Grade 8

We believe in balance between the Arts and the Sciences. 

At GSJ - Arts education is crucial. Years of research show that it's closely linked to almost everything that we as a nation say we want for our children and demand from our schools: academic achievement, social and emotional development, civic engagement, and equitable opportunity.

Involvement in the arts is associated with gains in math, reading, cognitive ability, critical thinking, and verbal skill. Arts learning can also improve motivation, concentration, confidence, and teamwork. We deeply believe in the whole child / every child.

Core Classes - English / Science / Mathematics


Using a motif of Innovation, Imagination, and Invention, students in the 8th Grade English course will acquire the reading, writing, language, and speaking/listening skills necessary for success in college, career, and beyond. Students will become critical readers and thinkers as they delve into fiction and informational texts within the course. They will also learn to effectively write narrative, informational, and argumentative pieces and present their ideas clearly and cohesively.

Major Topics and Concepts for English 8

Semester 1 - Reading Comprehension / Informational and Expository Writing / Narrative Writin

  • Text connections
  • Identifying theme
  • Moving a story forward
  • How theme develops
  • Comparing and contrasting mediums
  • Using context clues
  • Thesaurus and dictionary skills
  • Implicit and explicit meaning
  • Finding the central idea
  • Writing an effective summary
  • Assess internet sources
  • Writer’s voice
  • Reading informational texts
  • Researching and organizing information
  • Avoiding plagiarism/citing sources
  • Writing an introduction 
  • Connecting  and supporting ideas
  • Syntax and voice
  • Writing a conclusion 
  • Revising writing
  • Using formal language in writing
  • Recognizing point of view
  • Identifying the narrator
  • Planning narrative writing
  • Beginning a narrative
  • Writing dialogue
  • Writing the body of a narrative
  • Using commas
  • Temporal  transitions
  • Identifying and using verbals

Semester 2 - Reading Comprehension / Argumentative Writing / Fiction Analysis

  • Central idea in nonfiction text
  • Structure and development of nonfiction texts
  • Compare and contrast text
  • Spelling
  • Compare different mediums
  • Modern  fiction draws on stories / myths
  • Greek and Latin Word roots
  • Figure of speech: verbal irony / puns
  • Figurative/connotative meanings
  • Analogies and allusions
  • Dialogue propels action
  • Points of view in a story creates suspense /dramatic irony
  • Compare structure of texts
  • Verb form  / verb moods
  • Presenting information
  • Revising written work
  • Oral discussions / rules of collegial discussions / adapt speech
  • Argumentation analysis
  • Restrictive / parenthetical elements
  • Support claims
  • Delineate an argument
  • Trace and evaluate argument
  • Distinguishing valid / invalid claims
  • Draw evidence from informational text
  • Write argumentation introduction , claims and support, conclusion


8th Grade Science is the last class of our Middle School Comprehensive Series. The course introduces new information and reviews some basics of science to prepare students for high school science coursework. Topics covered in this course include: The Nature of Science, Earth and Space Science, Properties of Matter, Changes in Matter, Matter and Energy, and Energy flow in the living world. During this course students will learn through real world examples and applications. Students will participate in activities and online laboratory experiences to apply what they have learned.

Major Topics and Concepts for Science 8

Semester 1

  • Foundations of Science
  • Scientific Theories
  • Scientific Laws
  • Scientific Method
  • Metric system
  • Metric Conversions
  • Scientific Measurement
  • Science and Society
  • The Law of Universal Gravitation
  • Formation of Objects in Space
  • Galaxies
  • Space Exploration
  • Distances in Space
  • Stars
  • HR Diagrams
  • Interpreting Graphs in Science
  • The Sun/Solar Properties
  • Electromagnetic Spectrum
  • Solar System Models
  • Seasons
  • Phases of the Moon
  • Eclipse
  • Tides
  • Space and Technology

