Eighth Grade Curriculum

Dept. of Teaching and Learning Services

5150 220th AVE SE, Issaquah, WA 98029

The Issaquah Content Standards guide teaching and learning in all our classrooms in the areas of Literacy (reading, writing, and communication), Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Health and Fitness, and the Arts. These statements describe what students should know and be able to do during and as a result of their educational experiences. The Issaquah Content Standards are based on the Washington State K-12 Learning Standards.


The following standards offer a focus for instruction each year and help ensure that students gain adequate exposure to a range of texts and tasks. Rigor is also infused through the requirement that students read increasingly complex texts through the grades. Students advancing through the grades are expected to meet each year’s grade-specific standards and retain or further develop skills and understandings mastered in preceding grades.

Reads Grade Level Text

  • Reads and comprehends literature and nonfiction text proficiently

Comprehension: Key Ideas and Details

  • Cites the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text
  • Determines a theme or central idea of a text and analyzes its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to story elements or supporting ideas; provides an objective summary of the text 
  • Analyzes how particular lines of dialogue or incidents in a story or drama propel the action, reveal aspects of a character, or provoke a decision; analyzes how a text makes connections among and distinctions between individuals, ideas, or events

Comprehension: Craft and Structure

  • Determines the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyzes the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including analogies or allusions to other texts
  • Analyzes in detail the structure of a specific paragraph in a text, including the role of particular sentences in developing and refining a key concept; compares and contrasts the structure of two or more texts and analyzes how the differing structure of each text contributes to its meaning and style
  • Determines an author's point of view or purpose in a text and analyzes how the author acknowledges and responds to conflicting evidence or viewpoints; analyzes how differences in the points of view of the characters and the audience or reader create such effects as suspense or humor

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

  • Analyzes the extent to which a filmed or live production of a text stays faithful to or departs from the text, evaluating the choices made by the director or actors; evaluates the advantages and disadvantages of using different mediums to present a particular topic or idea 
  • Delineates and evaluates the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; recognizes when irrelevant evidence is introduced 
  • Analyzes how a modern work of fiction draws on themes, patterns of events, or character types from myths, traditional stories, or religious works, including describing how the material is rendered new; analyzes a case in which multiple texts provide conflicting information on the same topic and identifies where the texts disagree on matters of fact or interpretation


The following standards offer a focus for instruction each year to help ensure that students gain adequate mastery of a range of skills and applications. Each year in their writing, students should demonstrate increasing sophistication in all aspects of language use, from vocabulary and syntax to the development and organization of ideas, and they should address increasingly demanding content and sources. Students advancing through the grades are expected to meet each year’s grade-specific standards and retain or further develop skills and understandings mastered in preceding grades.

Range of Writing

Writes routinely over extended time frames and shorter time frames for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences

Text Types and Purposes

Writes arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence 

  • Introduces claim(s), acknowledges and distinguishes the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and organizes the reasons and evidence logically
  • Supports claim(s) with clear reasons and relevant evidence, using accurate, credible sources and demonstrating an understanding of the topic or text 
  • Uses words, phrases, and clauses to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence
  • Establishes and maintains a formal style 
  • Provides a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented

Writes informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.

  • Introduces a topic clearly, previewing what is to follow; organizes ideas, concepts, and information into broader categories; includes formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., charts, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension 
  • Develops the topic with relevant, well-chosen facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples 
  • Uses appropriate and varied transitions to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among ideas and concepts
  • Uses precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic. 
  • Establishes and maintains a formal style
  • Provides a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation presented

Writes narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences

  • Engages and orients the reader by establishing a context and point of view and introducing a narrator and/or characters; organizes an event sequence that unfolds naturally and logically 
  • Uses narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, and description, and reflection, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters 
  • Uses a variety of transition words, phrases, and clauses to convey sequence, signal shifts from one time frame or setting to another, and show the relationships among experiences and events 
  • Uses precise words and phrases, relevant descriptive details, and sensory language to capture the action and convey experiences and events
  • Provides a conclusion that follows from and reflects on the narrated experiences or events

Production and Distribution of Writing

  • Produces clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience
  • With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develops and strengthens writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on how well purpose and audience have been addressed
  • Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and present the relationships between information and ideas efficiently as well as to interact and collaborate with others

Research to Build and Present Knowledge

  • Conducts short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question), drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions that allow for multiple avenues of exploration
  • Gathers relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assesses the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quotes or paraphrases the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation
  • Draws evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research


In Grade 8, instructional time focuses on three areas: (1) 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; (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 Number System 

  • Know that there are numbers that are not rational, and approximate them by rational numbers. 

