Middle School
Learning in Action

Grade 8

Annie Wright Middle School provides students with a sound academic foundation in a supportive environment where structure and routine are balanced with the freedom to explore and develop individually.

Grade 8 Curriculum

List of 8 items.

  • Design

    This course introduces students to the Design Cycle which is, at its core, an iterative model designed to promote empathy-centered problem solving. The cycle has four criteria: Inquiring and Analyzing, Developing Ideas, Thinking Creatively, and Evaluating, and while working their way through each stage of the cycle, students often find they need to rethink their process and revisit stages of the cycle. Design is an experience-focused course that champions the process of design to stimulate productivity. Students track their progress and engage in reflection, an integral component of the process, using individualized design process journals in Adobe Express.

    As students advance to Grade 8 Design, they dive deeper into their personal design aesthetic as it relates to Visual Design Production. Students will work with Procreate on iPads, Adobe Creative Suite on their laptops, and other Visual Design Applications to create Visual Assets in real time within the AWS community and beyond. This Grade 8 capstone course equips students with a distinct understanding of Visual Composition.
  • Individuals & Societies

    Individuals and Societies emphasizes the development of strong collaboration, research and study skills, exploring the world through the Key Concepts of Change, Global Interactions, Systems, and Time, Space and Place. Courses encourage students to draw connections to their own experiences, think critically about problems and solutions, and to seek out and analyze diverse 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, 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 Bolshevik Revolution in Russia and the Great Migration in the United States. Finally, students communicate about time, place and space through an investigation of a chosen right or issue, culminating in a final interdisciplinary podcast project.
  • Language & Literature

    Our Language and Literature courses help students grow as confident and capable readers, writers, speakers, thinkers, discussion leaders, and collaborators. Language and Literature courses equip students with linguistic, analytical and communicative skills that can also be used to develop interdisciplinary understanding across subject groups. Students’ interactions with chosen texts can generate insight into moral, social, economic, political, cultural and environmental factors, contributing to the development of opinion-forming, decision-making and ethical-reasoning skills.

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

    Based on the four key skills: listening, reading, speaking, and writing, this course develops from foundational awareness, to deepening understanding, and finally to developing confidence in each of these areas. Our commitment to developing these skills ensures that students are engaged in a classroom environment that utilizes the target language at least 90% of the time. These are mixed ability classes, and differentiation occurs through homework assignments and other class activities.

    Students engage in units focusing on free-time activities, shopping, traveling by plane, daily routines, and camping. In addition, students engage in a variety of cultural activities that are aligned with the units of study in order to solidify a deeper understanding of the
    language, people, and customs in a variety of Spanish speaking countries, but with an enhanced focus on Costa Rica. This course prepares 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! New Grade 8 students with no prior experience with Spanish are placed in a study hall.
  • 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 Grade 6, all students take Math 6. 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 Growth Measure (formerly MI), 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.
  • 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 participate in non-tradiitional sports with the aim to become more well-rounded and open-minded.
  • 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, Electricity and Magnetism, Genetics, and Environmental Science. Highlights for Grade 8 include the experimental design investigating factors that affect chemical reactions, research into diagnosis and treatment
    of genetic disorders, and their Journey to Costa Rica during which they explore changes in the biodiversity and climate of the tropics.
  • Visual Art

    Students  are encouraged to lean into curiosity about who they are as individuals and their personal artistic aesthetic. With this premise, they discover how art works to impact themselves and others around them, and the broader communities to which they belong. Through producing a variety of independent works such as monochromatic portraits, abstract impressionism works, and zines, artists repeatedly practice executing artistic ideas in visual form. Ultimately, artists are exposed to a variety of visual arts skills and techniques allowing them to glean the ability to communicate emotions and ideals in an artistic way.