8th-Grade Art Update: December 2017

In December with Ms. Leibowitz, the 8th grade art students will complete their preparatory sketches and will then start drawing their self-portraits, using direct observation. Direct observation requires using proportions and measuring alongside the development of hand to eye coordination. Line quality, value, and shading techniques will be explored to render three-dimensional forms. After drawing their self-portraits, using mirrors, the art students will develop a background space to convey a personal narrative. Once the self-portrait unit is complete, the students will explore drawing and painting figures in a landscape.

8th-Grade ELA Update: December 2017

8th graders debate who has the best chance of survival on a deserted island.

This month in 8th-grade ELA with Ms. Arlequin and Ms. Green, we will begin our first novel study in ELA. We’ll read the classic adventure story Lord of the Flies and hone the reading skills we’ve been practicing this year. Students will answer the essential question “How does the use of symbolism help us understand human nature?” through discussion and writing. Students will read independently at home and come to class prepared to deeply discuss and analyze the reading to develop a deeper understanding of the important issues in the text. After studying these important books, students will end the unit by writing an analytic essay where they analyze the symbols used in the texts and how we can interpret them to help us relate to the themes.

Students should be reading every day for 20-30 minutes, so please make sure your child has a quiet place and consistent time to read.

8th-Grade Science Update: December 2017

Do identical twins have the same DNA?

In 8th-grade science with Ms. Chuang, students will continue to explore genes and how they interact with the environment in order to determine a phenotype. They will do so through reading, discussion, and conducting investigations.  In addition, the students will delve into a new unit of study—evolution.

Students will act like paleontologists by examining trace fossils, such as footprints, and try to infer behaviors of organisms living in the past. They will also learn about Darwin’s theory of evolution, which is driven by natural selection. They will study the beaks of various finches that Darwin observed when he was exploring Galapagos Islands. They will conduct experiments and collect quantitative data to prove that finches must adapt to their environment by changing the shape of their beaks in order to survive.


Students will continue their study on ecology.  The main focus is on factors that contribute to changes in populations.  In addition, they will begin a new unit of study on cells.  They will learn about cell structures and functions of prokaryotes and eukaryotes. They will also explore mitosis and meiosis, which are the processes of cell division. Furthermore, they will explore how plants make food by using photosynthesis and why cellular respiration is crucial. As usual, they will learn all the concepts through readings, class discussions, experiments, analyses, and evaluations.

8th-Grade Math Update: December 2017

Classrooms can’t contain all the work going on in the 102 math rooms!

In 8th-grade math with Ms. Eliades and Ms. Zecca, students are still working in the Geometry unit. We have worked through the basic rigid motions and have explored how side lengths and angles are preserved. Now we are talking about scale factors and how dilations create similar figures. Also, we look at how the image and pre-image have proportional corresponding side lengths, but the angles remain congruent. After dilations, we will look at parallel lines cut by a transversal and the angle relationships formed by them. We will extend this into our algebra work looking at lengths as expressions and forming equations to solve for missing values.


The regents class with Ms. Zecca is moving on to Chapter 4: An Introduction to Functions. We will be discussing linear equations and their graphs as well as function notation. They will have to evaluate functions as well as compare the data that comes in a variety of ways such as a table, a list of coordinates, a graph, and an equation.