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8th Grade

Objectives/ Alabama State Standards

English/Language Arts

Course Description

Middle school language arts focuses on phonics, fluency, grammar, spelling, vocabulary, reading comprehension, writing processes and more. The goal is to help students develop strategies for active reading and clear writing and speaking. We currently use Houghton Mifflin’s Into Literature curriculum which uses diverse, culturally relevant texts that connect with students’ lives, Into Literature builds confidence, standards mastery, and college and career readiness for every learner in the classroom.

Reading Standards for Literature

  • Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text. 
  •  Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text. 
  • Analyze how particular elements of a story or drama interact.
  • Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of rhymes and other repetitions of sounds on a specific verse or stanza of a poem or section of a story or drama. 
  • Analyze how a drama’s or poem’s form or structure contributes to its meaning. 
  • Analyze how an author develops and contrasts the points of view of different characters or narrators in a text. 
  • Compare and contrast a written story, drama, or poem to its audio, filmed, staged, or multimedia version, analyzing the effects of techniques unique to each medium 
  • Compare and contrast a fictional portrayal of a time, place, or character and a historical account of the same period as a means of understanding how authors of fiction use or alter history. 
  • By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, in the Grades 6-8 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.

Reading Standards for Informational Text

  • Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text. 
  • Determine two or more central ideas in a text and analyze their development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text. 
  • Analyze the interactions between individuals, events, and ideas in a text.
  • Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone.
  • Analyze the structure an author uses to organize a text, including how the major sections contribute to the whole and to the development of the ideas.
  • Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how the author distinguishes his or her position from that of others.
  • Compare and contrast a text to an audio, video, or multimedia version of the text, analyzing each medium’s portrayal of the subject.
  • Trace and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant and sufficient to support the claims. 
  • Analyze how two or more authors writing about the same topic shape their presentations of key information by emphasizing different evidence or advancing different interpretations of facts. 
  • By the end of the year, read and comprehend literary nonfiction in the Grades 6-8 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.

Writing Standards

  • Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
  • Write informative or explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.  Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences.
  • Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. 
  • With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on how well the purpose and audience have been addressed.
  • Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and link to and cite sources as well as to interact and collaborate with others, including linking to and citing sources. 
  • Conduct short research projects to answer a question, drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions for further research and investigation. 
  • Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.
  • Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research. 
  • Write routinely over extended time frames, including time for research, reflection, and revision, and shorter time frames such as a single sitting or a day or two for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.

Speaking and Listening Standards

  • Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners on Grade 7 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly. 
  • Analyze the main ideas and supporting details presented in diverse media and formats and explain how the ideas clarify a topic, text, or issue under study. 
  • Delineate a speaker’s argument and specific claims, evaluating the soundness of the reasoning and the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence. 
  • Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with pertinent descriptions, facts, details, and examples; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.
  • Include multimedia components and visual displays in presentations to clarify claims and findings and emphasize salient points. 
  • Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate. 

Language Standards

  • Demonstrate command of the conventions of Standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking. 
  • Demonstrate command of the conventions of Standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing. 
  • Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.
  • Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on Grade 7 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies. 
  • Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings. 
  • Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases; gather vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression. 


Course Description

8th grade students learn math concepts which build on their prior knowledge. Content areas include Number Systems and Operations; Algebra and Functions; Data Analysis, Statistics, and Probability; and Geometry and Measurement. We currently use McGraw Hill’s Glencoe Math which focuses on conceptual understanding, application, and procedural fluency.

Proportional Reasoning

  • Calculate unit rates of length, area, and other quantities measured in like or different units that include ratios or fractions. 
  • Represent a relationship between two quantities and determine whether the two quantities are related proportionally. 
  • Solve multi-step percent problems in context using proportional reasoning, including simple interest, tax, gratuities, commissions, fees, markups and markdowns, percent increase, and percent decrease. 
  • Apply and extend knowledge of operations of whole numbers, fractions, and decimals to add, subtract, multiply, and divide rational numbers including integers, signed fractions, and decimals. 
  • Solve real-world and mathematical problems involving the four operations of rational numbers, including complex fractions. Apply properties of operations as strategies where applicable.

