Eighth Grade Eldership

During the eighth grade, students accept the challenge of being on the leadership side of things for the first time. Students in eighth grade are challenged to show the sixth and seventh graders the ropes on the fall trip and around campus. So much of Santa Barbara Middle School is based on tradition, and the eighth graders help to pass on stories and set examples that keep the school spirit the same year after year. Eighth grade is a pivotal year for most students in learning to speak from the heart and honor each other. During the 8th grade retreat, students participate in a quintessential part of the SBMS experience by recognizing what each member of the group has to offer. 
In academic classes, students discover another level of their academic selves and prepare for high school and beyond. With passionate and dedicated teachers, students engage in projects that build on previous knowledge and skill sets. A few examples of eighth grade hands-on project-based learning include creating cooking movies in Spanish, reciting passionate poetry slams, reenacting the 1920s, and dissecting pigs to learn about anatomy. Projects are relevant and real for students, encouraging teamwork, rigor, and high academic standards.

Eighth-Grade Curriculum

List of 7 items.

  • History 8 - “U.S. History: The Road to Freedom”

    History 8 covers social, political, and historical events in the United States, from First Peoples through WWII. The curriculum is presented chronologically, with an eye toward depth and thematic issues. Students will learn about the past through “windows and mirrors” that offer insight into a diverse array of American lives and events. Students will also study constitutional issues and citizenship lessons that connect to the central theme of what it means to be an American from the time of our nation’s founding until today. The integrated curriculum exposes students to a variety of disciplines, including art, music, creative writing, and even cooking. Students learn how to “think like a historian” and engage in inquiry-based research to develop real-world skills, including problem-solving, critical and creative thinking, and verbal and written communication.
  • Integrated Math 1/Honors

    Integrated Math 1 is the first year of a three-year course (Math 1, 2, & 3) in the sequence of college preparatory mathematics. Instead of teaching each section as a separate course, Integrated Math spirals between the following mathematical subjects: algebra, functions, geometry, statistics and probability, and number and quantity. Each section of the class will be accompanied by different applications that are a natural extension of the principles understood. The emphasis is on provoking thought rather than memorization. It aims to deepen and extend student understanding built in previous courses by focusing on developing fluency with solving linear equations, inequalities, and systems. These skills are extended to solving simple exponential equations, exploring linear and exponential functions graphically, numerically, symbolically, and as sequences, and by using regression techniques to analyze the fit of models to distributions of data.
  • English 8 - Introduction to Literature

    English 8 is a literature-based curriculum that equips students to communicate complex ideas in both the verbal and written forms. The course develops their ability to formulate and effectively express their own thoughts and comprehend and interpret the ideas of others. Throughout the course, students write expository, narrative, and analytical essays in relation to a number of literary works. Students will read class required readings across genres (poems, myths, short stories, novels and plays) and independently; they will receive regular grammar and vocabulary instruction throughout the year. The English 8 curriculum challenges students to read, write, listen, and speak to develop an educated mind.
  • Math 8

    Math 8 challenges students to investigate and develop multiple strategies to solve problems through concrete models. In preparation for Integrated Math 1, students will apply and expand their computational and conceptual reasoning skills by working with linear functions, systems of equations, transformations, Pythagorean theorem, volume, scientific notation, and statistical analysis. Math 8 also helps students develop critical mathematical thinking skills as prescribed in the Common Core Mathematical Practice Standards, including making sense of problems and persevering in solving them, reasoning abstractly and quantitatively, constructing viable arguments, and modeling with mathematics. Through individual and group work, students investigate and communicate their strategies in order to build conceptual understanding and to recognize the connections between concepts. The course utilizes technology to explore and develop depth after students have a conceptual understanding of topics. 
  • Science 8 - Human Biology & Health

    Starting with the structure and function of a single cell, moving through genetics and evolution, and focusing on the individual organ systems of the body, Human Biology and Health encompasses the important questions and physical changes experienced by adolescent students. By the end of the course, students have been immersed in scientific methodology and critical thinking skills experienced through a series of laboratory projects including microscopic human organ tissue samples, genetic probability, evolutionary development, and organ system dissections. Students write two term papers: “The History, Development and Practice of Science” and “Evolution: the Central Theory of Biology”. Health Education is a constant thread throughout the course, encompassing fire and earthquake safety, First Aid, CPR, intruder safety, addiction and the brain and standard health practices during the study of the individual organ systems (for example, effects of smoking on the lungs, etc).
  • Spanish 8

    Spanish 8 builds on vocabulary and grammar concepts from Spanish 7, moving from the present to the past tense. Using a communicative and project-based approach, students engage in a variety of multimedia projects both individually and in a group setting. In addition to projects like movie making, cooking shows, digital storytelling, and children’s books, students explore cultural components of Spanish-speaking countries such as local cuisine, celebrations, and history. Verb tenses explored include present, preterite, present progressive, and imperfect.
  • Life Skills 8

    Eighth grade Life Skills is part of a two-year program culminating in the ninth grade. By providing students with detailed information and exploring current social issues, this course helps students develop and discover their personal values while navigating a healthy transition to adulthood. Through guest speakers, videos, individual exercises, and role-plays, students become more knowledgeable about community resources and are better able to make educated and responsible choices for the future.

Meet Our Teachers

List of 6 members.

  • Photo of Victor Dominocielo

    Victor Dominocielo 

    Science, 8th Grade / Health & Safety / Volleyball Coach / Outdoor Education
  • Photo of Michael Jaeger

    Michael "Jaeger" Jaeger 

    Dean of 8th Grade / Math, Grades 8 & 9 / Electives / Outdoor Education
  • Photo of Jake Lindelof

    Jake Lindelof 

    Math, 8th & 9th Grade / Coach / Electives / Outdoor Education
    Class of 1993
  • Photo of Mason Matthews

    Mason Matthews 

    History, Grade 8
  • Photo of Davis Rogers

    Davis Rogers 

    English, Grade 8
  • Photo of Angie Rose

    Angie Rose 

    Counselor and Life Skills Teacher

8th Grade Highlights

  • Project based academic rigor
  • Interactive learning environment 
  • Leadership opportunities: Bike Mechanics, Community Action, Teen Press, leading around fire
  • 8th Grade Retreat
  • Choice in Mid-Year Expedition:
    • Mountaineering
    • Catalina Backpacking 
    • Canoeing
    • Surf and Cycle 
  • Upper School End of the Year Trip- “Rite of the Wheel”