Grade 8

Welcome to 8th Grade!

Below you will find 8th Grade course descriptions, contact information, and links to team websites.  You may also use the Faculty Directory to find specific staff members' contact and website information.  A great resource for parents is the Middle School Curriculum Guide.  The curriculum guide contains practice resources, instructional videos, and links to great content.  This is a good way to know what is covered in your child's courses.
  • English/Language Arts

    Following the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts, eighth graders develop skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language through experience with print and digital resources. Students read a wide range of text, varying in levels of sophistication and purpose. Through print and non-print text, they further develop comprehension strategies, vocabulary, as well as high order thinking skills. They read a balance of short and long fiction, drama, and poetry with a focus on comparing how two or more literary elements create effects such as suspense or humor. Eighth graders approach informational text such as articles, arguments, and essays with the intent to cite textual evidence, analyze points of view and presentation, and evaluate accuracy and relevance of details. Experience with a variety of text types and text complexity helps students develop a knowledge-based essential for recognizing and understanding allusions.
    Students learn about the writing-reading connection by drawing upon and writing about evidence from literary and informational texts. Writing skills, such as the ability to plan, revise, edit, and publish, develop as students practice skills of specific writing types such as arguments, informative/explanatory texts, and narratives. Guided by rubrics, students strategically write for a variety of purposes and audiences. Eighth graders also conduct short research projects drawing on and citing several sources appropriately.
    Eighth graders hone skills of flexible communication and collaboration as they learn to work together, express and listen carefully to ideas, integrate information and use media and visual displays to help communicate ideas. Students learn language conventions and vocabulary to help them understand and analyze words and phrases, relationships among words, and nuances that affect the text they read, write, and hear. Students are encouraged to engage in daily independent reading to practice their skills and pursue their interests.
  • Mathematics

    The Common Core State Standards for Mathematics consist of two types of standards – Standards for Mathematical Practice that span K-12 and Standards for Mathematical Content specific to each course. The Standards for Mathematical Practice rest on important “processes and proficiencies” with longstanding importance in mathematics education. They describe the characteristics and habits of mind that all students who are mathematically proficient should be able to exhibit. The eight Standards for Mathematical Practice are:
    1. Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
    2. Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
    3. Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
    4. Model with mathematics.
    5. Use appropriate tools strategically.
    6. Attend to precision.
    7. Look for and make use of structure.
    8. Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.
    The Standards for Mathematical Content in Grades 6 – 8 are organized under domains: The Number System, Ratios and Proportional Relationships, Functions, Expressions and Equations, Geometry, and Statistics and Probability.
  • Math 8

    The foci of Common Core Math 8 are outlined below by domain:
    • The Number System: Know that there are numbers that are not rational, and approximate them by rational numbers.
    • Expressions and Equations: Work with radicals and integer exponents; understand the connections between proportional relationships, lines, and linear equations; analyze and solve linear equations and pairs of simultaneous linear equations.
    • Geometry: Understand congruence and similarity using physical models, transparencies, or geometry software; understand and apply the Pythagorean Theorem; solve real-world and mathematical problems involving volume of cylinders, cones and spheres.
    • Statistics and Probability: Investigate patterns of association in bivariate data.
    • Functions: Define, evaluate, and compare functions; use functions to model relationships between quantities.
  • Math I (for High School Credit)

    MVP Math Curriculum Parent Video

    Information for Parents: New Curriculum Resources for Mathematics
    Información para Padres: Recursos del Nuevo Currículo de las Matemáticas

