St. Mary's Catholic School

Educating the whole child: spiritually, intellectually, and physically.

8th Grade Curriculum

The curriculum is based upon the eighth grade language arts standards and benchmarks, published by the Wyoming Department of Education.

Eighth Grade Reading, Students will:
  • Use word origins to develop vocabulary.
  • Read and interpret various literary genres, including fiction, nonfiction, poetry and plays.
  • Become familiar with the elements of fiction – characterization, plot, setting, point of view and theme.
  • Recognize personification, metaphor, simile, irony, imagery, flashback, foreshadowing, symbolism, and “historical, cultural and social influences” on literature.
  • Conduct research using various types of print and multimedia resources.
  • Interpret main idea, supporting details, author’s purpose, cause and effect, drawing conclusions and making inferences.
8th graders will be required to read a book each month from an assigned genre and to deliver a well-organized presentation about the book at the end of the month. (The format of the presentation will vary.)
In addition, the students will be given a formal assessment during each month, based on the particular genre under study.
Quarterly reading assessments will be given.
Eighth Grade Writing, Students will:
  • Use the writing process and 6+1 Traits of Writing (Ideas, Organization, Voice, Word Choice, Sentence Fluency, Conventions and Presentation) to produce various types of writing:
    • Personal narratives, fictional short stories, a research paper including in-text citations from three different types of sources, journals, poetry, literary analyses, drama and letters
    • A writing assignment from the above list will be given each month, based upon the reading genre under study.
  • Incorporate grade-level appropriate grammar skills into writing, such as: subordinate and coordinate conjunctions, comparative adjectives, and proper pronoun case.
  • Properly cite research using MLA format.
Quarterly writing assessments will be given.
Eighth Grade Speaking and Listening, Students will:
  • Deliver well-organized, focused presentations, using purposeful inflection, volume, eye contact, enunciation and gestures, as well as good posture, with audience awareness.
  • Engage in note-taking techniques while listening.
  • Integrate multimedia into a presentation.
  • Speak and listen in small groups.
  • Present oral interpretations of literature.
  • Analyze propaganda techniques.


The 8th grade math class is divided into two courses: Pre-Algebra or Algebra I.
Eighth Grade Pre-Algebra, Students will:
  • Represent and apply numbers in a variety of equivalent forms (such as changing from percent to decimal to fraction.)
  • Understand and use order of operations on rational numbers.
  • Use geometric formulas to find area, perimeter and volume, including the Pythagorean Theorem.
  • Convert within metric units.
  • Solve one- and two-step linear equations with integers and integer solutions.
  • Solve multi-step equations.
  • Solve absolute-value equations.
  • Use algebraic expressions and formulas giving integer values and variables.
  • Graph linear equations and inequalities on a coordinate plane.
  • Simplify expressions with exponents.
  • Graph rational numbers on a number line.
  • Compare and order rational numbers.
  • Find the GCF and LCM of rational numbers.
  • Write, compare and order numbers in scientific notation.
  • Multiply and divide in scientific notation.
  • Find perfect squares and square roots.
  • Identify rational and irrational numbers.
  • Write mathematical sentences that compare two expressions using correct symbols of greater than, less than or equal.
  • Classify, evaluate and write polynomials in standard form.
  • Model polynomials.
  • Add and subtract polynomials.
  • Multiply and divide polynomials.
  • Factor polynomials using the GCF.
  • Factor trinomials.
  • Identify relations and functions.
  • Identify the domain and range of a function.
  • Find and graph the solutions of a function.
  • Find the slope of a linear function.
  • Graph linear inequalities.
  • Make and read scatter plots from relations.
  • Recognize trends in correlated data.
  • Identify and compare ratios and rates.
  • Identify and solve proportions.
  • Find the percentage of a number, rate and base by using a formula and a percent proportions.
  • Solve percentage, rate and base problems involving consumer applications.
  • Find the percent of change (decrease or increase).
  • Solve problems involving angle pairs, parallel lines and polygons algebraically.
  • Identify and classify polygons.
  • Identify tangents, secants, chords, arcs and sectors of a circle.
  • Interpret and make circle graphs.
  • Construct congruent line segments, angles and triangles, and perpendicular and parallel lines.
  • Recognize and make tessellations using regular and nonregular polygons.
  • Find perimeters, area and missing dimensions of polygons.
  • Derive and apply formulas for areas of triangles, parallelograms and trapezoids.
  • Find the circumference and arc lengths of circles as well as the area of a circle.
  • Find the area of complex figures involving polygons and circles.
  • Find the perimeters and areas of polygons on a coordinate plane.
  • Relate reflections and rotations to symmetry.
  • Interpret graphs that represent real world situations, create graphs that represent possible situations.
  • Classify three-dimensional figures as polyhedrons or nonpolyhedrons.
  • Find volumes and lateral and surface areas of three-dimensional figures.

