All ninth grade students are required to take English. Students may be placed in particular sections based on their performance on placement tests given to admitted students.
Language, Literature and Writing I
In this introductory foundation, course students begin learning the skills that they will refine throughout their time at NSHAHS. They examine the thematic issue of Heroes and Heroism through their readings and study of classic and contemporary epic, drama, and novel. Students begin their analysis of writing as a multi-level thinking process and become familiar with the standard rhetorical patterns as well as other strategies used in good writing. Grammar and vocabulary culled from works studied are integrated into the curriculum as weekly features of instruction. All texts are coordinated with the materials presented in the ninth grade writing course. Both accelerated and skills level classes will be available in addition to the grade level course.. Placement is based on student performance.
All ninth graders are required to take Global Studies. Students may be placed in particular sections based on their performance on placement tests given to incoming students.
Global Studies I
This course is the first year of a two-year program in global history. It is a cross-cultural study of history from prehistory through the mid-18th Century. Covered topics include, but are not limited to, the history, geography, politics, economics, and societies of various regions of the globe. In addition to the history and geography curriculum, the course will develop and enhance student skills. Special focus is directed at student reading, writing, note taking, and critical thinking skills that are so vital for their success. Students may be placed in the skills-level section based on performance. This section will have a strong focus on skill development and use modified assessments and classroom material.
All ninth graders are required to take geometry. Placements will be determined by the department and the results of the placement test given to incoming freshmen. There is a skills section for eligible students.
Students in the ninth grade take this course if their placement test indicates readiness and have successfully completed a course in Algebra. Students learn the fundamentals of geometry, how to deal with geometric figures and to apply deductive reasoning in the creation of formal proofs. Students learn about logic, deductive reasoning, parallel lines, congruence, polygons, inequalities, similarity, circles, constructions, loci, areas, volumes, coordinate geometry, and transformations. Algebraic concepts that were completed in middle school will be incorporated into all topics presented in this course.
Students learn the fundamentals of geometry, how to deal with geometric figures and to apply deductive reasoning in the creation of formal proofs. Students learn about logic, deductive reasoning, parallel lines, congruence, polygons, inequalities, similarity, circles, constructions, loci, areas, volumes, coordinate geometry, and transformations.
All ninth graders are required to take biology. Both accelerated and skills level courses will be available; placements are determined by the department.
The Introduction to Biology course presents a comprehensive, modern view of life science. The main topics covered include ecology, biochemistry, cell biology, comparative anatomy, biological energetics, adaptation with respect to physiological functions, perpetuation of life through reproduction and development, Mendelian and modern genetics, and evolution as a unifying principle. Lesson aims are taught through planned lecture, discussion, demonstration, note-taking, and follow-up exercises. A series of formal laboratory activities reinforce and/or extend these lesson aims and topic areas. At both the onset and throughout the course, students will be taught the scientific method and the classic experiments biologists have performed to construct the knowledge base of biology. Many of the lab activities provide opportunities to both discover and apply biological concepts as well as to use current technology.
Computer Science Essentials
Computer Science and computational problem solving are fundamental skills for engaging the 21st-century marketplace of ideas and economies. All students should have the opportunity to learn these skills as they will use them in whatever career they are likely to enter. This is one of the reasons NYS has made computer science a graduation requirement.
There are several units of study in computer science essentials gradually building students up to a level of comfort that they too can create and develop sophisticated computing innovations and computational artifacts. The topics include: Your Digital Life, Computer Science For All, Introduction to Web Development, Introduction to App Development, Graphics & Animation with Python and Data Science, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.
Four years of Hebrew language and literature is a requirement. Students in the ninth grade are initially placed by ability level measured by personal interviews and formal placement tests. Once placed, students may advance according to the following standard sequence: Mechina (Preparatory) Level; Intermediate Level; Grade Level; Advanced Level.
For example, a student may begin his or her Hebrew Language study in the beginner’s level and proceed to the intermediate level during the course of the ninth grade. In every grade there are class sections to accommodate the varying needs of each student. Students are placed in homogeneous classes with their peers at the precise level that will ensure they will be challenged to improve their language skills.
This level is designed for students with no or very little knowledge of Hebrew. The Mechina offers innovative tools for learning to read and write in Hebrew while building vocabulary. Letters and vowels are taught and each student learns how to write, pronounce and understand new vocabulary words, and to use these words in sentences. The Mechina also helps students develop their speaking ability, as the sequence of new vocabulary words is arranged to help students progress step-wise in basic speech patterns. Students who complete this level will be able to speak in short dialogues, write paragraphs, memos, and assertions, read paragraphs of information or description and stories or folk tales, listen to and comprehend short dialogues, and recognize and use appropriate morphology and syntax.
Students who complete this level will be able to speak in dialogues and interview, to express and support opinions, write short notes, personal and impersonal letters, read and comprehend informative paragraphs, read short stories, poems, and a few Biblical verses, listen to and comprehend short dialogues, songs, and short informative lectures, and recognize and use appropriate morphology and syntax.
All ninth graders are required to take physical education.
Students are encouraged to meet their physical, emotional, and competitive needs through games, teams, and sports. Instruction will include units covering physical fitness, health, nutrition, flag football, volleyball, basketball, soccer, softball, and team handball.
The study of Tanach is central to the education of our students. Our Tanach curriculum is divided by semester: in the Fall, students study Chumash, and in the Spring, they study Navi/Ketuvim. As will be outlined further below, course offerings are not only sequenced by grade, but also differentiated by level in order to best meet the needs of each of our students.