    WCPSS has excellent teachers, strong leaders and a wealth of support from parents and the community. We are dedicated to providing our teachers with the best resources possible to ensure students are learning what they need to know to be prepared for college, career, and life. We have chosen Mathematics Vision Project (MVP) as the curriculum resource to support teachers of NC Math 1 beginning with the 2017-18 school year. It will be phased into Math 2 and 3 over the following two years.
    What is the Mathematics Vision Project? MVP is an open-source high school mathematics curriculum written by and for teachers. MVP was created to address the future needs of students competing in a global community.
    At this site, click on the “ABOUT” tab and select “MVP Overview Presentation” to watch a short video that gives an overview of the materials and the instructional model.
    What is a typical lesson like? The MVP classroom experience does not look like the traditional math classroom that students may have experienced in the past. In the MVP classroom the teacher launches a deep mathematical task and then allows students time to work with a partner or small group on solving the task. The teacher circulates among students and encourages them to explore, question, consider, discuss their ideas, and listen to the ideas of their classmates. Then the teacher brings the whole class back together to discuss different solution pathways and the mathematics involved. Therefore, the teacher’s role continues to be of utmost importance and central to the successful implementation of the MVP curriculum materials.
    What is homework like? The “Ready, Set, Go!” homework assignments have been correlated to the daily classroom experience. The homework is organized into three parts.
    1. The “Ready” section helps the student get ready for the upcoming work and prepare to learn new material.
    2. The “Set” section is for practicing the skills that are being developed in the current lessons. As students practice, the new mathematical skills become more set or fluent.
    3. The last section of homework, called “Go!”, is to help students remember the skills and procedures that they have learned previously. As students mature mathematically, there are many math problems they should be able to do whenever they encounter them.

    What resources will be provided? Although the student materials can be accessed digitally, students will be provided with copies of a consumable workbook for each unit. We are also in the process of developing a student/parent support site that will include help with homework.
  • Math II (for High School Credit)

    Recommended prerequisite(s): Common Core Math I
    In Common Core Math II, students continue to deepen their study of quadratic expressions, equations, and functions; comparing their characteristics and behavior to those of linear and exponential relationships from Common Core Math I. The concept of quadratics is generalized with the introduction of higher degree polynomials. New methods for solving quadratic and exponential equations are developed. The characteristics of advanced types of functions are investigated (including power, inverse variation, radical, absolute value, piecewise-defined, and simple trigonometric functions). The link between probability and data is explored through conditional probability and counting methods. Students explore more complex geometric situations and deepen their explanations of geometric relationships, moving towards formal mathematical arguments. Important differences exist between Math II and the historical approach taken in Geometry classes. For example, transformations are explored early in the course and provide the framework for studying geometric concepts such as similarity and congruence. The study of similarity leads to an understanding of right triangle trigonometry and connects to quadratics through Pythagorean relationships. The Standards for Mathematical Practice apply throughout each course and, together with the content standards, require that students experience mathematics as a coherent, useful, and logical subject that makes use of their ability to make sense of problem situations. This course fulfills the North Carolina high school graduation requirement for Common Core Math II. The final exam is the North Carolina Final Exam for Common Core Math II. 
  • Science

    Traditional laboratory experiences provide opportunities to demonstrate how science is constant, historic, probabilistic, and replicable. Although there are no fixed steps that all scientists follow, scientific investigations usually involve collections of relevant evidence, the use of logical reasoning, the application of imagination to devise hypotheses, and explanations to make sense of collected evidence. Student engagement in scientific investigation provides background for understanding the nature of scientific inquiry. In addition, the science process skills necessary for inquiry are acquired through active experience. The process skills support development of reasoning and problem-solving ability and are the core of scientific methodologies.
    By the end of this course, the students will be able to:
    • Understand the hydrosphere and the impact of humans on local systems and the effects of the hydrosphere on humans.
    • Understand the history of Earth and its life forms based on evidence of change recorded in fossil records and landforms.
    • Understand the hazards caused by agents of diseases that affect living organisms.
    • Understand how biotechnology is used to affect living organisms.
    • Understand how organisms interact with and respond to the biotic and abiotic components of their environment.
    • Understand the evolution of organisms and landforms based on evidence, theories and processes that impact the Earth over time.
    • Understand the composition of various substances as it relates to their ability to serve as a source of energy and building materials for growth and repair of organisms.
    • Understand the properties of matter and changes that occur when matter interacts in an open and closed system.
    • Explain the environmental implications associated with the various methods of obtaining, managing, and using energy resources.
  • Social Studies

    Historical study connects students to the enduring themes and issues of our past and equips them to meet the challenges they will face as citizens in a state, nation and an interdependent world. Pursuant to the passage of House Bill 1032 An Act Modifying the History and Geography Curricula in the Public Schools of North Carolina, the new essential standards for eighth grade will integrate United States history with the study of North Carolina history. This integrated study helps students understand and appreciate the legacy of our democratic republic and to develop skills needed to engage responsibly and intelligently as North Carolinians. This course will serve as a stepping stone for more intensive study in high school. Students in eighth grade will continue to build on the fourth and fifth grade introductions to North Carolina and the United States by embarking on a more rigorous study of the historical foundations and democratic principles that continue to shape our state and nation. Students will begin with a review of the major ideas and events preceding the foundation of North Carolina and the United States. The main focus of the course will be the critical events, personalities, issues, and developments in the state and nation from the Revolutionary Era to contemporary times. Inherent in this study is an analysis of the relationship of geography, events and people to the political, economic, technological, and cultural developments that shaped our existence in North Carolina and the United States over time.
  • Healthful Living

    Healthful Living is required for all 8th grade students and includes health education and physical education. These two courses complement each other as students learn how to be healthy and physically active for a lifetime. Because our health and physical fitness needs are so different from a generation ago, the nature of healthful living is changing. Poor health choices (i.e., use of alcohol and other drugs, poor nutrition, and physical inactivity) now account for more than 50% of the preventable deaths in the United States.
    Through a quality healthful living education program, students will learn the importance of health and physical activity and develop skills to achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Students will learn how to apply the concepts of proper 19 exercise in their daily lives, discover ways to handle stress, avoid harmful and illegal drugs, learn about the relationship between nutrition and weight management, develop healthy interpersonal relationships (including conflict resolution skills), develop teamwork and character-building skills, and learn how to achieve positive health and fitness goals.
    In eighth grade, students will identify how media and peer pressure influence health behaviors, identify positive ways to manage stress, explain how to gain, reduce or maintain weight in a healthy manner, demonstrate skills and strategies for remaining abstinent from sexual intercourse, and demonstrate good communication skills for healthy relationships. Students will demonstrate basic CPR skills, understand the special risks associated with alcohol and other drugs, understand the negative impact (emotional, social, and physical) of using harmful and illegal drugs, and assist others to seek help for risky behaviors. Students will explain the principles of cardiovascular and strength conditioning, develop a personal fitness program, establish personal fitness goals and monitor their progress, participate in regular physical activity both in school and during non-school hours, display advanced sport movements through the engagement in dual, team, and lifetime sports. Students will work cooperatively to follow rules and exhibit safe practices while achieving individual and group fitness-related goals through fair play and sportsmanship. CPR instruction is presented as part of the 8th grade Health curriculum. Beginning with the graduating class of 2015 (current 8th graders and beyond), successful completion of CPR instruction is a high school graduation requirement for all North Carolina students. Successful completion is defined in the Essential Standards Curriculum as “demonstrating basic CPR techniques and procedures on a mannequin and passing a Red Cross or American Heart Association approved test of CPR skills.” Students who successfully complete CPR in 8th grade are considered to have met the requirement.
    Because of the nature of health education, discussion may include sensitive topics. By contacting the school principal, parents may request in writing that their child be excluded from certain health topics owing to personal/religious beliefs.
  • Electives

    Students will be offered a program of electives at HMS.  8th graders will take one or more year-long or semester-long electives, such as Band, Chorus, Dance, Visual Arts, Computer Skills & Applications, Technological Systems, Family & Consumer Science, or Exploring Careers.