8th Grade Curriculum

8th Grade Language Arts

Middle School Language Arts consists of three consecutive years of intense reading, writing, vocabulary study, and grammar work.

Classic novels such as JOHNNY TREMAIN, TOM SAWYER, THE INCREDIBLE JOURNEY, and TREASURE ISLAND are studied as well as a selection of contemporary ones (for ex., MIDDLE SCHOOL IS WORSE THAN MEATLOAF, the BOY AT WAR series, LYDDIE, THE WATSONS GO TO BIRMINGHAM, THE LIGHTNING THIEF, CHILDREN OF THE LAMP, HOW ANGEL PETERSON GOT HIS NAME, THE MYSTERY AT BLACKBEARD’S COVE .) New titles are selected every year. Students explore poetry both by writing their own with the teacher’s guidance and by studying such classics as “Paul Revere’s Ride , “Lochinvar , and “The Lady of Shallott . 8th graders analyze at least one of Shakespeare’s plays – MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM and/orROMEO AND JULIET– both in Shakespeare’s original language.

Literature comes alive with activities such as a visit to Mark Twain’s home in Hartford, a “working  field trip to Slater Mill, a highly competitive annual scavenger hunt at Mystic Seaport, walking Boston’s Freedom Trail, and the 8th graders  Shakespearean presentations! In the summer, 6th graders can attend the RI Fencing Academy, 7th graders can sail aboard the schooner “Adirondack  in Newport Harbor, and 8th graders are able to assume the role of an archaeologist at the Meshantucket Pequod Museum. These adventures are just three of the experiences directly related to one of the novels on the summer reading list!

The SADLIER vocabulary text emphasizes the use of new vocabulary in reading and writing, rather than simply the memorization of definitions. A variety of approaches in the teaching of grammar, such as basic sentence diagramming (often in different colors!), supplements the workbook, EXERCISES IN ENGLISH. Proofreading and editing skills remain paramount in the teaching of correct English grammar.

From 6th grade to 8th, students progress from creative writing to the writing of informative and argumentative essays, editorials, and responses to literature. In addition, following the research process, preparing a bibliography in current accepted format, and avoiding even inadvertent issues of plagiarism are all addressed on a regular basis via interdisciplinary assignments.

In order to maximize each child’s potential and learning style, various teaching methods are utilized. This allows accommodations to be more easily set up for students with IEP’s or other special needs. Also, abridged texts of the literature studied in class as well as tape-recordings are available when indicated.

8th Grade Math

College preparatory based, mathematics instruction in the Middle School is grounded in the belief that math is an essential life skill.  It is important that students make sense of mathematics, to view it as a tool for reasoning.  Along with mastering the required computational skills, the program offers opportunities to problem solve not only in mathematics but in a multitude of other cross-curricular activities.  Individual skill development and articulation of mathematical understanding are part of every lesson in the middle school math classroom.  Group and individual projects and calculator and computer lessons and activities are used to reinforce objectives and to enhance mathematical understanding.  Extra help is available daily both before and after school.


The Seventh and Eighth Grade pre- algebra curriculum is designed to help students make a smooth transition from arithmetic to algebra.  Students move from working with simple numerical problems to solving those that require more advanced reasoning skill.  Students apply the basic functions of math to equations; organize and integrate important mathematical ideas; and build problem-solving techniques that can be used to attack real-world math challenges.  Topics include integers and algebraic expressions, solving equations and inequalities, graphing in the coordinate plane, application of percents, exponents and powers, and applying algebra to geometry.


 The Eighth Grade Algebra I curriculum offers a continuum of mathematical learning that builds on prior knowledge and extends toward a higher order of thinking.  The program implements the shift from manipulative skills to algebra as a means of representation.  Students relate and apply algebraic concepts to geometry, statistics, probability, discrete mathematics and every-day problem solving as well as use the language of algebra in verbal, written, graphical and symbolic forms to communicate.  Topics include radical expressions, polynomial factoring, quadratic formula and quadratic functions.

Deborah Fera

8th Grade Religion

Purpose and Objectives


To invite the students to open their hearts and minds to the truths if God’s revelation and to develop persons of faith whose lives reflect the message and values of Christ.

To encourage the students to examine more closely the dynamic teachings of their Catholic faith be placing before them the truths of the faith in a clear and meaningful way.

To help the students explore as fully and richly as possible the depths of the gifts and the meaning of the gospel so as to become evangelizers of the word.


To encourage the students to focus seriously on what kind of person they wish to become and to place before them for reflection and study the moral teachings of Jesus and the Church.

To provide an in-depth presentation of the commandments, the Beatitudes, the virtues, and the teachings of the Church on moral issues so that the students have firm ground on which to make moral decisions.

To have the students recognize Jesus as their hero and model and to discover in following him what it means to be happy, free and fully human.

8th Grade Science

The eighth grade science curriculum is a quantitative study of physical science. Students follow the scientific methods when preparing an experiment, placing emphasis on identifying the variables. Students hone their skills in both the metric system and with the proper use of scientific equipment in the beginning of the year, preparing them for safe, proficient lab classes that are assigned during the school year as well as in the future. Properties of matter and an introduction to chemistry follow, which include states of matter, types of energy, changes in matter and the gas laws. In addition, students are taught patterns in the periodic table and chemical formulas and chemical bonds. The year culminates with an introduction to Newton’s Laws, gravity, and momentum.

