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Academics

Grade 8

Grade 8 Curriculum

List of 9 items.

  • Design

    This course focuses heavily on embracing empathy and developing skills in all areas of the Design Cycle. Each unit involves inquiry and analysis, developing ideas, creating a solution, and evaluating the impact of their solution. The importance of the process, not simply the final product, is stressed as the main focus of Design. Students document the journey through this process in a detailed blog, recording their experiences, making reflections, and self-evaluating their work. Projects, which address both concept and content, and use various tools such as the 3-D printers or Carvey, and culminate in such creations as giant ride-on Hovercrafts!
  • Individuals & Societies

    In this course, students develop strong research and critical reading skills, and deepen their knowledge of American and world history, typically in concert with the themes and readings of their Language and Literature course. Students investigate the historical and contemporary relationships between the U.S. government and American Indian nations, the development of American government, and different international conceptions of leadership and power, and the historical development of Jim Crow and segregation in the South. Along the way, students reflected on the ways in which individuals and groups affect social and political change, and their own roles in society. This culminates in an oral history podcast project, in which students explore a social justice topic of their own choosing.
  • Language & Literature

    This course emphasizes reading comprehension skills through close readings of a variety of texts and stresses an improvement in writing style through building voice and crafting more powerful sentences and thesis-driven essays with compelling introductions and satisfying conclusions. Course texts have included Animal Farm, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian. In addition to reading and writing, this class emphasizes public speaking and developing good discussion skills.
  • Mathematics

    Students take one of the following courses as determined by the Mathematics Department after considering available grades and evaluations from their 7th grade work.

    All courses are taught through the MYP lens, working to promote inquiry and application, and helping students become better communicators and problem solvers.

    Introduction to Integrated Math
    This course is a standard 8th grade mathematics course. Algebra topics include linear expressions and equations and inequalities, an introduction to functions, writing and graphing linear equations, exponents, and scientific notation. Additionally, geometry (transformations, angle relationships, triangles, circles and similar solids) and data analysis (scatter plots, lines of best fit and data displays) are covered in this course. The main text for this course is Big Ideas Math: Advanced 2. 

    Integrated Math 1
    This course is designed for students who are ready for the study of high school level mathematics. Topics include solving linear equations and inequalities, graphing and writing linear functions, and systems of linear equations. Students also apply basic geometric terminology and reasoning skills to the topics of parallel lines, transformations, congruent triangles, and relationships within triangles. This course ends with the study of probability.  The course has two main texts, Big Ideas Math: Algebra 1 and Big Ideas Math: Geometry. 

    Integrated Math 2
    This course is designed for students who successfully completed Integrated Math 1 and are ready to continue their study of high school mathematics. Students further their study of algebra by studying non-linear relationships such as exponential functions and sequences, polynomial equations and factoring, quadratic functions and equations, and radical functions and equations. Students also continue their study of geometry with quadrilaterals and other polygons, similarity, right triangles and trigonometry, circles, and circumference, area and volume. The course ends with a study of data analysis and displays. The course has two main texts, Big Ideas Math: Algebra 1 and Big Ideas Math: Geometry. 

    Participation in the American Mathematics Competitions is expected of Middle School students in this advanced pathway. 
  • Music

    This course focuses away from European conventions and begins to explore the American music experience. Studying the history of American styles like Blues and Jazz students are encouraged to explore the question: What is American music? Song form, Poetry in prose and the British invasion are explored as well as modern music styles. The course culminates in a study of the music of Costa Rica and the Caribbean that leads up to the journey to Costa Rica in May.
  • Physical & Health Education

    Throughout the year, Middle School students engage in three major components of Physical & Health Education (PHE): Health & Wellness, Social-Emotional Development, and what it means to be a student athlete. As part of the Health & Wellness component, students focus on learning about muscular strength and endurance, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, and body composition, and they participate in exercises and activities that promote the development of agility, balance, coordination, speed, power, and reaction time. Students also develop a deeper understanding of nutrition, growth, and development. The social-emotional aspect of PHE will allow students to grow and reflect through activities focused in five core competency areas, including self-awareness, self-regulation, social-awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making. Finally, a focus for our students throughout the year is on what it means to be a student athlete. We emphasize the “being the best you” attitude, and highlight practicing empathy and inclusiveness, individual and team skills, reflection on words and actions, and finding joy in what they are learning with a positive attitude.
  • Science

    Over the course of the year, students will engage in units of study in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Earth Science. These units are inquiry-based and emphasize the application of knowledge to novel situations, where students conduct independent research and evaluate how scientists solve real world problems. Hands-on and virtual laboratory experiences actively engage students in scientific inquiry in the following topics: Chemical Reactions, the physics of Waves, Genetics, and Tropical Ecology. Highlights for Grade 8 include the experimental design investigating factors that affect the rate of chemical reactions, research into diagnosis and treatment of genetic disorders, and their Journey to Costa Rica wherein they explore factors affecting the biodiversity of the tropics.
  • Spanish

    Spanish students continue to build confidence using the four skills in language learning: speaking, reading, writing, and listening. Our strong commitment to developing verbal skills ensures that students are engaged in a 90% target language environment. Topics include: free-time activities, shopping, traveling by plane, and daily routines and camping. In addition, students engaged in a variety of cultural activities that are aligned with the topics of study, to prompt a deeper understanding of the language, people, and customs in a variety of Spanish speaking countries, but with an enhanced focus on Costa Rica. Assessments are rigorous and prepare students for the ultimate test of their skills: the Grade 8 Journey to Costa Rica. Students return from the journey with a new appreciation for their abilities and growth, as well as a fresh global perspective to connect with their language learning. By the end of the year, students will have completed the entire sequence of the high school Spanish 1 textbook, ¡Así se dice!
  • Visual Art

    Color is all around us and is a huge part of art. This class looks deeply into the part color plays in art and society then uses it to create original artwork. Discover how new technology and old technology can come together and make beautiful art together. Use Graphite to draw a still life and/or paint a portrait of yourself that looks realistic and stylistic at the same time. Learn about the artwork of Costa Rica and its relationship to the economy of the region then venture into the pottery studio and make something fun, or beautiful, or weird, or completely regular…just be able to identify the skill you had to learn to make it.

Excerpt from a Grade 8 Oral History Project

For questions or to schedule a campus tour, contact Middle School Admissions Associate Maddy Mancuso '05MS at 253.284.8603 or