The eighth grade curriculum is aligned with the diocesan guidelines and Pennsylvania State Academic Standards.
The curriculum includes the study of the Church with the purpose of developing students life-long commitment to faith in Christ. Students are encouraged to see themselves as part of a community of disciples rooted in scripture and apostolic tradition. During the second quarter of the year, students focus on preparation for the sacrament of Confirmation. As part of their preparation, they complete research on the lives of their chosen saints, complete service hours, and strengthen their commitment to become active participants in the Church who strive to live faith-filled lives.
English Language Arts (ELA)
The curriculum includes the study of grammar, literature, and communication as a means to enhance students’ effective use of oral and written language. Students develop critical reading skills through the review and application of the five elements of literature as they read, analyze, and discuss short stories, plays, poetry, nonfiction literature, and a novel. Writing ability is developed through the writing of descriptive, narrative, persuasive, and informative essays, poetry, letters, and plays. Opportunities for oral presentations are also provided. Other modalities such as Podcasts, WebQuests, and PowerPoint presentations may also be used to enhance student understanding.
Students in eighth grade have two different math classes in which they participate. Five days a week they study either Pre-Algebra, Honors Algebra I, or Honors Algebra II, along with attending Math II class twice a week. In Math II, they study the fundamental concepts of geometry, its language, and its notation to help prepare them for a formal course of geometry in high school.
In eighth grade science, students will develop scientific literacy about the Earth and space by exploring, describing, and analyzing some of the vast body of evidence supporting current theories of our planet’s structure, history, and place in the Universe.
A major objective is for students to gain a sense of awe and appreciation for scales that are outside their everyday experience, including huge distances in space and the slow processes that occur over geologic time. They will also learn that scientific study of the natural world is a process in which ideas are tested to see whether observations match expectations (an independent experimental project on a topic of his/her choice is required).
Internet resources, practical laboratory experiments, readings on current events, projects, and geospatial visualization software such as Google Earth will be utilized for both group and individual projects in class and at home.
The eighth grade curriculum focuses on the study of American History from discovery to the Reconstruction Era (1492-1877). Using iPads in class, students have access to apps and websites that help bring this subject area to life.
Eighth Grade Highlights
Students participate in service projects at the school which provide opportunities for putting their faith into action, including serving as peer leaders and participating in an Advent service project, Santa’s Workshop, and Spring Clean-Up Day. Eighth grade students also receive the sacrament of Confirmation.
Other special activities include the Marian Devotion and graduation-related events. Junior high students are given the opportunity to participate in MathCounts and the Pennsylvania Mathematics League (PML) Competition.
MathCounts is a national program which builds critical thinking skills and teaches problem solving strategies. All students are encouraged to participate. The top 12 Mathletes compete at a regional competition held in February. The PML competition takes place at Central Catholic High School, where students take a 30-minute multiple-choice math test. The top 10 students are honored at an awards assembly held in March.
Students are invited to participate in the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science and are given an opportunity to present their independent, experimental project at a regional symposium and at a Pennsylvania state symposium.
Finally, students visit a holocaust museum as a culmination of the study of Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl.
Technology Highlights, Projects, and Special Events
In eighth grade, each student has access to an iPad to enrich their learning experiences through hands-on activities that prepare students to be literate and responsible citizens in a 21st century world. In addition, students have access to a laptop cart outfitted with 26 laptops. Students create projects using PowerPoint and record podcasts related to content learned in the classroom. They participate in WebQuests that foster the understanding of curriculum-related topics. They also use Compass Learning for activities and assessments, particularly assignments for math-related enrichment and remediation.
Teachers use multimedia projectors, laptops, and electronic whiteboards to present information to the students. Interactive websites and apps are used to enhance student learning.