Algebra and Functions

  • Apply properties of operations as strategies to add, subtract, factor, and expand linear expressions with rational coefficients. 
  • Generate expressions in equivalent forms based on context and explain how the quantities are related. 
  • Solve multi-step real-world and mathematical problems involving rational numbers, converting between forms as needed. Assess the reasonableness of answers using mental computation and estimation strategies. 
  • Use variables to represent quantities in real-world or mathematical problems and construct algebraic expressions, equations, and inequalities to solve problems by reasoning about the quantities.

Data Analysis, Statistics, and Probability

  • Examine a sample of a population to generalize information about the population. 
  • Informally assess the degree of visual overlap of two numerical data distributions with similar variabilities, measuring the difference between the centers by expressing it as a multiple of a measure of variability.
  •  Make informal comparative inferences about two populations using measures of center and variability and/or mean absolute deviation in context. 
  • Use a number from 0 to 1 to represent the probability of a chance event occurring, explaining that larger numbers indicate greater likelihood of the event occurring, while a number near zero indicates an unlikely event. 
  • Define and develop a probability model, including models that may or may not be uniform, where uniform models assign equal probability to all outcomes and non-uniform models involve events that are not equally likely. 
  • Approximate the probability of an event using data generated by a simulation and compare it to the theoretical probability. 
  • Find probabilities of simple and compound events through experimentation or simulation and by analyzing the sample space, representing the probabilities as percents, decimals, or fractions.

Geometry and Measurement

  • Solve problems involving scale drawings of geometric figures, including computation of actual lengths and areas from a scale drawing and reproduction of a scale drawing at a different scale. 
  • Construct geometric shapes, given a written description or measurement constraints with an emphasis on constructing triangles from three measures of angles or sides, noticing when the conditions determine a unique triangle, more than one triangle, or no triangle. 
  • Describe the two-dimensional figures created by slicing three-dimensional figures into plane sections. 
  • Explain the relationships among circumference, diameter, area, and radius of a circle to demonstrate understanding of formulas for the area and circumference of a circle. 
  • Use facts about supplementary, complementary, vertical, and adjacent angles in multi-step problems to write and solve simple equations for an unknown angle in a figure. 
  • Solve real-world and mathematical problems involving area, volume, and surface area of two- and three dimensional objects composed of triangles, quadrilaterals, polygons, cubes, and right rectangular prisms.

Earth and Space Science

Course Description

Students in 8th grade expand their knowledge of Physical Science. Learning standards focus on matter, motion and forces, energy and waves and their applications in technologies for information transfer. We currently use Savvas’s Interactive Science curriculum which provides students with an engaging and hands-on learning experience.

From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes

  • Engage in argument from evidence to support claims of the cell theory. 
  • Gather and synthesize information to explain how prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells differ in structure and function, including the methods of asexual and sexual reproduction. 
  • Construct an explanation of the function of specific cell structures for maintaining a stable environment. 
  • Construct models and representations of organ systems to demonstrate how multiple interacting organs and systems work together to accomplish specific functions. 

Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics

  • Examine the cycling of matter between abiotic and biotic parts of ecosystems to explain the flow of energy and the conservation of matter. 
  • Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence regarding how resource availability impacts individual organisms as well as populations of organisms within an ecosystem. Use empirical evidence from patterns and data to demonstrate how changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem can lead to shifts in populations. 
  • Construct an explanation to predict patterns of interactions in different ecosystems in terms of the relationships between and among organisms.
  • Engage in argument to defend the effectiveness of a design solution that maintains biodiversity and ecosystem services. 
  • Use evidence and scientific reasoning to explain how characteristic animal behaviors and specialized plant structures affect the probability of successful reproduction of both animals and plants. 
  • Analyze and interpret data to predict how environmental conditions and genetic factors influence the growth of organisms 

Heredity: Inheritance and Variation of Traits

  • Construct and use models to explain that genetic variations between parent and offspring occur as a result of genetic differences in randomly inherited genes located on chromosomes and that additional variations may arise from alteration of genetic information.
  • Construct an explanation from evidence to describe how genetic mutations result in harmful, beneficial, or neutral effects to the structure and function of an organism. 
  • Gather and synthesize information regarding the impact of technologies on the inheritance and/or appearance of desired traits in organisms.

