Grade 8 Curriculum
Students will solidify their grammar skills and understanding of adjective, adverb, and noun clauses, participle, gerund, and infinitive phrases. They will work with simile, metaphor, analogy in writing exercises in mood and varied perspective using short stories, fiction, non-fiction, and current events. The majority of written work will be composed by students, and journal writing may be explored. Research skills are developed further and are applied to subjects from the curriculum or biographies. Speaking skills include presentations on main lesson themes, reports on current events, formal debates, and speech portion of grade 8 project. Class recitation often focuses on historical texts. Reading includes social themes from quality literature from the 19th and 20th century, using excerpts or complete works, and passages from non-fiction works. Weekly track class focuses on the study of different literary forms, e.g. novels, A Shakespeare play and short stories.
Students will study fractions, squares and roots, equations and practical problems. They will be introduced to commutative, associative and distributive laws in algebra, as well as the factors of the difference between the squares and the applications of this to practical problems. Terms and polynomials are learned, as are simultaneous linear equations and problems. The dissolution of complex brackets in algebraic expressions are studied, as well as number systems and binary arithmetic. Graphs of complex curves and solutions of simultaneous equations by graphs will follow. Geometry study includes volumes of rectangles, pyramids, prisms, cylinders, cones; density and weight of solid objects, locus of line and plane, enlargements, rotations, reflections of shapes, angles, properties of circle (angles in same circle, intersecting chords), construction of 5 regular Platonic solids, discussion of general triangle sides and altitude formulae. This study is all part of an investigation of the Pythagorean theorem, as well as surface area of solids, emergence of ellipse, parabola and hyperbola.
In Grade 8 the subject of physics continues by requiring a subtler understanding of the complexities of the phenomena presented in Grade 6 & 7 of acoustic, optics, thermal physics, and electricity, but now electricity and magnetism are connected via electromagnetism. The development of the motor and dynamo are studied and students build their own simple motor. Hydraulics is also brought to the Grade 8 students.In chemistry, the students learn about photosynthesis and the plants ability to make its own food. The students perform tests for starch and carbohydrates, fats and proteins, all part of the plants makeup and structure. These substances are also related to what is happening in the student’s own metabolism, and to practical applications such as soap and paper making and to kitchen chemistry.
The physiology introduced in Grade 8 now focuses on the reproduction system, the nervous, muscular and skeletal systems. The study of meteorology also comes in Grade 8 and includes cloud formation and types, weather fronts and patterns and barometric pressure.
Beginning with the Revolution in France espousing the ideals of Fraternite, Egalite and Liberte for the common people, the American Civil Revolution and Civil War, students learn that the rights of the individual in society have changed. This change is followed by the Industrial Revolution which caused the Western world to shift from an agrarian based to an industrial and urban economy. Through the study of historical facts, literary texts, music, arts and biography, the students begin to get an understanding of the modern mindset. World Wars One and Two are also studied.
In grade eight, teachers choose to study Asia or World geography which can include Australia, the South Pacific, Russia etc. Some teachers have chosen to study these regions through the cultural, economic and political implications of food such as chocolate, vanilla, sugar, coffee, tea and spices in the hopes that the students will gain a larger picture of the world and to encourage a continued interest in the world they inhabit.
With the importance of French in Canada as one of its official languages and the wish to prepare students for high school and mandatory French in Grade 9. We work with texts, grammar and vocabulary in a more structured way through a French textbook and the accompanying exercise book. This provides a wide range of exercises which support individualized practice, allows students to learn how to work with a textbook (a skill they will need in high school), and gives them a tangible sense of achievement, something that can’t be underestimated in the early adolescent years. The material of the textbook is complemented, in various degrees, with examples from literature, poetry, history and geography from the ‘Francophonie’. In addition to guided and structured work we aim to develop in students the confidence and skill to write their own texts, to make little presentations in French. Text comprehension is practiced on increasingly more complex texts and students learn how to use the resource material that has been developed in class, or is available through their textbook.
Grade 8 students continue working on their recorder playing and sight-reading during class and recorder ensemble. They develop more sophisticated ability to face challenging pieces. They join Grade seven in senior choir.
The students participate in one double movement period per week. During September, October, May and June we utilize the school field. In the winter term, Grades 5-8 come together to participate in four afternoons of downhill skiing/snowboarding at a local ski hill. Otherwise the students are transported to a rented Gym facility where conventional sports are taught. The students are now able to appreciate and be guided by rules. As the students become independent more emphasis is placed on skills development, technique and self-discipline. In Grades 6, 7, and 8 the students are exposed to as many forms of movement as possible. The lesson begins with running or skipping for cardiovascular stamina and muscle strength. Spatial dynamics exercises are continued for coordination, flexibility and grace. Ball work becomes specialized and techniques improve with annual repetition. The complexity of rules increases with the developing students each year. In addition, team work is nurtured; the Grade 7 and 8 classes come together to compete in an annual Basketball Tournament. Grade 7s and 8s are challenged with swimming and spring board diving during the Spring term. Activities that work against the effect of gravity such as these allow for the development of courage and achievement.
Wet-on-wet painting comes to an end in grade 8. This technique may be used once or twice more for seasonal paintings and history though. Coloured chalk pastels are used extensively for portraiture, meteorology, geography, history and Industrial Revolution pictures. Clay modelling (platonic solids and Barlach sculptures) begins and Pointillism is used for anatomical drawings and gift cards.
Charcoal use continues and supports anatomy and Industrial Revolution projects. Veil painting specifically used for adolescents to ground and centre them. Chinese brush painting is introduced during world geography at the end of the grade 8 year and upside down copying is a positive mental exercise at this stage. The final major project for grade 8 is the reproduction of a contemporary artist’s work using acrylic paint or mixed media.
Practical Arts: Handwork
Machine sewing; explore how machines impact work (corresponds to the study of the Industrial Revolution); learn to read, follow and understand patterns; go from basic project (pajama bottoms) to more complicated (book bag); learn how to create own pattern complete with pockets and lining; encourages students to become more self-sufficient; develops good listening, organizational skills and problem solving.
Practical Arts: Woodwork
Canoe paddles; requires understanding of symmetry, balance, proper proportion; healthy challenge to form paddle so that it is both light weight and strong where it needs to be; appreciation for the paddle as a tool, part of Canadian history and connection to natural world; encourages outdoor activity; hones observation and problem solving skills.
There are many trips that correspond to the grade 8 curriculum. A trip to the Toyota factory, the steam museum, Redpath sugar factory are some options. Teachers are free to choose when the class will have their big trip to Northwaters for their final camping/canoe trip.
Special Features of Grade 8
Students can do social work for, or in, the community. The Grade 8 Project, which focuses on a topic of the students’ choice which they research and present to the audience of the school. There is also the week long wilderness trip that our grade 8s look forward to. A grade 8 class play production will be staged. Students in this grade will be introduced to a buddy in the grade one class and help them throughout the year with various activities.