Expressions and Equations 

  • Work with radicals and integer exponents.
  • Understand the connections between proportional relationships, lines, and linear equations.
  • Analyze and solve linear equations and pairs of simultaneous linear equations. 


  • Define, evaluate, and compare functions. 
  • Use functions to model relationships between quantities. 


  • Understand congruence and similarity using physical models, transparencies, or geometry software. 
  • Understand and apply the Pythagorean Theorem. 
  • Solve real-world and mathematical problems involving volume of cylinders, cones and spheres. 

Statistics and Probability 

  • Investigate patterns of association in bivariate data.

Mathematical Practices

  • Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them
  • Reason abstractly and quantitatively
  • Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others
  • Model with mathematics
  • Use appropriate tools strategically
  • Attend to precision
  • Look for and make use of structure
  • Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning

Physical Science

Students in middle school continue to develop understanding of four core ideas in the physical sciences. The middle school performance expectations in the Physical Sciences build on the K – 5 ideas and capabilities to allow learners to explain phenomena central to the physical sciences but also to the life sciences and earth and space science. The performance expectations in physical science blend the core ideas with scientific and engineering practices and crosscutting concepts to support students in developing useable knowledge to explain real world phenomena in the physical, biological, and earth and space sciences. In the physical sciences, performance expectations at the middle school level focus on students developing understanding of several scientific practices. These include developing and using models, planning and conducting investigations, analyzing and interpreting data, using mathematical and computational thinking, and constructing explanations; and to use these practices to demonstrate understanding of the core ideas. Students are also expected to demonstrate understanding of several of engineering practices including design and evaluation.

Matter and Its Interactions

  • Develop models to describe the atomic composition of simple molecules and extended structures.
  • Analyze and interpret data on the properties of substances before and after the substances interact to determine if a chemical reaction has occurred.
  • Gather and make sense of information to describe that synthetic materials come from natural resources and impact society.
  • Develop a model that predicts and describes changes in particle motion, temperature, and state of a pure substance when thermal energy is added or removed.
  • Develop and use a model to describe how the total number of atoms does not change in a chemical reaction and thus mass is conserved.
  • Undertake a design project to construct, test, and modify a device that either releases or absorbs thermal energy by chemical processes.

Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions

  • Apply Newton’s Third Law to design a solution to a problem involving the motion of two colliding objects.
  • Plan an investigation to provide evidence that the change in an object’s motion depends on the sum of the forces on the object and the mass of the object.
  • Ask questions about data to determine the factors that affect the strength of electric and magnetic forces.
  • Construct and present arguments using evidence to support the claim that gravitational interactions are attractive and depend on the masses of interacting objects. 
  • Conduct an investigation and evaluate the experimental design to provide evidence that fields exist between objects exerting forces on each other even though the objects are not in contact.


  • Construct and interpret graphical displays of data to describe the relationships of kinetic energy to the mass of an object and to the speed of an object.
  • Develop a model to describe that when the arrangement of objects interacting at a distance changes, different amounts of potential energy are stored in the system.
  • Apply scientific principles to design, construct, and test a device that either minimizes or maximizes thermal energy transfer.
  • Plan an investigation to determine the relationships among the energy transferred, the type of matter, the mass, and the change in the average kinetic energy of the particles as measured by the temperature of the sample.
  • Construct, use, and present arguments to support the claim that when the kinetic energy of an object changes, energy is transferred to or from the object.

