Middle School: Week in Review

Happy Friday! It’s been another productive week in middle school. Classes are busy, and it’s feeling like fall!

In the Pre-Transition math class, students continued to practice measuring lengths in customary units as well as identifying mixed numbers. This class is learning about simplifying fractions, finding equivalent fractions, and converting improper fractions into mixed numbers. Next week, they will conclude their learning of Chapter 1.
In the Transition math class, students are learning how to multiply by powers of ten, perform order of operations, and write numbers in scientific notation form. Students are becoming more comfortable with comparing positive and negative numbers as well as converting decimals to fraction form.
In the Algebra math class, students finished studying Chapter 1 and wrote their first unit test on Friday, September 23rd. This class can successfully graph absolute values on a coordinate grid, find the range, median, and mean absolute value of a given data set.
Math Joke: Did you hear about the over-educated circle? It has 360°!
6th grade Humanities class worked on their first unit of vocabulary. They also read and completed drafts of poems titled, “Where I’m From”, modeled after George Ella Lyon’s poem of the same name. Connecting with our summer reading, Becoming Naomi Leon, these poems further define who we are, just as Naomi discovered where she came from and how she embodied her past. Students also completed some geography work, labeling a political map of Mexico and Central America along with the bodies of water that border these countries.
7th grade Humanities class finished reviewing the geography of China, and they began researching Chinese Dynasties. They also read and composed drafts of odes in the style of Pablo Neruda’s, “Ode to the Apple”. They chose an inanimate object and, using descriptive language and imagery, they glorified these objects. Finally, students worked on their first current events writing of the year, which will be October 3rd.
8th grade Humanities class wrapped up their work surrounding their summer reading, The Giver. They composed writing pieces that supported whether or not the United States could ever be Utopia. This lead into the first chapter of our history book,  A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America by Ronald Takaki. We talked and wrote about what it means and what it looks like to be American. Finally, we backed up to human migration and started researching civilizations in pre-contact America.
6th year Earth Science students worked on creating their resin molds this week. Students were able to choose an item they wished to preserve in their resin. Some students chose leaves of native plants while others a mosquito (very Jurassic Park). The intentions of this activity were for students to apply their working knowledge of the different elements that affect preservation potential.

7th year Physical Science students finished their unit, Combining and Separating, this week. Students were tasked with collaborating with one another to separate a mixture using a set of materials provided and later separate a mixture independently. Students were able to determine which tool was best suited to remove certain items based on their physical properties such as size, shape, color, density, or magnetism. Each student was able to apply their knowledge of past activities, making each process moving forward more efficient and effective.
8th year Life Science students have worked hard creating their list of items to represent the organelles of both a plant and animal cell. Beginning next week, students will create their cell cake construction, which will be presented to and consumed by the entire middle school. In association with the unit, Cell Theory, students are conducting research on the use of stem cells. Students will be divided into groups of two, which will provide evidence that is either in favor or against the use of stem cells.
We hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Middle School: Week in Review

What an awesome week! We enjoyed seeing you at Curriculum Night. If you have any additional questions or discussion items, please feel free to contact us.

It was our first week working with the younger students in Community Service since early 2020. All Middle School students spend two periods each Wednesday morning with their younger peers. They helped with work, sat in circle, sang songs, and even read to the children. Everyone is excited to visit again next week.

Here’s an update for Science, Math, and Humanities:


6th year Earth Science students have begun the year exploring how to generate an experiment to answer a question or solve a problem. Students spent several days identifying examples of dependent and independent variables from a set list of experiments while creating their own at the end. We have also begun our first unit from our Discovery Education tech-book, Earth’s History. Students will learn what factors influence the preservation potential of fossils and the information one might obtain is this discovery.