Eighth grade Algebra I, Students will:

  • Identify types of rational numbers and recognize irrational numbers.
  • Find square roots of perfect squares and approximate square roots of nonperfect squares.
  • Add, subtract, multiply and divide signed numbers.
  • Classify and graph real numbers.
  • Simplify numerical expressions using the order of operations.
  • Perform operations on numbers in scientific notations.
  • Use matrices to organize data and perform operations on matrices.
  • Solve equations by substitution.
  • Write, model, solve and check addition, subtraction, multiplication and division equations.
  • Solve equations that contain variable terms on both sides.
  • Write and solve absolute-value equations.
  • Solve formulas and literal equations for particular variables.
  • Graph inequalities on a number line.
  • Connect verbal, numeric, symbolic and graphic representations of inequalities.
  • Solve addition, subtraction, multiplication and division inequalities.
  • Solve one-step, multi-step, compound and absolute value inequalities.
  • Graph the solution sets of inequalities.
  • Identify and define functions.
  • Apply the vertical-line test to graphs.
  • Write function rules and make function tables.
  • Identify dependent and independent variables in problem situations.
  • Identify linear functions and graphs.
  • Find slopes of lines and identify possible values for slope.
  • Write a linear equation and graph a line in slope-intercept form.
  • Understand the relationship of the slopes of parallel and perpendicular lines.
  • Graph a linear inequality in two variables.
  • Solve systems of linear equations in two variables graphically.
  • Solve systems of linear equations in two variables algebraically by using addition or subtraction to eliminate one variable.
  • Graph and solve systems of linear inequalities in two variables.
  • Identify like monomials.
  • Write and classify polynomials in standard form.
  • Add and subtract polynomials algebraically.
  • Multiply and divide monomials.
  • Multiply binomials using the Distributive Property and FOIL methods.
  • Multiply a polynomial by a monomial and by a binomial.
  • Find the greatest common monomial factor of two or more monomials.
  • Factor polynomials using the greatest common monomial factor.
  • Square a binomial.
  • Factor a perfect-square trinomial.
  • Factor polynomials by grouping.
  • Write square root expressions in simplest form.
  • Add and subtract radical expressions.
  • Solve radical equations.
  • Multiply and divide radical expressions.
  • Understand and apply the Pythagorean Theorem.
  • Determine the direction of the opening of the graph of a quadratic function and find its maximum or minimum value.
  • Graph a parabola.
  • Solve quadratic equations by factoring, completing the square or with the quadratic formula.
  • Write and apply ratios, proportions, rates and unit rates.
  • Convert rates from one unit of measure to another.
  • Solve problems involving percentage and percent of change.
  • Write trigonometric rations, given the lengths of sides of a right triangle.
  • Solve verbal problems using trigonometric ratios.
  • Simplify rational expressions, mixed expressions and complex fractions.
  • Identify the LCM of polynomial expressions.
  • Add, subtract, multiply and divide rational expressions.
  • Graph rational, radical and exponential functions.
  • Graph square root functions and translated square root functions.
  • Simplify rational exponents.
  • Solve problems involving exponential growth and decay.
  • Recognize different sampling techniques; identify bias in a sample, question or display.
  • Organize and display data in stem and leaf, box and whicker and scatter plots.
  • Compute probabilities of independent and dependent events.

Quarterly math assessments will be given.


