Grade Eight

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• Grade Eight •
• Overview •

Eighth Grade Overview

Eighth graders burst with ideals and opinions; they offer unsolicited judgments and are eager for tests of their powers. Since the inescapable step into adolescence is the end of childhood, it is taken with varying degrees of enthusiasm. Some students do not want to give up the dreamy world of childhood. Some sense the inevitable developmental moment and face it with (relatively) mature resolve. Others are eager to get on with the adventure of life and to reach for the glittering treasures it promises. The teacher’s goal is to hold the promise and potential of the world before the minds of the students, let their hearts encompass its dreams and hopes, and help their hands reach out to its needs.

The eighth-grade year concludes with two large events. The first is a play performed by the eighth-grade class for the entire community. In earlier grades the plays have been performed for the other students and for the class parents. In eighth grade the play is an evening event with three or four performances for the extended community. In this way it takes on greater importance and includes more work on staging, props, costuming and lighting. The final event of the eighth grade year is usually the eighth-grade trip. This opportunity allows the students to build their relationships to a new level by travel and exploration of the real world together.

Eighth Grade Curriculum

Rhythm of the Day

Each day begins with Main lesson. The main subjects, such as history, language arts, science and mathematics are taught in blocks of 2 hours per day, with each block lasting from 3 to 6 or even 8 weeks long.

Depending on the teacher, the eighth grade mornings continue to include movement and speech work: handclap, beanbag, drama and movement games.

After Main lesson the children have a hearty snack (brought from home) and time to play outdoors.

The afternoon consists of subject classes including handwork, movement, french, music and art, as well as lunch (brought from home) and more time to play outdoors.

Mathematics

Eighth graders see how mathematics has served science and the fantastic development of the modern world. This is accomplished by developing further the realm of algebra including problem-solving, work with ratios and proportions, factoring and the four arithmetic processes. There is also a block concerned with three-dimensional geometry with an emphasis on the Platonic solids.

In the eighth grade, work continues in practical math, arithmetic, percentage, signed numbers, with equations of more than one unknown, measurement, number bases, set theory, area of parabolic curves, algebraic word problems, Pythagorean theorem, general quadratic equation and formula, and an introduction to statistics. A review of all phases of arithmetic and Algebra I is intended as a completion of the grade school curriculum.

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Language Arts

Reading

Several books are read by eighth graders including some which all the students read and those which are chosen by the individual student based on his or her own interests or with the guidance of the teacher. Oral and written book reports are assigned. Books are frequently used as the basis for class discussion.

Writing

The writing curriculum of eighth grade includes journaling, both free and directed. Biographical reports from the history curriculum are assigned as well as letters written from various perspectives. Compositions are written summarizing morning lesson subjects. Practice is given in narrative, descriptive, explanatory and persuasive writing.

Art

The eighth-grade year concludes with a play performed by the eighth-grade class for the entire community. In earlier grades the plays have been performed for the other students and for the class parents. In eighth grade the play is an evening event with three or four performances for the extended community. In this way it takes on greater importance and includes more work on staging, props, costuming and lighting.

Science and History

The eighth-grade science curriculum is an extension of the work begun in seventh grade. Physics continues with a more specific and detailed examination of heat, optics, acoustics, mechanics and electricity. Organic chemistry is the focus of the chemistry block, building on the seventh-grade introduction to inorganic chemistry. The physiology block focuses more on the structure of the human body including the skeleton, nervous system, reproductive system, and a completion of an exploration of the senses begun in seventh grade.

Geography lessons emphasize comparison of various areas of the earth and how human culture has adapted to those environments.

History is mostly shared through biography to show the character and ideals of people from the past meeting the challenges of their futures. The yearning of the young adolescent for freedom coupled with altruistic ideals is illuminated through exploring the philosophic flowering that brought on the revolutions of the eighteenth century. The experience of more modern events and the predictable causes of conflict between peoples enable the students to see how fragile ideals can be when tested against more narrow concerns. The curriculum covers the 1700’s to the modern day with a strong focus on American history.

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