Eighth grade English begins the high school preparatory phase of the students’ education. Everything in this course is aimed at preparing the students to complete high school level work with facility. The novels read, Of Mice and Men, Animal Farm, Night, To Kill a Mockingbird, will concern themselves with, among other things, the relation between the individual and societal position and power. Therefore, one of the main areas of focus this year will be rhetoric—i.e., the use of language to get someone to do something. The study of literature will extend into discussions and assignments that will allow students to evaluate not only their own position in society, but also their role as a reader, writer, and effective communicator.
Fundamentals of Algebra
Fundamentals of Algebra is designed for eighth grade students whose mathematical development warrants a deliberate introduction to and reinforcement of essential algebraic concepts. This class covers algebraic expressions, real number operations, equations, inequalities, graphing, formulas, and word problems. Students will work individually and cooperatively to explore and extend their knowledge. As in algebra, connections to geometry, probability, statistics, and technology will occur as students progress through the course. The Fundamentals of Algebra class follows a high school Algebra I curriculum, but does not complete the entire course. The teacher moves at a pace appropriate for the particular group of 8th graders. Students who take Fundamentals of Algebra in 8th grade generally take Algebra I as first year high school students.
Algebra I is offered to eighth grade students who have demonstrated a secure mastery of pre-algebra concepts in seventh grade. The course begins with a review of algebraic expressions, simple linear equations and inequalities, and real number operations. Students build upon this knowledge to explore equations and inequalities both symbolically and graphically, functions, exponents, radicals, polynomials, quadratics, proportionality, and rational equations. Throughout the course, problem solving skills and techniques will be reviewed and strengthened. Pattern recognition is at the core of mathematical knowledge and connections between algebra and geometry, probability, statistics, and technology occur naturally as the course progresses. Algebra I class follows a complete high school Algebra I curriculum. The teacher dictates the pace of the class to complete the curriculum by the end of the school year. Depending on a student's mastery of concepts in 8th grade Algebra I and the selected high school's math philosophy, he or she may place out of Algebra I when entering high school.
Eighth grade science emphasizes a strong foundation in physics and chemistry, leading naturally to related topics in the life and earth sciences. Themes unify the sciences in this program by linking the structures on which the science disciplines are built. The four main themes addressed are Energy, Systems and Interactions, Scale and Structure, and Stability and Change. Energy is a central concept of the physical sciences and an integral part of the biological and geological sciences. Systems and Interactions are based on the concept that by defining the boundaries of the system, one can study the interactions among its parts. Scale and Structure emphasizes the relationship among different structures and the focus of the relationship. Stressed throughout each unit is “how we know what we know and why we believe it to be so.” Stability and Change is characterized as trends, cycles, and irregular changes in systems.
The eighth grade US History curriculum includes essential questions that students strive to answer as they gain insights about history and the world around them. The class includes development of writing, critical thinking, debating and research skills through the use of primary and secondary sources, current events, art, and music. Students will work individually and collaboratively on several projects throughout the year. They will utilize both new and familiar iPad apps to accomplish these goals, and they will have opportunities to share their work with various audiences within the school and the broader community.
Eighth grade French extends the students’ vocabulary and grammar material. More independent work in all areas of the language is encouraged. The students explore the vocabulary associated with clothing, holidays, sports and leisure time and food. The grammar includes learning all three verbs groups (-er verbs, -ir verbs, re-verbs) in the present tense. Past and anticipation action are also explored. Reflexive verbs are introduced. All forms of adjectives are taught. Cultural comparisons and investigations are also covered through skits, projects, and a field trip.
Eighth grade German equally addresses listening comprehension, written skills, and oral skills. The curriculum includes: reviewing previous curricula; choosing from a menu and ordering at a café or restaurant; expressing likes and dislikes; making requests and giving advice; exploring German cuisine—foods, eating establishments, beverages, ice cream flavors; handling modals, future tense and negation; asking about prices, describing and choosing clothing; talking about a department store; writing a letter or a card; talking about birthday presents, and exploring the most important celebrations of life events in German culture.
Students write, speak and understand more complex Spanish. They learn affirmative tú commands, the present progressive tense, a great variety of irregular and stem-changing verbs direct object pronouns and indirect object pronouns. They learn how to conjugate regular verbs in past tense and how to use this in conjunction with the present tense.