8th Grade Social Studies

United States History

Student Goals

Students will develop a better understanding of political, social, economic and cultural developments in American history.

Student Outcomes

  • Trace the evolution of the Supreme Court’s powers during the 1790s and early 19th century and appraise John Marshall’s precedent-setting decisions.

  • Explain how the development of various modes of transportation increased economic prosperity and promoted national unity.
  • Examine the economic and social impact of the cotton gin on the nation’s regions
  • Explore Southern commitment to the plantation system as the driving force behind the Southern way of life.
  • Understand the social, political, and economic changes and challenges of the Age of Jackson (1824-1840).
  • Examine Jackson’s policy toward the Native Americans and assess its significance
  • Explain the development of the second American party system.
  • Explain how tariff policy, issues of states’ rights, and debates over slavery influenced politics and sectionalism between 1820 and 1840.
  • Describe the economic responses to industrialization and the emergence of the American labor movement
  • Describe the problems of the American worker in the 1800s and how they attempted to bring about change.
  • Identify the political and religious roots of reform
  • Explain how Americans improved public education in the mid-1800’s
  • Examine the major events in the labor struggle of the late 1800s (e.g. the Haymarket event and the Homestead and Pullman strikes).
  • Explain the United States territorial expansion between 1801 and 1861 and identify internal and external conflicts.
  • Examine the challenges of building the transcontinental railroads
  • Explain how major geographical and technological influences (e.g. mechanized farming, hydraulic engineering, and barbed wire) affected farming, mining, and ranching.
  • Evaluate the careers and contributions of prominent industrial and financial leaders of the Gilded Age (e.g. Vanderbilt, Carnegie, Rockefeller and Morgan).
  • Identify motives for continued immigration to the United States
  • Account for the migratory patterns of people from farms to cities, including the migration of African Americans from the South, and explain the factors that led to the rapid growth of cities.
  • Illustrate the challenges, opportunities, and contributions of different immigrant groups.

Student Goals

Students will trace the United States’ expansion and growth from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

Student Outcomes

  • Evaluate the significance of Jefferson’s election to the presidency.
  • Outline the causes and consequences of the Louisiana Purchase.
  • Examine the political and economic causes and effects of the War of 1812; explain the reasons for, and consequences of, Native American support for Britain; and analyze the sectional divisions caused by the war.
  • Analyze the concept of Manifest Destiny and its impact on American Indians and the development of the United States.
  • Explore the lure of the West and the reality of life on the frontier.
  • Evaluate the role of the federal government, non-native settlers, and Native Americans in the development of the West
  • Contrast the causes and character of the rapid settlement of California, Oregon, and Utah in the late 1840s and 1850s.
  • Map the territorial expansion and major westward trails of the United States from 1803-1853.
  • Identify the causes and results of the Mexican War
  • Describe how cultures blended in the new United States territories
  • Explain the peaceful resolution of the Oregon dispute with Great Britain in 1846.
  • Examine the causes of the Texas War for Independence and the Mexican War and evaluate the provisions and consequences of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
  • Assess the role of compromise in the decades prior to 1850 (e.g. Missouri Compromise, Tariff of 1833).

Student Goals

Students will evaluate the causes and consequences of the Civil War and the difficulties of Reconstruction.

Student Outcomes

  • Understand the sources, character, and effects of cultural, religious, and social reform movements in the antebellum period.
  • Identify factors that led to antebellum reform movements (e.g. the Great Awakening, temperance, abolition, prison reform, education reform, and women’s rights).
  • Characterize reform movements and evaluate their impact on American society
  • Describe the sufferings of African Americans under slavery
  • Explain the growth of the abolitionist movement and the public response in both the North and South.
  • Analyze how the debates over the extension of slavery strained national unity and fostered sectionalism.
  • Explain the specific impact that one significant historical figure (e.g. Nat Turner, William Lloyd Garrison, Harriet Beecher Stowe) had on the issue of slavery in American society.
  • Explain why the Compromise of 1850 did not provide permanent remedy to sectional tensions.
  • Explain how events after the Compromise of 1850 (e.g. the Kansas-Nebraska Act, growing free labor ideology in the North, and the Dred Scott decision) contributed to increasing sectional polarization
  • Chart the secession of the southern states and explain the process and reasons for secession.
  • Compare the human and material resources of the Union and the Confederacy at the beginning of the Civil War and assess the tactical advantages of each side.
  • Identify events and turning points of the war (e.g. division of loyalties within states such as Virginia and Tennessee, the draft riots, the election of 1864, battles such as Antietam and Gettysburg) and evaluate how political, military, and diplomatic leadership affected the outcome of the conflict.
  • Evaluate provisions of the Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln’s reasons for issuing it, and its significance.
  • Explore the role and impact of blacks on the war effort in the North and the South
  • Contrast the Reconstruction policies of Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, and Congress, while assessing these policies as responses to changing events (including Lincoln’s assassination).
  • Explain the provisions of the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments and the political forces supporting and opposing each.
  • Analyze how the Civil War and Reconstruction affected men’s and women’s roles and status in American society.
  • Assess the successes and failures of Reconstruction
  • Explain the emergence of Jim Crow laws and analyze their impact on the lives of Americans.