Eighth Grade

St. John the Baptist Catholic School’s curriculum is based on the school’s mission, philosophies, and Minnesota Standards.


Eighth Grade Religion focuses on how we live our lives as Christians, specifically making moral decisions in accordance with God’s law. We will study Church History as a means to learn from our past and how to grow stronger in our future as members of the Church. We will also have a special emphasis on Liturgy, in which we will study the liturgical seasons and during Advent and Lent plan and participate in a school mass. The Sadlier We Live Our Faith (2007) program supports the curriculum.

Language Arts

Language Arts in eighth grade focuses on the communication skills of writing and speaking. The emphasis is on grammar usage and mechanics, vocabulary, spelling, and the writing process. Students learn to:

  • Research and write a formal research paper
  • Understand words and their meanings, usage, and relationships to other words.
  • Apply new grammar and vocabulary skills to their writing.
  • Speak for a length of time in front of their peers.

The Language Arts curriculum is supported by Prentice Hall Writing and Grammar (2010) and Vocabulary in Action by Loyola Press (2010).


Eighth grade literature students create a portfolio throughout each trimester. They will include in their portfolio a variety of different reading strategies used to gain meaning from text (short stories, and novels, and plays), work samples, and a variety of assessment techniques to test their current and future reading tasks. It is designed for authentic meaning-making literacy experiences: for pleasure, to be informed, and to perform a task. Novel studies include Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry and The Outsiders. The curriculum is supported by Prentice-Hall Literature (2010).


Eighth grade algebra (Prentice-Hall Algebra – 2009) focuses on preparing students for high school. Upon completion of this course, students are able to enter into Geometry and Algebra II classes. This course is also open to students in grade 7 who have successfully completed Pre-Algebra. Topics include:

  • Variables, Function Patterns & Graphs
  • Rational Numbers
  • Solving Equations
  • Solving Inequalities
  • Linear Equations and Their Graphs
  • Systems of Equations and Inequalities
  • Exponents and Exponential Functions
  • Polynomials and Factoring
  • Quadratic Equations and Functions
  • Radical Expressions and Equations
  • Rational Expressions and Functions


Eighth grade science is a combination of earth and physical science courses. Since St. John’s students feed into several schools in ninth grade, the attempt is to minimize repeating topics for our St. John’s students as they move into ninth grade. The highlight of eighth grade science is the outdoor education unit at Camp St. Croix in Hudson, WI. This is a three day/2 night experience for the students. The curriculum is supported by the Glencoe/McGraw Hill Physical Science with Earth Science text book (2012) and the Earth Science Curriculum Program.

Topics Include:

  • The Nature of Science Featuring the Metric System
  • Latitude, Longitude, and Time Zones
  • Topographic Mapping
  • Classification of Matter
  • Solids, Liquids, and Gases
  • Properties of Atoms and the Periodic Table
  • Elements and Their Properties
  • Chemical Bonds and Chemical Reactions
  • Earth’s Internal Processes and Forces
  • Minerals
  • Rocks
  • Earth’s Changing Surface
  • Astronomy
  • Oceanography

Social Studies

The eighth grade social studies course provides students with the opportunity to take a closer look at the founding of this nation, with a particular focus on the U.S. Constitution, as well as the ideals that continue to shape America today. We will also study the principles of the American system of government and its limitations so that students can understand the rights and responsibilities that come with U.S. citizenship. We learn the proper methods of note-taking and of accurate research and put them into practice over the course of the school year. We will pay special attention to the literature from our nation’s founders, to that of the leaders in between and of today. We will also look at the struggles and triumphs of our nation and take a closer look at the lives and contributions of those who have influenced the building of this country. We also examine comparative politics and current events throughout the course. The curriculum is supported by Holt U.S. History (2007).


Level I Spanish instruction continues and is completed in eighth grade. The student masters Level I Spanish language skills through active participation in speaking, listening, reading and writing activities. The goal is to become fully prepared to enter Spanish II as a 9th grade student. The class is built on vocabulary themes, advanced grammar topics and cultural information. Students continue to explore the Hispanic culture, centered around the chapter themes. The textbook Realidades (2004) is used.


Introduction to metal casting is the culmination of a unit on design. The theory of form which can function drives the study. 20th and 21stcentury artists are introduced and studied as well as non-usual modern methods of creating expression such as digital, conceptual, and film art. Pewter casting, and glass fusing are introduced and for those who are interested, a potter’s wheel is available. Students are exposed to choice options and opportunity to explore making meaning with varied materials. Each of two trimesters, students may become involved in set design and creation for two school musical productions. Additionally a final project is the end result of an independent study of an area of interest.


Major Focus:

  • Internet Safety
  • Blogging
  • Integrating Technology with projects from other subjects
    • Ex: The Outsiders projects in conjunction with Literature Class
      • Create a Fake Facebook page for one of the three main characters, incorporate comments from other characters.
    • Presentation using Prezi.com on Civil War
    • Scratch Animation