Our middle school program utilizes a team approach where approximately 100-120 students are placed on a team with their four core academic courses - English language arts, math, science, and social studies.
These four teachers deliver all the instruction to their 100+ students. This structure provides a more personalized learning experience for students and builds close relationships with both teachers and other students who get to know them best. Teachers discuss the students they have in common and establish stronger teacher-student relationships based on an improved understanding of the students and their specific learning needs. As a parent, you will notice that you may receive communication from the team, rather than just one teacher.
This is different from a typical "junior high" approach where teachers do not teach on a team. Instead, the math department delivers math instruction to all students who take math, and the English Language Arts (ELA) department teaches ELA to all students who take ELA.
Our research-based teaming approach is making education better for our 7th and 8th grade students.
This final year readies students for the rigors of high school English Language Arts (ELA). North Carolina's English Standard Course of Study defines appropriate content, resulting in a uniform set of standards for every state public school. These standards are the foundation of instruction and define what students are expected to know and what they should be able to do by the end of each grade. Individual schools and teachers make decisions about the texts they choose to meet those expectations.
In eighth grade, teachers continue to build upon vocabulary, comprehension, writing skills, and speaking and listening skills. Students will read a wide variety of texts that connect to broad themes and history. Over the course of the year, students will learn to comprehend the text of steadily increasing complexity. They will develop close reading skills and be expected to read independently. In 8th grade, students are taught writing and grammar through the three main types of writing: narrative, informational, and argumentative.
Eighth-grade math readies students for high school while adhering to the N.C. Mathematical Content Standards and the Standards for Mathematical Practice. The content standards provide a clear focus of content that must be mastered at each grade level organized by Number and Quantity, Algebra, Functions, Modeling, Geometry, and Statistics and Data. Equally important are the Standards for Mathematical Practice, which describe the behaviors and mental habits of mathematically proficient students.
In 8th grade, teachers expand the real numbers system to include rational and irrational numbers. Students learn to work with simple radicals and integer exponent operations as well as linear equations and inequalities with more complex problems and applications. Teachers introduce linear functions in two variables, and students learn how to solve a system of equations by graphing. Students will understand geometry concepts, including congruence and similarity, angle relationships, the Pythagorean Theorem, and volume calculations. The statistics domain in 8th grade is largely based on whether there is a linear relationship to the data and finding a regression line to model and predict using the data. Two-way frequency tables are also used to compare two or more sets of data.
The NC Science standards are organized into life, earth and physical science domains and are set up to allow students’ thinking about core concepts to become increasingly sophisticated over time. Elective science classes vary at each school.
In 8th grade, students can:
- Matter, Properties, and Change
- Classify matter as elements, compounds, or mixtures.
- Explain how the physical properties of elements and their reactivity have been used to produce the current model of the Periodic Table of elements.
- Compare physical changes to chemical changes.
- Explain how the idea of atoms and a balanced chemical equation support the law of conservation of mass.
- Energy: Conservation and Transfer
- Explain the environmental consequences of the various methods of obtaining, transforming, and distributing energy.
- Explain the implications of the depletion of renewable and nonrenewable energy resources and the importance of conservation.
- Earth Systems, Structures, and Processes
- Explain the structure of the hydrosphere.
- Summarize evidence that Earth’s oceans are a reservoir of nutrients, minerals, dissolved gases, and life forms.
- Predict the safety and potability of water supplies in North Carolina based on physical and biological factors.
- Conclude that the good health of humans requires monitoring of the hydrosphere, water quality standards, methods of water treatment, maintaining safe water quality, and stewardship.
- Earth History
- Infer the age of Earth and relative age of rocks and fossils from index fossils and ordering of rock layers.
- Explain the use of fossils, ice cores, composition of sedimentary rocks, faults, and igneous rock formations found in rock layers as evidence of the history of the Earth and its changing life forms.
- Structures and Functions of Living Organisms
- Understand the hazards caused by agents of diseases that affect living organisms.
- Understand how biotechnology is used to affect living organisms.
- Explain how factors such as food, water, shelter, and space affect populations in an ecosystem.
