Students leave our middle school well prepared for the next phase of their academic pursuits and maintain a highly engaged connection to the pursuit of knowledge, learning, and developing an intense curiosity of the world around them. 8th grade is a time of exciting transition as our students take on the role of seniors in our community. From leading school-wide assemblies, to field trips including Washington D.C. and Mexico, this is a year of expansive growth and opportunity.
See what your child will learn in each of the following subject areas:
- Social Emotional Learning
- Specials Classes
- Homework and Assessments
Eighth graders are exposed to a wide array of texts from essays, poetry, novels, memoirs, primary documents and more, students also continue to participate in literature circles and read alouds. Literature circle discussions may be whole class format or in small groups and include a study of classic and contemporary works of fiction and nonfiction.
Students write with increasing sophistication in 8th grade. The depth and scope of the humanities program increases the need for focus on expository writing while creative writing is still emphasized through narratives, journals and poetry. Particular attention is paid to annotating and note-taking skills, essay structure, research skills, conventions of writing, organization and thesis development. Overarching exploration of self and society provides ample opportunities for students to develop their voice through writing.
- Analyze text, cite textual evidence; determine an author's point of view, bias, or purpose in a text, identify and use literary elements with understanding
- Write range of texts for specific purpose and audience; develop a thesis, cite evidence, demonstrate writer's craft following conventions of grammar, spelling and MLA format
Sample Reading List
- Warriors Don’t Cry
- The House on Mango Street
- Lord of the Flies
- Animal Farm
- Red Scarf Girl
- Poet X
- Narrative Life of Frederick Douglass
- American Voices: 19th century short stories and poetry
- Alienation & Rebellion: 20th century short stories, film, and poetry
The goals of our humanities course are linked both to social studies and literacy skills as students learn to explore the world in which we live by making connections between history and the modern day. Students are encouraged to use a wide variety of sources and are taught key media literacy skills such as triangulating sources to become critical consumers of news. In eighth grade, students produce culminating papers and multimedia presentations that reach new levels of rigor as they grapple with increasingly complex topics, analyze and compare information, conduct interviews with people in the field, use sophisticated language, and create multimedia presentations. Student learning inspires them to action in the wider community and to make a difference in our world.
- To what extent does our identity influence the choices we make?
- What are the consequences of dividing people by race?
- How do the choices people make, individually and collectively, shape a society?
- Demonstrate understanding of key concepts, causal relationships and historical timelines; compare, contrast and analyze a variety of texts, primary and secondary sources
- Analysis and Research Skills: interpret and synthesize primary and secondary sources
- Research and present topic of choice using notes and a variety of credible sources to make citations; correctly format a Works Cited page
Units of Study
- Government: Declaration of Independence and the Constitution
- Paradigms of settlement
- American character
- Crisis, war, & reconstruction
- Civil Rights movement
- Current Events
With inquiry at its core, the science curriculum aims to guide students to collaboratively and independently investigate issues through observation, research and experimentation. Stevens employs an integrated, spiraling approach to science education that builds on life, mechanical and environmental sciences throughout each year. The curriculum is aimed at developing student fluency with scientific skills and concepts through hands-on projects and experimentation. This develops facility with the scientific process, which is demonstrated through students’ individual science projects. As students investigate real examples of science applications they discover the dependencies and tensions between ethics, culture, economics and environment.
- Understand and explains scientific concepts
- Use structured processes to solve problems, gather information, and draw conclusions
- Record observations and thought processes, measure with accuracy and communicates with relevance, meaning and insight
Units of Study
- Electricity, Waves and Information Transfer
- Cells and Reproduction
In eighth grade, students continue to learn Algebra I with special emphasis on linear, quadratic and exponential functions. As students learn about each family of functions, they learn to represent them in multiple ways: as verbal descriptions, equations, tables, and graphs. Eighth graders also learn to model real‐world situations using functions in order to solve problems arising from those situations.
The focus of the course is building the foundation necessary for success in the study of algebra and preparing students for the rigorous and challenging geometry curriculum in high school. Students continue to work on solving multi-step rational equations and advanced geometry concepts such as similarity and congruence, transformations, and Pythagorean theorem. In addition, students continue to build their knowledge and skills with statistics and probability.
Units of Study
- Scientific Notation
- Algebraic Linear Equations
- Lines and Linear Equations
- Systems of Linear Equations
- Pythagorean Theorem
- Geometric Transformations
- Congruence and Similarity
Social Emotional Learning
We believe that students experience academic and social success by developing skills that promote their social and emotional well-being. Our middle school Classroom Advisory Program is focused on character education and social emotional learning. We believe it is critically important for students to engage in specifically designed lessons focusing on topics such as ethical choices and dilemmas, maintaining convictions in the face of peer pressure and adversity, appreciating individuality, managing anxiety and stress, making wise and informed choices regarding friendship conflicts, celebrating differences, and other similar topics. Students engage in group-oriented activities to foster the development of these skills. Eighth grade topics include:
- Problem solving
- Stress management
- Resolving conflict
- Using social media responsibly
- Healthy and unhealthy relationships
- Health and wellbeing
Students can choose to continue pursuing their individual instrument with small group instruction and orchestra or they can choose to join choir.
