Eighth Grade

NFS Curriculum Update :: April, 2014


Students in the 2D elective are wrapping up value painting and moving onto linoleum printing. Artists will learn to use tools to carve away their own unique design and will experiment with printing techniques. Sadly, the quarter is almost over but luckily we are together for our next elective - Sculpture! Students will begin the term with an introduction to the work of 3D and will be given some time to familiarize themselves with several different materials and techniques


​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 8th grade Latin students will move deeper into their work with Lesson 19, mastering the present and perfect tenses of 3rd conjugation verbs. We will also learn how to give commands with verbs of this conjugation using the imperative mood. In addition, this lesson features an introduction to apposition, a construction in which one noun is used to identify another. Once we finish Lesson 19, we will move on to Lesson 20, which intoduces both 3rd conjugation –io verbs and 4th conjugation verbs. This lesson also familiarizes students with several common Latin idiomatic expressions.


Eighth graders are wrapping up the polynomials unit and are then further exploring quadratic functions. Quadratics is a specific type of functions where the rate of change is not constant and the graph is a symmetric curve. The mathematicians will solve quadratic equations by completing the square, graphing, factoring and quadratic formula. Also, students will identify the axis of symmetry and find the maximum or minimum value corresponding with the highest and lowest value.

Students in 8-3 will solve system of linear and quadratic equations having one, two or no solutions, scaffolding on previous knowledge of linear systems. As a culminating activity, all eighth graders will connect quadratic functions to NASA’s C-9 jet’s parabolic flight pattern that completes between 40 to 60 parabolas in order for passengers to experience how it feels to be weightless.

Math App of the Month

Trainyard Express

The objective of the game is to get all of the trains to each desired station without any of the trains crossing paths. The task seems simple but gets very challenging as you achieve each level and more restrictions are added.

Musical Theater

The cast of Guys and Dolls has tackled vocal rehearsals and choreography with Nolan! The month of April will be an intense month of blocking 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 I am confident things will continue to progress smoothly. I will continue to update you on important dates and costume information using email.


The month begins with our unit on floor hockey. The students will learn and 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 or defense, followed by actual 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 hit, overhand smash and drop shot, including the proper technique of serving. Game play and tournament play will follow.


The eighth graders are just finishing up a short chemistry unit where they learned to better understand the principles of the periodic table of elements and how compounds are “made” in the laboratory and the physical world. Going back to our quick study of “basic” computer programming in December, students will build upon their knowledge and understanding of code programming and become NASA (Newtown Air and Space Administration) engineers. The students will learn how they can build and remotely manipulate a Lego Mindstorm robot for a possible mission.

Social Studies

Our social change unit is well underway. We traced the women's rights movement from Abigail Adams' Remember the Ladies to Alice Paul's hunger strikes to Betty Friedan, NOW, and Title IX. We are shifting gears to examine the Civil Rights Movement. We will begin with a study of the legal and social restrictions of the Jim Crow Era, including a lesson about lynching and those who protested against it. Then we will track the movement into the 1950s and 60s, learning more about the major players and the everyday people who were involved. Later in the month students will organize their own social change book clubs and begin their "Be the Change Hall of Fame" multi-genre project. Students will each select an agent of social change and bring her or him to life with a variety of creative pieces. Together we will create the "Be the Change Hall of Fame" as a living museum in the NFS Auditorium. This event is scheduled for Friday, May 16th from 1:30-3 pm. You are welcome to join us!


Eighth grade Spanish students will continue working on mastering the various tenses they have learned in oral conversations and focused practice sessions. Students will be introduced to new vocabulary dealing with illnesses and ailments. They will learn vocabulary to explain what hurts and how they and someone else is feeling. They will use the conditional tense to indicate what they would do under special circumstances and what they would like to improve their illness. They will also learn the subjunctive tense to make recommendations depending on the ailment. Students will receive a packet with Spanish 1 material to begin reviewing for the final exam. In the Spanish class, the work requires cumulative knowledge of material learned. The class is continuously reviewing and recycling concepts, structures and vocabulary; the review process should not be too arduous.

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