Middle School (6th - 8th Grade) » 8th Grade

8th Grade

8th Grade Curriculum
Curriculum follows California Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards

In Eighth Grade, students will come to understand their role of discipleship in the Church and the school community. Continuing to study the history of the New Testament and the Church, the focus will be on the Liturgical Seasons of the Church and the Acts of the Apostles. Living a moral life and commitment to their faith becomes the utmost importance in preparing our students to face the challenges of high school. Throughout the year, we will use a Family Life program.The course of study is designed to be in accordance with the Religion outcomes determined by the Diocese of San Jose.


English Language Arts
The Eighth Grade Language Arts program is designed to prepare students as they move into high school, whether private or public. Students will delve deeply into complex fiction and non-fiction literature. All genres of literature will cover the elements of each: tone, imagery, irony, theme, character development, plot, setting, author’s purpose, and summarization. Students will learn the importance of research, critical thinking, and analysis when producing a clear and cohesive written product using different media. Citing correctly to avoid plagiarism will prepare students to effectively gather relevant sources and integrate such information. Learned vocabulary and grammar mechanics will be stressed to achieve excellence in writing. A balance between the wonderful literature of whole language and the important skills of language and reading comprise the basis of our language program. Lucy Caulkins Writing Program will engage students in a variety of narrative, informative, and argumentative assignments through formal essay and research projects. Specific writing assignments will challenge students to explore social justice topics including teen activism and relevant current events that inspire the students to strive to be their best.


Complex literature and informational text will challenge the student to critically analyze events, ideas, structure, writing style of the author, point of view, and personal message. Students will work collaboratively with diverse partners to expand ideas, while learning to express their point of view effectively and persuasively. Application of the writing process, using the Lucy Calkins writing program, helps to support the student’s effort to produce an effective piece of literature or informational text across all subject areas. Online adaptive programs that differentiate for learning are also implemented to the curriculum that coordinate with the Drexel blended learning philosophy


In Eighth Grade, there are two math sections: 8th Grade Math and Algebra 1. Math instruction will focus on three critical areas: formulating and reasoning about expressions and equations; grasping the concept of a function and using a function to describe quantitative relationships; and analyzing two-and three-dimensional space and figures using distance, angle, similarity, and congruence, and understanding and applying the Pythagorean Theorem. Students will know there are numbers that are not rational and approximate them by rational numbers. They will work with radicals and integer exponents and understand the connection between proportional relationships, lines and linear equations. Eighth Grade students will define, evaluate, and compare functions and then use functions to model relationships between quantities. Students will use the Pythagorean Theorem to find distances between points on the coordinate plane, to find lengths, and to analyze polygons.


The fundamental purpose of Eighth Grade Algebra I is to formalize and extend the mathematics that students learned through the end of Seventh Grade. This course differs from High School Algebra I in that it contains content from Eighth Grade math. While coherence is retained, the additional content when compared to the high school course demands a faster pace for instruction and learning.


The critical areas deepen and extend the understanding of linear and exponential relationships by contrasting them with each other and by applying linear models to data that exhibit a linear trend. Students engage in methods for analyzing solving and using quadratic functions. In addition, these topics will introduce methods for analyzing and using quadratic functions, including manipulating expressions and solving quadratic equations. Students understand and apply the Pythagorean Theorem, and use quadratic functions to model and solve problems. The Mathematical Practice Standards applied throughout each course and together with the content standards prescribe that the students experience mathematics as a coherent, useful, and logical subject that makes use of their ability to make sense of problem solving.


In Eighth Grade, the NGSS performance expectations in life science blend the core ideas with scientific and engineering practices as well as crosscutting concepts to support students in developing usable knowledge to explain real-world phenomena in scientific terms using Stemscopes, a computer based NGSS focused curriculum program, incorporates crosscutting concepts (integration with other subjects) and Science & Engineering practices (tools and techniques). The curriculum the students are exposed to focuses on how objects move and collide, noncontact forces influence phenoma, evolution explains life’s unity and diversity, and sustaining local and global biodiversity. Within each unit of study, a general topic focus is present and stands as the key fundamental learning element. Those key focus areas are forces and motion, electricity and magnetism, earth-sun-moon system, solar system and the universe, genes and heredity, natural selection and changes over time, history of earth, waves and electromagnetic radiation, information technologies, and human impact on the environment.


Social Studies
Students in Eighth Grade study the ideas, issues, and events from the framing of the Constitution up to Reconstruction. After reviewing the development of America’s democratic institutions founded on the Judeo-Christian heritage and English parliamentary traditions, particularly the shaping of the Constitution, students trace the development of American politics, society, culture, and economy and relate them to the emergence of major regional differences. They learn about the challenges facing the new nation, with an emphasis on the causes, course, and consequences of the Civil War. They make connections between the rise of industrialization and contemporary social and economic conditions. National Geographic Learning wants students to think about the impact of their choices on themselves and others, to think critically and carefully about ideas and actions to become lifelong learners and teachers, and to advocate for the greater good as leaders in their communities. In addition, there is an emphasis on: discussion, note-taking protocol, research projects that reflect the particular area being studied, and Google presentations and other hands on projects.