Middle School

Children are naturally eager to question, develop their own theories — even change a point of view.

Eighth Grade

Science

Eighth grade physical science begins the year exploring the basic question people have been pondering for centuries: What is the nature of matter? Students learn how to define and describe matter and the changes it goes through, as well as the different states of matter. The learn to classify different arrangements of matter as elements, compounds, and mixtures. The major project of this unit is the creation of a scientific model depicting any of the concepts covered up to this point.

It’s hard to imagine a world where nothing ever moves. Without motion or forces to cause motion, life would very dull. Eighth grade students explore the relationship between force and motion. They learn how to describe the motion of objects, how forces affect motion, how fluids exert force, and the events and discoveries that have occurred as scientists have worked to understand the motion of objects on Earth and in space. During this course of study, students develop a peer-directed project focused on one of Newton’s Law of Motion, free fall, air resistance, velocity of falling objects, or entripetal force.

To close out the eighth grade course of study, students explore the scientific meaning of work and how machines make work easier. They learn that energy allows one to do work and how energy can be converted into different forms. They explore heat and how heating and cooling systems work. The last science project requires the design (blueprint) and construction of a creative compound machine, consisting of at least four of the six simple machines. These original machines, and the work they perform, will be demonstrated to a middle school audience.

Math

The eighth grade algebra course is designed to give students a solid foundation in the skills of basic algebra. All eighth graders take either a one-year algebra class or a pre-algebra/algebra course.  Each year the class is divided into either two or three small groups depending on the profile of the group as a whole and learning styles of the individual students in the class. Grouping is also used so the pacing of each section is appropriate for the students. The curriculum is centered on the important foundational skills such as: order of operations, operations with algebraic fractions, solving equations, simplifying expressions, and operations with polynomials.

Goals and Objectives

Number Sense:

  • Understand the rules for addition and subtraction
  • Use number properties to simplify expressions
  • Add and subtract real numbers using rules for addition and subtraction
  • Multiply real numbers
  • Simplify expressions containing reciprocals
  • Divide real numbers and simplify expressions involving quotients
  • Write and simplify expressions involving exponents
  • Use the operations of addition, subtraction, and multiplication to simplify expressions involving monomials and polynomials
  • Factor integers and find the GCF of integers
  • Convert numbers between decimals, percents, and fractions
  • Convert negative exponents into positive exponents
  • Convert both large and small numbers into scientific notation or standard form

Algebra:

  • Simplify numerical expressions and evaluating algebraic expressions
  • Simplify expressions with and without grouping symbols
  • Find solution sets of equations over a given domain
  • Use opposites and absolute values
  • Use the distributive property to simplify expressions
  • Solve equations using addition and subtraction
  • Solve equations using multiplication and division
  • Solve equations with multiple transformations
  • Solve equations with variables on both sides
  • Simplify quotients of monomials and find the GCF of several monomials
  • Divide polynomials by monomials and find monomial factors of polynomials
  • Simplify algebraic fractions and state restrictions on the variable
  • Multiply and divide algebraic fractions and state product or quotient in simplest form
  • Find the least common denominator of several algebraic fractions
  • Convert algebraic fractions into equivalent fractions with a common denominator
  • Write mixed expressions as algebraic fractions in simplest form
  • Divide polynomials
  • Solve problems involving ratios and write ratios in simplest forms
  • Solve problems involving proportions
  • Solve equations with fractional coefficients
  • Solve problems involving percents
  • Solve equations in two variables over a given domain
  • Graph ordered pairs and linear equations
  • Find the slope of a line from two points
  • Convert equations into slope-intercept form
  • Determine the equation of a line from slope and one point or from two points
Social Studies

Eighth grade social studies focuses on United States history and geography. Students study the ideas, issues, and events from the Declaration of Independence and framing of the Constitution up to the Industrial RevolutionThey trace the development of politics, society, culture, and economy and relate them to the emergence of major regional differences. Students learn about the challenges facing the new nation, with an emphasis on the causes and consequences of the Civil War. They make connections between the rise of industrialization and contemporary social and economic issues. Through current events and debates, students have healthy discussions on relevant issues. It is our intention that through Social Studies, students will have a better sense of their national community. It is our strong desire for students to understand their civic duty and responsibilities in today’s world. To do this, they must know of its past.