7th year Physical Science students have begun the term learning about the scientific process of combining and separating of mixtures. Students were tasked with separating a mixture in class using a variety of methods such as magnets, sifter, filter paper, and evaporation. Real world applications of this practice such as the clean up of oil spills was later discussed and analyzed.
8th year Life Science students have begun the term on the unit, Cell Theory. Within this unit, students are first introduced to the three tenets of cell theory which state, “All living things come from preexisting cells, cells are the basic unit of life, and all organisms are made up of one or more cells.” Students are working on identifying similarities and differences between a plant and animal cell, which they will represent by creating their own plant/animal cell cake. Students will choose items to represent and identify each cell’s organelles using foods of choice that best represent each organelle. Students will present their work to the middle school students once completed.
Welcome to Middle School Math! Students are off to a busy start with textbook distribution, completing their first homework questions, and practicing note taking skills. Ms. Sutherland is excited to learn and grow this year alongside the energetic middle school mathematicians.
In Pre-Transition class, students reviewed how to write numbers in written form and identify place values in large numbers. This class can measure units in customary units and divide line segments into equal parts. This class is working towards their first quiz on Wednesday, September 21st.
In Transition class, students learned how to use rational numbers to solve real world problems, graph values on a number line, as well as multiply by powers of ten. This class can use inequalities to compare numerical values and can definite a rational number.
In Algebra class, students explored how to use variables to describe real world situations, determine if expressions are equivalent, as well as identify the associative and commutative property of multiplication/addition. This class is learning how to use a new graphing software (Desmos) and how to substitute values into an algebraic expression.
As a general reminder,  daily homework assignments (lesson master worksheets) are due at the beginning of each class. Math Help Sessions are embedded into the Wednesday timetable for students to receive extra one on one support.
Math Joke: Hey, have you ever noticed what’s odd?…….. Every other number!
All Humanities classes completed Identity Maps to start the year and they are posted in the classroom. Theses maps include identifiers and visually represent what each student wishes their peers and teachers to know about themselves. They can certainly change each year, so it is a great way to start fresh.
All classes also presented their summer independent reading presentations to classmates. There were great book choices and a good mix of genres. Ms. Lamb also added some books to her must-read list!
In addition to the work above, the 6th grade Humanities class did some additional group-forming activities. While the group already knows each other well, they found some new information they didn’t know about each other. This helps students become comfortable sharing with each other. In Humanities class, students often share personal writing and perspective, so these additional activities help with listening and responding. Next week, students will begin vocabulary and a unit surrounding their summer novel, Becoming Naomi Leon by Pam Munoz Ryan.
7th grade Humanities class began their unit surrounding China and their summer novel, Ties That Bind, Ties That Break by Lensey Namioka. They researched and defined some key vocabulary that will be seen in their study of this region and completed political maps of China. Finally, students completed their first unit of vocabulary and a writing assessment to identify their independent writing skills at the start of the year.
8th grade Humanities classes took part in written and spoken discussion surrounding their summer novel, The Giver by Lois Lowry. With the idea that the setting of the book is supposed to be Utopia, they reviewed parts of the novel that were, in fact, dystopian. They also went over the most shocking events of the novel and will complete a final writing assignment surrounding the book next week. Finally, they also completed a unit of vocabulary as well as a writing assessment to identify their independent writing skills at the start of the year.
Have a wonderful weekend! It’s feeling like fall!

Middle School: Forming the Group

Middle School had a fabulous start to the year this week! The students came in energized and ready to go. They met teachers, new and old, with warm welcomes. In academic classes, teachers and students spent time going over units for the year and assessing skills. The best part of the week was forming our new Middle School community.

Among other personal and team building activities, students came together to form goals for themselves using a ribbon contract. Each student was asked to think of a personal goal for the school year both having to do with school as well as outside of school in their personal lives. Each goal was represented by a knot in a ribbon. In the end, they tied their ribbons together as a promise that they would hold each other accountable for their goals and help friends achieve theirs.

It has been a wonderful, short week full of smiles, discussion, and creativity. If this is any indication for what’s to come, we are all in for a spectacular school year.

**We are thrilled to welcome you into the school for Curriculum Night on Thursday, 9/15 at 5:30pm. Please park at Sand Hill Plaza to pick up the shuttle bus that will be running from 5:00-7:30 pm.**

Middle School: See You Later!

Never “Goodbye,” but “See you later!” That’s a wrap on the 2021-22 school year! It’s been a year of growth for everyone and full of memories. We ended with an awesome spirit week that included Park Day!

As we wish our 8th grade class a fantastic transition from Fraser Woods to high school, we welcome a new 8th grade class as well as brand new Upper El students to middle school.

Have a beautiful summer, everyone! We will miss you!


The MS Team (Michelle, Zak, & Megan)

Middle School: Week in Review

Happy Friday! There are so many exciting end-of-year items on the agenda for next week including Spirit Week. Here is the plan for our Spirit Week:

Monday, 6/6: Park Day (rain date)

Tuesday, 6/7: Color Day –

Grade 6- Green

Grade 7- Yellow

Grade 8 Blue

Wednesday, 6/8: Wacky Wednesday (Wear your wackiest outfit & hair style!)

                                      Middle School Water Day @ 1 pm (Pack your towels, suits, and water games!!)

Thursday, 6/9: Decade Day- Dress for any decade

Friday, 6/10: Sports Apparel Day


The 6th grade Humanities class spent the week writing. They composed an essay about three of the challenges that Fadi, the main character in Shooting Kabul, faced. They started classes by warming up with mechanical editing practice, then composed different portions of their essay. Final current events presentations are next week!

