7th Grade

NFS Curriculum Update :: May & June 2016


The online collection of feature articles from the Class of 2017 is only about a week away from being finished and ready for viewing! Keep an eye on Facebook and the Tuesday Update for a link where you can access the seventh graders’ impressive work. In their final month of study, seventh grade English students will work in book clubs to explore the complex and emotional topic of slavery in America. Connecting to their work with the subject in social studies, readers will collaborate to examine conflict, theme, and the impact of author choices within their books. Selections include Coretta Scott King Award Winner Day of Tears, a fictionalized account of the largest slave auction in American history; Laurie Halse Anderson’s Chains, the first book in a trilogy set during the American Revolution; Send One Angel Down, a first-person reimagining of events inspired by Julius Lester’s nonfiction To Be a Slave (another selection in itself); and 47, a sci-fi-meets-historical-fiction bestseller by Walter Mosley. Students will also complete a grammar unit on punctuation.


This month the seventh grade Latin students will simultaneously tackle two major tasks: our Latin comic project and Lesson XVI in our textbooks. The comic project is a combination of artistic creation and Latin composition, in which students will use the three expressions of place to describe the journey of a fictional character. This work will highlight place where, place from which, and place to which prepositional phrases as well as more basic elements of grammar and syntax. Lesson XVI introduces neuter nouns of the second declension. Students will learn how to decline these nouns and how to identify properly their case, number, and syntax in the context of sentences.


On Level

Students continue graphing scatterplots and begin graphing absolute value functions, both by hand and digitally. This includes being able to master several different key sequences and determining a trend line for the scatterplot. Then, we will move into properties of exponents and learning the shortcuts to simplifying monomials with multiple exponents. Statisticians will then explore data analysis, finding measures of central tendency, and organizing class data in visual displays. Box and whisker plots, histograms and stem and leaf are examples of these. Project-based learning may include students answering the questions: What kind of data helps predict an Oscar winner? Do profitable films tend to win Oscars? Do hitters or pitchers have more impact on a team’s wins? What NFL stat is most strongly correlated with wins? Can money buy championships?


Seventh graders will be reviewing and applying properties of exponents for all operations, including fractional and negative exponents. Next, we will be working on data analysis and probability - creating histograms, box and whisker plots, and stem and leaf plots both by hand and digitally. Students will investigate standard deviations and identify any outliers from the majority. Project-based learning may include students answering the questions: Does the age of the award-winning star in a film relate to the overall gross of the movie? Is there a correlation between gun ownership and gun violence? Do United States Presidents with the most children live longer after they have been inaugurated?


Sarah and I have had such a wonderful time working with this cast. May is a very busy month for us. Along with our regular in-class rehearsals, a small selection of cast members will have some after school rehearsals. We will all meet after school on Friday, May 13th from 3:30-7pm. You will be receiving an email from me detailing these rehearsals, as well as costuming soon. Thank you for sharing your child with us!


We will begin May with the conclusion of the hockey unit and game play. Next, the badminton unit will include a review of the basic grip of the racket, forehand, backhand, as well as shots like the underhand lob, overhand smash and drop shot. We will work on and practice various aspects of the game including serving, volleying and team play and end badminton by completing the tournament where students have been assigned a team and play against other teams in the class. We will also review Field Day and some of the activities in which the students will participate. The class will discuss various forms of leadership that can be seen during Field Day, good sportsmanship that should be displayed, and the concepts of teamwork, community and healthy competition. The school year will end with a unit on softball and softball type activities as well as large group outdoor games.


We will conclude our Middle School Med School studies with a comprehensive exam at the beginning of the month. Then, the seventh graders will begin a unit called “Criminal Minerals.” During this unit, they will employ all the scientific skills they have used throughout the year to solve the problem of identifying and prosecuting twelve heinous minerals that escaped from the Rock Island Penitentiary. Each day, students will use a number of reference materials to research all types of minerals. They will also be testing all minerals for characteristic properties. The unit culminates with a science fiction paper (based in fact) that depicts how each of them either “caught” or “didn’t catch” the minerals that were in their evidence box.


In May the seventh grade students will continue to work on our concurrent units about the American Civil War and the United States Election. The seventh graders have completed a unit about surveys and drawing conclusions from data. We will next take this data to explore how it influences candidates who are running for office. We will also continue to explore leaders, events, and battles of the Civil War. Overall, these will both be challenging but engaging units for the students. We will be concluding the year on a busy but strong note.


Seventh-grade Spanish students will research a famous person from a Spanish-speaking country. They will represent their individual in an oral presentation, describe why they are famous and include personal and cultural details. They will use past tenses and new vocabulary that pertains to the designated country and famous person's information. They will practice their speech and present it to the class with the purpose of teaching them cultural components of their famous person and country. Students will prepare digital documents with images and other key captions to guide them through their speeches. The class will use the tenses they have learned thus far to communicate their messages. Each student will prepare a food item from their country, to be enjoyed by the class. The food component will serve as a celebration of the hard work students displayed throughout the year. The remainder of the term will be spent improving their language expression, fluidity, and accuracy applying language learned.


Having explored design software and 3-D printing in April, students will now move to robotics and programming through block coding. On Friday, May 20th, students will host a workshop for NFS third graders to teach them how to use the Lego WeDO robotics kits. Students will work in small groups to plan and lead their own lessons for their young buddies.