English Language Arts (ELA)
The eighth-grade curriculum builds on the grammar and writing skills developed in grades six and seven. While the students review the grammar skills taught in previous grades, students also delve into active versus passive voice, complex sentence structure, and the importance of using an objective and formal tone in writing. Students are expected to research controversial topics, form a strong claim statement that includes a counterclaim, and support their claim throughout their essays with relevant information and examples. Like grades six and seven, the eighth-grade writes across the curriculum and contributes to the interdisciplinary units through novels such as Rocket Boys, Ashes of Roses, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Night.
During the eighth grade year, students will be studying the moral teachings of Jesus Christ as it is taught by the Catholic Church. The end in view of this course is to help students understand not only what the moral teachings of Catholicism are, but also the reasons for why the Church teaches them. To this end students will first come to appreciate the foundations of the Church’s teachings: human dignity, natural law, virtue, sources for the moral act, etc. The sacramental life of the Church as it bears upon the spiritual growth in shaping one’s moral character will also figure prominently in the course. Students will understand the effect of Original Sin upon the human person and Christ’s mission to save us and heal us of this original wound. Students will also explore the Catholic Church’s Social teaching about human life, and human beings as members of a larger society. Students will focus on the call to be a disciple who enters society to give witness to truth of Jesus Christ in imitation of their Savior who entered the world to be its Light (John 1:1-5). Various moral issues current in today’s world will also be addressed.
The eighth grade course of study is the second half of a two year progression which begins in seventh grade. Students explore American political and social movements from the time of the Civil War to the present. Emphasis is placed on changes in American political life and the examination of the government’s role in protecting life, liberty, and property. Throughout the year, eighth graders continually scrutinize America’s place in the world. The week long Exploratory Week trip to Washington, D.C. is the culmination of years of study of United States history. Our nation’s capital becomes our walking classroom.
The material in each course is presented to the student in a variety of ways - lecture and notes, hands-on experience and experiments in the lab, investigative reports, and long-term projects. Lessons are designed to challenge our students to think about the scientific world around them. They are taught to observe and think as scientists. The laboratory setting gives them the authentic feeling that they are working as scientists. Ultimately, our curriculum is designed to produce students with innovative thinking skills through experience with hands-on investigations, rigorous science content, and engaging, real-world applications that makes science fun, exciting, and stimulating.
In eighth grade, students use abstract thinking to explain cause and effect of complex phenomena and systems. The students look at the cause and effect of seasons and tides, causes of plate tectonics and weather and climate, heredity and how atoms and molecules interact to explain the substances that make up the world and how materials change,
The eighth math program is designed to prepare students for high school math by continuing the topics they learned in Pre-Algebra. All students take Algebra 1; one class is a regular level course, and the other is an honors level course.
Students review the concepts of algebraic expressions and equations and operations with Rational numbers. Geometric concepts are also reviewed by intertwining them into other Algebra topics. A focus on multi-step equations, inequalities, and 2-variable functions and graphs (linear and quadratic) allows students to explore relationships with sets of numbers and real-life data. Working with polynomials and factoring patterns improves number fluency as well as providing the necessary tools for solving more advanced problems.
Throughout the curriculum, emphasis is placed upon developing sound problem-solving strategies that challenge our students' minds and build their confidence for taking on the real-life problems they will face in the future
Classes are taught in both interactive and traditional modes to best meet the diverse needs of our students. The teaching approach is varied, using teacher-lead instruction, cooperative learning, vertical spaces to show work, and technology.
Our goal is to give students the necessary mathematical skills to function in life, as well as to prepare them for the higher-level thinking which lies ahead. Students are encouraged to value mathematics, to think logically and to solve problems strategically. They practice communicating effectively using precise mathematical language (both orally and in writing) to appreciate the connections between mathematics and life experience.
In the eighth grade, technology students are prepared to use computers and technology for academic and future work. The Microsoft Office 365 tools are integrated in projects aligned to cross-curricular content. Skills include online research skills, digital citizenship, source citation, design and layout, research organization and keyboarding. Capstone projects include online historical research with primary sources; short story telling with image, animation, and video; economics, budgeting, and investment club with Excel formulas; and geo-spatial application tools. The longer projects teach students how to organize and plan multiple resources. Additionally, students are taught how to find and use internet resources effectively for classroom learning.