Jr.” Mrs. Hensley will be leading us through some fun team building activities! We will begin by listening to the show, taking headshots, preparing resumes, and learning how to audition. Auditions will be held mid to late February. More information about the audition process will be emailed to you soon!


In Upper School P.E. we will continue to develop our physical fitness and work on skill development in each class. Our lessons at the beginning of this month will focus on jumping rope. Students will participate in a variety of jump rope games, skills and challenges in preparation for our school wide event, Jump Rope for Heart. This month we will also play a team game called Speed Ball, which is a combination of soccer, basketball and football. Each class will use the rock wall once in February and our fitness challenge for each student will be how many times you can jump the rope in one minute. There will also be a bonus football activity the week of the Super Bowl!


The seventh graders are preparing for their studies in middle school medical school. For the next two weeks or so, students will dissect an earthworm and a perch. Using their techniques and practical experience with these life forms, students will move on to the human body systems. Later this month and into the next month, they will study the circulatory, respiratory, and digestive systems. During the unit on circulation, the students will continue to hone their dissection skills using a real pig heart to identify all parts of a heart. Many of their assessments will be based in practicums as well as standard tests and quizzes.

Social Studies

In February the seventh grade social studies students will finish our unit on the Antebellum period of the United States. The unit will culminate in a five-paragraph DBQ (Document-Based Question) essay test. The test will cover the factors that led the United States to split before the Civil War. This will be a difficult test but I am sure that the kids will pull through. After we complete the test we will move on to the Civil War. Throughout the month we will continue to refine our writing, reading, and critical thinking skills.


Seventh grade Spanish class will continue to improve their communication by learning the other past tense, the imperfect, for more detailed descriptions. Assessments will require students to memorize the imperfect conjugation and to apply these in explaining childhood, likes/dislikes, personality and what activities were done frequently. The class will compose interrogative sentences applying childhood vocabulary to adverbs of manner and frequency. Reading short tales for tense modeling will assist students in creating their own stories using various tenses.

Upcoming Events:

Thursday 2/11 - Noon Dismissal, Parent-Teacher Conferences

Friday 2/12 - No School, Parent-Teacher Conferences

Monday 2/15 - No School, Presidents' Day

Friday 2/19 - Ski Club Trip #2

Friday 2/26 & Saturday 2/27 - March Madness Basketball Tournament