Unity and Diversity

  • Analyze and interpret data for patterns of change in anatomical structures of organisms using the fossil record and the chronological order of fossil appearance in rock layers. 
  • Construct an explanation based on evidence for the anatomical similarities and differences among modern organisms and between modern and fossil organisms, including living fossils. 
  • Obtain and evaluate pictorial data to compare patterns in the embryological development across multiple species to identify relationships not evident in the adult anatomy.
  •  Construct an explanation from evidence that natural selection acting over generations may lead to the predominance of certain traits that support successful survival and reproduction of a population and to the suppression of other traits.


Social Studies

Course Description

The 8th grade Social Studies curriculum focuses on the time period from prehistoric times to the 1500s. Concepts taught include the migration of early humans, the rise of civilizations, the establishment of governments, religions and economic systems and ways in which these events shaped the world. We currently use Savass’s My World History which helps students develop a deeper understanding of the content by making personal connections to history using innovative online resources and project-based activities.


  • Describe the world in spatial terms using maps and other geographic representations, tools, and technologies. 
  • Determine how regions are used to describe the organization of Earth’s surface.
  • Compare geographic patterns in the environment that result from processes within the atmosphere, biosphere, lithosphere, and hydrosphere of Earth’s physical systems.  
  • Evaluate spatial patterns and the demographic structure of population on Earth’s surface in terms of density, dispersion, growth and mortality rates, natural increase, and doubling time.     
  • Illustrate how primary, secondary, and tertiary economic activities have specific functions and spatial patterns. 
  • Classify spatial patterns of settlement in different regions of the world, including types and sizes of settlement patterns. 
  • Determine political, military, cultural, and economic forces that contribute to cooperation and conflict among people. 
  • Explain how human actions modify the physical environment within and between places, including how human-induced changes affect the environment.
  • Explain how human systems develop in response to physical environmental conditions. 
  • Explain the cultural concept of natural resources and changes in spatial distribution, quantity, and quality through time and by location.
  • Explain ways geographic features and environmental issues have influenced historical events. 


  • Compare influences of ancient Greece, the Roman Republic, the JudeoChristian tradition, the Magna Carta, federalism, the Mayflower Compact, the English Bill of Rights, the House of Burgesses, and the Petition of Rights on the government of the United States.   
  • Explain essential characteristics of the political system of the United States, including the organization and function of political parties and the process of selecting political leaders.   
  • Compare the government of the United States with other governmental systems, including monarchy, limited monarchy, oligarchy, dictatorship, theocracy, and pure democracy.   
  • Describe structures of state and local governments in the United States,    including major Alabama offices and officeholders. 
  • Compare duties and functions of members of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of Alabama’s local and state governments and of the national government.   
  • Explain the importance of juvenile, adult, civil, and criminal laws within the   judicial system of the United States. 
  • Determine how people organize economic systems to address basic economic questions regarding which goods and services will be produced, how they will be distributed, and who will consume them.    
  • Appraise the relationship between the consumer and the marketplace in the economy of the United States regarding scarcity, opportunity cost, trade-off decision making, and the stock market.    
  • Apply principles of money management to the preparation of a personal budget that addresses housing, transportation, food, clothing, medical expenses, insurance, checking and savings accounts, loans, investments, credit, and comparison shopping.   
  • Describe individual and civic responsibilities of citizens of the United States.   
  • Compare changes in social and economic conditions in the United States during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. 
  • Describe how the United States can be improved by individual and group     participation in civic and community activities.
  • Identify contemporary American issues since 2001, including the establishment of the United States Department of Homeland Security, the enactment of the Patriot Act of 2001, and the impact of media analysis.