The 7th grade finished reading the memoir, Four Perfect Pebbles by Marion Blumenthal Lazan. They also read about Anne Frank, another young Holocaust victim. We discussed the power of using human experience to move people and wrote a guided reflection on the novel. Final current events presentations are next week!

The 8th grade class was busy this week! They first finished their graduation speeches and practiced them. Then, they read most of the historical fiction book, Witness by Karen Hesse. This story is told in verse and highlights a time in 1920s Vermont when the KKK tried to gain a following. Students looked at Reconstruction legislation through the Great Migration to gain an understanding of this time in U.S. history.


6th year Earth Science students have been working on designing and constructing their rockets as part of their unit, Astronomy. Students were able to choose between 3 different styles of rockets to build which we will launch next week. Each student has chosen how many fins their rocket will have and how they anticipate their rocket to launch and descend back to the ground.

7th year Physical Science students have continued their unit, Friction. The objectives of this unit are for students to define friction and explain how it relates to kinetic energy, the transfer of energy between objects that are in contact with each other, and explain how friction can affect the motion of an object. This week, students conducted their own research describing how friction is related to a sport/activity of interest to them.
8th year Life Science students have been working on their unit, Nervous System. The objective of the unit is for students to understand the parts of the nervous system, explain the structure and function of neurons, and understand how nerve impulses travel through the body. Students will be asked to illustrate the variety of neurons our body has, as each is designed specifically to meet the needs it is intended for and the environment it resides in.
In Transition class, students concluded their learning of the final chapter in the UCSMP textbook. They reviewed linear combinations and how to graph equations in the form of Ax + By = C and Ax + By < C. Next week students will begin to build their final projects which involves constructing a geometry city with 3D prisms, pyramids, cylinders, and cones.
In Algebra class, students continued to work through chapter 11 titled, Polynomials. We learned about classifying polynomials, finding common monomial factors, and multiplying polynomials using a FOIL strategy. This class will write their final assessment next week and then solve a fun escape room challenge to summarize their learnings from the year.
In Geometry class, students explored the final chapter in the Geometry curriculum. We learned about the volume of a prism, cylinder, cone, and pyramid. Students also learned how to solve for the volume of a sphere and complex shapes. Next week they will begin to construct our 3D kites!
Math Joke: Do you know why seven eight nine? ………Because you’re supposed to eat three squared meals a day!

Middle School: A Week in Review

It has been a very exciting and busy week in the middle school community.  Students participated in our second flag football game, we welcomed the upcoming upper elementary students for moving-up day, as well as, enjoyed the amazing 8th grade expert project presentations. Next week we will be traveling to Woodloch Resort, PA and are excited to enjoy four days participating in the fun filled activities we have planned (May 23-26). We are all looking forward to our overnight trip to enjoy time all together before the school year comes to an end!


6th grade Humanities classes finished their class novel, Shooting Kabul. It was an exciting novel that took the readers on twists and turns. Next, we completed a vocabulary unit. Finally, we welcomed the Upper El students for a class period and worked on a writing prompt.

7th grade Humanities classes continued their studies of European History and learned about the rise of Adolf Hitler post-WWI and also the formation of the Nazi Party. They learned about the state of Germany post-WWI and how that contributed to Hitler’s ability to become a leader. Next they started the novel, Four Perfect Pebbles, which is a memoir highlighting the experiences of Marion Blumenthal Lazan as a young, Jewish girl in Germany during the Holocaust. Finally, students completed a unit of vocabulary.

The 8th grade successfully presented their Expert Projects to an audience of family and friends on Wednesday evening. After five months of work, they delivered their TED Talk-style presentations that were about 20 minutes long and enhanced by multimedia and Google Slides. Their hard work and perseverance with the project is commendable! Bravo!


6th year Earth Science students finished their unit “Phases” this week. Students created model representations of the eight phases, including the transition each phase progressed into and came from. Our next unit will be “Rotation, Orbits, Seasons”. The objectives of this unit will be for students to describe earth’s motion in space, explain the relationship between earth’s tilt, orbit, and seasons, and explain why the northern and southern hemispheres experience opposite seasons.

7th year Physical Science students are also finishing their unit “Characteristic Properties of Waves”. Throughout this unit, students represented the different wavelengths of colors and created a stop motion video depicting the similarities and differences between transverse and longitudinal waves. We are currently covering topics pertaining to the history of AM and FM radio waves.

