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Eighth Grade Program

Eighth grade students continue their studies in language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, and healthful living. Courses in the core program are year-long.

English/Language Arts

Following the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts, eighth graders develop skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language through experience with print and digital resources. Students read a wide range of text, varying in levels of sophistication and purpose. Through print and non-print text, they further develop comprehension strategies, vocabulary, as well as high order thinking skills. They read a balance of short and long fiction, drama, and poetry with a focus on comparing how two or more literary elements create effects such as suspense or humor. Eighth graders approach informational text such as articles, arguments, and essays with the intent to cite textual evidence, analyze points of view and presentation, and evaluate accuracy and relevance of details. Experience with a variety of text types and text complexity helps students develop a knowledge-based essential for recognizing and understanding allusions.

Students learn about the writing-reading connection by drawing upon and writing about evidence from literary and informational texts. Writing skills, such as the ability to plan, revise, edit, and publish, develop as students practice skills of specific writing types such as arguments, informative/explanatory texts, and narratives. Guided by rubrics, students strategically write for a variety of purposes and audiences. Eighth graders also conduct short research projects drawing on and citing several sources appropriately.

Eighth graders hone skills of flexible communication and collaboration as they learn to work together, express and listen carefully to ideas, integrate information and use media and visual displays to help communicate ideas. Students learn language conventions and vocabulary to help them understand and analyze words and phrases, relationships among words, and nuances that affect the text they read, write, and hear. Students are encouraged to engage in daily independent reading to practice their skills and pursue their interests.

English I (for High School Credit)
English I is a required high school course that focuses on effective composition, basic grammar mechanics, vocabulary, literary terminology, short stories, plays, novels, essays, poetry, and recreational reading.

Mathematics

The Common Core State Standards for Mathematics consist of two types of standards – Standards for Mathematical Practice that span K-12 and Standards for Mathematical Content specific to each course. The Standards for Mathematical Practice rest on important “processes and proficiencies” with longstanding importance in mathematics education. They describe the characteristics and habits of mind that all students who are mathematically proficient should be able to exhibit. The eight Standards for Mathematical Practice are:

  1. Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
  2. Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
  3. Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
  4. Model with mathematics.
  5. Use appropriate tools strategically.
  6. Attend to precision.
  7. Look for and make use of structure.
  8. Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.

The Standards for Mathematical Content in Grades 6 – 8 are organized under domains:
The Number System, Ratios and Proportional Relationships, Functions, Expressions and Equations, Geometry, and Statistics and Probability.

Math 8

The foci of Common Core Math 8 are outlined below by domain:

  • The Number System: Know that there are numbers that are not rational, and approximate them by rational numbers.
  • Expressions and Equations: Work with radicals and integer exponents; understand the connections between proportional relationships, lines, and linear equations; analyze and solve linear equations and pairs of simultaneous linear equations.
  • Geometry: Understand congruence and similarity using physical models, transparencies, or geometry software; understand and apply the Pythagorean Theorem; solve real-world and mathematical problems involving volume of cylinders, cones and spheres.
  • Statistics and Probability: Investigate patterns of association in bivariate data.
  • Functions: Define, evaluate, and compare functions; use functions to model relationships between quantities.

Math I (for High School Credit)
The Common Core Math I course offered in middle school is a compacted course comprised of a portion of the Common Core Math 8 standards and all of the Common Core Math I standards. This course deepens and extends understanding of linear relationships, in part by contrasting them with exponential and quadratic phenomena, and in part by applying linear models to data that exhibit a linear trend. In addition to studying bivariate data, students also summarize, represent, and interpret data on a single count or measurement variable. The Geometry standards that appear in this course formalize and extend students’ geometric experiences to explore more complex geometric situations and deepen their explanations of geometric relationships, moving towards formal mathematical arguments. The Standards for Mathematical Practice apply throughout the course and, together with the content standards, require that students experience mathematics as a coherent, useful, and logical subject that makes use of their ability to make sense of problem situations. This course fulfills the North Carolina high school graduation requirement for Common Core Math I. The final exam is the NC Math I End-of-Course test and it will be averaged as 25% of the overall grade for the course.

Please note that: Except in extraordinary circumstances as outlined by the state, students will not be able to withdraw from this class after the 20th day of school.

Science

The North Carolina Science Essential Standards were developed with the ultimate goal of assisting students in seeing how science directly relates to their lives and the larger human population. There is a shift of emphasis from content specific objective science to science processes, with a great emphasis on the thinking skills used in problem solving. Student engagement in scientific investigation provides background for understanding the nature of scientific inquiry. In addition, the science process skills necessary for inquiry are acquired through active experience. The process skills support development of reasoning and problem-solving ability and the core of scientific methodologies.

