Eighth 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.


In February, eighth grade students will bring their WWII/Holocaust-themed book clubs to a close with a culminating multimedia project using VoiceThread, an online presentation and discussion tool that allows for conversation around media—literally. As new participants add their comments, those comments appear around the presentation for viewing by the original authors and any subsequent contributors. This platform allows students to discuss content not just within their own books but across texts as well. Readers will work together to answer the question: Why does this book matter? The final presentations will be shared in class, after which students will have the opportunity to add to the discussions of other groups. Elsewhere in English class, learners will wrap up their study of sentence structure, with agreement and case next on the grammar horizon.


This month the eighth grade Latin students will complete their work with Lesson XIX, achieving full mastery of third conjugation present and perfect tense forms as well as the noun construction apposition. We will then move on to Lesson XX, which features yet more verbs: third conjugation –io verbs and fourth conjugation verbs. Students will become comfortable generating the present and perfect tense forms of these verbs and giving commands using the imperative mood. Once we complete this work, students will know verbs from all four verb conjugations! This is a very exciting and useful Latin learning milestone!


On Level

Now that the eighth graders have researched and constructed their own linear systems on topics that interest them, students will be writing linear inequalities, provide multiple solutions by graphing, and identify the constraints based on scenarios given. Next, students will analyze the similarities and differences between graphs and their parent functions as well as graph absolute value functions and families. Toward the end of the month, students will jump into the polynomials unit where they will be performing all operations with polynomials, using Alge-blocks and algebra tiles as a concrete visual for an abstract concept. Using home value data, the real estate developers will determine which city in Pennsylvania has the most promising future for a profitable investment. Within this project, students will practice modeling polynomials, assess the fits of polynomial models, describe features of a graphed function in words, evaluate polynomials for specific values, and solve polynomial equations.


Eighth graders will continue performing translations on the Cartesian plane with absolute value families. Given scenarios, students have been identifying the three variables, describing the relationships between variables, and solving the systems to draw conclusions. Mathematicians will then be diving deep into the polynomials unit where they will be performing all operations with polynomials, using Alge-blocks and algebra tiles as a concrete visual for an abstract concept. Eighth graders will be wrapping up the polynomials unit by factor by grouping and analyzing the end behavior of polynomial functions on the graphing calculators. Students will synthesize how the lead coefficient and the exponent of the highest degree in the function affect the end behavior. Engineers will put their regression, prediction and polynomial skills to the test by analyzing the population of communities that are bidding to build a new shopping mall and devising a proposal articulating which area of the city they think is the best place to build.

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!


We begin this month studying the physics of flight. After a paper aircraft challenge, students will construct their own Estes rocket and launch it. After the launch, students will design and launch their own rocket to see if they can do better with their second launch. Eighth graders will then become astronomers towards the end of the month and into the next. They will adopt a constellation and will write a report on all aspects of the constellation’s make up- from myth to the very real spectral class of each star. They will then create a three dimensional representation of their constellation incorporating the X, Y and Z-axis. To culminate the project, the students will offer to be docents and explain their research to younger students in the school.

Social Studies

In February the eighth grade social studies students will complete their study of the African-American Civil Rights Movement. The students will explore the Jim Crow era though a photo essay in which they make an argument through primary source images. The unit will culminate with a five-paragraph DBQ (Document-Based Question) essay test. This skill will be extremely useful if they take Advanced Placement history classes in high school. After the African-American Civil Rights Movement we will move on to the Women’s Rights Movement.


Eighth grade Spanish class will be discussing Spain's internal conflicts in the 1930's. The class will view videos describing opposing political views during this period in Spain as pre-reading activities for the reading text, Agentes secretos y el mural de Picasso. Work this month will involve summarizing chapter events during oral and written activities and learning language to express opinions and historical facts. Students will review previously learned grammar, numbers, personal descriptions and feelings vocabulary in whole class and partner activities. There will be much interesting Spanish culture to be learned and fun activities the month of February as we begin this unit of study.

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