Eighth Grade Religion:
The text for eighth grade religion is Christ Our Life: The Church Then and Now (Loyola Press.)
The 8th grade Religion curriculum is divided into three parts:
The Mystery of the Church
  • Images of the Church
  • The Communion of Saints
  • The Four Marks of the Church
  • Types of Prayer, including the Liturgy of the Hours
  • The Precepts of the Church
The History of the Church
  • The Church’s Beginning
  • Early Christian Martyrs
  • The Church in the Middle Ages
  • Renaissance, Reformation and Renewal
  • Second Vatican Council
  • The Church in North America
  • The Church Today and Tomorrow
Christian Moral Issues
  • Virtue vs. Vice
  • Putting God First
  • Honoring Sunday and Holy Days of Obligation
  • Obedience to Parents and Those in Legitimate Authority
  • The Value of All Human Life
  • The Sanctity of Marriage
  • The Importance of Chastity and Respecting the Dignity of the Human Person
  • The Value of Integrity and Truth
  • Living the Beatitudes
Students will also continue to develop their personal prayer lives, including learning to pray the Angelus, the Regina Caeli, and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.
Students will take the ACRE Test (Assessment of Catechesis Religious Education) in May, to conclude their experience at St. Mary’s. This is a national exam.

Social Studies

Eighth Grade American History, the Student will explore the following topics:
  • Settlements and growth of the English colonies in North America
  • Significant battles of the American Revolution
  • Our nation’s westward expansion through the Louisiana Purchase
  • The growing rift between the North and South before the Civil War caused by the issues of slavery and runaway slaves
  • Completing a packet of Internet resources and Web quests of the Underground Railroad, designing a quilt and completing a project
  • Working in groups to compile a newspaper from the North’s point of view or the South’s point of view of the Civil War, including ads and information about life at home
  • The contentious policies of the Reconstruction Era that resulted in the impeachment of Andrew Johnson
  • The U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence, and the Gettysburg Address; and their importance to every citizen
  • Western settlement was tragic for the Native Americans but offered irresistible opportunities for settlers
  • Preparing a report and map of a Native American tribe and the effects of western expansion on their lives
  • Important developments in science and technology helped the growth of industry and millions of immigrants arrived between 1860 and 1900 who wanted to work
  • Child Labor Laws, harms and effects
  • Influences of political parties in our history
  • Understand how the U.S. sought to increase its role on the world stage by acquiring new lands
  • What are President Roosevelt’s progressive efforts?
  • Develop an ad to sell an automobile of the 1920s
  • World War I was a terrible ordeal for soldiers and civilians alike (study authentic letters from a soldier in WWI)
  • Understand the changes of the 1920s and 1930s, organize and present a Power Point presentation on items of interest from that time period (Gangster, timeline, automobile, flappers, Babe Ruth, Etc.)
  • Great Depression and its effect on the U.S. / Compare to what is happening in today’s economy
  • Understand how many farmers of the Great Plains endured years of drought and dust storms
  • Significant role the U.S. played in helping the Allies win WWII
  • Why Americans feared communism in the 1950s
  • Technical and scientific advances of the 1950s
  • African Americans’ struggle during the 1950s and 1960s for greater civil rights
  • America’s controversial and frustrating war in Vietnam
  • President Johnson’s Great Society Programs
  • 1980s Space Exploration
  • Watch the video series, “The Century: Decades of Change” – a 15-part retrospective anchored by Peter Jennings – takes an era-by-era look at America’s evolution during the turbulent 20th Century. Discuss.


Eighth Grade Earth Science, the Student will:
  • Understand the nature of science.
  • Describe the scientific method.
  • Distinguish among independent variables, dependent variables, constants and controls.
  • Explain why science is always changing.
  • Compare and contrast scientific theories and scientific laws.
  • Discuss the limits of science.
  • Identify the states of matter.
  • Describe the internal structure of an atom.
  • Compare isotopes of an element.
  • Describe ways atoms combine to form compounds.
  • Understand differences between compounds and mixtures.
  • Describe characteristics of minerals and how they are formed.
  • Describe physical properties used to identify minerals.
  • Describe characteristics of gems that make them more valuable and useful elements that are contained in minerals.
  • Tell the difference between a rock and a mineral.
  • Understand the rock cycle.
  • Identify and classify rocks as igneous, metamorphic or sedimentary.
  • Classify energy resources as nonrenewable or renewable.
  • Advantages and disadvantages of fossil fuels, nuclear energy and renewable.
  • Compare and contrast metallic and nonmetallic mineral resources.
  • Explain the differences among Mercator, Robinson and conic projections.
  • Describe the difference between mechanical weathering and chemical weathering.
  • Explain how soil develops from rock and the importance of soil.
  • Explain the difference between erosion and deposition.
  • Explain how glaciers move.
  • Explore the importance of ground water.
  • Understand the theory of plate tectonics.
  • Explore forces inside the Earth (earthquakes).
  • Study volcanoes and the Earth’s moving plates; types of volcanoes.
  • Study atmosphere, layers, weather, forecasts.
  • What is climate, climate types, climate changes?
  • Explore ocean water, currents, waves and tides.
  • Study life in the ocean, the seafloor, and the effects of ocean pollution.
  • Understand how to conserve energy.
  • Build a model home showing alternative energy sources.
  • Build a model ocean environment.
  • Build a solar system.
  • Prepare a Science Fair project, with display board and research paper. Participate in the school Science Fair, with the possibility of participating in the regional and state Science Fair competitions.
  • Study water and air pollution.
  • Study space, missions, planets, stars, solar systems and galaxies.


