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Eighth Grade Curriculum Overview

Language Arts 
In eighth grade language arts, students will read independently for extended periods of time using ever-increasing complex texts. They will analyze texts thinking about literary devices and elements that the author uses to create meaning using the list identified by the high school teachers. They will further identify and evaluate central ideas and theme, perspective, characterization, and author’s use of imagery, symbolism, motif, and other forms of figurative language.
Students will analyze the meanings of complex words by using their knowledge of roots and affixes, as well as assigned academic vocabulary. Additionally, students will work on grammar through focused, intentional study and use. Vocabulary and grammar will be taught through direct instruction, practice, and integration in writing.
In eighth grade, students will hone their prewriting strategy skills based on specific audiences and/or purposes. They will revise their work using collaboration, conferring, and self-evaluation. They will edit for language conventions such as syntax and word usage. Students will develop skills in writing for various formats, including expressive and informational pieces. There is an emphasis on research and essay writing.
The mathematics curriculum is organized into five strands: (1) number and operations; (2) measurement; (3) geometry; (4) data analysis and probability; and, (5) algebra. Problem-solving strategies are embedded into each of the 5 strands.
The students are placed into ability levels - Pre-Algebra, Algebra or Geometry.
• The Pre-Algebra class is designed to provide students with a balanced approach to mathematics; including: conceptual understanding, procedural fluency, strategic competence, and adaptive reasoning skills. The ability to think from the concrete to the abstract is stressed. The basics from the previous years are now put into application with higher-level order thinking.
• In the Algebra class, students experience an articulated, coherent sequence of content that incorporates the student's knowledge from the previous grades. Students use multiple representations to communicate conceptual understanding. The content moves from concrete thought to abstract thinking, preparing the student for the higher levels of mathematics in high school.
• In the Geometry class, students study the properties and applications of both two- and three-dimensional geometric figures. Students will also learn how to use reasoning and logic to formulate direct proofs using geometric postulates and theorems. Some examples of topics covered in this course include: learning the precise definitions of geometric terms, drawing formal constructions, analyzing relationships within and between triangles, applying trigonometry to triangles, proving properties of quadrilaterals, finding equations of circles, calculating the perimeter, area, and volume of polygons, analyzing and drawing transformations of figures, and describing probability events. Algebra concepts from the previous year (such as creating and solving equations, quadratic formula, radical expressions, systems of equations, slope, distance, midpoint, polynomials equations) are reintroduced and reinforced. This is a fast paced course that is delivered at a tenth grade honors level.
Social Studies
Students learn about the history of North Carolina in the larger context of United States history. We analyze geographic, political, economic and social aspects of life in the United States from 1455 through the Civil War and Reconstruction. Our American Revolution Unit is comprised of learning the preamble, writing a research paper, and making a full-size portrait of a hero. These are some of the components that make up each unit as we study our state's place in the world. We also keep up with current events and how they are impacting our everyday world.
This course brings students through the North Carolina Standard Course of Study for Physical Science. The year is divided into two parts: Physics (motion, energy, machines, heat, waves, sound, light, and electricity) and Chemistry (atoms, elements, metals, nonmetals, radioactivity, compounds, mixtures, solutions, suspensions, pH, chemical formulas and reactions). The scientific method will be reviewed and applied throughout many investigative labs. This course is designed to help students make a successful transition to high school, therefore, the pace and makeup of the class will often be that of a high school class. In addition to the Physical Science curriculum, each student will participate in our school’s annual Science Fair. Students will conduct research on a topic of their choosing, formulate a hypothesis, design an experiment, analyze results, create data tables and graphs, and discuss conclusions. Student will type a formal research paper and create a display board for the Science Fair that takes place in March.
Students will take their knowledge of the Old and New Testament, and see it unfold in the Catholic tradition, from the history, and beginnings of the Catholic Church. Seeing and reflecting on Adoration, Catholic Social Teaching, Vocations, and vital doctrine of the Catholic Faith.
In this course, students will continue to examine the culture of the Spanish speaking world. They will also learn about the similarities and differences of our cultures. Topics include: friends (likes and dislikes), the school (classroom items and furniture), food, hobbies (leisure activities and places), the family and celebrations, the restaurant and ordering meals, the house and household chores, clothing and shopping (numbers, places to shop, gifts), vacation (places and activities). Resources include: Spanish language textbook: Realidades Level 1, worksheets/handouts, teacher prepared materials and audio-visual aids.
Students will use critical and creative thinking skills to solve artistic problems. Students will explore advanced techniques with various art materials. They will study styles and periods of art and produce work using various styles such as Impressionism, Cubism, and Surrealism. They will also explore art careers and one-point perspective. Students will use appropriate art terminology to describe their feelings about art, and evaluate it in terms of its weaknesses and merits.
In eighth grade, all previous knowledge of performance, posture, and history are used to prepare students for the high school setting. Rhythmic, Note Reading, Music Theory, and performance concepts are prepared for the high school level. Students will study the beginnings of popular and mass-marketed music beginning in 1890. Students will begin to develop higher level music theory concepts and applications, and apply them weekly in the classroom. There will be a performance in the Christmas Musical, as well as 2-3 student let masses.
Although the acquisition of physical fitness and skill development is important, emphasis is placed more on participation for enjoyment and challenge, both in and out of school. Understanding the need to remain physically active throughout life by participating in enjoyable lifetime activities is the basis for eighth grade instruction.
Technology/STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math)
In the STEM program, eighth grade students take a STEM class that is focused on building problem solving skills and engineering concepts. Science and math concepts from other classes are also closely integrated into the hands on projects students do within the STEM class. Different forms of engineering are examined as students complete projects independently and in groups. Students will develop skills in problem solving, inquiry based learning, collaborating, and real world application using technology.
In February, eighth grade students participate in Model UN, hosted by Bishop McGuinness. Over 150 students arrive on campus for the day, ready to debate and caucus, to figure out world problems. It is an amazing opportunity for our students.
The eighth grade class trip is to Washington, D.C., for four days in the spring. We visit museums and other sites important to our country, as well as, make special memories before we send our students off to high school.