Waves and Their Applications in Technologies for Information Transfer

  • Use mathematical representations to describe a simple model for waves that includes how the amplitude of a wave is related to the energy in a wave.
  • Develop and use a model to describe that waves are reflected, absorbed, or transmitted through various materials.
  • Integrate qualitative scientific and technical information to support the claim that digitized signals are a more reliable way to encode and transmit information than analog signals.

Engineering Design Storylines

In middle school students will build on engineering experiences by defining problems more precisely, conducting a thorough process of choosing the best solution, and optimizing the final design.

Engineering Design

  • Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.
  • Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
  • Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.
  • Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.

Social Studies

In eighth grade, students develop a new, more abstract level of understanding of social studies concepts. The context for developing this understanding is U.S. history and government, 1776 to 1900. Students explore the ideas, issues, and events from the framing of the Constitution up through Reconstruction and industrialization. After reviewing the founding of the United States, particularly the Constitution, students explore the development of politics, society, culture, civics and economy in the United States to deepen conceptual understandings in civics, geography, and economics. In particular, studying the causes and consequences of the Civil War helps them to comprehend more profoundly the rights and responsibilities of citizens in a culturally diverse democracy. 

Issaquah School District eighth graders participate in a two-week financial literacy classroom unit and attend a simulation at the Junior Achievement Finance Park. This unit is funded by the Issaquah Schools Foundation and developed by Junior Achievement. 


The Eighth Grade student in the Issaquah School District

  • Analyzes how the environment has affected people and how people have affected the environment in the United States in the past or present
  • Understands and analyzes migration as a catalyst on the growth of the United States in the past or present
  • Understands cultural diffusion in the United States from the past or in the present.
  • Understands and analyzes physical and cultural characteristics of places and regions in the United States from the past or in the present.
  • Understands that learning about the geography of the United States helps us understand the global issue of diversity.


The Eighth Grade student in the Issaquah School District

  • Understands how the following themes and developments help to define eras in U.S. history from 1776 to 1900
    • Fighting for independence and framing the Constitution (1776—1815).
    • Slavery, expansion, removal, and reform (1801—1850).
    • Civil War and Reconstruction (1850—1877).
    • Development and struggles in the West, industrialization, immigration, and urbanization (1870—1900).
  • Understands and analyzes how individuals and movements have shaped U.S. history (1776 —1900).
  • Understands and analyzes how technology and ideas have impacted U.S. history (1776— 1900).
  • Analyzes and interprets historical materials from a variety of perspectives in U.S. history (1776—1900).
  • Analyzes multiple causal factors to create positions on major events in U.S. history (1776 – 1900).
  • Analyzes how a historical event in United States history helps us to understand a current issue.


  • Understands key ideals and principles outlined in the Declaration of Independence, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, the U.S. Constitution, including the rule of law, separation of powers, representative government, and popular sovereignty, and the Bill of Rights, including due process and freedom of expression.
  • Understands that the U.S. government includes concepts of both a democracy and a republic.
  • Understands and analyzes the structure and powers of government at the national level.
  • Evaluates the effectiveness of the system of checks and balances in the United States based on an event.
  • Analyzes how the United States has interacted with other countries in the past or present.
  • Evaluates efforts to reduce discrepancies between key ideals and reality in the United States including:
    • How amendments to the Constitution have sought to extend rights to new groups; 
    • How key ideals and constitutional principles set forth in fundamental documents relate to public issues.
  • Analyzes an issue that attempts to balance individual rights and the common good.


  • Understands and analyzes how the forces of supply and demand have affected international trade in the United States in the past or present.
  • Understands and analyzes the distribution of wealth and sustainability of resources in the United States in the past or present.
  • Analyzes examples of how groups and individuals have considered profit and personal values in making economic choices in the past or present.
  • Analyzes how the forces of supply and demand have affected the production, distribution, and consumption of goods, services, and resources in the United States in the past or present.
  • Analyzes the importance of financial literacy in making economic choices through the Junior Achievement Financial Literacy Unit

Social Studies Skills

  • Understands reasons based on evidence for a position on an issue or event.
  • Evaluates the logic of reasons for a position on an issue or event.
  • Uses appropriate format to cite sources within an essay or presentation.
  • Creates and uses research questions that are tied to an essential question to focus inquiry on an issue.
  • Evaluates the logic of positions in primary and secondary sources to interpret an issue or event.
  • Applies key ideals outlined in fundamental documents to clarify and address public issues in the context of a discussion.

