NFS Curriculum Update :: January, 2016


Students did a lovely job playing two songs at the Holiday Meeting for Worship last month. I am so proud of them! We are going to be working on a small selection of new songs as we finish up quarter two. We are excited to learn some new techniques!


Students are currently working on a furniture design piece. Students were asked to redesign or reinterpret a classic, the chair, after learning about design greats like Charels and Ray Eames. After coming up with a concept and design, students will be building mini prototypes. Later we will return to the lab where we will complete a few quick Photoshop tutorials and will choose between several options to create a final design piece. We will finish the quarter with a design review and presentation.


Seventh grade English students are now well into the engaging plot of the novel Surviving Antarctica, and they are bursting with questions: Which of the five contestants will be MVP of Historical Survivor? Will they all truly survive Antarctica? and predictions: After a lifetime of being a passive viewer, Steve will take action! Andrew’s true talents are as yet undiscovered. Discussing the text as a class has provided all readers opportunity to dive into the exploration of character, conflict, point-of-view, and other key literary elements that guide our reading of the novel. Students have steadily improved their ability to work together to ask effective questions and provide meaningful answers while balancing the level of participation to allow everyone’s voice to be heard. As the book comes to a close, students will begin work on their second formal critical essay of the year.


This month the seventh grade Latin students will begin Lesson XII, which introduces them to the perfect tense of verbs. The perfect tense in Latin is always regular and follows the same set of formation rules for all four verb conjugations. This will greatly expand the potential vocabulary of the students, at least when they are writing about completed actions in the past! Students will become adept at conjugating perfect tense verbs, translating perfect tense passages, and distinguishing among present, future, and perfect tense verbs. This work will occupy most of our time this month.


On Level

Students will begin 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.


We will begin working on an introductory functions unit, exploring how many real-life situations can be expressed as a rule, equation, and a graph. Students will construct, analyze and summarize various graphs to gain a better understanding of the general shapes specific types of functions should have. Also, students will be writing algebraic equations to decipher number sequences and patterns that create linear and nonlinear functions. The next unit on linear functions connects and extends the general principles of functions from the previous unit. This includes:

• finding the slope using a formula or graph and explaining the meaning of the slope in the scenario

• determining the equation of the line and describing the same scenario in slope-intercept, standard and point-slope forms

• synthesizing the relationship between parallel and perpendicular lines

• analyzing trends in scatterplots

On January 14th, all seventh graders will have a cumulative midterm. Study guides and study session times are posted on the NFS website.


January begins with the continuation of our basketball unit, as students will participate in a three on three basketball tournament. Each student will be placed on a team based on skill level and teams will compete against the other teams in the class. Standings will be kept as well as playoffs and a championship game. This month the fitness challenge will be the shuttle run. Each class will use the rock wall again this month. We will also start to focus on jump rope in class as we prepare for the fifth annual Jump Rope for Heart event in February.


Students will begin this month with the study of meiosis and further study of genetics and genetic disorders. The class will then study Darwin’s theory of evolution and evidence of evolution. We will then do a quick review of the fossil record before moving on to a study of the human body and body systems. The plan is to be in “Middle School Medical School” by February!


In January the seventh grade social studies students will finish our unit on the government of the United States. The unit culminates with a test on American government covering the Constitution, federalism, branches of government, checks and balances, and the Bill of Rights. This will be a difficult test and students are honing their study skills through retrieval practice. After we complete the test we will move on to the growth of our nation and some of the problems this caused. We will look at the effects of our growth on Native Americans, slaves, and unity. The students showed remarkable progress last year and I look forward to continued growth in the new year.


The second batch of Service Learners will wrap up the quarter by actually carrying out the projects they have worked so hard to plan! These projects cover a wide variety of topics, ranging from illiteracy to bullying to the Pacific Trash Vortex. They also feature different formats—some groups are writing children’s picture books and sharing them with Lower School classes, some groups are preparing hands-on activities to teach to primary grades, and some groups are creating informative brochures and writing letters to newspapers or politicians. Once students have carried out their projects, they will complete a culminating reflection about their service experience. This will conclude the Service Learning elective for the year!


Seventh grade Spanish class finished the reading text Esperanza and will begin analyzing immigrant topics by listening to stories from “The Immigrant Archive Project” website. Students will identify some of the complex situations immigrants are faced with. Then the class will review the Universal Declaration of Human Rights document from the United Nations adopted in 1948, and list rights which were violated in the Esperanza story. Students will then begin to prepare their dialogs for a skit presentation providing an essential question that corresponds to one of the themes of the book to be answered throughout their presentation.


Thursday 1/7 - Bucks County IU Drug and Alcohol Assembly

Friday 1/15 - SPICES Day & TASC Laser Tag Friendraiser @ Ultrazone

Monday 1/18 - MLK Jr. Day; School Closed

Tuesday 1/19 - Friday 1/22 - Education Week

Friday 1/22 - End of Second Quarter

Friday 1/29 - Ski Club Trip #1