This traditional high school algebra course reviews topics covered in Pre-Algebra before making the transition from the concrete to the abstract concepts of algebra. Basic skill building leads into critical thinking to strengthen problem-solving abilities. Throughout, attention is drawn to real-life connections and geometric applications. Algebraic topics covered include linear functions, inequalities, systems of equations and inequalities, exponential functions, polynomials and factoring, quadratic functions, and rational and radical functions. The TI-83/84 Plus and online Desmos graphing calculators are introduced to reinforce the link between abstract concepts and visual representation.
American Sign Language
This is a continuation of the introductory course of American Sign Language (ASL). Students in this course will continue to explore Deaf history, Deaf culture, and current events in the Deaf community. Students begin to learn the grammatical structure of ASL as well as idiomatic expressions and the use of lexicalized words. Students begin to learn written ASL Gloss. Emphasis is made in the areas of facial expression, use of sign space, and role shifting.
The text used is A Basic Course in American Sign Language (T.J. Publishers, Inc.
In Grade 8, the art program builds on the skills honed throughout Middle School art, preparing students for the Upper School program. More complex subject matter, media and applications are explored through experimentation. The students discover imaginative and creative solutions to visual problems. Importance is placed on realism and the use of abstract and geometric elements in art through various projects. A variety of two and three-dimensional projects are explored through advanced drawing and painting techniques as well as methods that can include collage, ceramics, printmaking, and sculpture.
Students bring their instrument and begin developing technical skills including music notation and tone production using an introductory band method. They study and perform a variety of new and familiar compositions. Technique, music theory, and ensemble playing are important components of this course. Private lessons are recommended. Practicing at home is mandatory for the development of skills.
Grade 8 ceramics builds on the skills honed throughput Middle School art, preparing students for the Upper School ceramics program. This course gives students the opportunity to explore, in more depth, three-dimensional form-making, sculpture, and ceramic-specific techniques. During the course, students learn basic and advanced hand-building, modeling, and glazing techniques. Importance is placed on visualization, imagination, and construction of both functional and non-functional art objects.
This elective allows students to participate in a choral ensemble that focuses on the development of vocal skills and musicianship. Students learn and perform music that is aesthetically pleasing to the age group and simultaneously develops various aspects of choral singing. Musicianship is developed through concepts of notation, phrasing, and dynamics. Sight reading skills are honed through notation exercises that incorporate Solfége syllables. Rehearsals consist of vocal warm-ups, singing choral repertoire in two- and three-parts, and musicianship-building activities.
Students are encouraged to explore, plan, create, test, evaluate and build innovation skills. Curriculum is structured to include game design, coding, 3D design, image editing, technology news, and the design process. Students create multiple projects to stretch their creativity, collaboration, critical thinking and communication skills. In addition, students design, edit and print 3D projects using Tinkercad software, explore animation and video editing. This elective class meets each semester, four times per week.
Students in Grade 8 English continue to hone their skills as writers. Through daily and long-term assignments, students reinforce and expand their understanding of writing as a process that involves various purposes. Students have conferences with the teacher on their essays and formal research paper, with an emphasis on the assessment of complexity and variation of sentence structure, as well as on the development and analysis of a thesis. Moreover, students continue to develop a writing style and proper use of tone.They also write poetry and short stories, highlighting creative skills; teachers enter students’ poems and short stories into national contests for publication. On a weekly basis, students receive instruction in grammar, word usage, and mechanics. The “Become an Expert” Project is also part of this course. It is an opportunity for all students to research topics, issues or people of interest on an informal basis. Following three months of research, students present their findings to their classes in the form of PowerPoints, videos, timelines, and/or demonstrations. The topics include historical events, current events, perspectives from various cultures, art/literature study, and many more.
Prerequisite: Algebra 1
This course is designed to help students discover, learn, and apply geometry. Students use inductive reasoning to discover and to explore geometric postulates and theorems. Logical thinking is developed and practiced. Real-world applications encourage students to see the practical value of geometry. There are numerous opportunities to review and to use algebraic concepts. Topics covered include parallels, congruent triangles, similar figures and proportions, right triangles and introductory trigonometry, circles, area and volume, and coordinate geometry.
This Guitar elective is designed to teach basic guitar skills while incorporating general music concepts. Using a variety of student appropriate repertoire, including current popular and rock songs, students will engage with theory concepts such as note reading and identifying intervals of notation. This knowledge will be applied to learning to play triads and major scales. Through the use of the Pentatonic and Blues Scales, students will discover various methods of improvising music on the guitar. Students will also be challenged to become strong sight-readers as they are drilled on eighth note rhythms and easy syncopated patterns. Above all, each guitarist will learn a variety of chord strumming styles including Rock, Blues, Folk and Classical.
