Grade 8

Grade 8 Curriculum

List of 9 items.

  • Design

    This course introduces students to the Design Cycle, which is, at its core, a model for empathetic problem solving. The cycle has four stages: analysis, ideation, creation, and evaluation; students find that they often need to rethink their progress and revisit stages of the cycle. The importance of the process, not simply the final product, is stressed as the main focus of Design. Students track their progress and provide reflection, an integral component of the process, in individualized design blogs.

    Projects in this grade address both concept and content. Students use various technological tools as well as hand tools in the lab, culminating in a variety of creations such as giant ride-on hovercrafts. Throughout this year, like in the first two, there is an emphasis on prototyping and on learning to build resiliency.
  • Individuals & Societies

    In their Individuals and Societies courses, students explore our world through the study of history, geography, and civics, as well as current topics and information. These courses emphasize the development of strong research and study skills, alongside exploring the world through the Key Concepts of Change, Global Interactions, Systems, Time, Space and Place. All courses encourage students to draw connections to their own experiences, think critically about problems and solutions, and seek out and analyze a diversity of sources and voices in order to help them become engaged and responsible global citizens.

    In this course, students develop strong research and critical reading skills and deepen their knowledge of American and world history, typically in concert with the themes and readings of their Language and Literature course. Students investigate systems of government in Japan, Germany, Russia, and the United States. They think critically about the concept of Global Interactions through World Wars I and II in the European and Pacific theaters. They investigate the concept of Change through the Russian Revolution and Chinese Cultural Revolution, as well as the revolution of women’s and civil rights in 1960s America. Finally, they communicate about time, place and space through an investigation of technology that culminates in a final podcast project.
  • Language & Literature

    Our Language and Literature courses help students grow as confident and capable readers, writers, speakers, thinkers, discussion leaders, and collaborators. By engaging with diverse texts and writing and speaking for a variety of purposes and audiences, students come to view language as a vehicle for the expression of ideas, creativity, analysis, and reflection.

    This course builds deep analytic reading skills through close readings of a variety of texts and encourages students to develop their own writing style and voice through a variety of analytic, narrative and other writing assignments. They focus particularly on crafting more powerful sentences and thesis-driven essays with compelling introductions and satisfying conclusions. Core texts include Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Maus, Animal Farm, and A Raisin in the Sun, and help students more fully analyze and understand the relationships among authorial voice, purpose and audience. In addition to reading and writing, this class emphasizes public speaking and developing good discussion skills.
  • Language Acquisition (Spanish)

    Building on four key skill areas: speaking, reading, writing, and listening, this class develops from foundational awareness to deepening understanding, and finally developing strong confidence in all areas. A strong commitment to developing verbal skills ensures that students are engaged in an environment with at least 90% target language per class. These are mixed ability classes, and differentiation occurs through homework assignments and other class activities. Students who enter new to Spanish in Grades 8 and have no prior experience are offered an online beginner’s course that is self-paced.

    Students engage in units focusing on free-time activities, shopping, traveling by plane, and daily routines and camping. In addition, students engage in a variety of cultural activities that are aligned with the units of stud in order to prompt a deeper understanding of the language, people, and customs in a variety of Spanish speaking countries, but with an enhanced focus on Costa Rica. Assessments are rigorous and prepare students for the ultimate test of their skills: the Grade 8 Journey to Costa Rica. Students return from the journey with a new appreciation for their abilities and growth as well as a fresh global perspective to connect with their language learning. By the end of the year, students will have completed the entire sequence of the high school Spanish 1 textbook, ¡Así se dice!
  • Mathematics

    All mathematics courses are taught through the MYP lens, working to promote inquiry and application and helping students become better communicators and problem solvers. In Grades 7 and 8, students take grade-level, 1-year advanced or 2-year advanced courses. Course placement in Grades 7 and 8 is determined by the Mathematics Department after considering available grades, Math Inventory scores, teacher recommendation, and student interest.