The 8th year Life Science students have completed their unit “Digestive System.” Throughout this unit, students learned about the function and role each organ within the digestive system plays, along with accessory organs such as the liver, pancreas, gallbladder and appendix. Students were able to dissect a dogfish shark within the unit which created a great hands-on approach to learning more about the circulatory and digestive systems. Students carefully identified known organs of the shark, comparing similarities and differences to our own. Our next unit will be “Nervous System.”


In Transition class students began working through the final chapter of this year’s curriculum. This week, we learned how to solve and graph linear inequalities and equations. This class is practicing how to solve for unknown variables on both sides of the equation, as well as how to create equations from real world word problems.

In Algebra class, students are excited to conclude their learning of Chapter 10 and begin exploring our final chapter titled Polynomials. This class is able to solve nonlinear systems, write a system of inequalities from a graph, as well as determine how many solutions a system has based on its slope value.

In Geometry class, students concluded their learning of Chapter 9 titled Three-Dimensional Figures. We learned how to determine symmetry planes in 3D shapes, as well as, calculate the surface area of prisms, pyramids, cones and cylinders. This week the Geometry class also learned how to use nets to determine unique polyhedra shapes.

Math Joke: How do we know the fractions, x/c, y/c, and z/c, are all in Europe? ……….They’re all over c’s!

Middle School: Week in Review

Happy Friday, everyone! We sprang into May, the last full month of school before summer break. A lot goes on in the month of May in Middle School. One of the big highlights is 8th grade Expert Night. You should have all received an invitation in your email for Wednesday, May 18th @ 6:30 pm in the Commons. We are excited for them to present all of the hard work they have done since January!

We also had Newtown Strong Therapy dogs in the building! The Middle School students met 8 year-old Tiamo, and Maggie. They will have the chance to visit with the therapy dogs each Tuesday this month.


6th grade Humanities class continued to read Shooting Kabul by N.H. Senzai. As it follows an Afghan family fleeing Afghanistan for the U.S. just before 9/11, we learned about the impact of the Taliban on the Afghan people’s culture. Separately, during Poetry Tuesday, the class explored the poem, “The Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll. Students discussed the idea of creating a story that makes sense, even when the words are nonsense. The formation of the poem helps the reader develop an image, even though they have never heard of many of the words! The students drew a sketch of the poem using their own vision for the writing.

7th grade Humanities classes completed Animal Farm. They did a great job with this allegorical piece and discussing its context within Russian history. They learned about propaganda and worked on two activities in addition to reading: Humanities Rebellion and Who’s Who in Animal Farm? They arrived in class last Wednesday and were told that there had been a rebellion, and they overthrew Mrs. Lamb! Their job was to now take over the Humanities class. Together, without her intervention, they completed a plan. They were given the opportunity to execute their plan. Secondly, they completed the difficult task of comparing elements of the story to figures/events in Russian history and political ideas. For example, one of the main characters is a pig named Napoleon, and his role and personality is similar to Joseph Stalin. They are now drafting essays which will finalize their study of the novella. The class has been working incredibly hard.

8th grade Humanities class learned about the French and Indian War (The Seven Years’ War) and how it was one of the catalysts for the American Revolution. As a result of the war, the British implemented taxes and policies that would further anger the colonists. The 8th years completed a collective research presentation about these causes of the American Revolution. Finally, they have presented initial expert presentations in class for feedback and are continuing to practice!


6th year Earth Science students have been researching coastal areas and the tides that follow as part of their unit, Tides. Each student was asked to create a line graph which represented high and low tides throughout a day as it relates to the time observed. Students were then asked to hypothesize what tidal pattern came before and will come after, based on the data observed. As a class, we discussed how we can anticipate moon phases based on the fluctuation of tidal patterns in addition to forecasting how the range of high and low tide will vary.

