Skills and Concepts for 8th Grade

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Skills to Teach and Concepts to Introduce in 8th Grade

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  • Evaluates the evidence in texts to determine the strongest supports of an idea and analysis.
  • Determines the main idea or theme of a text using evidence from the text to support it.
  • Provides an objective summary of a text.
  • Understands, summarizes, and tracks the progress of the main idea of a text, using evidence from the text.
  • Analyzes how elements such as specific dialogue, events, or word usage impact the characters and the decisions they make and other events and actions in the text.
  • Understands the use of language in a text, including figurative language, analogies, and allusions to other texts.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of author’s craft (e.g, irony, foreshadowing, flashback, point of view, etc.
  • Compares and contrasts the different structures of texts including the structures of paragraphs and sentences.
  • Analyzes the difference between characters’ points of views and how these differences affect the text.
  • Analyzes the pros and cons of using different forms of text and media to present a topic or idea.
  • Compares a text to a film or play version of a text, paying specific attention to the way in which the film or play veers from the text.
  • Analyzes how a modern text builds on or uses themes from other historical or older texts such as myths or the Bible.
  • Analyzes texts which include conflicting information on the same topic and decipher when those are due to conflicting facts or interpretations.
  • Writes arguments which present clear reasons and relevant evidence and include:
    • Introductions;
    • Acknowledgements of opposing claims;
    • Logical and orderly presentations of reasons and evidence;
    • Graphics, special formatting, and multimedia, when appropriate;
    • Support of the claims through the use of evidence from credible sources;
    • A concluding sentence or paragraph which supports the argument made; and
    • A formal tone and style.
  • Writes structured and well-organized opinion, research, and informative pieces that:
    • Use supporting claims and evidence that are based on credible texts and resources;
    • Provide an introduction which includes an explanation of what follows;
    • Develop topics through the use of facts, details, quotations, examples, and subject-specific terms and definitions;
    • Include transitions that connect concepts, events, and paragraphs;
    • Include a conclusion that supports the presented idea(s);
    • Maintain a formal “essay type” style; and
    • Integrate other forms of media and formats such as graphs, charts, headings, and audio or video when appropriate.
  • Writes well-structured narratives (both true and fiction) that include:
    • A narrator, characters, and a point of view;
    • Descriptive detail and sensory language to describe characters, settings, and experiences;
    • Dialogue, pacing, reflection, and details and descriptions of characters, setting, and experiences;
    • Thought-out word choice;
    • A clear structure with a logical order and flow, as shown through the use of transition words and phrases and a logical sequence; and
    • A conclusion that is connected to and builds on the narrative.
  • Plans, revises, and edits writing, specifically with guidance from teachers and peers, focusing specifically on trying new approaches, and making sure the writing has a purpose and appeals to its audience.
  • Uses technology and the Internet to produce and publish writing, work with others, and cite sources.
  • Works on multiple, short research projects which answer a specific question and cite multiple sources, while gathering additional questions for later research.
  • Uses both print and digital resources to conduct research, focusing on using appropriate search terms and reliable sources.
  • Uses quotes and a standard format for citation.
  • Uses research to analyze and make inferences.
  • Understand conventions within language study: research, oral delivery, reference tools, parts of speech
  • Demonstrate oral language by presenting information effectively