    Introduction to Integrated Math
    This course is a standard Grade 8 mathematics course and is offered as an advanced course in Grade 7. This course includes all of the topics listed above in Pre-Algebra but also includes advanced related work whenever possible throughout the course as well as solving multi-step equations, geometry (transformations, angle relationships, triangles, circles and similar solids), data analysis (scatter plots, lines of best fit and data displays), and further algebraic concepts (linear functions, systems of linear equations, exponents and scientific notation).

    Integrated Math 1
    This course is designed for students who are ready for the study of high school level mathematics and is offered to both Grades 7 and 8. Topics include linear equations and functions, linear inequalities, systems of linear equations, exponential equations and functions, and sequences. Students also apply basic geometric terminology and reasoning skills to the topics of parallel lines, transformations, and congruent triangles. This course includes a study of data analysis and displays. Participation in the American Mathematics Competitions is encouraged by Middle School students in this advanced course.

    Integrated Math 2
    This course is designed for Grade 8 students who successfully completed Integrated Math 1 and are ready to continue their study of high school mathematics. Students further their study of algebra by studying non-linear relationships such as exponential, absolute value and quadratic functions, operations with polynomials and factoring and quadratic equations. Students also continue their study of geometry with relationships within triangles, quadrilaterals and other polygons, similarity, right triangles and trigonometry, circles, and area and volume. The course includes a study of probability. Participation in the American Mathematics Competitions is encouraged by Middle School students in this advanced course.
  • Music

    The elements of music are explored to see how they universally apply across cultures and genres. Students will get the chance to make performances and recordings demonstrating their skills and creativity through music.
  • Physical & Health Education

    The aim of Physical and Health Education (PHE) is to engage our students in developing a healthy lifestyle through physical activity, focusing on communication, social responsibility and reflection. 75% of this course is focused on physical education activities, with the remaining 25% focused on the health and the social-emotional development of each student.

    This course will establish habits and routines for our students that are approaching upper school level athletics and continuing in their growth and maturity. Relationships and how to be quality teammates, classmates and peers will be part of our health and emotional training. Students will research what roles our decisions in nutrition, sleep and mindfulness play in our holistic health and wellness.
  • Science

    In each grade level, Middle School Science includes units of study in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Earth Science. Science at AWS is inquiry-based and emphasizes the application of knowledge to novel situations. At least two times per grade level, students apply the scientific method to design their own laboratory investigations, collect data, process and evaluate their results, and draw conclusions. Students also conduct independent research evaluating how scientists solve real world problems. Hands-on and virtual laboratory experiences actively engage students in scientific inquiry.

    Units of study in Grade 8 include Chemical Reactions, the physics of Waves, Genetics, and Tropical Ecology. Highlights for Grade 8 include the experimental design investigating factors that affect the rate of chemical reactions, research into diagnosis and treatment of genetic disorders, and their Journey to Costa Rica during which they explore factors affecting the biodiversity of the tropics.
  • Visual Art

    Students investigate the context of art more deeply and reflect on how their work relates to the audience and the community. There is concentration on their individual art productions. We will place emphasis on their ability to transfer artistic skills learned and practiced to their final productions. Students will focus on creating works that will be shared with the outside world. A focus on art across cultures and genres is also explored leading to their trip to Costa Rica.

Excerpt from a Grade 8 Oral History Project

For questions please contact Upper Schools Admissions Director
Maddy Mancuso ’05MS at 253.284.8603


Annie Wright Schools
827 North Tacoma Avenue
Tacoma, WA 98403


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Founded in Tacoma, Washington, in 1884, Annie Wright Schools serve students from age three through high school. Annie Wright Lower and Middle Schools offer coed programs in Preschool through Grade 8, while separate Upper Schools for girls and boys offer day and boarding options in Grades 9 through 12. Annie Wright is proud to be an International Baccalaureate World School.