Welcome to 8th Grade Science! This is going to be an exciting, fun and challenging year. The topics we study in 8th grade are Energy, Forces & Motion (all about Physics), Genes & and Molecular Machines (genetics and how DNA works) and Ecosystems & Their Interactions (how all living things interact). Science will also involve working on communication skills, collaboration skills and problem solving.

I started teaching a long, long time ago in 1996. I started off as a high school Biology teacher, followed by many years of teaching 8th grade and 6th grade Science.  I have been in Medford since 2002 (my maiden name is Jakobsen and I may have taught some of your siblings).

I love being part of the Medford community. My favorite part of teaching is getting to know my students and helping them grow in their education. I also like that so much of the learning process can actually be fun. . . especially in Science! Science is such a part of our everyday life and learning about our world and how things work helps us be better thinkers and citizens.

I love to travel, read, go hiking, go to concerts and spend lots of time with family and friends. I am married with three adorable children.

Educational Background

Undergraduate school: Trenton State College (now The College of NJ)

 Degree BS in Biology

Graduate school: Rowan University

 Degree: Masters in Special Education

Graduate school: Rider University

 Degree: Masters in Educational Administration

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You should not need a password because when you initially log onto your chromebook you should be logged into all applications through CLEVER.

Welcome to Team 8-1.  The teachers of this class are Mrs. Varga, Mrs. Sheldon, & Mr. Gallagher and we look forward to an exciting and successful school year.  The following information and guidelines will give you an idea of what we expect from you and what you can expect from us in our classroom.  Also, feel free to contact us via e-mail or telephone. 


  • Energy, Forces, and Motion
  • Genes & Molecular Machines
  • Ecosystems & Their Interactions


  1. In order to be recognized, students must raise their hands.  Calling out is not permitted.
  2. Always listen carefully and follow all teacher directions.
  3. Be respectful of other people (adults and students) and their belongings.
  4. Remain seated at all times during class unless instructed to move for the lesson.
  5. Do not talk when someone else is talking.
  6. Be careful with the materials you are given and follow lab safety guidelines.
  7. All school rules and expectations delineated in the student handbook apply to the classroom.


It is important that you keep all materials neat and organized. We will have work assigned through Google Classroom, but some will be on paper as well.

Textbook:  You will be using several textbooks throughout the year. They will be in the classroom and online. You do not need to carry a book back and forth to class.

Binder:  You are expected to keep all handouts. This may be in a binder by itself or in a section of a larger binder you share with other classes.  

Supplies:  You will need the following with you each day in class.


Blue or black pen

Red pen




Achievement Grade

This grade reflects your mastery of the knowledge, skills and understanding of the science content. There are 3 categories in the achievement grade:

  • 50 % Major Assessments (Tests, Performance Assessments):
    • Tests will always be announced so that there is ample time to prepare.  Please do not wait until the last minute to study.
    • If you are absent the day of an assessment, you must arrange to take it within the school’s timeline or no grade will be given.

  • 30% Minor Assessments (Quizzes, Graded Assignments, Labs, etc):
    • This may include work that is done in class as well as assignments that are completed at home. 
    • Some labs are more extensive and have more independent work. These may be graded as Minor Assessments or Daily Assessments depending on nature of the specific lab.

  • 20% Daily Assessments (Graded CW/HW, Quick Checks, Labs, Lab Performance)
    • You will be completing various lab activities during the year in which they will need to record findings and answer reflections questions. You may need to complete some work at home, but all the investigations will be completed in class. It is important that you play an active role in labs; collaboration is a science skill.

Accountability Grade

The accountability grade represents the work habits and effort you have demonstrated. Accountability includes preparedness for class, completing work on time, organizational checks, following directions, and homework when graded for effort only.

  • 50% Homework
    • Homework must be turned in on time and complete in order to receive full credit.
    • All homework must have on it your we and the date.
    • Homework will be checked daily.
      • Full Credit is received if the HW is well done and all complete.
      • No Credit is given if the HW was not completed or turned in on the day it was due.

  • 50% Preparation
    • This includes having all your supplies with you to class each day, following classroom routines and procedures, keeping papers organized, following directions on assignments and participating in class activities.

Absent Work:

“In order to establish accurate academic achievement levels, students will be held accountable for submitting missing/late work.  Work that is late due to student’s error or choice may be penalized in the accountability grade. Lack of completion of assignments will be reported in both the accountability and achievement grades but in a different way and for a different purpose. “

It is your responsibility to keep track of your work and assignments. Assignments and upcoming due dates and tests will be posted on Google Classroom. You need to make sure you are checking there and keeping track of information in your agenda. If you are absent or have certain questions, you can: check your agenda, call a classmate, and check the website/Google Classroom. When you have late work to turn in, it is your responsibility to alert the teachers. The School Handbook has the timeline for submitting absent work. You can keep track of your grades on Genesis but this is NOT a good place to look for assignments since they are only entered in Genesis AFTER the assignment has been graded.

Extra Help:  Your success in our class is very important to us; therefore, we will be available to you for extra help.  Be sure to communicate with us if you are struggling with any concept or assignment so we can come up with a plan to help you be successful.  

We look forward to getting to know you all this year!

Mrs. Varga

609-654-7707 ext. 8227


Mrs. Sheldon

609-654-7707 ext. 8221


Mr. Gallagher

609-654-7707 ext. 8254