The world of ideas begins to take on meaning for students in the 8th grade and the critical faculties of the 14 year old are noticeably sharper and parts of the accepted framework—particular rules for example—are subject to questioning scrutiny. Counter balancing this critical tendency is the emergence of reasoning or a “reasonable” side in the child.
Students in the 8th grade experience a gradual but significant shift from the presentation of a subject solely from the teacher to the class, to the mutual consideration of a subject by teacher and class together. A sense of community develops, in which speaking becomes more thoughtful, listening more attentive. The result is a greater sense of self. The students expand their sense of place in the world. More importantly, they leave with compelling questions that will continue to fuel their love of learning in the years ahead.
In 8th grade, we emphasize:
History: The 8th grade history curriculum covers the period from the Renaissance through the Twentieth Century. Special attention is given to the emergence of the ideals of human freedom that led to the American, French, and Russian Revolutions, and the way those ideals manifested differently in each nation, and to the pivotal role of individuals such as Charles Darwin in laying the foundation for the modern scientific worldview.
Science: The eighth-grade science curriculum seeks to give the children a picture of the human being as a microcosm of the elements of nature. Students will examine the way in which the skeletal and neurological systems interrelate with the various organs of the body.
Physics: The study of physics continues in the eighth grade with hydraulics, aerodynamics, and meteorology. The teacher tries to show how the discovery of mechanical principles contributed directly to the development of our modern technological society; for example, how the invention of the steam engine made the Industrial Revolution possible.
Chemistry: The students engage in the analysis of organic substances and investigate their role in human nutrition. The chemistry curriculum focuses on those processes by which organic substances are formed (e.g., photosynthesis) and transformed (as in digestion). The children seek to discover how the classical substances of earth, air, fire, and water can be understood and observed in physical processes; for example, in the various influences that create weather or ocean currents.
Math: Algebra studies continue in the eighth grade. The children are introduced to the binary system, which made possible the development of computers. They learn the principles of solid geometry, and actually construct the five platonic solids.
The 8th grade curriculum includes:
Math: Practical applications of arithmetic; set concepts; algebra; solid geometry
Literature & Grammar: Journalism; writing short plays; Shakespearean drama
Science: Physics; organic chemistry; physiology; continuation of gardening and nature studies through ecology; astronomy; meteorology
Music and Performing Arts: Singing and flute/recorder in parts; possible inclusion of violin/cello; symphonic form; American Music
Art: Black and white drawing; veils with watercolor; perspective drawing
World Language: Spanish and German continued, dialogue and original writing
Handwork: Machine sewing of original garments; bookbinding; soapstone carving; clay sculpture; woodcarving; metalwork
History & Social Studies: World trade and economics; American history; Modern History
Geography: World geography; Asia and other culturally diverse regions around the world.
Technology: Computers skills and use are a part of the Main Lesson
Physical Education: Team sports