  • Solves linear equations, which are equations that make a straight line when graphed and are expressed as y = mx + b.
  • Uses linear expressions to compare data that has two variables.
  • Compares the lines graphed by two linear expressions and determines whether they are parallel, intersect, or are the same.
  • Understands that there are rational and irrational numbers.
  • Solves equations with integers which are whole numbers, both positive and negative.
  • Solves equations with radicals which are “roots,” such as square roots.
  • Understands, compares and solves equations with functions which are usually expressed as f(n) and represent the relationships between an input and an output.
  • Learns the concept of congruence (equal length) and similarity (when two objects have the same angles and are proportionate) through the use of models, transparencies, or software.
  • Understands and solves equations using the Pythagorean Theorem: a2 +b2 = c2
  • Solves equations about the volume of cylinders, cones, and spheres specifically as applied in real-world ways.
  • Provides the thinking behind and the reasoning for how problems are solved, and critiques others’ reasoning. 
  • Define and apply common irrational numbers (e.g. Pi, Square root of 2); Apply powers and roots to the solution of problems
  • Estimate and compute with fractions (algebraically), decimals, percents, and integers
  • Solve problems involving ratios and proportions (e.g. unit rates, scale factors, rates of change)
  • Identify properties of operations on integers and rational numbers (e.g. closure, associative, commutative, distributive, identity, inverse)
  • Represent and analyze a variety of numeric and geometric patterns; Use tables and graphs to compare linear and exponential growth patterns
  • Write expressions and equations for problem situations; Evaluate and simplify algebraic expressions; Solve and graph linear equations and inequalities; Identify roles of variables in equations
  • Identify slope and y-intercept of a line from its equation, tables, and graph; Apply the concept of slope to the solution of problems; Explain how a change in one variable effects a change in another
  • Use technology and construction tools to formulate and test conjectures about 2- and 3-dimensional figures and to make geometric constructions
  • Explore and apply relationships found in right triangles; Apply Pythagorean Theorem;
  • Analyze the effects of transformations on figures on the coordinate plane
  • Apply formulas and procedures to problems involving perimeter, area, surface area, and volume
  • Use ratio and proportion to solve measurement problems (e.g. indirect measures, similar plane figures)
  • Collect and organize data; Represent data in tables, charts, scatter plots, Venn Diagrams, histograms, circle graphs and box plots; Make inferences and draw conclusions; Identify most appropriate measure of central tendency
  • Compute permutations and combinations; Use tree diagrams, tables, lists, and area models to describe sample spaces and to calculate probabilities of independent and dependent events
  • Plans and conducts investigations and experiments.
  • Applies the scientific method in order to practice like a scientist:
    • Observes and researches.
    • Develops a hypothesis (based on observations and research).
    • Make predictions.
    • Experiments and follows multi-step processes and instructions in order to conduct experiments.
    • Develops a conclusion.
    • Compares the results of an experiment to what is written about the topic in a text.
  • Analyzes and interprets data.
  • Uses measurement and mathematical computations while working with data.
  • Develops and presents explanations for processes and practices used and results obtained.
  • Determines the main ideas of a scientific text and sites specific evidence to support ideas and claims about scientific texts.
  • Learns topic specific science vocabulary.
  • Analyzes relevant charts, diagrams, and graphs about a scientific topic.
  • Explain the role of water vapor in the atmosphere and how it affects weather
  • Explain why high & low pressure systems usually bring clear & cloudy weather respectively
  • Describe the movement of ocean waves, currents and the cause of tides
  • Describe the origin of ocean water and explain why the salinity of the ocean does not change
  • Describe evidence used to support the hypothesis of continental drift
  • Relate the occurrences of earthquakes and volcanoes to plate tectonics
  • Explain the conditions necessary for fossils to form and methods used to date rock layers
  • Explain one hypothesis of how the solar system formed
  • Differentiate between comets, asteroids, and meteors
  • Explain the process by which a star produces energy and its brightness, color and temperature
  • Describe a galaxy and list three main types of galaxies
  • Describe ways in which organisms are adapted to life in intertidal zones
  • Identify different types of nutrients and describe the importance of each in your diet
  • Describe what happens to food as it passes through each organ of the digestive system
  • Describe plasma, red and white blood cells, and hemoglobin in the blood and explain their functions
  • Explain the natural defenses your body has against disease
  • Describe the process of meiosis and contrast chromosome number in body cells and sex cells
  • Compare and contrast reproduction in plants and animals
  • Distinguish electrical conductors from insulators
  • Control the amount of current in a circuit and list the variables that determine electrical resistance
  • Make an electromagnet and demonstrate its magnetic effects
  • Explain how loudspeakers and electric motors work
  • Compare and contrast the characteristics of waves in various parts of the electromagnetic spectrum
  • Describe how various observations of color and light can be explained by the wave model
  • Relate the contributions of Thomson, Rutherford and others to the study of the structure of the atom
  • Trace the development of the model of the atom and its parts
  • Describe the arrangement of the elements in the periodic table. Identify where metals, nonmetals, and metalloids are located on the periodic table
  • Describe ionic and covalent bonds
  • Explain how to determine oxidation numbers. Write formulas for compounds from their names
  • Demonstrate how to write a balanced chemical equation
  • Describe four types of chemical reactions, using their general formulas
  • Discuss melting and boiling in terms of kinetic theory
  • Describe the states of matter in terms of kinetic theory
  • Describe and draw the structure of an alcohol, a carboxylic acid, and an amine
  • Compare and contrast proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids and polymers
  • Compare and contrast a nuclear Fission and Fusion reaction

Social Studies
  • Reads primary and secondary sources in order to:
    • Analyze the texts using evidence.
    • Understand the main ideas of the text.
    • Relate the texts to important historical events or concepts.
  • Determines places in a text in which an author’s point of view is presented.
  • Distinguishes between fact and opinion in a text.
  • Uses technology and media to better understand concepts taught.
  • Compares primary and secondary sources about the same topic.
  • Compare and contrast international organizations
  • Describe global economic issues using appropriate economic terminology
  • Explain why trade occurs and how historical patterns of trade have contributed to global interdependence.
  • Evaluate and discuss the world’s response to global issues.
  • Explain why people institute governments, how they influence governments, and how governments interact with each other.
  • Study (indepth) U.S. History – Colonies, Revolution, Forming a Republic, Expansion of the New Nation, Civil War, Reconstruction through today.
  • Explain how the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, including the Bill of Rights, and the Northwest Ordinance have provided for the protection of rights and the long-term future of a growing democracy.
  • Understand and explain Constitutional issues, Checks & Balances
  • Identify historical origins that influenced the rights U.S. citizens have today.
Helping your Child through 6th-8th Grade (Middle School + Life)
Set Routines
In the middle school years, your child will be more involved in activities outside of the school day. Academic demands will be greater and require more time at home. Your child will require enormous amounts of sleep, food, and exercise at this age. Balancing homework, extracurricular activities, family time, daily chores, and sleep may require your help. Children may not consider homework and daily chores to be a priority in life. If you help set up a daily schedule, including time for academic work, your child will gain self-management and organizational skills.
Listen to Your Child
Societal pressures on children and adolescents today are greater than ever. Your child may be exposed to drugs or alcohol, premature sex, or violence without your knowledge. Television, movies, videos, and video games may expose your child to adult activities.
Your child will probably be changeable and unpredictable during this stormy time of adolescence. He or she may seem rude and inconsiderate when interacting with others. Irresponsibility and mood changes can be annoying and infuriating. But remember, “this, too, shall pass.” Your child is worth the investment of time, so take time to listen to what he or she has to say. Your child will succeed academically with your support.
Encourage Creativity
“I am not a nut. I am a pioneer.” This comment by Betty Miles probably describes how your preadolescent feels. Research projects, current events, environmental issues and other causes, art and dramatic productions, the world of entertainment, sports events, and other activities will attract children at this age. Guide your child in using creativity to explore areas of interest. Creativity is not so much inventing something new as it is recombining old information. Help your child use the Internet, art, music, and writing to explore and use his or her creative mind.
Managing Time
The need to study outside of the ‘school day’ increases as students advance from grade to grade. Helping your child learn time management skills is essential not only for academic success but also for success in other areas throughout life. Good time management can ensure that students take the time to process and reflect on what they’ve done when work is finished. The following suggestions are essential in managing time:  
  • Organize a daily schedule-Procrastination is a common characteristic among students. They commonly put off tasks that require planning and extended work. Help your child learn to prioritize tasks and keep a record of work done.
  • Set goals and timelines-As study tasks become more complex and require more time to complete, students must evaluate each task and the amount of time needed to complete it. Your child may set expectations that are too high or too low, so continual monitoring is needed to determine if the quality or quantity of work accomplished is meeting reasonable expectations. Encourage your child to set realistic goals that can be met.
  • Break a big task into smaller tasks-If your child becomes overwhelmed with an assignment that requires an extended amount of time, show how the assignment can be broken into several short tasks with established deadlines. Remember to encourage your child to be realistic, always keeping the due date in mind. Keeping a weekly monitoring sheet will help your child visually plot assignments.
  • Reinforce good study habits-Help your child learn to self-monitor study habits and reward himself or herself for a job well done. Rewards might involve activities that your child would rather be doing instead of studying. A good mindset for this is “Study now and do something fun later.”
Suggested Activities you and your Middle-School Child can do together
  • Shared Reading Experiences: Share and talk about the main ideas of articles with your child that are about topics they learn in science, social studies, (including current events), or topics relevant or interesting to them. Share items in articles having to do with data collection and analysis as studied in math. You can even read the same book that your child is reading for English and form a family book club.
  • Write for Enjoyment: Encourage your child to keep a journal; try keeping one yourself. When you or your child finds a passion topic, write about it in a relevant way. For example, write letters to favorite authors, write letters to publications about articles or even try and submit an article to a local publication or website.
  • Share and Solve Math in Your Life: When you encounter math in your life, show your child how you solved the relevant math equation or have him/her assist you in solving it. This may occur in areas such as:
    • Changing the measurements in recipes, especially when it involves add, subtracting, or multiplying mixed fractions.
    • Computations having to do with creating and working with a budget.
    • Figuring out distances when traveling or sales prices when shopping.
    • Data collection or analysis.
  • Use Technology to Enhance Your Child’s Learning: Since most middle-schoolers are technology fans (and experts), encourage your children to use technology to "show what they know" or further their learning. Of course, as with any use of technology, be sure to monitor your child’s technology use, access, and communication with others.
    • Making short-video book reviews of books being read.
    • Making quick video lessons (or using one of many various apps) for presenting short narrated lessons about topics being learned so that your child can teach you!
    • Create photo collages or scrapbooks of work completed and or books read.
    • Create a continuous conversation via email or another technological format in which your child sends you quick snippets (pictures and or texts) of something interesting s/he learned. Follow up with questions or comments on what your child sends.

Published:Apr 12th 2017
Modified:Apr 12th 2017


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