Goals and Objectives:

  • Understand the major events preceding the founding of the nation and relate their significance to the development of American constitutional democracy
  • Analyze the political principles underlying the U.S. Constitution and compare the enumerated and implied powers of the federal government
  • Understand the foundation of the American political system, the electoral process, and the ways in which citizens participate in it
  • Analyze the aspirations and ideals of the people of the new nation
  • Analyze U.S. foreign policy in the early Republic
  • Analyze the divergent paths of the American people from 1800 to the mid-1800s and the challenges they faced
  • Analyze the early and steady attempts to abolish slavery and to realize the ideals of the Declaration of Independence
  • Analyze the multiple causes, key events, and complex consequences of the Civil War
  • Analyze the character and lasting consequences of Reconstruction
  • Summarize, respond to and analyze the impact of current events
  • Understand and apply the five themes of geography (location, place, human-environment interaction, movement, region) to United States and world studies
Language Arts
Our eighth grade language arts program is based on four disciplines: literature, writing, speaking/listening, and study skills. Each student is encouraged to learn by asking pertinent, thematic, and deductive questions. Our literature program focuses on a variety of forms and stylistic elements of literary texts. We read and discuss the themes, genres, and cultural perspectives presented. The students will have the opportunity to think critically and respond creatively as we concentrate on plot, character, setting, and theme
 
A central component of the writing curriculum is our ongoing Writers’ Workshop. This is an excellent way for students to truly identify themselves as writers and to hone in on the craft of writing.  The eighth grade Writing Workshop is modeled after the work of Nancy Atwell, author of In the Middle, Lessons that Change Writers, and Naming the World. Instruction and practice includes using the writing process, word study, developing voice, and experimenting with style. Students learn to write in a variety of genres including reflective, persuasive and compare/contrast essays. Our culminating research project reflects the themes of United States History. Students create and support thesis statements, as well as develop the research skills of gathering information, creating outlines, writing and editing drafts, conducting interviews, and citing sources. Throughout the year, creative writing and poetry are infused within the curriculum.

Goals and Objectives

Reading:

  • Responds personally, aesthetically, and critically to diverse text
  • Collects facts and ideas, discovers relationships, and makes inferences
  • Makes critical judgments, analyzes, evaluates, and draws conclusions
  • Uses context clues and knowledge of word origins to determine the meaning of specialized vocabulary and grade-level appropriate words
  • Describes and connects essential ideas, arguments, and perspectives of text by using knowledge of text structure and purpose
  • Reads and responds to historically or culturally significant works of literature that reflect and enrich the study of history
  • Distinguishes cause and effect from within a reading selection, clearly stating the argument
  • Predicts future events and outcomes of a given reading selection
  • Recalls sequence and events, chronologically, of a given reading selection
  • Analyzes main idea, point of view, plot, conflict, setting, rising/falling action, characterization, universal themes, foreshadowing

Writing:

  • Communicates information, ideas, and beliefs
  • Expresses ideas critically and provides support
  • Utilizes concrete verbs and specific nouns
  • Applies stages of writing process (drafting, editing, revising)
  • Writes coherent, focused essays
  • Forms thesis statement, outline, supporting details
  • Offers balanced introduction, body, and conclusion
  • Demonstrates awareness of purpose and audience
  • Demonstrates proficiency in writing narrative, compare/contrast, persuasive, expository, and research papers
  • Experiments with creative writing/poetry
  • Applies research skills through projects, papers, and presentation

Handwriting:

  • Practices clear and legible printing and cursive

Grammar:

  • Applies correct language mechanics
  • Identifies and uses parts of speech
  • Identifies different kinds of clauses (noun, adjective, adverb, independent, subordinate, essential, nonessential)
  • Properly uses phrases (participial, gerund, infinitive), appositives, modifiers
  • Uses complex sentences with clarity of purpose

Vocabulary:

  • Demonstrates mastery of word lists from Wordly Wise 3000, Books 8 & 9
  • Learns high frequency SSAT vocabulary
  • Identifies roots, prefixes, suffixes
  • Comprehends analogy word relationships
  • Identifies synonyms, antonyms, homonyms
  • Identifies meanings of figurative language
  • Identifies selected vocabulary from literary pieces in literature

Listening and Speaking:

  • Asks pertinent questions
  • Interprets speaker’s purpose
  • Makes inferences or draws conclusions
  • Follows written and oral directions
  • Memorizes and recites poetry
  • Shares ideas and information
  • Participates in group discussions and projects
  • Delivers well-organized speech or presentation
  • Listens to others with sensitivity and respectfulness
  • Presents and discusses weekly current events
Spanish

Our middle school Spanish program focuses on communication. Students take Spanish four times a week in order to focus on consistent speaking, listening, and language comprehension without sacrificing the teaching of grammar and vocabulary. Our teaching approach maximizes the students’ communication skills. The model is based on working in small groups so the students can practice newly acquired skills together. 

A large part of our themes and vocabulary are based on what the students are learning in their classroom. We work on building a strong vocabulary and learn basic phrases. 

Eighth grade Spanish is a continuing course for middle school students who have completed the curriculum outlined for Spanish B (seventh grade Spanish). Students continue to practice listening, speaking, reading and writing, using the skills introduced in Spanish B. Basic structures and vocabulary are reviewed, and new material is introduced. Students will learn to express themselves more completely in the present, past, as well as in the future tense. Students continue to explore geography and cultures of Spanish-speaking countries. 

Goals and Objectives

Listening Comperhension:

  • Understand the plot of a clearly structured narrative
  • Listen and comprehend longer dialogues and stories

Speaking:

  • Describe events in simple sentences and report what happened when and where
  • Engage in conversations
  • Carry on more detailed interactions in commercial settings (buying something, asking where something is, ordering food at a restaurant)
  • Describe future activities

Reading:

  • Read texts and find important facts and information
  • Understand, written texts with different contexts
  • Understand ideas and cultural aspects connected to the Spanish language
  • Identify the punctuation marks and read accordingly

Writing:

  • Write about events and real or fictional experience in a detailed and readable  way
  • Write longer compositions using present, past and future of -ar, -er, and -ir ending verbs

Major Projects:

  • Oral presentations from specific topics chapter based
  • Hands on projects
  • Use of iPads as a great and fun tool to improve the Spanish language skills
  • Research information about interesting facts of the Spanish-speaking countries 

Integrated Curriculum:

  • Math: Review and analyze information in a graph
  • Geography: Talk about interesting places located in Spanish-speaking countries
  • Art: Identify important artists in the Spanish-speaking world and their work

Community Integration:

  • Kermess; a unique festival common to the Spanish-speaking countries. 

Assessment:

  • Quizzes and tests
  • Oral presentations
  • Short compositions
  • Special projects

Resources:

  • Textbook: Realidades, Level 2
  • Workbook Activity: Realidades Level 2
  • iPads
  • Laptops
  • Realidades web page
  • Web pages (used for projects, games and review grammar)
  • Document camera

Local Resources:

  • Cultural related performances are brought to the school community honoring the folklore of the Spanish-speaking countries showing their traditions through music, dances, and artistic presentations in Spanish for the enrichment of the skill community. 
  • Different cultural groups that present the art of the Spanish community and the spanish language for the enrichment of the skill community.

 

 
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