7th year Physical Science students demonstrated early in the week how sound waves can form by causing friction between one’s finger and glass. To demonstrate this lesson, each student was able to test the theory on their own in class. Students were able to explain how a variety of pitches came from glasses, which held different amounts of water. Following this hands-on demonstration, students began to design and film their stop motion video depicting longitudinal, transverse, and noise canceling waves.
8th year Life Science students have continued their unit on the digestive system. Throughout the course of the week, we discussed the role each organ plays in the digestion of our food and how different foods are absorbed at different rates. Students conducted a starch test on several food items using iodine as an indicator. Students were asked to hypothesize whether or not certain foods (rice, apple, carrot, goldfish, gummy bears, bread) contained starch before applying iodine. If starch is present in food, iodine turns a dark blue/black. Ending the week, students began their dissection of a dogfish shark. Students were able to apply a hands-on learning approach throughout this activity which covered past lessons from their unit on the circulatory system as well as their current unit, the digestive system. Students are taking notes throughout the process in addition to careful and thoughtful discussion.
In Transition class, students continued to work with divisions in order to better understand rates and ratios. Two main ideas were the division property of equality and the ratio-comparison model for division. The class plan is to conclude learning of Chapter 9, and Ms. Sutherland encourages students to begin preparing for this assessment well in advance.
In Algebra class, students are excited to learn about systems of linear equations. Students talked about solving systems using substitution, graphing, and eliminations (additions and subtractions properties). Students will continue to use systems to solve real world problems and practice finding intersecting points on a coordinate grid.
In Geometry class, students concluded their learning of Chapter 8 titled, Lengths and Areas. This class learned about special right triangles, how to calculate the lengths of a circumference, and how to find the area of sectors within a circle. Students will begin exploring Chapter 9, which is all about three-dimensional shapes.
Math Joke: What are ten things you can always count on? ……………………..Your fingers.
Have a wonderful weekend!

Middle School: Week in Review

Another full week of classes and collaboration has been completed! An awesome component of middle school is the ability for students to have ideas and make them happen. One example of this is our newly formed chess elective, begun by two 8th grade students. These students often play chess and have intrigued their peers to learn how to play. They asked if there could be a chess elective offered for the third trimester during our Friday elective period, and they even offered to lead it. They were happy to teach beginners and help those learning how to strategize. Almost all of the middle school signed up and even an expert alum has joined in to help! It is amazing that these young adults are hoping to spread the joy they find in the game to others.


In 6th grade Humanities class, students began the class novel, Shooting Kabul by N.H. Senzai. This novel follows Fadi and his family as they flee the Taliban in Afghanistan and seek asylum in California. Students are studying what it means to seek asylum and what it means to be a refugee using the Department of Homeland Security as a reference. They also looked at a brief history of the Taliban- Who are they? How have they changed since the 1990s? What are their cultural beliefs and goals? Finally, students completed a unit of vocabulary.

7th grade Humanities class continued reading Animal Farm by George Orwell. With regards to Russian history, they learned about the Russian (Bolshevik) Revolution and its relationship to the novel. Finally, the class completed a unit of vocabulary.

In 8th grade Humanities class, students are working hard on their final presentations for their Expert Project. They also looked at 13 colonies, leading up to the French and Indian War. Finally, students completed their last vocabulary unit for the year.


6th year Earth Science students are currently working on a research project that addresses how tides and currents affect the distribution of pollution. Students will research how tides affect the distribution of pollution in the ocean, how tides affect liquid waste differently than solid waste, and what type of experiment and data would be required to answer the questions. Concluding their research, each student will formally present their work.

7th year Physical Science students finished their unit on Refraction and have begun the unit, Characteristics and Properties of Waves. The objectives of this unit are to explain how waves travel and carry energy, compare and contrast transverse and longitudinal waves, and describe parts of waves and characteristics of waves, including frequency, wavelength, and amplitude. They began with a simple exercise using string and cups, which represented how sound waves are able to travel through a medium (string) using a series of longitudinal and transverse wave patterns.
8th year Life Science students finished their unit, Circulatory System this week and began their new unit, Digestive System. The objectives of this unit are to describe the process and function of digestion and the organs involved, create a model of the digestive system, and explain how food moves through the alimentary canal. Students have shared their prior knowledge regarding the function of the digestive system, which we will continue to explore and clarify moving forward. We will incorporate the importance of healthy eating and exercise as it relates to the well being of how a person’s digestive system processes food.


In Transition class, students are excited to start Chapter 9 in the textbook titled, Patterns in Division. This class is learning about dividing fractions, dividing integer values with remainders, and finding the quotient of dividing positive/negative numbers. Our next quiz will be on Wednesday, May 4th, and Ms. Sutherland encourages students to review each lesson thoroughly to be prepared for the assessment.
In Algebra class, students concluded their learning of Quadratic Function this week. They learned about solving Quadratic equations by using the Quadratic formula, how to graph quadratics, and determine the number of solutions by solving for the discriminant. Next week, students will begin learning about linear systems of equations.
In Geometry class, students are continuing to learn about lengths and areas of 2D shapes. They used the Pythagorean Theorem to calculate missing lengths of the right triangle, they found the measure of different arc lengths in a circle, and they learned about special right triangles. Next week, students will conclude their learning of Chapter 8 and begin exploring 3D shapes.
Math Joke: What did the calculator say to the student? …………………You can always count on me.
We hope you have a beautiful weekend!