- Summarize the relationships among producers, consumers, and decomposers.
- Explain how the flow of energy within food webs is interconnected with the cycling of matter.
- Evolution and Genetics
- Summarize the use of evidence drawn from geology, fossils, and comparative anatomy to form the basis for biological classification systems and the theory of evolution.
- Explain the relationship between genetic variation and an organism’s ability to adapt to its environment.
- Molecular Biology
- Summarize how food provides the energy and the molecules required for building materials, growth and survival of all organisms.
- Explain the relationship between a healthy diet, exercise, and the general health of the body.
The NC Social Studies curriculum provides students with instruction in world history, American History, civic literacy, financial literacy, and NC history. The goal of the standards is to prepare all students to become career, college, and civic ready. Textbooks, digital tools, and other curricula are used to teach the standards. The Social Studies standards are currently under revision.
The Social Studies standards for eighth grade integrate United States history with the study of North Carolina history. This integrated study helps students understand and appreciate the legacy of our democratic republic and develop skills needed to engage responsibly and intelligently as North Carolinians. This course serves as a stepping stone for more intensive study in high school. Students in eighth grade embark on a more rigorous study of the historical foundations and democratic principles that continue to shape our state and nation. The main focus of the course will be the critical events, personalities, issues, and developments in the state and nation from the Revolutionary Era to contemporary times. Students examine the relationship of geography, events, and people to the political, economic, technological, and cultural developments that shaped our existence over time. The standards are organized around five strands: history, geography, and environmental literacy, economics and financial literacy, civics and governance, and culture.
The Arts Education Program is organized into three strands: Music (Chorus and Band) and Theatre Arts. The intent of the program is for each student to gain a comprehensive understanding of one or more of the arts over their years in middle school. Students may choose one of these classes as their rotation or elective class. Band and Chorus students participate in performances for the community and put on concerts in the winter and spring. The Theatre Arts classes also perform several times a year.
Healthy Living is divided into 2 sections. The Health curriculum teaches students to make healthy lifelong decisions by covering topics like: Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs (ATOD), Interpersonal Communication and Relationships (ICR), Mental and Emotional Health (MEH), Nutrition and Physical Activity (NPA), and Personal and Consumer Health (PCH). The Physical Education curriculum promotes each student’s optimum physical development through activities that students can enjoy and pursue throughout their lives, including tennis, basketball, volleyball, and other team sports.
World Language study benefits all students. Studying another language has been shown to increase standardized test scores and improve mental flexibility, creativity, and higher-order thinking skills. Students who study a foreign language develop a better understanding of their own language and culture and have enhanced career opportunities. In middle school, students may take Spanish during rotation/ encore classes. Online Catawba also offers Spanish and French to middle school students.
Middle school Career and Technical Education (CTE) classes allow students to participate in hands-on career exploration. Through CTE, students can start their path toward a career that they are passionate about while earning valuable experience, college credits and more.
8th Grade Exploring Business, Marketing, and Entrepreneurship -- This course focuses on the nature of business and entrepreneurial skills in an international economy, emphasizing financial services, information technology, marketing, office systems technology, public relations and promotion, and travel and tourism. Topics include computer applications, problem-solving, and thinking skills. This course contributes to the development of a 4-year career development plan. This course is enhanced by project and work-based learning opportunities that utilize a wide range of technology tools and skills, including Chromebook/Computer applications, interactive and simulated career activities, 3D Design and Printing, Robots, Drones, Coding/Programming, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality.
8th Grade Technological Design and Innovation -- This course focuses on applying the design process for inventions or innovation of products, processes, or systems found in the workplace. Emphasis is placed on brainstorming, visualizing, researching information, creativity, modeling, testing, communicating design information, reporting results, and refining designs. Engaging hands-on projects and problem-based learning provide students with an understanding of how criteria, constraints, and processes affect designs. This course is enhanced by design challenges, project-based learning, and work-based learning opportunities. It utilizes in-demand technology tools and skills such as Chromebook/Computer applications, interactive and simulated career activities, 3D Design and Printing, Robots, Drones, Coding/Programming, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality.