8th Grade Curriculum

List of 20 items.

  • English

    Eighth-grade English focuses on multiple literary genres, from novels and plays to newspaper articles and poetry, in order to help cultivate a lifelong love of literature. Students increase their reading comprehension and develop skills in literary analysis and critical thinking through the study of timeless novels, short stories, and poetry. Students continue to develop their own unique voices, both spoken and written, in whole class discussions, online forums, group chats, literary analysis essays, research papers, quote explications, and timed written responses. In particular, students grapple with relevant themes that transcend any one text, including ideas of childhood, innocence, and maturity; anti-intellectualism and ignorance; leadership and power; racism, oppression, and disenfranchisement; identity and purpose; empathy and perspective; and more. By also incorporating grammar application and vocabulary development, students acquire a fluid writing style that will serve them well in high school and beyond.
  • Science

    In eighth-grade science, we explore the nature of our physical world in a conceptual and hands-on course. Students learn will learn “how to live well together on a small planet” through an exploration of our place on our planet, in our solar system, in our galaxy, and in our universe. We study Newton’s laws, energy, light, and chemistry to understand the physical world. Our conceptual and problem-solving work is complemented by our building and programming of robots. The laboratory work with robots not only ignites the students’ interest, but also allows students to work at various paces, with the more advanced students delving deeply into programming and design challenges while all learn how to troubleshoot using the scientific method. The course dovetails with the work done in the algebra course, providing hands-on experiences through which the students can discover for themselves the essential and important mathematical relationships of our physical world.
  • History

    Eighth-grade history explores the story of the United States through readings, class discussions, examination of primary sources, and creative hands-on research. The student spans from the first peoples in the Americas through the late nineteenth century. Major events include the first contact between Native Americans and Europeans, the Revolutionary War, writing of the US Constitution, the Civil War, and Reconstruction. Critical thinking, document analysis, and effective writing are emphasized throughout the year. This course serves as both a broad overview and in-depth critical analysis of the United States.
  • Algebra I

    Eighth-grade algebra focuses on four math themes: simplifying expressions, solving equations, graphing functions, and applying concepts to real-world problems. New topics are introduced over several days using a combination of modeling and problem-based learning. Students develop abstract reasoning skills and learn to communicate using precise mathematical language. This course is the foundation for future math and science courses in the upper school, college, and beyond. Successful completion of algebra in eighth grade counts towards the graduation requirement in the upper school.
  • Advanced Algebra I

    Eighth-grade advanced algebra focuses on five math themes: simplifying expressions, solving equations, graphing functions, applying concepts to real-world problems, and probability and statistics. It is a faster paced algebra class. New topics are introduced using a combination of modeling and problem-based learning. Students develop abstract reasoning skills and learn to communicate using precise mathematical language. This course is the foundation for future math and science courses in the upper school, college, and beyond. Successful completion of algebra in eighth grade counts towards the graduation requirement in the upper school.
  • Honors Algebra II

    Successful completion of Geometry or Honors Geometry required

    Application and departmental approval required

    Honors Algebra 2 moves quickly through linear algebra and graphing to focus first semester on matrices, quadratic functions, and polynomial functions. Second semester topics include rational exponents, radical functions, exponential and logarithmic functions, rational functions, conic sections, counting methods and probability, data analysis and sequences and series. Students are expected to display their understanding of concepts using appropriate mathematical language both verbally and in writing. Along with their studies, students are taught to use the graphing calculator in conjunction with paper and pencil methods. This course is highly recommended for students who plan to take Honors Precalculus.
  • Honors Geometry

    Successful completion of Algebra 1 required

    Application and departmental approval required

    Students begin the course with the study of inductive reasoning and subsequently learn geometry by identifying patterns and relationships that can be generalized into the theorems of geometry. Often work is done in small groups during class time with the teacher acting as mentor rather than lecturer. The class as a whole discusses its findings, checks homework answers, and asks questions about the work. The content of the course includes line and angle properties; constructions; triangle and quadrilateral properties; characteristics of all polygons and circles; surface area and volume of solids; basic triangle trigonometry; and proofs using the geometric relationships which have been discovered. Throughout the year students gain experience in reading a math textbook, cooperative learning, writing about mathematics, and oral explanation of concepts.
  • Latin

    The second year of Latin continues the work done in the seventh grade, emphasizing pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, and English derivatives. Translation skills are further developed by reading Latin stories about Roman history during the fall of the Republic. Students study the culture and geography of the ancient world, as well as the influence and importance of classical civilization today. Eighth-grade Latin focuses particularly on preparing students for the level of translation skill required in upper school Latin courses.
  • Spanish

    Eighth-grade Spanish begins with a review of the learned in the previous year, followed by an expansion of vocabulary and grammatical concepts. Students continue to learn meaningful skills that improve their listening, reading, speaking and writing abilities. While emphasis was placed on the present tense in seventh grade, students will begin to explore the past tense. Students work on expressing their thoughts and opinions on familiar topics in written and verbal form: they write in organized, descriptive paragraphs, initiate and engage in conversation, interpret meaning from written and auditory material, and understand the diversity and richness of the Hispanic world.
  • French

    The eighth-grade French course begins with review of the fundamentals covered in seventh grade, followed by expansion of vocabulary and grammatical concepts. While emphasis was placed on the present and future tenses in seventh grade, students in eighth grade will begin to explore different past tenses as well. Continued emphasis will be placed on strengthening oral production, aural comprehension, and writing fluency. Following successful completion of this course, students will begin their upper school course of study in French II.
  • Fitness