In seventh and eighth grade choir, students study vocal technique for solo and ensemble singing. Students develop musical literacy skills in reading traditional music notations, and aural analysis skills for performing music by rote. Eighth graders prepare repertoire for ensemble performances that are shared within the Stevens community and beyond.
Using a computer responsibly
- Digital Citizenship
- Media habits
- Creator’s responsibility
- Safe online talk
- Which me should I be?
- Gender stereotypes online
- Digital footprint
- Identifying high quality sites
- Digital drama
- Rework, reuse, remix
- CS Discoveries
- Problem solving, processing, apps and storage
- Interactive animations
- The design process: app development
Filming and editing
- Video editing with iMovie
- Film production
World Languages: Spanish and Mandarin
Beginning in 5th grade, students choose between Spanish or Mandarin as their World Language course.
Students learn Spanish vocabulary, grammar, culture and history through the lenses of different countries including Spain and Spanish-speaking countries in Central and South America and the Caribbean. Eighth grade students practice their speaking and listening skills three times per week.
- Personal and family relationships
- Physical characteristics
- Personality traits
- Personal information
- Emotional states and feelings
- Rooms and furniture in a house
- Household chores
- Electrical appliances
- Buying food
- In the kitchen
- In the restaurant
- Parts of the body
- Personal hygiene
- Symptoms and illnesses
- Healthy habits
- Trips and excursions
- The school
- Free time and entertainment
- The city, locations and directions
- Adjectives and nouns
- Comparisons and superlatives
- Present progressive
- Direct and indirect object pronouns
- The preterite tense of regular -ar, -er , -ir verbs
- The preterite tense of irregular verbs
- The imperfect tense
- The conditional tense
- The future tense
- Past progressive
- Present perfect tense of regular verbs
Cultural Backdrop: Mexico
- Mexico City cityscape, monuments and important places.
- Frida Kahlo and her influence on Mexican modern culture. Elements from her art that reflect Mexican Identity
- Virgen de Guadalupe Mexico’s patron
- Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl Volcanoes in the valley of Mexico
- Mexico pre-columbian heritage and Aztec Mythology
- Immigration and immigrants
- The importance of Mexican cuisine in Mexican Identity
- Latin American Identity through the lens of literature.
- Pinyin, tones, strokes, radicals
- Dates, ages, telephone numbers
- Family members
- Countries and languages
Integrated Chinese Textbook
Topics and Contents
- Visiting and hosting someone
- Phone calls and conversation with respectful words
- Make appointment
- School life and languages
- Radicals (bu shou and pian pang)
- Adverbs/ sequence adverbs
- Measure words
- Negative verbs
- Question ending word
- Question pronounces
- A not A format
- Modal verb and comparison
- Adjectives as predicates
- Conjunction statements
Eighth graders begin with a brief review of Latin fundamentals and textbook plot. From there, students continue to bolster their understanding of the Latin language and explore cultural topics like the Roman military, travel in the ancient world, the arts, and marriage. Eighth graders should be ready to test out of high school Latin 1 at the conclusion of their time at Stevens.
Cultural concepts include:
- Roman military
- The dangers of the sea
- The great fire of Rome
- Country life
Language skills include:
- imperfect and perfect tense
- Dative case
- Relative clauses
- Relative pronouns
- Indirect statements
Beginning in fifth grade, Electives are offered once per week to middle school students in mixed group settings. This is a chance for students to have choice and voice through personal selection and an opportunity to work with peers from other middle school classes. Offerings change from year to year and have included Photography, Creative Writing, Fiber Arts, Tinkering and Makerspace, The Art of Public Speaking, Healthy Habits and Nutrition, Service Learning, Theatre, Coding, and Ethics Bowl.
Homework and Assessments
In middle school, students experience more regular and frequent quizzes, tests, essays and projects. Weekly quizzes are used to assess baseline knowledge and ensure that students are maintaining an appropriate pace with the curriculum material. Unit exams are given to assess knowledge of content and basic analyzing skills. Essays, in conjunction with oral defenses, focus on in-depth curricular concepts that assess higher order thinking skills.
Stevens uses authentic observation, testing and ongoing assessment to provide a comprehensive evaluation of each student.
Students take the Terra Nova standardized test in October and the ISEE (Independent School Entrance Exam) in October and December.
In addition to exploring relevant curriculum connections through local day trips to museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, students participate in an overnight trip to the Poconos Environmental Education Center (PEEC) for three days and two nights focused on enhancing teamwork, leadership and self-confidence.