Eighth Grade

The eighth 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. Students participate in a Leadership Lab at the beginning of the year, designed for students to explore their own styles of leadership. 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

    The Cathedral School uses the Exeter Math program, which encourages independent and collaborative conceptual problem solving. In Algebra I, students solve quadratic equations, systems of equations, and inequalities. They investigate polynomials, including operations with polynomials and factoring, simplify rational and radical expressions, and solve rational and radical equations.
  • English

    Students read and discuss themes of American identity in plays, sermons, fiction, poetry, and autobiography and explore different kinds of writing 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 also study a carefully selected vocabulary list in anticipation of standardized tests.
  • Science

    In the Upper School Science Lab, eighth graders continue their science education with chemistry. They study the definition of matter, physical and chemical changes, conservation of mass and energy, atomic structures, electron configurations, organization of elements, chemical bonding, pH, and environmental chemistry. Then, they are introduced to physics, including Newton’s laws of motion and applying motion formulas. Throughout the year, students develop and utilize age-appropriate design-thinking skills, including problem-solving and STEAM-oriented activities. They perform proper lab protocols, including lab reports and data analyses. Classes incorporate teacher-directed demonstrations, class lectures, and note-taking with group and individual projects and labs.
  • Latin

    The Cathedral School requires Latin in the sixth, seventh and eighth grades. Students investigate grammar, syntax, and sentence translation through a disciplined approach. They undertake an intense study of sight translations, nouns and cases, verbs and tenses, and vocabulary roots. The course of study includes review of English grammar as it parallels the study of Latin grammar, and uses questioning, textbook review, and drill practice to teach concepts.
  • Social Studies

    Social studies units for the eighth grade include the Age of Exploration, which explores the environmental and social impact of the Columbian Exchange and the African Diaspora; The Revolutionary Period and its Aftermath, including the Revolutionary War, the challenges of forming a nation, and the War of 1812; and the Civil War, viewing the war from Northern and Southern perspectives. Students research and incorporate primary and secondary sources into their assignments and class discussions.
  • World Languages

    By eighth grade, Spanish or French instruction is in the target language as much as possible, and all conversation, reading, and writing is in the world language. There is a focus on intermediate grammar: additional verb tenses (past, future, conditional), direct and indirect object pronouns, negative expressions, and comparatives. Students continue to develop more sophisticated vocabulary, demonstrate and practice conversational skills, and work on a capstone language project throughout the year.

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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