Grade 8

Katie Hadzikadunic

Upper School Science Teacher, 8th Grade Homeroom Teacher

Grade 8 Curriculum

English

The middle school English program encourages students to read intentionally, write effectively, and speak confidently. The course covers four main areas: reading, writing, language, and novels. Students engage in activities that develop their critical reading, writing, and analysis skills. Students analyze texts through the eyes of a reader and writer as they create their own compositions and complete performance-based assessments. By reading high-interest, diverse, and contemporary novels, students develop enthusiasm for literature, as well as make connections to the world around them. Daily writings are often in response to previously assigned reading where students write cohesively and effectively, citing evidence, drawing conclusions, and making connections. Creative writing takes many forms throughout the year. Grammar, usage, and mechanics instruction is given using different resources to improve the quality of students’ writing. Classroom libraries and online articles offer students the opportunity to read for pleasure while building their comprehension skills.

Math

Eighth grade curriculum provides a strong conceptual understanding of mathematics through the use of effective learning experiences that promote communication, reasoning, and problem solving. In Grade 8, math instruction focuses on three critical areas:

• formulating and reasoning about expressions and equations and solving linear equations and systems of linear equations,
• grasping the concept of a function and using functions to describe quantitative relationships, and
• analyzing two- and three-dimensional space and figures using distance, angle, similarity, and congruence, and understanding and applying the Pythagorean Theorem.

Science

Eighth grade utilizes core ideas from sixth and seventh grade; for example, using a hereditary approach in seventh grade to examine natural selection in eighth grade. The focus of eighth grade science is on how forces and motion drive objects in our solar systems, move lithospheric plates, and how nature’s driving forces of geology impact ecosystems via environmental selection for a species. Group activities, projects, hands-on lab work, individual research, and curiosity-driven inquiry are hallmarks of all middle school science classes. Students use the science and engineering practices to gather information from reliable sources and construct evidenced-based arguments.

Social Studies

Eighth grade curriculum focuses on United States history and geography with an emphasis on colonization of North America to reconstruction. Students study the European settlement of North America and the role geographic features played in the early settlement of Thirteen Colonies. Students examine the political, cultural, and economic influences that led to the American Revolution as well as the major events and outcomes. As students follow the development of the United States and its government, they analyze the impact of the expansion and sectionalism of the U.S. on domestic and foreign policy. Finally, students examine the major events and issues leading up to the Civil War, individuals and events that were significant during the war, and the resulting era of Reconstruction. Throughout the course, students develop the skills of a historian as they research and analyze primary sources, organize information, and form logical arguments.

The middle school curriculum emphasizes a balance between academic skills and soft skills. It is designed to prepare students for high school in terms of content knowledge as well as essential life skills such as work ethics and time management.