Grade 8 Curriculum Narrative 

Social Studies
The grade curriculum begins with The War of 1812 and progresses through The Age of Jackson and continues through Manifest Destiny. The Civil War is explored in depth as well as Reconstruction of the south after the war. Westward expansion becomes the next area of discussion and then The Rise of Industry and topics such as Immigration and the emergence of business tycoons. The transition of America into an urban society including the rise of labor unions will conclude our work for the year.

Pre-Algebra continues to prepare students for high school algebra. The course also builds upon the fundamental geometry concepts presented in grade 7. The vocabulary, formulas and concepts presented provide a foundation for future mathematics.

Pre-Algebra Class Review
Percent and Problem Solving  Percent of increase or decrease  Discount  Commission  Interest Equations and inequalities  Solving equations using the distributive property and like terms  Solving equations with the variable on both sides  Using equations to solve word problems  Solving inequalities using the distributive property and like terms  Inequalities in problem solving The Coordinate Plane  Graphing ordered pairs  Graphing equations in the coordinate plane  Graphing a system of equations in the coordinate plane  Graphing inequalities in the coordinate plane Area and Volume  Area of circles and polygons  Volume of solids Applying Algebra to Right Triangles  Square roots  The Pythagorean Theorem  Similar triangles Statistics  Using graphs to picture data  Mean, median and mode  Frequency distributions

Grade 8 Algebra develops some of the symbolism and terminology that students were introduced to in Grade 7 but still need to master. Algebraic methods of solving equations and inequalities are mastered and organizing techniques for solving word problems are practiced. Curriculum includes:
Language of Algebra  Simplifying numerical and algebraic expressions  Order of operation  Evaluating algebraic expressions  Properties and axioms of equality  Operations with Integers  Solving linear equation  Problem solving Graphing  Ordered pairs  Linear equations in one variable  Linear equations in two variables  Writing the equation of a line  Using slope and y-intercept  Using two points on the line Writing the Equation of a Line  Using slope and y-intercept  Using two points on the line Exponents  Laws of exponents  Scientific notation Polynomials and Factoring  Operations with polynomials  Greatest common factor  Difference of two squares  Factoring trinomials Solving Quadratic Equation  Using factoring  Using the quadratic formula Solving Systems of Equation  Graphically  Substitution  Addition method with multiplication

Introduction to Radicals English
The eighth-grade English curriculum is composed of three main concepts: grammar, vocabulary, and writing. Each class is begun with a journal prompt exercise. The topics range from literature readings to poetry to current events to fun word challenges. The eighth-grade grammar curriculum directly coincides with Voyages in English, level 8. The lessons allow students to review, practice, refine, and master the following concepts:  Nouns  Adjectives  Pronouns  Verbs  Verbals  Adverbs  Prepositions Conjunctions and Interjections

The eighth-grade English curriculum is very writing-intensive and includes several major writing assignments with various objectives. Students write informative, narrative, persuasive or argumentative, poetic, and other styles. Vocabulary is practiced using a Vocabulary Workbook, level H from Loyola Press. Correct usage is the main focus, but spelling is practiced, as well.

The eighth-grade literature curriculum’s main focus is to practice critical thinking skills. Classic, as well as contemporary literature is explored and analyzed. Socratic Discussion is a learning tool that requires students to lead their own discussions in relation to the literature they will read. Each unit will begin with a Socratic Discussion to anticipate the moral themes and issues they will encounter. Students begin the year by discussing summer reading and progress through a short stories unit with selections from authors such as Kurt Vonnegut, Jr, Edgar Allan Poe, and Ray Bradbury. Students begin reading John Steinbeck’s novella Of Mice and Men in November. Themes such as discrimination, isolation, and loyalty are explored as students learn more about the time period of the Great Depression and its effects on people of the time. In January, students begin reading Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, a bildungsroman, or coming-of-age novel that requires students to consider racism, sexism, and justice, again within the era of the Great Depression. As this unit progresses, students are asked to look intrinsically at their identity and “Universe of Obligation,” concepts that will continue in the Holocaust unit. Following To Kill a Mockingbird, students will take an in-depth look at the Holocaust with a number of literary selections, such as The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, by John Boyne, Maus I & II, by John Boyne, and many excerpts from the Facing History and Ourselves publication Holocaust and Human Behavior. Students will think critically about the choices that made history and how they came to be. Additional activities and skills included in the eighth-grade literature curriculum are practiced, as well. Silent, sustained reading is done daily, with a book of the student’s choice. Literature Circles require students to collaborate in small groups to select and agree upon a book to read, discuss, and analyze. Many writing assignments in eighth grade English coincide directly in what is read in eighth-grade literature class, as well.

Students in eighth grade will understand God’s goodness and how God’s laws lead us to eternal happiness. They will identify and discuss the steps in making moral decisions. They will reflect on the Church’s beginnings and early growth. They will discuss and explore the Church’s mission in the world and the Church’s continuing Christ’s work on Earth. In eighth grade they will explore and understand prejudice and discrimination and how it relates to the Holocaust. This is in preparation for the eighth grade trip to Washington D.C., where they visit the U.S. Holocaust Museum.

Students will understand what living organisms are and where they come from. They will understand the structure of the tiniest part of life, the cell, and all its parts and how they work together. They will be able to explain cell processes including photosynthesis and cell respiration and how they relate to how cells reproduce through the process of mitosis and meiosis. They will distinguish how species adapt over time and how genetics and heredity have advanced over time due to the changing world and technology. They will discuss six kingdoms including bacteria, protist and fungi, plants and animals.