There is a level of trust here that I have not felt in other places.
Students have brains and opinions. Here we are allowed to voice them.
Students are trusted to be responsible with their voices and actions."

-- Eighth Grade Student

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  EIGHTH GRADE          

English Language Arts: To accompany the eighth grade study of Global Cultures, students read the literatures of Europe, the Pacific Rim nations, South America, and Africa. Strong reading and writing skills continue to be stressed. Students are taught to write essays in which they present arguments based on primary documents and research. They study grammar in increasingly complex sentences.

Exploratory Language: Designed to expose students to the world's vast diversity of language and assist them in choosing a language to study in upper school, this course offers an introduction to French, Spanish, and Japanese. Students spend approximately nine weeks on each language as students learn basic conversational phrases, vocabulary, and structure, and exploring cultural traditions, religions, and practices are explored.  Within each  language, when possible, students maintain written correspondence with native speakers via the Internet. Opportunities to experience the culture through field trips enhance the student's awareness of the larger world.

Social Studies: Global Cultures. Focusing on the emerging nations and newly established governments of the late twentieth century, students analyze the actions and roles of nations guided by deeply held beliefs that may differ considerably from one to another. As students circumnavigate the globe, they view the issues of hunger, homelessness, conflict, migration, and international commerce from the perspective of interdependence and common interests. Then again a global understanding of issues and events through the five geographic themes of location, place, relationships within places, regions, and movement of people, goods, and ideas.

Science: Students focus on the dynamic earth and the processes that formed and changed it over time. They are introduced to geology, earth history, and oceanography. The class uses the text Earth Science (Glencoe) as well as supplementary resources. Each week students research current news reports about earth science and write summaries of the events. As a culminating project, students produce a science review book to demonstrate their comprehensive understanding of the major topics taught through all the years of middle school science.

Math: Algebra and Geometry. Using the text Algebra I (Glencoe/McGraw Hill), from a strong initial emphasis on working with decimals, fractions, and percentages, eighth graders progress into more complex equalities and inequalities with variables on both sides, and they learn how to apply these understandings to solving problems. Graphing linear and non-linear equations allows students to see how different algebraic operations interact and prepares them for a transition into functions, which are treated rigorously for this level. Discontinuities, domain, range, and one-to-oneness are all covered. Students are challenged to bend space into cylinders and spheres to see how those deformations affect simple graphs.

Fine Arts: To complement the year's Global Studies curriculum, the course examines ancient Egyptian art, Japanese Sumi painting, block printing, linear perspective, classical portrait sculpture, and the portrait from ancient through modern civilizations. Students create their own books of comparative religions using the methods and materials of medieval illumination. Students continue to advance their sketching technique.

Life Skills: Continuing the same program used in seventh grade, eighth grade offers more in-depth information on drug and alcohol abuse, peer pressure, and the role of media and includes a unit on career exploration. Units from Creative Living (Glencoe) are supplemented with  Exploring Careers (Glencoe).