Eighth Grade Curriculum

  • American History/Revolutions/ Age of Enlightenment
  • Shakespeare, Practical Writing, Poetry
  • Geography (may include: Europe, South America, Asia, Africa, Oceania) 
  • Anatomy
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Weather & Climate
  • Algebra, Solid Geometry (Platonic Solids)
  • Spanish
  • Watercolor Painting, Drawing
  • Sculpture/Modeling
  • Handwork
  • Class Play
  • Chorus, Recorder, Orchestra
  • Eurythmy
  • Gym
  • Class Trip
  • Graduation Project

Eighth Grade Highlights

The students now become the revered leaders of the student body. A flowering of intellectual ability and confidence in their own opinion manifests both as rebelliousness and as a heightened sense of responsibility, even graciousness. Their gaze is increasingly fixed on the future. This year’s focus is whole systems, building up the complex picture of the modern world.

The History curriculum covers a vast arc, from Shakespeare to the present. As the students prepare to break with their past, they study the Age of Revolutions, the Civil Rights movement, the World Wars, and contemporary struggles for independence through biographies of major figures. What happens after a revolution? What is freedom? Political and economic systems are compared; thorny issues and paradoxes abound. The story of Gandhi, who reversed traditional conceptions of strength and weakness, leads to the realization that the most revolutionary act may not be one of violence.

In Geography the earth is examined as a whole with its landmasses, wind and ocean currents. This leads into Meteorology: as emotional storms and sunshine alternate, students discover the complex interactions that create the world’s weather. In Physics, experimentation, observation and conclusion are the key to solving fascinating riddles of gases, liquids, and electromagnetism. Anatomy and Physiology reveal the intricacies of the Skeletal, Muscular, and Nervous Systems. In Organic Chemistry the study of Nutrition helps determine healthy diet and lifestyle choices.

Discovering different Number Bases is a minirevolution in basic assumptions about numbers. Algebra explores equations and polynomials. Mastering the Square Root Algorithm is difficult and rewarding. In Solid Geometry, the Platonic Solids are constructed. Formulas for area and volume are derived experimentally. The mysterious symmetry of Conic Sections concludes the mathematical
journey through the grades with a return to the beauty of numbers, now not only heartfelt but illuminated by comprehension as well.

Special Features of the Eighth Grade

Highlighting students' independence and challenging their resourcefulness
Community Service is cultivated as consciousness widens to include one’s fellow man. Community service projects have included neighborhood cleanup, nursing home performances, tree-planting, and volunteering at a soup kitchen. By now far removed from the innocence of the early grades, the Eighth Graders are also generous “Buddies” to the First Graders.
Eighth Grade Projects are major, year-long endeavors chosen by each student, requiring motivation, initiative, and diligence. Students work with a mentor and present the culmination of their work to the public at year’s end. Recent projects include:
  • Starting a T-Shirt Company
  • Family Genealogy
  • Visual Illusions
  • Building an Adirondack Lean-To
  • Quadcopters and Aerial Videography
  • Robotics
  • Architecture
  • Scuba Diving
  • Brewing Birch Beer
  • Glassblowing
  • Community Gardens at a Business Site
  • Building a Remote-Controlled Model Yacht
  • Learning to Sing
  • Aquaponics

The Class Trip, for which the students have fundraised for three years, is the joyful culmination of their years together and contains a community service or personal development component. For example, the Class of 2011 removed invasive plants which threatened native wildflowers and other vegetation at Point Reyes National Park in California. In addition to California, recent classes have journeyed together to the Pacific Northwest, Costa Rica, the American Southwest.

Graduation Project Presentations

Class of 2016

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Class Play: Twelfth Night

Class of 2017

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Eighth Grade Handwork: Machine Sewing Clothing
The eighth grade curriculum brings the students into the industrial revolution where machinery replaced much of the handmade work. It is now appropriate that they learn to sew on a sewing machine.

-David Mitchell and Patricia Livingston, Waldorf Educators
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