Overview: The St. Mary’s School Music Curriculum is standard for all grade levels. These standards are to be included as part of the teaching process in elementary general music and middle school music to accomplish the assessment of the five competencies in musical skills. They are aligned with both the national and statewide standards.
Eighth Grade Music, the Student Will:
  • Sing or play on instruments a varied repertoire of music. This includes appropriate technique, accurate pitches and rhythms with the proper range and degree of difficulty.
  • Create music.
  • Read and notate music. The includes reading, identifying and executing rhythms, melodies and expressive qualities with very easy literature in regards to key, meter, rhythm and range.
  • Listen to, analyze, evaluate and describe music used in the classroom.
  • Relate music to various historical and cultural traditions.
  • Become more beatful, tuneful and artful, by following the 12 steps of Music Literacy designed by Dr. John M. Feierabend.
    1. Readiness rote Song Songs and rhymes are learned by rote that will contain rhythm and/or tonal content to be studied later.
    2. Conversation Solfege Rote where students bond rhythm and tonal patterns with aural labels.
    3. Decode – Familiar which requires aural recall and decoding of songs and rhymes presented by rote at the Readiness stage.
    4. Decode – Unfamiliar.
    5. Create – Think original musical thoughts.
    6. Reading Rote – Introduction to notation symbols.
    7. Reading Decode – Familiar.
    8. Reading Decode – Unfamiliar.
    9. Writing Rote – Learn to write notation.
    10. Writing Decode – Familiar.
    11. Writing Decode – Unfamiliar.
    12. Writing Create or Composition.
  • Be introduced to hymns and repertoire of the Catholic Church to be sung at prayer service and weekly Thursday Mass.
  • Perform at least one concert per year.
Students at St. Mary’s Catholic School may begin either a band or a string instrument in 4th grade. In the 6th through 8th grade instrumentalists programs, the goals are:
  • More complicated rhythms
  • Notes higher and lower than in elementary
  • Alternate fingerings to facilitate more complex music
  • More complicated terminology and concepts
  • Composition unit performed for an audience
  • Individual parts in the ensemble
  • Music in the keys of Bb, Eb, Ab, F, C (band); and D, G, A, E, B (strings)
  • Performance opportunities
    • Veteran’s Day, Christmas, Solo and ensemble festival, Composition recital, Weekly masses

Physical Education

Eighth Grade Physical Education, the Student Will:
  • Evaluate and select strategies for improvement in performance of activities.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in at least two activities.
  • Participate in and out of the school environment.
  • Design and participate in health-related fitness components.
  • Demonstrate appropriate conduct.
  • Work cooperatively with a group.
  • Show respect for persons of like and different skill levels.
  • Become more skilled in a selected activity.


At St. Mary’s Catholic School, we strive to create an artistic atmosphere where students gain confidence and creativity through hands-on experience.  We offer a variety of artistic media to inspire our students. We encouraging them to explore their imagination and use math and reading skills in their projects.

Eighth Grade students study portfolio design, how to look at art,  oil pastel study, oil pastel drawing, shape drawing, letter placement, three-dimensional letters, color value, collage drawing, design drawing, holiday drawings, individual studies, line, shape, value, texture, space, form,  color, repetition, balance, emphasis, contrast, and unity.