Our Capt Nathan Hale Middle School Curriculum Guides provide an overview of our comprehensive academic program for our students in Grades 6, 7, and 8. Our curriculum is standards based, aligning with the Connecticut Core Standards which indicate what a student should know and be able to do at each grade level, and state and national standards in the content areas. Taken together, the standards, our high quality curriculum, and outstanding instruction will prepare every student for life, learning, and work in the 21st century and allow us to develop empowered learners who have the knowledge, skills, and habits of mind to thrive as members of a complex society.
- English & Language Arts
- Social Studies
- Art Program
- Music Program
- Physical Education Program
- Health Program
- Library Media Program
- Technology Education Program
- World Language Program
- Family and Consumer Sciences
English & Language Arts
Our Grade 8 program offers an integrated model of literacy in which reading, writing, and speaking and listening skills are closely connected. Students comprehend and evaluate complex texts across a range of types and disciplines and adapt their communications in relation to audience, task, purpose, and discipline. Students develop the ability to gather, comprehend, evaluate, synthesize, and report on information and ideas and to conduct original research in order to answer questions or solve problems.
- Narrative Perspectives
- Nutmeg Unit
- Challenge and Awareness
- Argumentation and Author's Craft
- World War II
Challenge and Awareness
Argumentation and Author's Craft
World War II
In Grade 8, student learning focuses three critical areas:
- Formulating and reasoning about expressions and equations, including modeling an association in bivariate data with a linear equation, and solving linear equations and systems of linear equations
- Grasping the concept of a function and using functions to describe quantitative relationships
- Analyzing two- and three-dimensional space and figures using distance, angle, similarity, and congruence, and understanding and applying the Pythagorean Theorem
- Shapes and Angles
- Congruence and Similarity
- Rational Numbers
- Pythagorean Theorem
- Solving Equations
- Systems of Equations
- Scatter Plots
Shapes and Angles
- Students know the formulas for the volumes of cones, cylinders, and spheres and use them to solve real-world and mathematical problems.
- Students use informal arguments to establish facts about the angle sum and exterior angle of triangles, the angles created when parallel lines are cut by a transversal, and the angle-angle criterion for similarity of triangles.
Congruence and Similarity
- Students understand that a two-dimensional figure is congruent to another if the second can be obtained from the first by a sequence of rotations, reflections, and translations.
- Students describe the effect of dilations, translations, rotations, and reflections on two-dimensional figures using coordinates.
- Students understand that a two-dimensional figure is similar to another if the second can be obtained from the first by a sequence of rotations, reflections, translations, and dilations.
- Students know that numbers that are not rational are called irrational.
- Students understand that every number has a decimal expansion and are able to convert a decimal expansion which repeats eventually into a rational number.
- Students use rational approximations of irrational numbers to compare the size of irrational numbers, locate them approximately on a number line diagram, and estimate the value of expressions.
- Students use square root and cube root symbols to represent solutions to equations and evaluate square roots of small perfect squares and cube roots of small perfect cubes.
- Students describe the relationship between two quantities by analyzing a graph.
- Students understand the rules for functions and linear functions.
- Students construct a function to model a linear relationship, determining the rate of change (slope) and initial value (y-intercept) given a situation, graph, or table.
- Students compare the properties of two linear functions.
Systems of Equations
Students in Grades 6-8 demonstrate greater capacity for connecting knowledge across, and between, the physical sciences, life sciences, earth and space sciences, and engineering design. Students form deeper connections between concepts such as collecting evidence and drawing conclusions, understanding relationships between objects, and critical thinking that leads to designing effective solutions for problems. In their middle school science program students learn about
- Physical and chemical interactions that affect the world around us
- Factors that affect organism survival and reproduction
- Factors that influence our earth and our solar system, and
- How to optimize design solutions
- Through their study of light and sound, students use mathematical representations to describe a simple model for waves that includes how the amplitude of a wave is related to the energy in a wave.
- Students explore and describe how waves are reflected, absorbed, or transmitted through various materials.
- Students utilize qualitative scientific and technical information to compare and contrast how digitized signals and analog signals encode and transmit information.
- Starting with dinosaurs featured in the fictional Jurassic Park, eighth grade students analyze and interpret patterns in the fossil record to figure out “How do organisms change over time in response to changes in the environment?”
- Students then explore how DNA sequencing affects the characteristics of organisms and how mutations to genes can affect individuals and populations.
- Comparing other past and modern organisms, students explore the existence, diversity, and extinction throughout the history of life on Earth to address “How have living organisms changed the Earth and how have Earth’s changing conditions impacted living organisms?”
Amusement Park Physics
- Beginning with Jetpacks in space, students study gravity, magnetism, and other forces that underlie Newton’s Laws of motion.
- Students explore “How can one describe physical interactions between objects and within systems of objects,” engage in the Kinetic Energy Factors Investigation performance task, and use simulations to investigate energy transfer in collisions.
- Students apply their understanding of forces, energy transfer, and motion in the Collision Engineering performance task to design a model of an Amusement Park ride to meet specific goals and constraints.
You are Here! (Earth's place in time and space)
- Students explore the formation and changes over time of the solar system and Earth.
- To develop further their understanding of “What is Earth’s place in the Universe,” students learn about the Earth-Sun-Moon system and describe the cyclic patterns of lunar phases, eclipses of the Sun and Moon, and seasons.
- Students develop and use a model to describe the role of gravity in the motions within galaxies and the solar system in the Patterns in Sky and Space Modeling performance task.
- Students compare the advantages and disadvantages of digital and analog signals while researching how NASA communicates with its rovers and spacecraft.
In eighth grade, students engage in the study of events, documents, movements, and people emphasizing 18th/19th century America with a focus on inquiry into the development of the United States as a nation. The study of U.S. History in the 18th and 19th centuries requires that students generate and research compelling questions such as:
- How do Americans define freedom and equality and how have American conceptions of freedom and equality changed over the course of U.S. history for members of various racial, ethnic, religious, and gender minority groups?
- Is America a land of political, economic, and social opportunity?
- What was the significance of Connecticut’s contribution to America’s story?
- Is the United States a “just” society and how has the concept of justice evolved over time?
- Is there an American national identity; what does it mean to be an American?
- What should be the current role of the United States in world affairs?
- Colonial Period and Revolutionary War
- Westward Expansion and Immigration
- The United States Constitution
- Civil War
Colonial Period and Revolutionary War
- Students evaluate the social, economic, political, and cultural differences that existed between the colonial regions.
- Students investigate differing perspectives on events based on gender, occupation, geography, and culture.
- In view of the mercantile system, students investigate the British actions and Colonial reactions that caused the Revolutionary War, and they debate the colonists’ decision to enter the Revolution.
Westward Expansion and Immigration
- Students research and analyze how Westward Expansion reinforced and contradicted the American identity as a land of opportunity.
- Students look at Westward Expansion through a variety of lenses and evaluate how economic, political, and social opportunities varied according to one’s position and status: wealthy, immigrant, Native American, factory owner, woman, African-American, etc.
- Students explore how immigration during this time period contributed to urbanization, industrialization, and unionization.
The United States Constitution
- Student investigation focuses on how the development of the Constitution and the Amendments reflected the societal change that furthered the common good.
- Students compare the Articles of Confederation to the Constitution, engage in a close reading of the Constitution, research Supreme Court cases, and analyze the role of each branch of government as set out in the Constitution.
Focused on visual arts including traditional fine arts such as drawing, painting, sculpture, and ceramics, our Grade 8 program involves our students in four artistic processes: creating art, presenting art, responding to art, and connecting to art.
Advanced Color Theory
- Students explore and apply basic clay concepts and advanced hand-building methods and decorative techniques to create a ceramic piece.
- Students study ceramics made by a wide variety of people across the world in different time periods, investigating how those objects reflect aspects of the culture of the place and time period in which they were produced.
- Students research the historical origin of various types of folk art from around the world and identify the similarities and differences between folk art and fine art.
- Students practice a variety of craft processes and create works of art that may include pattern, wood, metal, bookbinding, paper mache, fiber, printmaking, and textiles.
The Grade 8 program provides students the opportunity to create, perform, and respond to music through a variety of experiences and activities. Music offers unique learning opportunities to explore individual creativity, artistic expression, and a more in-depth understanding of past and present cultures in our diverse world community. Music electives include band, choir, and general music.
- Throughout the school year students discover that musicians evaluate and refine their work through openness to new ideas and persistence.
- Students discern musical creators' and performers’ expressive intent through their use of elements and structures of music.
- Students learn to inform their personal evaluation of musical works and performances by analysis, interpretation, and established criteria.
- Students explore how other arts, disciplines, contexts, and daily life inform creating, performing and responding to music.
- Students experience how creating and performing music differs from listening to music.
- Students develop skill in score reading, and they explore a variety of vocal techniques to change the quality of sound and express ideas and feelings.
- Through the application of a variety of ensemble techniques, students experience how an individual’s participation benefits the whole ensemble.
- Students practice reading and notating music to develop skills as musicians.
- Students learn to play the keyboard, developing music skills through performing, creating, responding to, and making connections outside of music.
- Students practice creating dialogue within a musical composition and using the elements of music to convey ideas and feelings.
- Through their study of jazz, blues, and rock and roll, students discover that each historical period of music has a unique set of characteristics with historical and social contexts.
Physical Education Program
Our Physical Education Program helps our students obtain the knowledge and skills they need to become physically educated. Our Grade 8 programming focuses on motor skills, concepts and strategies related to physical activity, physical fitness, respectful social behavior during physical activity, and promoting the understanding of the benefits of physical activity.
- Investigating the impact exercise and movement have on health and wellness, students discover that positive decision making about fitness contributes to an individual’s improved muscular strength and endurance, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility and overall healthy lifestyle.
- Students practice and apply motor skills and movement patterns essential to a variety of sports including the following: frisbee, soccer, flag football, volleyball, basketball, weight training, tennis.
- Students discover that rules etiquette and strategy application in physical activity and sports can make the experience both enjoyable and successful.
Our Grade 8 health program emphasizes teaching functional health information and essential knowledge, shaping personal values and beliefs that support healthy behaviors, shaping group norms that value a healthy lifestyle, and developing the essential health skills necessary to adopt, practice, and maintain health-enhancing behaviors.
Alcohol, Nicotine, and Other Drugs:
- Distinguish between proper use and abuse of over-the-counter and prescription medicines.
- Summarize the negative consequences of using alcohol and other drugs.
- Explain why using alcohol or other drugs is an unhealthy way to manage stress.
- Describe short- and long-term physical, social and emotional effects of using ANOD’s (e.g., effects on organs, including brain, peer relationships, family relationships, self-esteem).
- Describe characteristics of healthy relationships (communication, respect, trust, and boundaries).
- Differentiate between healthy and unhealthy relationships.
- Explain why it is wrong to tease others based on personal characteristics (such as body type, gender, appearance, mannerisms, and the way one dresses or acts).
- Explore strategies to address unhealthy relationships.
- Explain how the use of social media can positively and negatively impact relationships.
- Describe how consent is a foundational principle in healthy relationships.
- Explain the role of bystanders in escalating, preventing or stopping bullying, fighting, and violence.
- Describe short- and long term consequences of violence to perpetrators, victims, and bystanders.
- Describe strategies to avoid physical fighting and violence.
- Describe how the presence of weapons increases the risk of serious violent injuries.
- Define prejudice, discrimination, and bias.
- Summarize the physical, mental, social, and academic benefits of healthful eating habits and physical activity.
- Describe how to make healthy food choices when given options.
- Explain the importance of a healthy relationship with food (i.e., intuitive eating, moderation, food as fuel).
- Understand how to read food labels for the purpose of limiting the consumption of fats, added sugar, and sodium.
- Describe reproductive body parts and their functions.
- Describe the menstrual cycle, the process of sperm production and the relationship to conception.
- Explain the significance of the physical changes in puberty.
- Explain how the most common STDs and HIV are transmitted.
- Identify resources, products, services related to supporting sexual health.
Optimal Wellness and Disease Prevention
- Describe the benefits of good hygiene practices.
- Describe the controllable factors that contribute to optimal wellness and chronic diseases (i.e., heart disease, cancer, diabetes, hypertension, and osteoporosis).
- Summarize modes of transmission and health practices to prevent the spread of infectious diseases that are transmitted by food, air, indirect contact, and person-to-person contact.
Sexual Assault and Abuse Prevention
- Explain the term affirmative consent and what it looks like in words and/ or actions.
- Explain that no one has the right to touch anyone else in a sexual manner if they do not want to be touched.
- Explain that acquaintance rape and sexual assault are illegal.
- Explain that a person who has been sexually assaulted or raped is not at fault.
- Demonstrate how to ask for help and to report mistreatment, harassment, abuse, and assault.
Mental and Emotional Health
- Recognize factors that lower self-worth (comparisons, perception vs. reality, social media, technology, internalizing negative external messages from media and peers).
- Recognize factors that increase self worth (recognizing strengths, growth mindset, confidence, competence).
- Explain the importance of telling an adult if there are people who are in danger of hurting themselves or others.
- Recognizing stressors, their impact on mind and body, and effective coping strategies.
- Describe characteristics of positive mental and emotional health.
- Identify trusted adults and resources for assistance.
Safety and Injury Prevention
- Identify the potential for injury in a variety of situations and environments.
- Describe ways to reduce risk of injuries while riding in or on a motor vehicle.
- Describe actions to change unsafe situations at home, in school and in the community.
- Describe ways to reduce risk of injuries from firearms.
Once every three years we provide a presentation to students in Grades 6-8 on firearm safety. Parents may choose to exempt their students from these presentations. Using developmentally age-appropriate instructional materials, our presentation focuses on the following key points:
- If you see an unattended firearm, leave it alone, do not touch it, and get an adult to put it away.
- Treat every firearm as if it is loaded.
- Never point a firearm at another person.
- Never touch a firearm unless an adult you trust supervises and assists you and you have your parents’ or guardians’ permission.
- If your family has firearms in the house, your friends may find it an irresistible temptation. Never show a firearm to another adolescent or to a young child.
- Firearms may be used responsibly and legally by some people participating in organized outdoor sporting clubs such as shooting/gun clubs, fish and game clubs, and hunting.
- Some students in the classroom may have fired, received training in safe firearm use or joined family members in hunting or target shooting.
- Firearms may be legally owned by individuals and families for purposes of self-protection.
- Firearm ownership and responsible use is a right that people should not be criticized for exercising; just as people who believe there should be more restrictions placed on firearm ownership should not be criticized for their views.
- Weapons of any type are not allowed in school. Understanding the importance of everyone’s role in maintaining the safety of the school community, always report any safety concerns to adults in the school building.
Skills for Healthy and Balanced Living
- Identify trusted adults and resources for assistance.
- Analyze the influence of family, peers, culture, media, technology, and other factors on health behaviors.
- Access valid information and services to enhance health.
- Use decision making skills and goal setting skills to enhance health.
- Advocate for personal, family, and community health.
Library Media Program
The CNH school library program provides resources, instruction, and services to empower learners to have the knowledge, skills, and habits of mind to thrive as members of a complex society. provides students access to information and technology, connecting learning to real-world events. In the library, learners engage with relevant information resources and digital learning opportunities. The Library Media Center promotes a culture of reading providing access to high-quality print and digital reading materials that encourage students to become lifelong learners and readers.
Identifying and Accessing Resources
- As good digital citizens, students learn to communicate appropriately, protect privacy, behave honestly and safely online, research responsibly, and respect property.
- Students learn appropriate ways to incorporate ideas and information from research into their writing and develop skills in expressing their own original ideas and in citing sources correctly to attribute the ideas of others to the original source.
- The Library Media Programs strives to foster an appreciation of reading in students and provides real world opportunities for students to engage with reading including author in residence visits and participation in reading and celebrating the annual Nutmeg Books.
- Students explore how published book reviews and promotions, as well as their prior experiences with authors, genres, and series help them make decisions about what to read.
