English language and literature are the two components of Language Arts. The English component stresses vocabulary development, grammar, and the process of writing with a focus on response-to-literature essays. Students will learn to prepare written work in accordance with Modern Language Association (MLA) style guidelines. Students in eighth grade are encouraged to analyze literature, both in terms of how the writer employs literary devices as well as the study of plot and characterization as a means of understanding the human condition. Our study of literature will include novels, short stories, poetry, and plays. A variety of oral and written projects and presentations will allow students to develop their skills and demonstrate their knowledge.
Eighth grade focuses on the history of the United States of America. Beginning with the birth of the nation, including the American Revolution, the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and the passage of the Constitution. The rest of the course covers: the development of political parties, early domestic and foreign policies, the plight of the Native Americans, domestic reform movements, the Industrial Revolution, westward expansion, slavery and the Civil War, Reconstruction, the Progressive Era, and later foreign policies with Latin America and Europe prior to Word War I. Within each chapter, specific skills are introduced, continually practiced, and tested. These skills include, but are not limited to: understanding sequence; interpreting maps, graphs, and charts; analyzing cause and effect; evaluating summaries, and judging the validity and reliability of primary and secondary sources and other historical evidence.
All students in eighth grade are required to take algebra. Mastering algebra is an essential skill toward success in future mathematical courses. Students will become proficient in solving equations and inequalities, graphing linear equations, and problem solving. Polynomials, quadratic equations, algebraic fractions and systems of equations, are the concepts that will be introduced and practiced. Writing of mathematics is integrated into the curriculum on a regular and ongoing basis.
Eighth grade religion offers students an opportunity to examine and deepen their faith lives through discussions, reflection, and an active and thoughtful questioning process. With a respect for all religious traditions and openness to the ideas of others, students explore the possibility of developing a real and personal relationship with God. Students also investigate and debate relevant moral and social issues within a Christian framework and complete a course of study on family life. In addition, eighth grade students study early frameworks of Catholic history.
The students study a variety of Science topics. First, they start with Unit 0: Think like an Engineer, this will remind them of the questing focus we carry through all science units. Next they move into Unit 1: Light and Matter, Unit 2: Chemical Reactions and Matter Transfer after this, Unit 3: Chemical Reactions and Energy, Unit 4: Contact Forces, Unit 5: Sound Waves and finally, Unit 6: Forces at a distance. Students also undertake their final Science Fair Project that they start in October and complete by mid January.