Semester 2

  • Atomic Theory
  • Atomic Models
  • Periodic Table
  • Acids, Bases, and Salts
  • Compounds
  • Mixtures, Solutions, and Pure Substances
  • Physical Properties
  • Mass
  • Weight
  • Density
  • Physical Changes
  • Chemical Changes
  • States of Matter
  • Temperature and Chemical Change
  • Law of Conservation of Energy
  • Energy in Ecosystems
  • Pyramid of Energy
  • Photosynthesis
  • Primary Production
  • Cellular Respiration
  • Carbon Cycle


Students who love interactive learning will enjoy Pre-Algebra. This hands-on course is full of slideshows, applications, videos, and real-world scenarios. The satisfaction that students gain from truly understanding higher level concepts such as functions and systems of equations encourages excitement and joy for learning. The instruction in this course will focus on three critical areas: (1) analyzing two- and three-dimensional space and figures, through the use of distance, angles, similarity, congruence, and Pythagorean Theorem; (2) using functions to describe quantitative relationships; (3) formulating expressions and equations, including modeling an association in bivariate data with a linear equation, solving linear equations, and systems of linear equations. This course is appropriate for upper level middle school students or as a high school review course.

Major Topics and Concepts - for Mathematics 8

Semester 1

  • Real Numbers & Exponents
  • Geometric Transformations
  • Geometric Relationships
  • Functions

Semester 2

  • Linear Relationships
  • Patterns of Association
  • Linear Equations
  • Linear Systems

MATHEMATICS Honors (Algebra I)

Algebra I is the foundation—the skills acquired in this course contain the basic knowledge needed for all future high school math courses. The material covered in this course is important, but everyone can do it. Anyone can have a good time solving the hundreds of real-world problems algebra can help answer. Each module in this course is presented in a step-by-step way right on the computer screen. Hands-on labs make the numbers, graphs, and equations more real. The content in this course is tied to real-world applications like sports, travel, business, and health. This course is designed to give students the skills and strategies to solve all kinds of mathematical problems. Students will also acquire the confidence needed to handle everything high school math has in store for them.

Major Topics and Concepts for Mathematics 8 - Honors

Semester 1

Module 01: Algebra Foundations

  • Numerical Operations
  • Algebraic Expressions
  • Units and Graphs
  • Descriptive Modeling and Accuracy
  • Translations
  • Algebraic Properties and Equations

Module 02: Equations and Inequalities

  • One-Variable Equations
  • Two-Variable Equations
  • Absolute Value Equations
  • Inequalities
  • Compound Inequalities
  • Literal Equations

Module 03: Linear Functions

  • Relations and Functions
  • Function Notation and Graphs
  • Linear Functions
  • Linear Models
  • Writing Linear Functions
  • Horizontal and Vertical Lines

Module 04: Exponential Functions

  • Properties of Exponents
  • Operations with Radicals
  • Exponential Functions and Models
  • Graphing Exponential Functions
  • Sequences
  • Exploring Linear and Exponential Growth

Module 05: Systems of Equations

  • Solving Systems of Equations Graphically
  • Solving Systems of Equations Algebraically
  • Solving Systems of Equations Approximately
  • Two-Variable Linear Inequalities
  • Systems of Linear Inequalities

Semester 2

Module 06: Statistics

  • Representing Data
  • Comparing Data Sets
  • Data Sets and Outliers
  • Two-Way Frequency Tables
  • Scatter Plots and Line of Best Fit
  • Correlation and Causation

Module 07: Polynomials

  • Introduction to Polynomials
  • Addition and Subtraction of Polynomials
  • Multiplication of Monomials
  • Division of Monomials
  • Multiplication of Polynomials
  • Special Products
  • Division of Polynomials
  • Function Operations

 Module 08: Factoring 

  • Greatest Common Factor
  • Factoring By Grouping
  • Factoring Trinomials
  • Perfect Square Trinomials
  • Difference of Perfect Squares
  • Polynomial Functions

Module 09: Quadratic Functions

  • Quadratic Models
  • Quadratics and Completing the Square
  • Quadratics and the Quadratic Formula
  • Applications of Quadratic Functions
  • Exploring Non-Linear Systems and Growth