8th Grade Academics


8th Grade English

In English 8, students explore issues that impact one’s identity and development of self. The course includes poetry components, short story components, drama plays, and reading at least four novels over the span of the academic year. Students examine the author’s craft and use of various literary devices. Vocabulary usage and study take place in the context of the literature that is read. Students practice grammar and the mechanics of writing and learn to follow the writing process. Writing assignments are analytical, narrative, and creative for a variety of purposes and audiences.  Special emphasis is placed on the development of students’ ability to analyze literature from the perspective of plot development, characterization, and theme.


8th Grade Math (sometimes skipped, can be taken as a summer camp course)

In the first semester, the students learn to multiply and divide numbers written as powers, find numbers that cannot be written as fractions, use square and cube roots, and extend their understanding from proportional to linear relationships. In the second semester, the students learn about special properties of right triangles, how to work with big and small numbers, and how to make scatter plots to analyze data.


Algebra I (often taken in 8th grade)

Symbolic reasoning and calculations with symbols are central to Algebra 1. Through the study of Algebra 1, the students develop an understanding of the symbolic language of mathematics and the sciences. In addition, algebraic skills and concepts are developed and used in a wide variety of problem-solving situations.

In Algebra 1, students write algebraic expressions, solve linear equations and simple linear systems, and graph relationships. They solve quadratic equations by factoring, completing the square, and graphically. They understand rate of change, inequalities, monomial and polynomial expressions, exponents, and functions, understanding the practical applications and real-world uses of algebra.


8th Grade U.S. History

This course is designed to introduce students to American History from its beginnings through World War I. Students will be assessed in a variety of ways, including multiple choice quizzes and tests, unit exams, short answer questions, essays, analyzing primary source documents, producing geographically relevant maps, and participating in topical discussions.

Students will also develop proper note-taking techniques and prepare them for high school social studies courses. Students will learn about historically relevant figures and events from 1492 to 1919. Students will view parts of historically significant films to give them a visual of what life was like for Americans during various time periods and an alternative way of learning about events in American history. Students will be able to make some connections from historical events over time so they have a better understanding of how the past has shaped the present.


Chinese Basic Level III

Chinese III provides for the mastery and expansion of skills acquired by students in Chinese II. All of the language skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing will be developed. There will also be a special emphasis on vocabulary development, which is key for this level. The entire course will be taught in Chinese. Students at this level should be able to fully function in a Chinese only classroom environment. There will be a range of social vocabulary units, but students will also be responsible for a literary analysis of authentic Chinese literature and poetry, as well as current Chinese essays and articles. The teacher will incorporate many aspects of traditional Chinese culture into each unit. Students will analyze and respond both orally and in writing about topics in traditional Chinese culture and how these topics might still be relevant for the world today.

After studying the Chinese III, students should be ready for AP Chinese course.


8th Grade Physical Sciences

This course serves as a middle-school introduction to the scientific method through the lens of the physical sciences: chemistry and physics. In this course, students are encouraged to expand their critical thinking skills, analyze and evaluate data, form hypotheses, and ask insightful scientific questions about the world around them. The first semester of the course covers an overview of basic chemistry with a focus on analysis of experimental results. Topics include the development of atomic theory, states of matter, the periodic table, chemical interactions, and chemistry of living systems. The second semester curriculum encompasses introductory physics and astronomy, including the Newtonian principles of motion, forces, density, and buoyancy, as well as an investigation into how these forces impact our solar system and other stars and galaxies in the universe.