Eighth-grade English is primarily focused on the study of English writing, grammar, and usage. Students take part in a regular Writer's Workshop and write in a variety of modes using the Six Traits writing model. The emphasis is on literary analysis, argumentative writing, revising, and editing, conducting research, and proper citations. Students learn to craft strong arguments beginning with claims, supporting details, and analysis. Students also review the parts of speech and apply this knowledge of formal English in writing and speaking. A structured grammar program is used.
Students in eighth-grade literature read from many genres, emphasizing classic works such as Harper Lee’s powerful To Kill a Mockingbird and Shakespeare’s timeless Romeo and Juliet. Comprehension, critical thinking, vocabulary development, and writing and speaking expertise are developed through the study of a broad spectrum of literary works, including Romantic and modern poetry, mythology, and short stories. Students build skills in analyzing character development, figurative language, and annotation of grade-level and above-grade-level texts. Students also analyze the effect of theme, symbolism, and elements of the plot in structuring great stories. With each unit or work of study, students conduct their research into historical context, and are introduced to relevant artworks, philosophies, and paired text for a comprehensive approach to literary study. A structured vocabulary program of twenty units is also used to support both reading and writing about reading.
The eighth grade religion curriculum focuses on the Sacrament of Confirmation and the history of the Church. The first part of the year is spent in studying the history of the early Church, with particular emphasis on the Acts of the Apostles and Church doctrine. Students then move into an intensive period of preparation for the Sacrament, after which they return to Church history. Special emphasis is also placed on the development of the student’s prayer life and the example of the saints, particularly Mary, St. Paul, St. Augustine, St. Francis of Assisi, and St. Ignatius of Loyola.
Geometry requires reasoning and spatial sense. Students construct two-dimensional shapes to explore their properties. In addition, students write proofs to hone their deductive reasoning skills. During this course, students discover properties of quadrilaterals, parallel and perpendicular lines, and triangles. Finally, this class offers an introduction to trigonometry.
Eighth-grade social studies cover American history, starting with Native American cultures, settlement patterns, and exploration of the Americas. The curriculum then explores the formation of the colonies, the formation of democracy, early American history, and the Holocaust, along with other human rights issues. Students learn about the development of several different world religions. Students also examine local, state, and current national events to become more engaged citizens. The History Alive! materials are designed to deal with these topics objectively, respectfully, and following standards throughout the country. Students also examine local, state, and current national events to become more engaged citizens.
Eighth-grade science students study Physics and Chemistry. Units of study include Matter and Its Interactions, Energy, and Motion.