Thursday, September 26, 2013

Accelerated Reader Home Connect

Accelerated Reader Home Connect letters went home today with the students.  The letter includes directions on how to go online to monitor your child’s Accelerated Reader progress.  It includes your child’s user name and password.  The letter should be in your child’s “Take-Home” folder.  

Events and Dates

Friday, September 27
 [Math] Quiz

Tuesday, Oct. 1   
 [Reading] Character Analysis Assignment due.  
 [Reading]  Open Book Character Quiz, The Outsiders ch.1-4

Wednesday, October 2
[Science] Quiz: Newton's Laws

Tuesday, October 8
[Science] Unit Test B

Thursday, October 10
 [Event] Grade 8 Advisory
 [Event] Electronic Field Trip

Monday, October 14
  No School - Teacher In-service ACT 80

Tuesday, October 22
 [Reading] AR Due

Wednesday, October 23
 2-Hour Delay - Teacher In-service

The 8th grade calendar is available on Edline.

Today's Homework - 9/26/13

Veterans Day Experience Field Trip

Following the positive feedback from last month’s Flag Retirement Ceremony, the 8th grade class will again have the opportunity to share a unique experience with local veterans.  In honor of Veterans Day, we have partnered with the Heinz History Center to offer a “Veterans Day Experience Field Trip” on Friday, November 8.

On this date, 8th Grade students will have the opportunity to tour an exhibit at the Heinz History Center with a veteran, hear personal stories and reflections of their service, eat lunch with a veteran, examine rare primary sources from each veteran, and take part in a round-table discussion with veterans from World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the War in Iraq.

Students will depart from the Middle School at 8:30 a.m. and return by 2:00 p.m.  Since students who attend this field trip will be missing classes, they are responsible for seeing their teachers in advance to make sure that they can make up the work.  The cost of the Veterans Day Field Trip Experience is $8.00 per student.  Space is limited for this field trip.  Students who are interested in attending this field trip should sign up in Mr. Smith’s classroom by October 4.  If you have any questions about the field trip, contact Mr. Smith at

What's in the box?

In science class, we just concluded our work with "the black box" activity. We referred to this as the black box because students never see what is inside. Wikipedia describes a black box as "a device which can be viewed solely in terms of its input, output and transfer characteristics without any knowledge of its internal workings."

With the investigation into the black box concluded, the students had to design what they imagine could be the apparatus inside the black box. Using observation and experimentation the students had to use their data to help define the inner workings. Students discovered that when water was added, sometimes only a fraction of the water exited the box. Other times, the black box released more water than was added. Students had to make inferences about what would cause water in the box to behave in this manner.

Students had to defend their ideas in class by explaining how well their concepts matched the data collected during the investigation. The class discussed each team's ideas and helped them to make needed modifications.

At the end of the project, the students completed a writing activity where they discussed their confidence in their designs. Through the course of the black box experience, students were employing skills in perseverance, teamwork, critical and skeptical thinking, and problem-solving. You can see student work on our gallery in Edline!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Electronic Field Trips from Colonial Williamsburg

Electronic Field Trips

Beginning in October, 8th Grade students will participate in an Electronic Field Trip series presented by Colonial Williamsburg.  Part of this live, interactive program will allow students to email or call the historians and actors in on screen. Please be note that students will be given permission to use their cell phones for this part of the program. This month’s broadcast will take place on October 10 and is entitled “The Bill of Rights”. More information about Colonial Williamsburg’s Electronic Field Trip series is available at