A World of Opportunity

8th Grade Course Synopses

Grade 8 Course Synopsis
Frelinghuysen Middle School
Grade 8
Course Synopsis

All of the FMS curricula aligns with the New Jersey Common Core Curriculum Standards.
For more information, please visit: http://www.state.nj.us/education/cccs/


The eighth grade math curriculum focuses on: (1) formulating and reasoning about expressions and equations,  (2) grasping the concept of a function and using functions to describe quantitative relationships; (3) analyzing two- and three-dimensional space and figures using distance, angle, similarity, and congruence, and understanding and applying the Pythagorean Theorem.  


The grade 8 algebra program introduces students to the concepts of algebra in a college prep program.  The scope expands students mathematical knowledge through a variety of activities that include reasoning, problem solving and communication.

Students will:  1) demonstrate conceptual understanding of the properties and operations of real numbers with emphasis on ratio, rates, and proportion and numerical expressions containing exponents and radicals, 2) operate with polynomial expressions, factor polynomial expressions and use algebraic radical expressions, 3) analyze, represent and graph linear functions including those involving absolute value and recognize and use linear models,  4) solve and graph linear equations and inequalities and use them to represent contextual situations, 5) solve systems of linear equations and model with single variable linear equations, one- or two-variable inequalities, or systems of equations, 6) demonstrate facility with estimating and verifying solutions of linear equations, making use of technology where appropriate to do so, 7) represent simple quadratic functions in multiple ways and use quadratic models, as well as solve quadratic equations, and make connections through the interpretation of linear trends in data, the comparison of data using summary statistics, probability and counting principles, and the evaluation of data-based reports in the media.


Students will:  experiment with transformations in the plane, understand congruence in terms of rigid motions, prove geometric theorems, make geometric constructions, understand similarity in terms of similarity transformations, prove theorems involving similarity, define trigonometric ratios and solve problems involving right triangles, apply trigonometry to general triangles, understand and apply theorems about circles, find arc lengths and areas of sectors of circles, translate between the geometric description and the equation for a conic section, use coordinates to prove simple geometric theorems algebraically, explain volume formulas and use them to solve problems, visualize relationships between two-dimensional and three-dimensional objects, apply geometric concepts in modeling situations.


During Language Arts 8, students are presented with the opportunity to experience literature across several genres. A focus is placed on appreciating each work as an extension of the author’s philosophy and culture and encouraging students to recognize their own reading tastes and their unique style and voice in their own writing. Texts are arranged thematically and are grouped around essential questions or issues.  Students are also encouraged to take ownership of their learning through book choice and goal setting. Vocabulary and writing instruction are linked to topics and issues arising from reading texts and encourage students to address all aspects of the writing process.  Reading instruction is based on genre based units that progress by marking period.  The units are:  Short Form, Op Ed/Essay/Persuasive, Dystopian Literature, and Realistic Fiction.

Goals: 1) To comprehend texts across a broad sampling as both readers and writers, 2) To identify and expand knowledge of literary elements, 3) To identify and compare themes across multiple texts, 4) To recognize, appreciate and manipulate literary devices and figurative language, 5) To read for a variety  of purposes, and recognize and employ a variety of purposes for writing, 6) To utilize a variety of pre-writing and drafting strategies for writing personal narratives, informational essays, and persuasive pieces, 7) To enhance created texts through revision and editing for spelling, usage, and punctuation, 8) To develop and exercise higher order thinking skills in evaluating texts, 9) To encourage a love of reading and writing as a learning tool as well as for entertainment, 10) To encourage life-long interest in all of the language arts while gaining insight into the world around them.


The students will explore world history from the Classical Civilizations of Greece and Rome through the foundations of the Age of Exploration.  Through an inquiry-based approach, students will investigate these important historical eras with the purpose of making connections between the ancient and modern world.  Students will be able to: 1) Read from a variety of primary and secondary sources (fiction and non-fiction) to acquire information, 2) Critically analyze information to make inferences and conclusions, 3) Develop and reinforce writing skills in the content area, 4) Expand their study and research skills, 5) Gain an appreciation of  themselves and others through the critical analysis of history.


This course is designed to provide an opportunity for students to acquire the skills, knowledge, and attitudes that will enable them to become scientifically  literate citizens.  The units of study will include: “Physical  Properties of Matter”, “Heat and the Kinetic Theory of the States of Matter”, “The Atomic Model”, “Elements and the Periodic Table”, “Compounds and Chemical Reactions”, “Mixtures, and Force” and “Motion”.

Goals: 1) To use a constructivist approach in learning content, 2) To use scientific inquiry in solving problems, 3) To communicate information verbally, mathematically, and in writing, 4) To meet and exceed NJASK skills and information, 5) To prepare for the next grade level of science education.


This course is designed for the 8th grade student who is still learning English, but who has some facility in the language.  It parallels the mainstream 8th grade language arts course.

Goals: 1) To study the five elements of literature, 2) To read various novels, 3) To write a detailed character description, a persuasive essay, and a personal narrative in conjunction with these novels, as well as respond to a picture prompt. 4) To  gain understanding of grammar and  sentence mechanics.


The program’s philosophy is to provide an emphasis in all four communicative areas: listening, speaking, reading and writing as well as an overview of culture.  The student will continue to acquire the basic verbal, reading, and writing skills of the language.  Cultural aspects of the French, Italian, and Spanish speaking world will be further explored.