The Healthy Choices class is once a week during alternating semesters for the 7th and 8th grade students. During the semester, the following overarching themes are covered in an age appropriate manner: Identity/Self-Esteem, Healthy Relationships, Sex and Sexuality, Social Media & Digital Safety. Through hands on activities, discussions, and role plays, students learn to recognize ways they can value and care for themselves, others, and the community. A key part of the class is a focus on empathy, decision-making and communication. The themes and content of the course reinforce activities that take place during advisory time and community meetings, as well as focus on our P.R.I.D.E. system and monthly Skills and Attributes.
This course is a continuation of the Latin foundations established in grade 7. Students continue to interact with Latin mostly through listening and reading but will also begin to build up their Latin writing skills in a more formal context. Students will develop their reading skills, improve their knowledge of Latin and English vocabulary, and make additional connections to other languages and cultures. Teacher- and student-selected texts will be read and discussed in class, but most stories will be personalized and student-centered. Students will create and read their stories with the help of the teacher using several storytelling techniques. Additionally, students will utilize Latin novellas to help build reading proficiency. The goal of the program is for students to communicate in Latin about the history, geography, culture, mythology, and daily life of the Romans and ancient Mediterranean world.
Building on the skills acquired in Grade 7, students in Grade 8 further their study of complex literature. Students continue the practice of identifying main ideas, sequencing, synthesizing information, paraphrasing, writing characterizations, and analyzing themes. They read about social, political, historical, and individual identities; occasionally, they explore articles, essays and films to enhance interpretations. In class discussions, students are encouraged to ponder and question these ideas as they begin identifying their personal philosophies and standards. As students read independently to broaden their knowledge of literature, they are encouraged to become lifelong readers. In addition to classic short stories and poetry, class texts may include: The Light in the Forest, The Pearl, Of Mice and Men, Inherit the Wind, The Giver, and Nothing But the Truth.
Grade 8 students receive daily, 40 minute, Physical Education in classes that focus on learning new skills and strategies, strengthening previously acquired athletic skills, and developing skills in problem-solving, conflict resolution and cooperation. The students rotate through a variety of sport related units such as soccer, volleyball, football, basketball, hockey as well as group related activities. The basic skills of these sports and activities are practiced and incorporated into small group games and full class scrimmages. Additionally, students learn the basic strategies associated with many games. A strong component of PE class is acquiring self confidence as well as learning to play on a team. The PE staff ensures activities are engaging and worthwhile for students to learn important sports/fitness fundamentals that will carry on for the rest of their lives. Students receive health education one class period per week. Facilities at the Middle School level include an indoor gymnasium, a multipurpose room, a large outdoor grass field and blacktop space for students to use daily.
The course, following the JUMP Math series, covers the background required for Upper School level work in algebra and geometry, but it is acknowledged that not all students will master this background in one year. Topics include integers, variables, functions, coordinate planes, rational numbers, proportions, percents, and graphs. The course emphasizes the symbolic language of mathematics and encourages the transition from concrete to abstract thinking through the use of algebra to solve problems involving equations and inequalities.
Students will design, build, code, test, and debug a robot, using the EV3 Education kit. They will code using the EV3G icon based programming language to control the robots motors, light sensor, touch sensors, and GPS sensor. Their goal will be to create a competitive robot for the FIRST FLL contest. Provided they complete the robot in time, students will attend the contest and meet with the judges, sharing their mission solution, volunteer work, team collaboration, and strategies.
Grade 8 Science explores topics such as properties of matter, physical and chemical changes, elements, compounds, atomic theory, chemical reactions, forces, motion, work, energy, sound, and light. Students will continue developing science concepts using the scientific method during class activities, lab assignments, and independent projects. In particular, they will design a STEAM fair project to be presented. Students will improve on science skills including but not limited to observing, interpreting data, designing experiments, writing lab reports, problem solving and scientific writing. In addition, students will examine and analyze current events in science.
This course continues to provide structural and grammatical progression through new topics and situation-based activities that integrate cultural aspects of the Spanish-speaking world. Emphasis is given to the four language skills: listening comprehension, speaking,reading and writing. During this course, information on customs throughout the Spanish-speaking world is presented to help students develop a deeper appreciation of other cultures. Students acquire a solid foundation in the structure of language and vocabulary, using their advancing skills for understanding and expressing new details from everyday situations.
Students enrolled in Grades 7 and 8 String Ensemble use the knowledge they have acquired on their instruments to play together as a group. There is an emphasis on sight-reading and playing in three or four parts. Rehearsals consist of scales and technique work, applying music reading skills to playing new music, and working in detail on the more demanding pieces.
In this course, students will examine many components of American history, including economics, government, culture and geography. The class begins with a study of the effects of geography on Native American culture and the motivation of early European explorers. Students then examine European settlement of the Americas and the subsequent discord between Americans and Great Britain. In the second semester, students investigate the process by which America became an independent country with a federal system of government, before learning about American westward expansion and the causes of the Civil War. Throughout the year, students will develop research skills to create and present projects that demonstrate their comprehension of the material. The class employs written documents, photographs, artwork, and film to aid student understanding of US history and how it affects American society today.