8th Grade

NFS Curriculum Update :: May & June 2016


Eighth grade English students are finishing out the year with a study of poetry and memoir. Examining mentor texts from the perspective of both scholars and writers, students will think closely about author choices and techniques, then consider how best to utilize those same practices to create an effect in their own poetry. Topics covered include rhyme scheme, meter, scansion, syntax, and theme. Our work with poetry will extend to the final exam, a two-part assessment that will require students to explicate a novel poem, in addition to covering vocabulary and grammar topics. Finally, eighth grade writers will work to bring meaning to memory as they craft their “small moment” speeches. Students will draft, revise, and finely hone these personal reflections for presentation at Graduation 2016. The final products will encapsulate each individual’s Newtown Friends School experience.


This month the eighth grade Latin students will start the final project of their middle school Latin careers! This culminating project is an open-ended and free-form task in which students are expected to use composition and creativity to showcase their understanding of the Latin language in a grammatically rich and artistically compelling way. Accomplishing the objectives of this project will also help students review the grammar and vocabulary they will need to know for their final exam. As we work on our projects, we will also spend some time finishing Lesson XXI in our textbooks. If we move through this work quickly enough, we may even have a chance to start Lesson XXII, which introduces the future tense of third conjugation verbs!


On Level

The mathematicians just finished up the polynomials unit and began investigating the behavior of quadratic functions. Students will look at how the factored form of polynomials assimilates with the roots of the equation. Students will solve quadratic equations by completing the square, graphing, factoring and using the quadratic formula. Also, students will identify the axis of symmetry and find the maximum or minimum value corresponding with the highest and lowest value. In knowing how to use the discriminant, students will know how many x-intercepts the equation should have. Students will then simplify radical expressions and equations, leaving them in factored form. The year will end with comparing and contrasting the graphs of rational, radical and square roots functions to its respective parent functions.


Students will continue solving quadratic equations and learn how to use the discriminant to determine the number of solutions. Next, analysts will solve systems of linear and quadratic equations having one, two or no solutions, scaffolding on previous knowledge of linear systems. Eighth graders will simplify radical expressions and perform operations, using the multiplication and division properties of square roots and recognizing a single quantity can be represented in many different expressions. Building on previous knowledge of functions, the investigators will also look at how square root and absolute value functions can be graphed by plotting ordered pairs or using translations of the respective parent functions. Also scaffolding on solving equations and inequalities, students will be solving radical equations and inequalities by squaring both sides of the equation and testing the solutions. Finally, similar to radical functions, students will simplify, graph and solve rational expressions, equations, and functions.


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 and good sportsmanship that can be seen during Field Day, 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.


The eighth graders just began their robot unit. During this unit, they will be working with the Lego Mindstorm robot system. They will not only build multiple types of robots that will perform different tasks, they will have to program the robots to accomplish those tasks. The students will have three tests and three quizzes during this unit. They will be graded on how well their robots accomplish the tasks set out by the teacher. Pop quizzes will also be given to individual team members to make sure everyone is learning and understanding all concepts. Since they will be working in teams, the grade the robot gets will be the grade for both team members. There is a huge amount of accountability to each other during this unit. At the conclusion of the unit, students will study for a comprehensive assessment covering all concepts covered from January through May.


In May, the eighth grade social studies students will continue to work on their concurrent units about the human rights movements and their independent research project. The students are excited to explore and write about topics of their own choice. We will also refresh our knowledge about how to create a PowerPoint Presentation as they research the Gilded Age. The end of the year will be extremely busy but it should be exciting!


Eighth-grade Spanish students will learn the final structure of the course, the conditional tense. They will learn how to explain what they would do using phrases like "me gustaría", "iría", and prepositional phrases like "si tuviera," "si habría" and "si fuera." Other important work will include the review of material learned in preparation for the Spanish final exam. The expectation for the final months in the immersion classroom will be for each student to try their very best to express all needs and wants in Spanish throughout the entire class period.
Big image


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.