9th Grade Chumash: Shemot
In this course, we will delve into the study of Chumash Shemot, also known as “The Book of Exile & Redemption”. Through a close examination of the text, we will follow the journey of Yaakov’s family as they transform into a nation, from their struggle in slavery to the attainment of freedom, the journey to Sinai, the receiving of the Torah and mitzvot and the building of the mishkan. The sefer offers us a unique opportunity to explore deeper understandings of fundamental concepts such as slavery and liberty, the foundational experience of Ma’amad Har Sinai, and lessons in leadership and delegation of responsibility. Moreover, we will analyze human labor and its connection to bringing about G-d’s presence in the world.
9th Grade Navi: Yirmiyahu
We will delve into an overview and selection of chapters from the Navi Yermiyahu, one of the Nevi'im Achronim. Through our study, students will gain an appreciation for the unique language and poetic style of this important book. Yermiyahu's journey is a challenging one, as he was chosen from birth to be a Navi and warned the inhabitants of Yehudah and Yerushalayim of the dangers of their actions. Despite numerous challenges and struggles, including being on trial before an angry mob and thrown into jail, Yermiyahu's positive messages of rebuilding and returning to Eretz Yisrael shine through. In our study, we will explore the themes of perseverance in the face of adversity, the importance of prophetic warnings, and the ultimate message of hope for the future found in Yermiyahu's prophecies. "ושבו בנים לגבולם" will take on a deeper meaning as we discover the significance of returning to our homeland.
Through the course of their study, our students develop a deep understanding and appreciation for Talmud study – its principles, methodologies, and law. Beyond developing their reading and comprehension skills, students develop training in analytical reasoning and logical argumentation, and learn how to navigate and debate complex legal and philosophical matters.
In order to create a vibrant, unified and collaborative community of Torah learning that cuts across classes and grades, the entire school learns the same masechet (tractate) of Talmud (although, of course, teaching is tailored to be grade-appropriate).
This year, we will be learning Masechet Sanhedrin, primarily the eighth chapter (פרק בן סורר ומורה). In the course of study, we will explore life and death dilemmas in halacha and the complex moral and legal issues that arise in such situations. Selected sugyot (talmudic topics) include:
בן סורר ומורה: the rebellious son
בא במחתרת: standing your ground
רודף: the right to self-defense
מצות הצלה: how much personal risk must one take to save another person
יהרג ואל יעבור: what ought a Jew die for?
קים ליה בדרבה מיניה: criminal punishment
To meet the personalized needs of each of our students, we offer four Talmud tracks per grade.
9th-11th Grade Hilchot Kashrut
This course provides a comprehensive exploration of the halachic principles and practical applications of Kashrut. Students will gain an understanding of the underlying halachic framework that governs Kashrut and how it relates to contemporary issues and challenges. Students will also explore “bigger questions” like how the laws of kashrut impact our religious lives and Jewish identity. Through close reading and analysis of primary texts, students will develop critical thinking and legal reasoning skills as well as practical tools they can use to navigate the complex world of Kashrut in their daily lives. By the end of the course, students will have gained a deep understanding of the principles of Kashrut and developed the skills to apply this knowledge to real-world situations, both inside and outside the kitchen.
9th Grade: 13 Principles of Faith: Exploring the Foundations of Jewish Belief
Students will have the opportunity to study the Thirteen Principles of Faith as formulated by the Rambam, providing students with a deep understanding of the fundamental tenets of our faith. Through textual analysis, discussions, and critical thinking exercises, students will explore the philosophical underpinnings and theological significance of each principle, as well as the debates that surround each one of them. Students will examine how these principles intersect with broader philosophical and theological inquiries, contemplating their implications on the nature of God, human existence, free will, and the purpose of life.
Students in the ninth grade select one elective course.
Students in Spanish I begin to develop proficiency in listening and speaking the Spanish language. Proper pronunciation is emphasized, and students engage in simple conversations. There is extensive emphasis on vocabulary acquisition. Basic grammatical structures are learned and gradually, with the use of authentic materials, they develop the necessary skills for effective and accurate written communication. The culture and civilization of the Spanish-speaking world is explored.
Students in French I begin to develop proficiency in listening and speaking the French language. Proper pronunciation is emphasized, and students engage in simple conversations. There is extensive emphasis on vocabulary acquisition. Basic grammatical structures are learned and gradually, with the use of authentic materials, they develop the necessary skills for effective and accurate written communication. The culture and civilization of the French-speaking world is explored.
All courses in the engineering department are electives. Teacher recommendation and administrative approval are required. Interested students are strongly encouraged to attend the STEM open house in the Spring.
This course assigns students to teams which work to creatively solve world problems in science and engineering. Students will discover the full potential of the engineering design process as they learn to build and improve upon current technology. Students will learn the fundamentals of electrical engineering, including: electrical and tool safety, soldering and wiring electronic circuits, testing electronics using digital multimeters and oscilloscopes, circuit analysis using Ohm’s Law, and controlling motors and sensors using microcontrollers. The first major project of the semester will require students to build and test a fully functioning AM/FM Radio. Other projects include using Arduino to control various motors and sensors and an introduction to robotics using the VEX EXP platform. For the last few months of the school year, students will write a proposal, build a working prototype, and present their project in front of an audience.
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