Grade 8 Curriculum
During their capstone year, Grade 8 students accept the responsibility of serving as leaders of Saint Peter School. They pair with K1 and K2 students and accompany them to Mass each week; assume leadership positions on Student Council; star in the annual School Christmas Pageant; and model excellent behavior and encourage younger students to do so as well. The year begins with the annual Fall Hike up Mount Monadnock. Shortly before graduation, Grade 8 visits Washington, D.C. for a week, a significant highlight of the Saint Peter School experience.
Encouraged by their teachers and peers, students work hard as they undertake Grade 8’s rigorous curriculum. In June eighth graders graduate from Saint Peter’s with an excellent education, deep friendships with classmates, and much confidence in their ability to succeed academically and flourish personally in high school and the years ahead.
Each student has access to a Chromebook to use for the school year. Google Classroom is used to post class announcements; students also submit writing assignments through Google Classroom.
English Language Arts and Literature: The English Language Arts and Literature class uses the well-regarded Voyages in English. Students work on vocabulary (Vocabulary in Action), grammar, speech, and writing skills. They read a variety of short stories, novels, and poetry; selections typically include The Outsiders, A Midsummer Night's Dream, In the Sea There Are Crocodiles, The Hate U GIve, and The Five People You Meet in Heaven. Through frequent writing assignments and class discussions, students further develop critical thinking skills and powers of analysis.
Social Studies: Grade 8 continues to use TCI’s History Alive! curriculum, first introduced in Grade 5. Beginning with an “Essential Question”―a big idea to be investigated―each TCI lesson incorporates graphic notetaking, groupwork, and step-by-step discovery. Different learning styles are used, allowing students of many abilities to learn and succeed.
Topics covered in Grade 8 Social Studies include:
- Manifest Destiny
- Slavery and the Preservation of the Union
- Civil War
- Reconstruction and the South
- The Final Frontier and the Last Indian Wars
- Robber Barons and the Industrial Age
- The Progressive Movement
- Imperialism and the Spanish American War
- Woodrow Wilson and WWI
- The Great Depression
Science: Students use the Pearson Interactive Science curriculum, a comprehensive program that supports project-based inquiry and hands-on learning, engages students, and encourages abstract thinking, information analysis, problem solving with peers, and thoughtful inquiry. Lessons incorporate Next Generation Science Standards, including Disciplinary Core Ideas, Crosscutting Concepts, and Science and Engineering Practices. Every chapter includes Interdisciplinary STEM activities and projects.
Grade 8 students meet for science four days a week, in blocks of 45 minutes; one of those blocks is designated as lab time. Physical science is the focus. Students study and experiment with force, energy, waves, the Periodic Table of Elements, and chemical reactions. Highlights of the year in science include the annual egg drop, creating 3D paper roller coasters, and making ice cream. Students devise, implement, and demonstrate science projects, undertaken independently or collaboratively, at the annual science fair in the spring.
Mathematics: As do all grades at Saint Peter’s, Grade 8 uses the Saxon Math Program, known for its “incremental development.” Topics are introduced to students in spaced steps; the time between steps allows students to gain confidence at one level of a topic before proceeding to the next. In every lesson, previously learned information is reviewed and practiced. Topics grow in complexity; they are not dropped, leading to systematic and sequential learning. Grade 8 students are grouped by ability and placed in either the “on level” or “above level” section, as are Grade 7 students. Significant individual attention is given to each student. Those students with exceptional math ability are encouraged to undertake more challenging assignments, and students who require additional instruction to stay “on level” are assisted accordingly.
Spanish: Mrs. Patricia Carazo teaches Spanish to Grades K1 through 8 at Saint Peter School. She focuses on not only the language but the culture of Spain and Spanish-speaking countries. Grade 8 meets with Mrs. Carazo for lessons three times a week.
Technology: All grades visit the Hoff Technology Center once a week to access Library and Educational Technology resources.