By the end of this course, the students will be able to:

  • Understand the hydrosphere and the impact of humans on local systems and the effects of the hydrosphere on humans.
  • Understand the history of Earth and its life forms based on evidence of change recorded in fossil records and landforms.
  • Understand the hazards caused by agents of diseases that affect living organisms.
  • Understand how biotechnology is used to affect living organisms.
  • Understand how organisms interact with and respond to the biotic and abiotic components of their environment.
  • Understand the evolution of organisms and landforms based on evidence, theories and processes that impact the Earth over time.
  • Understand the composition of various substances as it relates to their ability to serve as a source of energy and building materials for growth and repair of organisms.
  • Understand the properties of matter and changes that occur when matter interacts in an open and closed system.
  • Explain the environmental implications associated with the various methods of obtaining, managing, and using energy resources.

Earth/Environmental Science(For High School Credit)
Earth/Environmental Science is the study of the earth, the universe, and how it relates to society and technology. The course is composed of four areas:
Geology– the study of the earth’s structure, processes, history, and formation; Oceanography– the study of the oceans; Astronomy– the study of the universe; and Meteorology– the study of atmosphere. Classes include lecture,labs,and other activities.

Social Studies

Historical study connects students to the enduring themes and issues of our past and equips them to meet the challenges they will face as citizens in a state, nation and an interdependent world. Pursuant to the passage of House Bill 1032 An Act Modifying the History and Geography Curricula in the Public Schools of North Carolina, the new essential standards for eighth grade will integrate United States history with the study of North Carolina history. This integrated study helps students understand and appreciate the legacy of our democratic republic and to develop skills needed to engage responsibly and intelligently as North Carolinians. This course will serve as a stepping stone for more intensive study in high school. Students in eighth grade will continue to build on the fourth and fifth grade introductions to North Carolina and the United States by embarking on a more rigorous study of the historical foundations and democratic principles that continue to shape our state and nation. Students will begin with a review of the major ideas and events preceding the foundation of North Carolina and the United States. The main focus of the course will be the critical events, personalities, issues, and developments in the state and nation from the Revolutionary Era to contemporary times. Inherent in this study is an analysis of the relationship of geography, events and people to the political, economic, technological, and cultural developments that shaped our existence in North Carolina and the United States over time.

Healthful Living

Healthful Living is required for all 8th grade students and includes health education and physical education. These two courses complement each other as students learn how to be healthy and physically active for a lifetime. Because our health and physical fitness needs are so different from a generation ago, the nature of healthful living is changing. Poor health choices (i.e., use of alcohol and other drugs, poor nutrition, and physical inactivity) now account for more than 50% of the preventable deaths in the United States.

Through a quality healthful living education program, students will learn the importance of health and physical activity and develop skills to achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Students will learn how to apply the concepts of proper exercise in their daily lives, discover ways to handle stress, avoid harmful and illegal drugs, learn about the relationship between nutrition and weight management, develop healthy interpersonal relationships (including conflict resolution skills), develop teamwork and character-building skills, and learn how to achieve positive health and fitness goals.

In eighth grade, students will identify how media and peer pressure influence health behaviors, identify positive ways to manage stress, explain how to gain, reduce or maintain weight in a healthy manner, demonstrate skills and strategies for remaining abstinent from sexual intercourse, and demonstrate good communication skills for healthy relationships. Students will demonstrate basic CPR skills, understand the special risks associated with alcohol and other drugs, understand the negative impact (emotional, social, and physical) of using harmful and illegal drugs, and assist others to seek help for risky behaviors. Students will explain the principles of cardiovascular and strength conditioning, develop a personal fitness program, establish personal fitness goals and monitor their progress, participate in regular physical activity both in school and during non-school hours, display advanced sport movements through the engagement in dual, team, and lifetime sports. Students will work cooperatively to follow rules and exhibit safe practices while achieving individual and group fitness-related goals through fair play and sportsmanship. CPR instruction is presented as part of the 8th grade Health curriculum. Beginning with the graduating class of 2015 (current 8th graders and beyond), successful completion of CPR instruction is a high school graduation requirement for all North Carolina students. Successful completion is defined in the Essential Standards Curriculum as “demonstrating basic CPR techniques and procedures on a mannequin and passing a Red Cross or American Heart Association approved test of CPR skills.” Students who successfully complete CPR in 8th grade are considered to have met the requirement.

Because of the nature of health education, discussion may include sensitive topics. By contacting the school’s teacher and principal, parents may request to view taught curriculum. Additionally, parents may request in writing that their child be excluded from certain health topics owing to personal/religious beliefs.

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