8th Grade

ij9a1394The 8th grade year at DCS is embedded with some new opportunities. There is a fall retreat the first week of school and a winter retreat in January. The goal is to encourage students to be thinking intentionally about their faith and their role in the class this year. 8th graders have opportunities as SAAB (Student Activities Advisory Board) leaders. They also lead in other ways such as chapel, prayer around the flag pole, and as class officers. 8th graders also have a special opportunity for 8th grade PE activities off-campus such as racquetball, golf, rock climbing, and a Sportsmen’s club. The students grow academically and spiritually this year as they get ready to move on to high school.

Highlights in 8th Grade

  • Intramurals and sports’ teams
  • Chocolate business
  • Retreats
  • PE activities, Math Triathlon, Math Counts, 7th and 8th Play
  • Graduation and Class trip to Cedar Point

8th Grade Curriculum

8th-retreat17Reading

1st Quarter:

  • “The Bronze Bow” by Elizabeth George Speare (read aloud in class)
  • Independent Reading: Fantasy, Realistic Fiction, Informational, Your Choice

2nd Quarter:

  • Civil War books – literature circles
  • Independent Reading: Science Fiction, Biography, Mystery, Your Choice
  • “October Sky” movie

3rd Quarter:

  • “Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry” by Mildred D. Taylor
  • Poetry Unit
  • Independent Reading: Fantasy, Realistic Fiction, Your Choice

4th Quarter:

  • Gary D. Schmidt books – literature circles
  • Traditional Literature
  • Independent Reading: Historical Fiction, Informational, Your Choice

Writing

The Six Traits of Good Writing are focused on throughout the year in the formal writing assignments the eighth graders do. The students write immigrant letters and a muckraker newspaper. Some of the other papers consist of compare and contrast paragraphs, a personal narrative, story, persuasive essay, faith reflection paper, and a research paper. Writing outlines, thesis statements, citing sources throughout a paper, and creating a works cited page using MLA formatting are aspects that are taught as well.

Grammar

The grammar units the eighth graders do are on the eight parts of speech, sentences, capitalization and punctuation, phrases, and verbals. They also do interdisciplinary speech projects with technology and history such as the Civil War News Shows, Manifest Destiny puppet shows, and a chocolate business live ad.

Social Studies

In seventh grade Social Studies and eighth grade History we study the following areas: History, Civics, and Economics. In History we cover subjects from the Native Americans through World War II. In Civics we learn how our Constitution came to be, the goals and principles of our Constitution,how our government works, and the rights, privileges, and duties of citizens. In economics we start our own businesses In seventh grade and in eighth grade we form our own corporations to begin seeing how our economy works.

Our goal in seventh grade Social Studies and eighth grade History is to build a solid foundation of knowledge of our country. In doing so we can learn from our nation’s past successes and failures. To see how the past is part of us so we can better understand why we are the way we are. To know the duties, responsibilities, and privileges of being a citizen of our nation.

When we learn these things with the combination of knowledge of other subjects, life experiences, what we learn from our families, and our churches students can then begin the process of becoming active Christian citizens in our nation, of our world, and of God’s kingdom.

Bible

 Walking with God and His People  (Christian Schools International)

The eighth grade curriculum has a thematic approach that replaces the chronological approach employed in the preschool- sixth grade curriculum. Eighth Grade curriculum concentrates on the New Testament. Materials explore the history of the church, beginning with the birth and ministry of Jesus through Revelation, and continuing to the present.

Math

8th grade math

Uses Transitions Mathematics book and the Algebra book to study the following concepts:

  • Scientific Notation
  • Pythagorean Theorem
  • Transformations
  • 3-D Geometry
  • Statistics
  • Using a graphing calculator
  • Linear equations and inequalities
  • Testing equivalence
  • Lines and Slope
  • Powers
  • Systems of Equations