Physical Education

The student is expected to meet and demonstrate all previous grade level skills.

The Eighth Grade student in the Issaquah School District will explore, develop, and refine basic movement and manipulative skills through a variety of activities at developmentally appropriate levels.

Movement Skills

  • Applies more complex skills to a variety of movement activities; team sports, individual sports, and recreational  activities

The Eighth Grade student in the Issaquah School District will increase understanding and appreciation of their fitness level while engaging in a variety of physical activities.

Physical Fitness

  • Measures physical fitness, sets fitness and activity goals, and explores a variety of activities to maintain healthy levels of cardio- respiratory fitness, muscular strength, endurance, flexibility, and body composition

The Eighth Grade student in the Issaquah School District will demonstrate responsible behaviors and positive sportsmanship skills in individual and group activities.


  • Follows rules and safety procedures with civility, practice sportsmanship, cooperation, and teamwork in a variety of games and fitness activities
  • Uses communication skills without judging others when discussing sports-related issues
  • Listens to and applies feedback from teacher or peers

Cognitive Skills

  • Demonstrates knowledge of both past and current history of activities
  • Demonstrates proper use and care for equipment  of activities
  • Applies basic rules and strategies in sports activities


The student is expected to meet and demonstrate all previous grade level skills.

The Eighth Grade student in the Issaquah School District acquires the knowledge and skills necessary to maintain an active life: movement, physical fitness, and nutrition.

Understand Nutrition and Food Nutrients and How they Affect Physical Performance and the Body

Diet Analysis:

  • Designs nutritional goals based on national dietary guidelines and individual activity needs
  • Understands the values of different foods and predicts how they effect energy levels (review pyramid food guide)

The Eighth Grade student in the Issaquah School District acquires the knowledge and skills necessary to maintain a healthy life: recognize patterns of growth and development, reduce health risks, and live safely.

Recognize Patterns of Growth and Development


  • Defines the most common S.T.D.’s and knows their prevention, symptoms, and care
  • Knows the most current information about A.I.D.S.
  • Identifies the options for preventing an unplanned pregnancy (Review 7th grade)
  • Defines the advantages of abstinence
  • Names the risks and results of being sexually active

Acquire Skills to Live Safely Misuse of Substances:

  • Gives examples of the effects of misuse of substances
  • Identifies problems that accompany substance abuse

Legal vs. Illegal

  • Explains the penalties and consequences of using illegal drugs

Drug Treatment:

  • Compares and contrasts treatment options available for substance abusers
  • Recognizes what community resources are available to help with substance abuse issues Body

Systems: Nervous

  • Analyzes how the nervous system is affected by the misuse of drugs

The Eighth Grade student in the Issaquah School District analyzes and evaluates the impact of real-life influences on health.

Understand How Environmental Factors Affect  One’s Health


  • Recognizes the influence the media can have on our health decisions

Gather and Analyze Health Information Wellness:

  • Defines the term  ‘wellness’
  • Identifies healthy habits that make a difference in your level of health
  • Evaluates strategies and develops a plan to manage stress constructively

Use Social Skills to Protect Health and Safely in a Variety of Situations

  • Names three skills that build health relationships (cooperation, compromise, and communication)

Understand How Emotions Influence Decision-making

  • Anticipates situations which involve pressure to abuse legal and illegal  drugs
  • Explains the difference between negative peer pressure and positive, and gives examples of each
  • Names the five steps for good decision- making
  • Reviews refusal skills

The Eighth Grade student in the Issaquah School District uses analyzes health and safety information to develop health and fitness plans based on life goals.

Assess Needs and Resources

  • Evaluates how fitness can effect overall health
  • Analyzes one’s own needs for a personal fitness program (review community resources)