8th Grade

The 8th grade curriculum challenges students to explore the concept of leadership. As senior members of the Cathedral community, eighth grade students have the opportunity to take on a variety of formal and informal leadership roles both in and out of the classroom. The eighth grade year emphasizes the development of skills critical to success at the high school level, while remaining responsive to the unique needs of the age group.

List of 6 items.

  • Mathematics

    Students will cover a full year of Algebra I, with some Algebra II concepts introduced for further differentiation and acceleration. All operations are explored as they develop skills to solve quadratic equations, absolute value equations, systems of equations and inequalities, and rational and radical equations. They examine factoring polynomials, graphing linear and nonlinear functions, including transformations, and investigate the probability of independent and dependent events. Throughout the course, problem-solving strategies are developed further so students can build connections to real-life scenarios and apply their understanding to more abstract ideas.
  • English

    Students read and discuss themes such as justice, identity and the American Dream in fiction, poetry, and biographical texts and explore different kinds of writing and film with an emphasis on cultivating each student’s individual voice. They continue developing analytical writing skills and continue to recognize and practice proper usage as a writer and editor around word choice, sentence structure, and punctuation. Students learn a 5 point analysis system and practice annotation, discussion, and revision throughout the year.
  • Science

    Eighth grade science covers all three major disciplines to prepare students for any potential high school placement. The fall trimester is devoted to human anatomy, specifically the cardiovascular, nervous, skeletal, and immune systems. The winter trimester consists of an in depth exploration of Newton’s Laws, incorporating algebraic concepts from students' math class. The spring trimester advances students’ understanding of chemistry with particular attention to atomic theory, types of compounds, balancing equations, and chemical nomenclature. By the end of 8th grade, students are able to design experiments and write comprehensive and objective lab reports on their findings.
  • Latin

    Latin at Cathedral is taught using a blend of comprehensible input and grammar instruction. The goal is for students to slowly build their vocabulary and reading fluency in a manner that simulates how they learned their first language.  Taking an engaging, comprehensible story as our starting point for each lesson, students are able to understand how the language functions on a more intuitive level. 
    Through various readings, students embark on a journey through some of the most impactful events in Rome’s history, such as the Carthaginian Wars and the Year of Four Emperors. After each mini-unit, students lead their own discussion section. Pairing their Latin readings with selected modern articles in English, they discuss societal questions such as, “What makes an effective leader?” or “How can governments reduce inequality?” Students also choose from one of 3 “Pathways”: Ancient History; Ancient Philosophy; and Advanced Latin Language. They are able to follow their own interests and develop a year-round project in their chosen field. We also make sure that students are prepared for high school Latin and success in the language after Cathedral.
  • Social Studies

    Eighth graders continue their study of American History to explain the development of our country’s policies and priorities. They consider economic, social, and political trends from Reconstruction to the End of World War II and into present day. Eighth graders continue to build on their toolbox of writing skills while analyzing a variety of source types (visuals/images, text, documentaries/videos, infographics, and graphs), presenting, debating, unpacking and comparing arguments all while making connections to current events.
  • World Languages

    Eighth grade Spanish and French are predominantly taught in the target language. Students speak, listen, read, and write in the world language that they have selected for their Upper School career. Teachers make linguistic and cultural connections through the use of language-authentic literature and media, project-based learning, real-world application, and differentiated instruction of grammar and vocabulary. Upon graduating, Cathedral students communicate effectively, participate in communities locally and globally in their target language, and are prepared for intermediate or advanced-level high school language courses.

Curriculum in Action

The eighth grade Foreign Language Capstone project is a year-long culmination of our students' study of either French or Spanish at The Cathedral School. The project includes a first trimester investigative paper on a topic of the students' choice, which may include anything from cuisine to sport or sustainability. They pitch their topics through a Capstone video they create, editing with iMovie and writing a narrative in the target language. The second trimester is an interactive experience with either an interview with an expert professional in their chosen field, or a cultural event, which could range from taking a Salsa dancing class to attending a French film festival. The Capstone finale is an exhibition which showcases the students' research and includes an oral presentation given to their peers in the target language. The goal of this Capstone Project is to integrate the fulsome language experience, including vocabulary, grammar, communication, cultural exposure, public speaking, experiential learning, listening, and reading. It inspires a life-long passion for language and cultural exploration.
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