Information about eighth grade accelerated Algebra I and Living Environment

The following information was presented to Farnsworth Middle School parents on May 30, 2023.

View the presentation in PDF format.

Farnsworth Middle School Eighth Grade Accelerated Algebra I and Living Environment (Regents Biology) May, 2023

Our Programs

  • Aligned with all New York State Education Department regulations for Regents level math and science courses
  • Two of three courses offered at FMS for which students can earn high school credit
  • Maintains middle-level philosophy and practices while meeting all requirements for high school math and science courses
  • Opportunity for interested and qualified students to pursue math and science beyond the eighth grade curriculum

NYS Regulations for Acceleration in grades 6-8

  • “Public school students in grade eight shall have the opportunity to take high school courses in mathematics and in at least one of the following areas: English, social studies, languages other than English, art, music, career and technical education subjects or science courses.”
  • Accelerated students in Guilderland are NOT required to participate in Intermediate Level NYS Assessments administered to eighth grade students if they are enrolled in a Regents Course.

Criteria for Acceleration in Mathematics

  • On-grade level as demonstrated in their mid year diagnostic iReady assessment
  • Quarterly Grades for quarters 1 and 2 and 3
  • Solving Unit Test
  • Teacher Recommendation

Indicators for Criteria for Math Acceleration Teacher Recommendations


  • Attempts Different strategies
  • Accesses Resources without prompting
  • Able to learn from mistakes
  • Takes advantage of opportunities to extend learning

Reason Abstractly

  • Links Concepts
  • Can recognize incorrect mathematical process or exceptions to the rule
  • Questions reflect the “why” or “what if” of mathematics rather than the “what” or “how”
  • Able to identify processes to word problems or real-life scenarios.

Construct Viable Arguments

  • Can solve problems more than one way
  • Can justify problem solving both mathematically and in written language
  • Able to listen and discuss different points of view


  • Demonstrates Number Sense Fluency
  • Uses Correct Mathematical procedures
  • Demonstrates fluency and strong understanding of algebraic process
  • Checks work for completeness and accuracy

Criteria for Science Acceleration at Farnsworth Middle School

  • Performance in Grade 7 Mathematics
  • Quarterly Grades
  • Teacher Recommendation
  • Lab Performance

Regents Common Core Algebra I

Regents Algebra

  • First course in the Regents mathematics sequence
  • One year course
  • Regents exam administered in June of each year
  • Students will not take Math 8
  • Scheduled within the team rotation of classes
  • Students need TI-84+ Graphing

Topics of Study for NYS Regents Algebra I

  1. Seeing Structure in Expressions
    1. Interpret the structure of expressions
    2. Write expressions in equivalent forms to solve problems
  2. Arithmetic with Polynomials and Rational Functions
    1. Perform arithmetic operations on polynomials
    2. Understand the relationship between zeros and factors of polynomials
    3. Use polynomial identities to solve problems
    4. Rewrite rational functions
  3. Creating Equations
    1. Create equations that describe numbers or relationships
  4. Reasoning with Equations and Inequalities
    1. Understand solving equations as a process of reasoning and explain the reasoning
    2. Solve equations and inequalities in one variable
    3. Solve systems of equations
    4. Represent and solve equations and inequalities graphically

Algebra I Regents Exam

  • Administered in June
  • Score reflected on high school transcript
  • Multiple Choice, constructed-response and extended-response questions

Algebra I Summer Bridge Program

The program objective:

To prepare students for successful acceleration by:
✔ Providing instruction and independent study of prerequisite topics
✔ Addressing instructional time limitations

What does it entail?

  • The Summer Bridge Program will consist of independent study work students will complete as an online independent study of additional Math topics through an online course over the Summer. This program is offered through i-Ready (my Path) and is Introductions to this will be provided mid
  • All course work, due dates and expectations will be shared via Google Classroom

The pace will become much quicker!!

Increased Testing

  • ELA Assessment
  • Algebra I Regents
  • Living Environment (Bio) Regents Exam or NYS Science 8 Assessment
  • World Language Check Point

Middle School Activities

Tutorial Time

Words to become familiar with. . .

  • Challenge
  • Study
  • Balance

Important: These children are still middle school students (with the responsibility of a HS student)

Regents Biology/Living Environment

  • Additional offering for qualified students
  • Living Environment is offered in place of 8th grade Science and offered within their school day.
  • Curriculum aligns with much of the existing 8th grade curriculum. Students will be prepared for both the NYS 8th grade Science Test and the Living Environment Regents, however students will participate in only the Regents Assessment.

NYS Regulations for Regents Science Courses

For admission to a Regents examination in science, a student must meet the NYS mandated requirements for:

  • Classroom instruction- Currently, 180 minutes of instruction per week are required for all Regents science courses by a NYS certificated teacher.
  • Laboratory Investigations- Currently, an additional 1200 minutes per year of hands-on laboratory activities with satisfactory laboratory reports are required.

Required Skills and Proficiencies

It is assumed that students beginning the course can already:

  • Read and comprehend at or above the 9th grade level.
  • Use formulas to solve mathematical problems.
  • Work with scientific notation.
  • Read and interpret graphs.
  •  Interpret information from charts and diagrams.
  • Write quality lab reports with correct grammar and proper sentence structure that follows the scientific method.

Living Environment Core Curriculum


  • Ecosystems and the interconnectedness in Communities
  • Energy Flow through Ecosystems
  • Relationships between Biotic and Abiotic factors
  • Symbiotic relationships
  • Cycling of Matter
  • Global Environmental issues

Cells and Biochemistry

  • Cell History and development of the microscope
  • Cell structure and function
  • Reproduction
  • Fundamental building blocks of life
  • Nutrition


  • Discovery of DNA
  • Mendelian Genetics
  • Origins of Hereditary Science
  • Probability and Pedigree Analysis
  • Replication of DNA
  • Protein Synthesis
  • Gene Expression
  • Applications of Gene Technology


  • Classification of Living Things
  • Darwin and beyond
  • Diversity of Life
  • How living things adapt to changing environments
  • Radioactive Decay and Earth Timeline

Homeostasis and the Human Body

  • Human body systems
  • Feedback Mechanisms
  • Homeostasis and disease
  • The body’s Defenses
  • Reproduction and Development

A lot of work….but it can be done!

How? Attendance is important

Ask for help! Do not wait!

Living Environment Regents Exam

  • Assuming all requirements for instruction and laboratory activities have been met, students will take the Regents exam in June of their 8th grade year.
  • Attendance is critical!!!

Living Environment Regents Exam Components and Format

The Living Environment Regents has four parts and is offered in one written test in June.

  1. Parts A, B and C based on specific Living Environment content and include multiple choice , extended response and constructed response questions.
  2. Part D based specifically on 4 mandated labs required by NYS Department of Education.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • The middle school and high school programs follow the same Core Curriculum published by NYSED
  • All requirements for instruction and lab work are the same
  • Most notable difference is the approach which models the middle school philosophy. Specifically, there may be more individual assistance, direct instruction in test-taking strategies, supplementary review, and often additional opportunities to complete assignments, labs, projects, etc.
  • What is the typical high school course sequence for those students who have successfully completed Algebra I in eighth grade?

Eighth Grade → Regents Algebra I → Honors Geometry → Honors Algebra II → and Trigonometry → Math 12 Honors → BC Calculus

  • What is the anticipated high school course sequence for those students who have successfully completed the Living Environment in eighth grade?

8th grade Accelerated Science/LE → Honors Earth Science → Honors Chemistry → Honors Physics → Science Elective (AP, SUPA, etc.)

For additional Questions, please contact Dr. Bisnett-Jenks at

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