Grade Eight Course Descriptions

Humanities

Humanities integrates Language Arts and Social Studies standards and skills in order to develop a deeper understanding of both subjects. The eighth-grade course takes a global approach to social studies concepts with a theme of Global Citizenship, and focuses on Perspective for the development of Language Arts skills.  The ideas of citizenship and perspective are woven into the curriculum through various reading, writing, speaking, and listening tasks. We also look at various genres of literature (both fiction and nonfiction) and other forms of media to develop skills such as reading comprehension and interpretation, structured and stylistic writing, media interpretation and creation, and oral presentation.  

The following are the Social Studies concepts and Language Arts skills as they are addressed in the course of the year:

  • Introduction: Perspective

  • Unit 1

    • SS: Identity and Community

    • LA: Author’s structure and style

    • Literature: The House on Mango Street (class novel)

  • Unit 2

    • SS: Globalization

    • LA: Argumentation

    • Literature: Non-fiction (independent readings)

  • Unit 3

    • SS: Global Issues

    • LA: Problem/solution

    • Literature: Cultural Fiction (literature circles)

  • Conclusion: This I Believe

    • LA: Media creation

    • Literature: The Alchemist (class novel)

Integrated Math 1

Integrated Math 1 advances students’ understanding of mathematics through interwoven strands of algebra and functions, statistics and probability, geometry and trigonometry, and discrete mathematics.  These strands are unified by fundamental themes, common topics, mathematical practices, and by mathematical habits of mind.  Developing mathematics along multiple strands help students develop a connected understanding of mathematics and nurtures their differing strengths and talents.

The problem-based curriculum emphasizes flexibility and adaptability in thinking through mathematical modeling, which includes the processes of data collection, representation, interpretation, prediction, and simulation. This allows students to experience mathematics as a means of making sense of data and problems that arise in real-world situations and in diverse contexts, and it gives them a venue for mathematical investigation and discourse to deepen their understanding.


Units of study include:
  • Patterns of Change
  • Patterns in Data
  • Linear Functions
  • Discrete Mathematical Modeling
  • Exponential Functions
  • Patterns in Shape
  • Quadratic Functions
  • Patterns in Chance

Enriched Integrated Math 1

This course covers the same general units of study offered in the regular Integrated Math 1 course but at a greater depth and at a faster pace.  Particular emphasis is given to problem seeing, information gathering, and solving.   

Science

Eighth graders focus on physical science concepts related to motion and energy. Problem solving skills are developed as students confront content-related design and engineering challenges. Projects include building balloon jet cars, water bottle rockets, and solar houses. Students develop critical thinking skills and familiarity with programming tasks during a LEGO robotics unit, which builds on the robotics skills learned in 7th grade science. Additionally, eighth graders explore sustainability topics related to energy consumption and examine proposed energy alternatives. Sample units of study:
  • Measuring bodies in motion: speed, acceleration, and momentum
  •  Beyond Oil: an alternative transportation study
  •  Blasting off with Galileo and Newton: gravity and the laws of motion
  •  The future of energy: coal, nuclear, wind, and solar power

Spanish

Eighth grade Spanish students expand upon their language foundation to communicate more independently. There is a greater focus on grammar, which allows students to express themselves
in a more sophisticated and complex manner. Students become more connected with the Spanish-speaking world through the use of technology and exposure to real world scenarios. At the end of the eighth grade year the students have the opportunity to travel to a Spanish-speaking country, where they participate in a home-stay and visit several sections of the country. Sample
units of study:
  • Planning and implementing travel
  • Maintaining good health
  • History and geography of Spain
  • Current events and pop culture
  • Influential individuals in the Spanish-speaking world

French

This third year of Middle School French prepares students to move into a level 2 high school French class. In the spring, all French 8 students take the national French exam. Preparation for this standardized test proceeds naturally. Reading and discussion make up more of the curriculum. Therefore, students begin to notice and use language in several tenses. Students read several novelettes on their own for homework, such as Le Vol des Oiseaux (The theft of birds), Le Voyage de Sa Vie (The trip of his life) as well as a personal choice book. Students are encouraged to read online in the areas of their own interests so they can start to acquire specialized vocabulary that is meaningful to them. Various individual and group projects include planning a virtual trip to a French-speaking city, a ‘How to do’ demo as well as several imaginative storytelling group dramas. The curriculum continues to focus and build on the students as they acquire more language to be able to talk about themselves and relate to their peers and others in French. Music, poetry, and stories are the arenas for much input. Possible topics can include:

  • Resolutions for the school year

  • Examples of French art

  • Expectations from teachers and parents

  • Choices in personal time and money

  • How to do something (giving instructions)

Performing Arts

Performing Arts
In Middle School, performing arts classes three times a week help students develop their ability to participate in music, dance, and theater. All students participate in two yearly concerts showcasing choral singing and dancing; there are also performances by hand chime groups, a dance team, the Carolina Day Choristers, and the seventh and eighth grade advanced chorus. When available, guitar, strings, brass and woodwind chamber music groups also prepare pieces for the concerts.

Music
In music, students in all three grades work toward understanding the concepts of rhythm, pitch, melody, harmony, form, dynamics, and tempo.  Genres studied are classical, musical theater, country, folk, blues, jazz, pop/rock, and world music.  Ongoing units of music study include:

  • Solfege and sight-singing
  • Performance and analysis of choral literature
  • Guitar
  • Piano
  • Drums (hand drums and drumset)
  • Bass
  • Hand chimes
  • Orff mallet percussion

Dance
Dance in all forms, from improvised movement to choreographed routines, is part of each Performing Arts class. Dance units include:

  • Swing
  • Salsa
  • Square dance/country line dance
  • Traditional folk dances
  • Hiphop
  • Musical theatre dance styles

Theatre
Theatre training gives every middle school student the opportunity to work on public speaking, risk-taking, and communication skills in a fun, safe setting.   Theatre units include:

  • Scene work
  • Monologue preparation
  • Improv comedy
  • Theatre games

Theatre Production
Middle School Theatre Production is an extracurricular program open to sixth, seventh, and eighth graders. Whether students participate on stage or as part of the tech crew, they learn teamwork, communication skills, leadership, flexibility, and how to prepare for and meet deadlines.

Visual Arts

The global perspective of the eighth grade curriculum offers great opportunities to study Western, Asian, African, and Oceanic art. A major focus in eighth grade is photography, with emphasis on compositional skills and the process of taking and developing black and white photos. Photography allows students to utilize the skills of self-reflection and group critique as ways to grow as an artist. Projects may include:  
  • B/W photography
  • Figure drawing
  • Acrylic painting
  • Batik
  • Film
  • Self-directed independent projects.

Physical Education

Students participate in physical education classes three day a week. The program concentrates on a student’s physical fitness level with an emphasis on improvement. There is a focus on the continued development of affective and psycho-motor skills learned through competitive and cooperative games. Students will revisit skills learned in sixth and seventh grade and will begin to develop team strategies for success. The students will wear pedometers as a fun way to monitor distance moved throughout the year. Activities include:
  • Bowling
  • Bocce
  • Cageball
  • Basketball

Study Support

This class provides a structured approach to learning and using effective strategies for success in the middle grades, leading students toward the practice of self-advocacy to become independent learners. Students will find and use resources, set and measure both short and long term goals, and effectively use the skills they obtain to break wholes into parts to make learning easier. The 
middle school Study Support class assists students with:
  • Organization/time management
  • Effective note taking
  • Reading comprehension strategies
  • Test preparation- how to study for a variety of tests
  • Study techniques & memory strategies

 

Course Descriptions

 

 

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