8th Grade Curriculum

Eighth Grade Curriculum Overview

English/Language Arts
Eighth grade students use oral language, written language, and other media and technology for expressive, informational, argumentative, critical, and literary purposes. They continue to refine their study of language and grammar in order to speak and write effectively. Although emphasis in eighth grade is placed on using information for a specific task, students also:

  • Express individual perspectives through analysis and personal response.

  • Refine understanding and use of argument.

  • Critically analyze print and non-print communication.

  • Use effective sentence construction and edit for improvements in sentence formation, usage, mechanics, and spelling.

  • Interpret and evaluate a wide range of literature.

Teaching in the argumentative environment does not end after the State Writing Assessment. Students in Grade 8 continue to evaluate argumentative works with more sophistication. Instruction focuses on identifying the social context of argumentative works; understanding counter argument; and, by judging the effectiveness of tone, style and the use of language. In other words, students learn to use language to convince or persuade an audience. Students will use these skills as they prepare research presentations that are a major focus in Grade 8.

Students in the middle grades represent real numbers using manipulative, pictures, number lines, and symbols in a variety of contexts. Relationships among rational numbers are explored and equivalence among fractions, decimals, and percents is recognized and explained. Students extend their understanding of place value to decimal and scientific notation and use the properties of real numbers, including zero, one, and inverses. Numerical comparisons are expressed as ratios and rates and problems are solved using ratio, proportion, and percent.
Students develop fluency in computation with rational numbers as well as with relationships among numbers, including primes, composites, factors, and multiples. They explain exponents and square and cube roots of numbers, develop skills with estimation and mental computation, and use calculators appropriately.

Major concepts and skills in Grade 8 include:

  • Real numbers

  • Linear functions

  • Pythagorean theorem, indirect measurement

  • Scatterplots

  • Slope

  • Equations and inequalities

  • Solving relevant and authentic problems using appropriate technology and applying these concepts

Social Studies
Eighth grade students examine the roles of people, events, and issues in North Carolina history that have contributed to the unique character of the state today. Building on the fourth grade introduction, the time frame for this course emphasizes revolutionary to contemporary times. The organization is primarily chronological and reference is made to the key national phenomena that impacted North Carolina throughout these periods. Although the value and methods of historical study as a way of learning about people are stressed, key concepts of geography, civics, and economics are incorporated throughout the course for a fuller understanding of the significance of the people, events, and issues. Inherent to the study of North Carolina history is a continuing examination of local, state, and national government structures.

Learners will study natural and technological systems. All goals should focus on the unifying concepts of science defined by the National Science Education Standards: Systems, Order, and Organization; Evidence, Models, and Explanation; Constancy, Change, and Measurement; Evolution and Equilibrium; and Form and Function. The skills of inquiry and technological design are targeted for mastery.
The concepts for which in-depth studies should be designed at 8th grade level include:

  • Scientific Inquiry

  • Technological Design

  • Hydrosphere

  • Chemistry

  • Evolution

  • Cell Theory

Health/Physical Education
Eighth grade students are instructed on the health-related benefits of health and physical activity and how these benefits can be acquired and maintained.

Major focuses in 8th grade include:

  • Behaviors related to health risks

  • Accepting responsibility for personal behavior

  • CPR and Heimlich maneuver

  • Awareness of global environmental health issues

  • Body image

  • Potential impact of substance abuse

  • Relationships between physical activity, nutrition, and body management

  • The purpose for sports, dance, activity and gymnastics in modern society

  • Consequences of behavior

  • Critical elements of movement

  • Monitoring heart rate

  • Fair play and sportsmanship

  • Working cooperatively

Computer/Technology Skills
The strength of technology is that it provides an excellent platform where students can collect information in multiple formats and then organize, link, and discover relationships between facts and events. An array of tools for acquiring information and for thinking and expression allows more students more ways to enter the learning enterprise successfully and to live productive lives in the global, digital, and information-based future they all face.

The focus for 8th grade Computer/Technology Skills includes:

  • Responsible and safe use of online resources

  • Using Copyright and Fair Use Guidelines

  • Using spreadsheets and databases relevant to classroom assignments

  • Choosing charts/tables or graphs to best represent data

  • Conducting online research and evaluating the information found

  • Using word processing/desktop publishing for classroom assignments/projects

  • Selecting and using a variety of technological tools to develop projects in content areas

Prior to completion of Grade 8, students will:

  1. Apply strategies for identifying and solving routine hardware and software problems that occur during everyday use. (1)

  2. Demonstrate knowledge of current changes in information technologies and the effect those changes have on the workplace and society. (2)

  3. Exhibit legal and ethical behaviors when using information and technology, and discuss consequences of misuse. (2)

  4. Use content-specific tools, software, and simulations (e.g., environmental probes, graphing calculators, exploratory environments, Web tools) to support learning and research. (3)

  5. Apply productivity/multimedia tools and peripherals to support personal productivity, group collaboration, and learning throughout the curriculum. (3, 6)

  6. Design, develop, publish, and present products (e.g., Web pages, videotapes) using technology resources that demonstrate and communicate curriculum concepts to audiences inside and outside the classroom. (4, 5, 6)

  7. Collaborate with peers, experts, and others using telecommunications and collaborative tools to investigate curriculum-related problems, issues, and information, and to develop solutions or products for audiences inside and outside the classroom. (4, 5)

  8. Select and use appropriate tools and technology resources to accomplish a variety of tasks and solve problems. (5, 6)

  9. Demonstrate an understanding of concepts underlying hardware, software, and connectivity, and of practical applications to learning and problem solving. (1, 6)

  10. Research and evaluate the accuracy, relevance, appropriateness, comprehensiveness, and bias of electronic information sources concerning real-world problems