- Students apply best practices in research, learning how to access information critically, and link it to research questions.
- Students identify and access tools and resources appropriate to the task and information available.
- Students practice evaluating the reliability of sources recognizing if they are relevant, authoritative, detailed, current, accurate, and unbiased.
- Students engage with a sequential research process applying a variety of strategies and inquiry based skills.
Technology Education Program
The Technology Education Program offers students opportunities to explore potential careers, explore and develop interests, and begin to develop the academic and technical skills needed for a variety of high-skill, high wage, and in-demand careers.
- Architecture-Home Design
- Careers in the Technology Fields
- Coding with Ozobot
- CAD Development and Design of CO2 Cars
- Utilizing knowledge of engineering and design process, green technology, and ways to maximize natural resources, students develop designs that are sustainable and ecologically friendly for tiny houses.
- Students consider building laws and codes, style, convenience, cost, climate, and function as they create their designs.
Careers in the Technology Fields
Coding with Ozobot
- Students are introduced to the principles of color coding programming and block coding as they code robots to navigate using a path planner to search for routes around obstacles and using an execution monitor to ensure the robot stays on the path.
- By thinking procedurally, recognizing patterns, creating coding commands, and persevering to innovate, students learn that autonomous robot behaviors are mechanisms constructed from carefully designed algorithms and representations.
CAD Development and Design of CO2 Cars
- Using solid modeling software, students explore tools to create 2D and 3D models and learn to extrude, cut, create splines and master other skills as they design CO2 dragsters.
- Students identify factors such as thrust-to weight ratio, surface drag, rolling resistance, and friction which play a role making the CO2 car fast or slow, manufacture and personalize their cars, and then race them to test their designs.
World Language Program
Our World Language Program strives to educate students who are equipped linguistically and culturally to communicate successfully in a pluralistic American society and abroad. Students may elect to study Spanish, French, or Chinese, learning to communicate effectively in a variety of situations and for multiple purposes and interacting with others with cultural competence and understanding.
Units for Spanish, French, and Chinese
- Interpersonal Communication
- Language and Culture Comparisons
- School and Global Communities
- Students participate in conversation on familiar topics using sentences and series of sentences.
- Students develop skill in handling short social interactions in everyday situations by asking and answering a variety of questions.
- Students write briefly about most familiar topics and present information using a series of simple sentences.
- Students read, listen to, observe, and/or perform expressive products of the culture such as stories, poetry, music, painting and explain the origin and importance of these products in today’s culture.
- Students observe, analyze, and exchange information on patterns of behavior typical of their peer group in the culture, such as observing and analyzing how different ways of greeting and leave-taking reflect the relationships between people in the target culture.
- Learners participate in age-appropriate cultural practices such as games (e.g., role of leaders, taking turns), sports, and entertainment (e.g., music, dance, drama).
Language and Culture Comparisons
School and Global Communities
Family and Consumer Sciences
The Family and Consumer Sciences related arts course prepares students for family life, work life, and careers in Family and Consumer Sciences by providing opportunities to develop the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors needed for success, including the following:
- Becoming responsible citizens and leaders in family, community, and work settings.
- Promoting optimal nutrition and wellness across the life span.
- Managing resources to meet the material needs of individuals and families.
- Functioning effectively as providers and consumers of goods and services.
- Appreciating human worth and accepting responsibility for one's actions and success in family and work life.
- Students work cooperatively in small groups to plan and prepare food based on U.S. dietary guidelines.
- Students interpret recipes, demonstrate knowledge of tools needed, measuring techniques, and nutritional information of the foods they prepare.
- Students practice safety and ensure appropriate sanitation in preparing foods.
Nutrition and Wellness
- Students explore Dietary Guidelines and identify the 10 guidelines recommended for Americans.
- Working in small groups, students brainstorm ways they can "eat healthier and smarter.
- Students recognize the importance of a Nutrition Facts Label, list the information a food label provides, and interpret information on a food label.
- Students compare and contrast different foods and evaluate their nutritional value under the MyPlate healthy guidelines.
- Students identify employment opportunities in food related careers.