Eighth Grade Curriculum


The Eighth Grade course of study demands more challenging reading as well as more sophisticated presentations that require the incorporation of prior skills, knowledge and understanding. Reading works such as "The Odyssesy," "MacBeth," "To Kill a Mockingbird," and "The Secret Life of Bees" challenges students to extend their ability to analyze a literary work, to grapple with deeper, universal issues within literature, to compare and contrast authors’ styles and ways of thinking. Writing, speaking, and listening continue to expand the students’ capacities to develop a personal expressive voice, to think originally and creatively and to gain confidence in the ability to communicate effectively. The personal utopia and personal narrative projects as well as a variety of oral and artistic assessments provide opportunities for students to apply their learning to the development of a personal philosophy.


The culminating year of mathematics instruction continues to establish a solid foundation and to examine why math algorithms work and how mathematics skills and concepts connect and create patterns. At this stage, students continue to work at a level that develops confidence, in-depth
knowledge and skill, and offers challenges. Students may be placed in General Math III, an on grade level informal algebra course, Algebra, Honors Algebra, or Accelerated Honors Algebra. Placement depends on the needs and ability of the student, maturity, work habits, and former math performance. Some students may receive high school course credit for qualified performance in Algebra, Honors Algebra, or Accelerated Algebra. As students engage in practice, conversation, and examination, teachers instill a passion for the beauty of mathematical thinking, an understanding that mathematics is a tool to describe our world, and the ability to model and apply mathematical concepts and skills to solve problems.

Social Science

Through the Eighth Grade course of study, students engage two questions: "how do social scientists study human behavior?" and "how are humans unique?" Using social science techniques students examine human evolution and development, political science theory, the structure and function of government, basic economics, and personal finance. Challenging directed readings extend skill in gaining meaning from text, lively discussion develops more flexible and critical thinking as well facility to articulate verbally, research and writing emphasize the use of evidence to defend a position or explore a line of thinking. Projects such as an ethnography on preschoolers, guide students in the use of real social science methodology and offer opportunities to apply knowledge to substantive issues. Topics throughout the course prompt expansion of the students’ concepts of human capacities and responsibilities.


Eighth graders examine three areas of science: cell biology and genetics, chemistry, and astronomy. These studies extend skills and concepts developed in Sixth and Seventh Grades, provide a solid foundation in scientific theory and concepts and connect to studies in the other core classes. For example, genetic theory is linked to the social science study of human evolution. Students continue to develop ability to perform experiments using the scientific method and documenting work with journals and posters. Connecting concepts and evaluating scientific thinking fosters an appreciation of the natural and physical worlds. Research and discussion encourage students to consider the impact of science on our world.


The third year of Spanish study requires students to apply material learned in former years to more difficult reading, writing, and speaking exercises. Students expand vocabulary and knowledge of the structure of Spanish including more verb tenses. Examination and research into topics related to Hispanic history and culture demand the use of the language as a tool to explore and communicate ideas. Students present reports in Spanish as well as write more lengthy and complex compositions. While students gain more facility with the language, they also expand perspectives and deepen an understanding of cultures.

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