Eighth Grade Focuses on Personal Growth and Responsibility.
As the student encounters our integrated language arts and social studies component, the study of science in society, and the study of math, both skills and concepts. We encourage personal accountability, a commitment to excellence, an implementation of time management and organizational skills, critical and creative thinking, and a look beyond self. These areas of personal growth are woven into our days at The Magellan Charter School; our fall excursion to Washington, DC; local outings; and our spring trip to the coast. The eighth grade students are asked to complete at least 10 hours of independent community service. The students complete these hours in a variety of ways to include time at school, church/synagogue, Scouts or other groups. Once again the eighth grade will continue its support of the Bubel-Aiken Foundation, which was founded by Clay Aiken to aid children with disabilities.
Since the Social Studies curriculum focuses on United States and North Carolina history, works of fiction and nonfiction by American writers form the core of Language Arts. Students will read classic American literature by authors such as Irving, Longfellow, Poe, Whitman, and Dickinson. Selected works by three important writers from North Carolina’s past are also studied: Harriet Jacobs’s autobiography recounting her days as a slave in Edenton, the poetry of George Moses Horton, and short stories by O. Henry. Balancing old with the new, students read contemporary works by award-winning young adult authors such as Robert Cormier, Avi, Ray Bradbury, and Karen Hesse. Even though emphasis is placed on American writers, a few non-Americans receive special attention: William Shakespeare, Robert Service, and Anne Frank. Classroom discussions and Paideia seminars centered on readings play an essential role in helping students become critical thinkers. Reading acts as a springboard into writing. Students write essays, poetry, short stories, and research papers. Grammar and punctuation lessons are a daily component of language arts. Sentence combining and sentence imitation lessons help students become mature writers. While a vocabulary workbook is not used in eighth grade, students are exposed to new vocabulary through reading and through participation in Word Masters, a national vocabulary and analogies competition. The year culminates with each student writing a graduation speech that is delivered in class. Exemplary speakers are chosen to give their speeches at eighth grade commencement.
In our social studies curriculum, students research the issues and people of North Carolina and America’s history. History is not just the study of dates and facts; history is about making connections from the past to the present. History is the way by which we can improve the human condition. At Magellan we stop at intervals to focus on specific issues of each century. Beginning in Colonial North Carolina & America and continuing to the present, we study the individuals who were the shapers of history. We examine the issues facing them – their actions and reactions. Geography, archaeology political science, sociology and current events are well represented in our studies. Broad topics are coordinated with the language arts program, integrating American Literature and writing. In the learning environment period music and art are incorporated, as well as, exploration in science and mathematics. Research is conducted using primary documentation and the latest computer technology. For the 18th Century we visit Charlottesville, Virginia. Our students are placed in the environment of our colonial leaders, Jefferson, Madison and Monroe. Monticello, Montpelier and Ash Lawn become the setting as we learn about the lives of three of these most extraordinary founding fathers. A visit to Pamplin Park in Petersburg, Virginia immerses our students into 19th Century America via living history. Come take a voyage with us to the past!
Realizing that math skills are sequential and specific, we carefully ability group for this period of the day. As a result, we offer four courses in math: Common Core Math 8, Common Core Math 8 Plus, Common Core 1, and, for those meeting the required prerequisites, Common Core 2. As well as thoroughly covering the national common core curriculum, we emphasize proficiency in mathematics, critical thinking, problem solving, and the application of mathematical skills. For the study of mathematical applications to be truly significant, mathematics is not learned in isolation, but tied together giving clear understanding of the structural unity and interrelationships of the whole.
In Grade 8, instructional time focuses on three critical areas:
- Formulating and reasoning about expressions and equations, including modeling an association in bivariate data with a linear equation, and solving linear equations and systems of linear equations;
- Grasping the concept of a function and using functions to describe quantitative relationships;
- Analyzing two-and three-dimensional space and figures using distance, angle, similarity, and congruence, and understanding and applying the Pythagorean Theorem.
The eighth grade science curriculum is based upon the Common Core North Carolina Standard Course of Study. Topics we study include chemistry, hydrosphere, evolution, change over time, microbiology, and ecology. The science classroom at Magellan is student-centered and inquiry-based. We explore a wide range of activities that allow students to investigate topics, conduct experiments, analyze and explore. Students read a wide variety of science-related articles. Emphasis is also placed on critical thinking and research skills.
As part of the Chemistry Unit we build a Periodicity and learn about elements and their uses. Students research different energy sources for Raleigh and come to a consensus on what energy source is best for the City. Hydrosphere activities include testing the water, mimicking a drinking water treatment plant, studying macro invertebrates, and the health of the Eno River. We also create exhibits of geological time-period and finish up with relating science to the real-world connecting it to the importance of Research Triangle Park.