8th Grade


In addition to reading, writing, and arithmetic, today’s eighth graders need to learn how to create digital environments, not just use them.  Coding introduces kids to the process of computational thinking, in which students break a problem down and express a solution in steps that a computer can understand.  After all, in the 21st century the ability to code will be as critical to their success as reading and arithmetic were their parents.  No matter what field they choose, computers will be part of their work and daily life, and they will find themselves more capable and independent if they understand how computers work.

With our 1:1 iPad program, eighth graders have daily practice asking and answering questions like:

What does it mean to be a digital citizen?

What are my rights and responsibilities?

How should I act and behave online?

How can I enjoy the benefits of the Internet while remaining safe and secure?

How can the iPad help me with organization, research, collaboration, and curation?

How can design thinking and programming empower me to solve challenging problems?


In Science, students study simple machines–wedges, planes, levers, and pulleys–and collaborate on Rube Goldberg devices, absurdly complicated contraptions that accomplish a simple task–popping a balloon, making toast, launching a cream pie at the Head of School.  They participate in the Hour of Code, and can enroll in optional classes in Engineering and Design.

Students continue to develop their understanding of the role that coding plays in the tools and systems that surround us. Through a series of special break-out sessions, students in math and science classes use their iPads and Sphero robots to explore speed, velocity, friction, and force, and to make data-driven predictions. Through games and challenges, they appreciate code as a language for expressing problems and solutions, and as a creative means to achieve their goals.

With a VEX robotics team, chess club, and more, students have ample opportunities to stretch their abilities with interested faculty and like-minded friends.  And in addition to class work, they have access to Moses Brown’s 5,000-square-foot Y-lab, a maker space open to everyone in the Moses Brown community that serves as a home for tinkerers, inventors, and entrepreneurs of any age.

Making Simple Machines

Rube Goldberg devices in-progress

Watch as a group of 8th graders put the finishing touches on the creative Rube Goldberg devices they made as one of their final projects of the year.


Abigail Isom

STEM Director, Upper School Mathematics, Expert Thinking Tri-Clerk


Abigail Isom

Hobart & William Smith Colleges – B.A.
Roger Williams University – M.A.

Dave Wasser

Middle School Technology, Upper School Technology and Technology Integrationist


Dave Wasser

Union College – B.A.
University of Connecticut – M.A.

David Husted ’86

Director of Innovation and Design


David Husted ’86

Roger Williams University – B.S.
Harvard Graduate School of Education – Ed.M.

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