Eighth Grade

NFS Curriculum Update :: April, 2015


As we bring our To Kill a Mockingbird unit to an end, eighth grade English students will compare and contrast how the iconic American novel and the excellent, Oscar-winning film adaptation convey the story’s essential themes, paying particular attention to the impact that author’s and the moviemakers’ choices have on their understanding of and reaction to the content. Later in the month, students will explore poetry as both readers and writers. Exemplar works for consideration and analysis will include selections from William Carlos Williams, Sara Teasdale, Gwendolyn Brooks, William Wordsworth, Langston Hughes, and other notable masters of the trade. Literary devices, many of which we have been discussing since the beginning of the year, will take on new light within the context of an entirely different genre. As they write their own original poetry, students will consider how best to leverage the poetic techniques that we study to create a particular effect for the reader/listener. Vocabulary and grammar work will continue with agreement and case, both common problems for young writers, as our main areas of study.


This month the eighth grade Latin students will complete their work with Lesson XIX, mastering the present and perfect tenses of third conjugation verbs. They will also be able to give commands with verbs of this conjugation using the imperative mood. In addition, students will become comfortable recognizing and using apposition, a construction in which one noun is used to identify another. Once we finish Lesson XIX, we will move on to Lesson XX, which intoduces both third conjugation –io verbs and fourth conjugation verbs. This lesson also familiarizes students with several common Latin idiomatic expressions.



Eighth graders are wrapping up the polynomials unit factoring with a lead coefficient greater than one and factoring terms by grouping. Students will then switch gears and simplify radical expressions and perform operations using the multiplication and division properties of square roots in addition to recognizing that a single quantity can be represented in many different expressions. Following ERB testing, investigators will examine quadratic functions by identifying the vertex, calculating the axis of symmetry, and comparing the transformations to its parent function.


Eighth graders will continue simplifying radical expressions and will examine the domain of radical functions and check for extraneous solutions. Analysts will graph inverse and radical functions, adding two new functions to their repertoire. Next, mathematicians will dissect the components of quadratic functions by identifying the vertex, line of symmetry, maximum or minimum, domain, range, and translations from the parent function. Students will also calculate the roots of the function by graphing, completing the square, and the quadratic formula.


The cast of Music Man has tackled vocal rehearsals and has started choreography. The month of April will be an intense month of blocking and choreography rehearsals. It is not easy to put vocals, choreography, and blocking together, and it will take a lot of concentration and effort on the part of everyone in the cast. This group has been such a pleasure to work with thus far, and we are confident things will continue to progress smoothly. We will continue to update you on important dates and costume information using email.


We will continue with our unit on floor hockey. The students will practice the skills of stick handling, passing, and shooting. Game strategies will be reviewed with the basic understanding of the principles associated with playing offense and defense, as well as game play. Badminton is our next unit and probably the most popular unit of the school year. Students will review the basic grip of the racket and learn and practice shots like the underhand lob, overhand smash, and drop shot, as well as the proper technique of serving. Game play and tournament play will follow.


This month tudents will begin their studies in astronomy and space science. The eighth graders will perform research using both Google classroom, the research tool in Google Docs, and specific areas of materials that will be given to them throughout. They will conclude their studies in astronomy by creating a three-dimensional representation of a specific constellation.


In April the eighth grade social studies students will continue to learn about the Women’s Rights Movements in the United States. We will also spend time learning about other movements, including labor, youth, and LGBT rights movements. We will conclude the unit by completing our final Document-Based Question (DBQ) Essay that evaluates the impact that these Civil Rights Movements have had on the United States. When we finish our Civil Rights Units we will move on to writing research essays. The students will select a research question that is based their own interests. They will answer that question with an opinionated research paper. On the whole I am pretty excited about the next two months!


Students viewed YouTube videos from Argentina, Mexico, and Spain. Each of these videos described the materials and concept behind making affordable ecological homes “casas ecólogicas." Students worked with their partners and designed their “casa ecólogica." Partners will describe the recycle materials they used to create their homes. They will use the future tense to persuade the class as to why their homes will make good purchasing sense for future home buyers of modest or low income families in a Spanish speaking country. For further practice with the future tense, students will describe what kind of preparations he/she will undergo this coming summer to get ready for their high school experience in September. Other work will include learning vocabulary dealing with illnesses and ailments. They will be able to explain what hurts and how they and someone else is feeling. They will learn to use the conditional tense to indicate what they would do under special circumstances and what they would like to do to improve their heath.


Students will dive right in, learning the basics of three-dimensional design in Google SketchUp. They will complete a "quick print" project to experience the excitement and challenges of designing and printing with a 3-D printer. They will then apply what they learn from this opening project and go back to SketchUp to design something more complex.

Upper School Dance

The Upper School "POP" Dance is scheduled for Friday, April 17th, from 7-9 pm. Students are encouraged to bring a friend. Please check the Tuesday Update for details.


The Class of 2015 graduation trip to Williamsburg is scheduled for Tuesday, June 2nd - Thursday, June 4th. Eighth grade students do not come to school on Friday, June 5th. A trip packet will be emailed to all parents in May.