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Eighth Grade Curriculum

Language Arts:

The emphasis in eighth-grade language arts is to continue to develop students’ abilities to read, comprehend, and effectively respond to increasingly complex literary texts. Class novel studies, combined with a focused independent reading program, further develop comprehension and analytical skills, as well as an advanced vocabulary and a deeper understanding of grammar and sentence structure. Class literature studies include The Book Thief, Fahrenheit 451, and To Kill a Mockingbird, as well as a unit on short stories written by great authors such as Mark Twain, O. Henry, Guy Maupassant, Langston Hughes, and Shirley Jackson. Students engage in literary analysis and debate, and they write critically about the readings using structured essay formats. Also, students write informational texts, speeches, and narratives. A rigorous vocabulary and grammar program are integrated within the novel studies and written work.
 

Social Studies:

Eighth-grade social studies encompasses an in-depth study of the early history of the United States where students will use skills of historical and geographical analysis to understand ideas and events that strengthened our nation. Each unit of study is presented in chronological sequence with particular emphasis on democratic ideals, immigration and migration, citizenship and the personal character traits of each president. The year of study begins with the creation of the Constitution and George Washington's presidency and ends with the 1920s. This course is designed to give students a better understanding of and a greater appreciation for the major movements and concepts that have characterized the United States while making thoughtful connections to the modern world.

Science:

Eighth-grade science focuses on the study of chemistry and forensics. This laboratory science course investigates the composition of matter and the physical and chemical changes it undergoes. Students use science process skills to study the fundamental structure of atoms; the way atoms combine to form compounds and the interactions between matter and energy. The students will also learn physics where a strong emphasis in mathematics is taught. The final unit of the eighth-grade year is in the area of forensics. Students learn the science behind how crimes are solved, including fingerprinting, investigating differences in “white” powders and studying characteristics of lip prints and teeth impressions. As a culminating activity, students will investigate a mock crime scene where they will apply their knowledge and skills to solve a mystery. Students continue to strengthen their lab reports skills and utilize a high school level textbook in preparation for advanced science coursework in high school.

Mathematics:

Eighth-grade students are enrolled in either Pre-Algebra, Algebra or Geometry:

Pre-Algebra:

This course centers on reinforcing and expanding the mathematical skills taught in general mathematics with additional advanced computation, with an emphasis on Algebraic concepts. A major goal of this course is to use beginning algebra to compute with positive and negative exponents, simplify monomials, simplify expressions, solve equations and inequalities, and utilize both algebra and graphing as a representation of linear functions and systems of equations. Students will additionally further develop and solidify the concepts of integers, rational numbers, ratios, proportions, percents, powers, roots, statistics and probability. Students will also be introduced to congruence, similarity, and transformations in the coordinate plane, as well as extending their knowledge of volume and surface area. Students will develop and expand problem-solving skills, both creatively and analytically, to solve word problems and apply it to real-world applications.

Algebra:

The Algebra curriculum allows students to make connections, discover relationships, figure out what strategies can be used to solve problems, and explain their thinking. Students are challenged to develop 21st-century skills such as critical thinking and making real life connections while engaging with exciting material within STEM related fields. The curriculum is aligned with the Common Core standards, emphasizing a depth of mathematical reasoning skills. Students will learn to write and simplify algebraic expressions, perform all operations with integers, solve equations and inequalities, radical functions, exponential functions, quadratic expressions and polynomials. Algebra students will also cover a unit on Geometry, Trigonometry and Data Analysis.

Geometry:

The primary objective of Geometry is to develop concepts and skills to construct informal as well as formal algebraic and logical arguments and proofs in a Geometry setting. Students will develop analytical and spatial reasoning. Topics include geometric notation; reasoning and proof; parallel and perpendicular lines; congruent triangles; angle and side relationships within triangles; quadrilaterals; proportions; similarity; transformations; symmetry; circles; area; surface area; volume; and probability as it relates to measurement. Also included is a study of basic Right Triangle Trigonometry, and additionally, non-right triangles utilizing the Laws of Sines and Cosines. Spherical geometry and vectors will be introduced as well. Students will use their knowledge from Algebra 1 to solve problems and make connections between Algebra and Geometry in the coordinate plane.

Spanish:

This class is a culmination of three years of learning and is designed to prepare students for high school Spanish. Units of study include family and food where students will engage in projects that demonstrate proficiency in the use of possessive adjectives, the preterite tense, stem-changing verbs and informal commands. Many students graduate from Pardes and easily enter into advanced level Spanish classes.

Jewish Studies:

Eighth graders continue to learn about major historical events. The study of the Holocaust includes a meeting with a Holocaust survivor. Moreover, students look at the events that followed the Holocaust and how this atrocity impacted the American and Israeli Jewish communities. The students also learn about the establishment of Israel and the events that shaped the face of the new nation. Through debates and presentations, the eighth graders are engaged in discussing Israel’s political and social issues.

Hebrew:

Eighth graders use an advanced unit of the Chaverim B’Ivrit reading series. This curriculum is based on the most current understanding of language acquisition in children. Chaverim B'Ivrit develops active language production in children by treating Hebrew as a living language. Through age-appropriate stories, conversations, poems, songs, journals, and many other child-centered activities, this unique curriculum pays special attention to the beyond-the-classroom interests and needs of students, allowing learners to transfer and apply their learning in new contexts and situations. Moreover, Pardes students learn about Jewish values and holidays using modern Hebrew reading, writing and conversational skills that are enhanced each unit.