Algebra

Science

Structure and Properties of Matter
By 8th grade students who have experienced our 6th or 7th grade middle school units will know a particle model can be used to explain the properties of solids, liquid, and gas, but now students will gain evidence of the existence of particles..  In this unit students will rotate through a series of stations in order to try to explain a variety of phenomena in terms of what is happening at the particle level.  The term “molecule” (from moles: lumps of stuff and cula: little) is introduced and developed so that students come to understand that matter is made of molecules, rather than believe that there are molecules in matter. Later, the idea is developed that the energy content of a sample of matter depends not only on its temperature, but also on its mass. We will also explore the idea that the energy content of a sample of matter depends not only on its temperature and its mass, but also on the kind of matter of which it is made. The role of energy in relation to the changes matter undergoes is further developed. To be prepared to study chemistry or physics, students should be able to visualize matter as a collection of these tiny particles in constant thermal motion. Finally, students develop an understanding of chemical reactions and how they differ from ordinary mixtures.  They will be able to identify when a mixture has resulted in a new substance. 
Dance of Sun, Earth, Moon
This unit deals with the special relationship between Earth, its Moon, the sun and the stars.  The activities in this unit are presented in a hand on kinesthetic manner as often as possible to help students comprehend and model these more abstract celestial movements and relationships.  This unit begins by students discovering and appreciating the immense sizes, ages and distance in our solar system and even the universe.  Then it begins to focus in on Earth and its two general movement’s rotation and revolution.  Once the foundations of these basic movements are developed students then build off this model by looking at the relationship between the sun and Earth. Students conduct an investigation to discover the effect of radiated light energy hitting the surface directly vs indirectly due to Earth’s tilt.  Students discover that seasons are caused from the 23.5° tilt of Earth as it orbits its sun.  Once the special relationship between the sun and Earth is established the activities focus on the relationship between Earth and its moon.  Students learn that the phases of the moon are caused by Earth’s changing point of view of the illuminated portion of the moon.  The moon Earth relationship continues to be developed by having students cultivate an understanding of the moon’s involvement in the tides.  The dance of the Sun, Earth, Moon, culminates with the addition of the visible stars and constellations changing positions throughout the year and their apparent rising and setting each night. 
 
Magnetism
This unit begins with students exploring properties of magnets. Students seek rules that explain the interaction of small rectangular magnets. Then, students design and implement an inquiry into the strength of magnets. This helps students to develop an understanding of how the earth behaves as a giant, but weak, magnet and to address prominent misconceptions, which exist about the earth’s magnetism. Students discover that the earth’s magnetic poles are not co-located with their geographic poles. In fact, the magnetic poles of the earth are actually located relatively near (1000+ miles) their opposite geographic poles. Later, we will develop the relationships between electricity and magnetism. Students read “Oersted’s Serendipity,” an account of Hans Christian Oersted’s accidental discovery of the fact that electricity can cause a compass needle to turn. They compare and contrast the construction and operation of a motor with that of a generator. Finally, students consider the importance, in everyday life, of motors, generators, and other devices that make use of magnets and magnetism.
 
Genetics and Heredity
In this unit the students will develop a cause and effect model for the process of natural selection. We will explore the nature of the model and where our beliefs as Christians fit or don’t fit with the model proposed by Scientists. We will later analyze how cells grow and reproduce in terms of interphase, mitosis and cytokinesis and organize diagrams of mitotic phases and describe what is occurring throughout the process. Students will recognize mitosis as a part of asexual reproduction and compare meiosis and mitosis (including type of reproduction (asexual or sexual), replication and separation of DNA and cellular material, changes in chromosome number, and number of cells produced in a complete cycle). Finally, students will interpret and predict patterns of inheritance, Dominant and recessive traits, to determine genotypic and phenotypic ratios using punnett squares. 
Forces and Motion

To begin our physics unit, students will perform activities that lead to the necessity for a more uniform definition of speed. As students apply their definition of speed they are led to distinguish (as do physicists) between position, distance, and displacement to refine their definition of speed and velocity. Students learn a technique to represent speed and velocity called motion maps; these diagrams are great visual representations that help students analyze motion. As the unit continues, students continue to deepen their understanding of velocity by collecting position and time data for a variety of velocities (constant slow, constant fast, reversing direction, stopping). Then, students explore acceleration, starting with “feeling” acceleration by using a motion detector to generate curved position vs. time graphs. Students discover they must move faster and faster or slower and slower to create these graphs, illustrating the concept of acceleration.  Followed by diagraming acceleration with motion maps and measuring it deepens their understanding. Force is introduced beginning with a relay race called Broom Ball, which engages students in a common activity where they focus their attention on how to navigate the bowling ball through the course. What does it take to get it going? How about to keep it going, to turn, to stop?  This paradigm activity provides students with a common experience to reference throughout the section as they develop this concept of force.  Energy is addressed last, and during unit  they will begin learn about energy at the macroscopic level. Students will explore energy in relation to moving objects in efforts to build upon their conceptual model of energy and how it is relates to motion and forces.