    The St. Andrew’s Middle School fitness program promotes wellness, individual accountability, and group cohesion through age-appropriate activities. The fitness program includes the Presidential Fitness Test, which is designed to measure the basic fitness level of each student. Students in grades 5–8 also participate in a variety of games, including floor hockey, dodgeball, basketball relays, kickball and wiffle ball. The running program teaches basic fundamentals of running using dot mats, ladders, mini-hurdles, and jump ropes. Each fitness class includes a warm-up and stretching period.
  • Speech and Debate

    Students in speech and debate study and prepare for interscholastic competition in genres such as literature interpretation, debate, and public address. Students develop an understanding of basic movement, the structure of the story – whether it is generated by prose, poetry, or play – the basic argumentation necessary to create orations in persuasion, and the fundamentals of speech writing.
  • Art

    In the art studio, students will progress from creative exploration to exploratory experiments and conceptually-based art techniques. Students will begin to have a firm grasp on the artistic process which will include investigating, discovering and problem solving with critical thinking skills. They will create, produce, and respond to art through drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, collage, mixed media, and recycling. Students will continue to learn art history and be inspired by artists’ techniques and subject matter as they create their own artwork.

    Sketchbooks are an important part of seventh- and eighth-grade art and are instrumental tools for creativity and imagination. Students will be supported and given freedom with expressing their personal style as they continue to develop more confidence in their art making.
  • Drama

    Eighth-grade drama builds upon the acting techniques and methods learned in seventh grade drama.  Students refine performance and communication skills in the context of improvisation, group activities, and dramatic performances of scripted and original text, employing a variety of acting techniques. Students grow in their ability to imagine, create, perform, analyze, interpret, and evaluate dramatic material through performances of monologues, scenes, short plays, and devised theatre. Students implement research, curriculum connections, cultural and historical and cultural context, narrative structures, literary devices, and design elements and principles in creation of a devised performance.
  • Band

    Through this performance-based course, students will refine their craft as instrumentalists and build upon the skills taught in sixth- and seventh-grade grade band to become strong ensemble players and well-rounded musicians. Through individual practice and full-ensemble rehearsal, students will increase music literacy and learn to analyze and interpret music from a wide range of genres and time periods.

    Eighth-grade band offers exciting opportunities for performance within solo, chamber, and large ensemble settings in concerts, football games, solo and ensemble performances, and competitions on the local and state level.
  • Beginning Wind Instruments

    Students in grades 7-10 are eligible to learn to play a band instrument in the beginning winds class. No prior musical of band experience is necessary. All students are placed on an instrument (flute, clarinet, trumpet, horn, trombone, baritone, or tuba), balancing their interests, their physical predispositions, and the needs of the program. Students are taught basic tone production and technique on that instrument. Counting, reading, playing, and listening are all elements of the program method. Students make accelerated progress due to the small class size and one-to-one instruction. The beginning winds students are incorporated into the intermediate or upper school band for the concert at the end of the year.
  • Intermediate Band

    Students build upon the foundation begun in their first year of study. One year of prior band experience or teacher approval is required. Expanding range, increasing difficulty of rhythm patterns, and more control over tone quality are emphasized in this second year of instrumental study. The intermediate band is featured in two evening concerts and other school events, and students are eligible to participate in the Region Solo and Ensemble Festival.
  • Choir

    Eighth-grade choir introduces students to more demanding choral literature in two, three, and four parts. The ability to sing four-part literature at this age is a direct result of the experience in seventh grade choir. Students continue to develop sight-reading and performance skills at a more advanced level. A major challenge for this age is the voice change in both boys and girls. Working through these changes is generally the focus of vocal production, which is facilitated by separate classes for boys and girls. Each semester the choir performs in concert as well as at selected chapel services and special programs. This choir also prepares for formal adjudication at district and state festivals.
  • Boys 7th/8th Choir

    This performance-based course teaches the physical and musical skills necessary to be a successful choral musician. Students will learn the foundations of good vocal technique, music literacy, and the ability to analyze and interpret choral music from a wide variety of genres, styles, musical periods, and regions. As students navigate the voice changes that occur during this age, they are separated by gender into Boys’ and Girls’ choir. Students sing in 2-, 3-, and 4-part harmony learning both aurally and from written scores.

    Students will have the opportunity to perform quarterly. Throughout the year, performance opportunities will include solo, chamber, and large ensemble settings through participation in concerts, festival performances, and competitions on the local and state level.
  • Girls 7th/8th Choir

    This performance-based course teaches the physical and musical skills necessary to be a successful choral musician. Students will learn the foundations of good vocal technique, music literacy, and the ability to analyze and interpret choral music from a wide variety of genres, styles, musical periods, and regions. As students navigate the voice changes that occur during this age, they are separated by gender into Boys’ and Girls’ choir. Students sing in 2-, 3-, and 4-part harmony learning both aurally and from written scores.

    Students will have the opportunity to perform quarterly. Throughout the year, performance opportunities will include solo, chamber, and large ensemble settings through participation in concerts, festival performances, and competitions on the local and state level.

South Campus | PK-3 to Grade 4

4120 Old Canton Road | Jackson, Mississippi 39216
Tel 601.987.9300 | Fax 601.987.9324

North Campus | Grades 5 to 12

370 Old Agency Road | Ridgeland, Mississippi 39157
Tel 601.853.6000 | Fax 601.853.6001