Grade 8


In addition to grade level course work, Fisher Island Day School provides the opportunity for eligible middle-school students to receive advanced instruction in language arts and mathematics through honors coursework. The rigor and demands of such classes are taken into account, and as a result, are weighted on the overall grading via quarterly report cards.

Additionally, in 2017, Fisher Island Day School introduced the Diploma of Distinction to recognize FIDS graduates who demonstrated exemplary performance in the areas of academic performance, conduct, citizenship, and attendance. The eligibility criteria for the FIDS Diploma of Distinction are listed below:

  • Eligibility: Graduating Grade 8 students.
  • Enrollment: Minimum 1 full academic year at FIDS prior to graduating year.
  • Grades: Cumulative average of 90% or higher for Grades 5 – 8.
  • Test Scores: Average of 7.0 Stanine or higher on ERB, starting in Grade 5.
  • Attendance: No more than 5 unexcused absences and 5 unexcused tardies per school year, starting in Grade 5.
  • Student Conduct: No suspensions beginning in Grade 5.
  • Contribution to School Life: Family giving of time and/or money; attendance at required parent conferences; involvement in the Parent Association (as a member, as a room parent); participation in the Gala; etc.
  • Financial Obligations: All financial obligations have been met.


Core Coursework (Required)

  • English – English 8; Honors English 8 for honors students
  • Mathematics – Algebra 1; Geometry for honors students
  • Science – Physical Science
  • Social Studies – World Civilizations
  • World Language – Spanish 3

Recommended Electives

  • Art – Studio III
  • Mandarin Chinese – Mandarin Chinese 8
  • Music – Music 8
  • Physical Education – PE 8

Additional Elective Offerings May Include:

  • Broadcasting
  • Independent Study
  • Journalism/Newspaper
  • Keyboarding
  • Robotics
  • Sailing
  • Yearbook

Distinctive Eighth Grade Experiences

  • Washington D.C. Trip


English: English 8

Eighth-grade English students will gain deeper understandings about themselves as readers, writers, and thinkers. Analyzing rich and complex texts through various lenses will afford students the opportunity to build upon prior learned competencies. Research skills will be developed—with the ability to discern reliable sources—along with the capability to interpret other writers’ points of view. The literature studied in eighth grade will be augmented in both content and form, and writing assignments will encompass more sophisticated styles. Cross- curricular work with the social studies program will allow students to learn about the impact of social and cultural contexts on literature. As students participate in this course, they will gain valuable literacy skills that will prepare them for success in high school.

Suggested Grammar Workbook: Giggly Guide to Grammar

Suggested Vocabulary Workbook: Wordly Wise Level 8

Suggested Novels: Little Worlds (Guthrie and Page); Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare); The Odyssey (Homer-Fagles translation); To Kill a Mockingbird (Lee)

English: Honors English 8

The Honors 8 English program is designed to enhance student learning above and beyond eighth-grade standards. Students will focus on advanced reading and writing skills, which will promote successful performance at a high-school level. Critical and creative thinking will play a vital role in preparing students to stretch their application of English skills through: novel studies in a variety of genres; classroom discussion; and completing projects that incorporate technology and multimedia. Additionally, students will focus on their public speaking skills, showcasing their ability to make presentations to peers and express their ideas and opinions in a sophisticated manner.

Suggested Grammar Workbook: TBD Suggested Vocabulary Workbook: TBD Suggested Novels: TBD


Mathematics: Algebra 1

The Algebra 1 curriculum will explore the fundamentals of algebra, including a review of operations with integers and rational numbers. The students will develop an understanding of why certain math strategies are used and will learn to organize their mathematical thoughts in written form. Students will also learn to use a graphing calculator as a tool to solve problems. A variety of teaching strategies will be employed to demonstrate how to: solve linear equations and inequalities; utilize word-problem applications; and work with polynomials, factoring, functions and graphs, linear systems, quadratics, and radical and rational expressions.

Suggested Textbook: Glencoe – Math Algebra 1

Mathematics: Geometry

Advanced eight-grade students will dive into the world of geometry by exploring such topics as: algebraic and linear equations; relationships between two-dimensional and three-dimensional figures; right triangles; trigonometry; and probability. A variety of digital tools — such as The

Geometer’s Sketchpad and Glencoe eToolkit — will support the learning process and promote higher-level applications.

Suggested Textbook: Glencoe – Math Geometry

Science: Physical Science

The eighth-grade physical science course incorporates community building within the science classroom. Thinking scientifically about the nature of science will allow students to focus on measuring physical properties of matter by utilizing various tools and techniques. Physical science concepts—including matter, energy and thermal energy, force and motion, waves, and electromagnetic radiation—will be explored through hands-on lab practicals, as well as virtual simulations. Further, students will delve into chemistry as they focus on the periodic table of elements, atomic structure, chemical equations, and chemical reactions. All elements of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) will play a critical role in student discovery and understanding of the focused content areas. Additionally, students will be exposed to various note-taking and test-taking strategies that will support their growth, both inside and outside of the science classroom. Included in the eighth-grade science curriculum is also an age-appropriate unit on human growth and development.

Suggested Textbook: Pearson – Elevate Science: Physical Science


Social Studies: World Civilizations

The eighth-grade social studies curriculum is designed to trace the origins and growth of global civilizations from the pre-history era to the modern world. Students will first be exposed to the landscape and peoples of the Fertile Crescent and will then move into exploring the civilizations of Egypt, India, and China. The history of Greek and Roman cultures will be explored in greater detail as students develop their critical thinking skills about the rise and fall of such powerful empires. The course will then cover the civilizations of the Americas, as well as Asian and African groups. A close look at the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and how a rebirth of ideas paved the way to global connections concludes this course as students prepare to move on to advanced studies in history in high school.

Suggested Textbook: Pearson – My World Interactive: World History

World Language: Spanish 3

Spanish Level 3 enables students to function in a global society. Students will amplify their abilities to communicate in the present, past, and imperfect tenses and will learn to communicate using the present perfect, present subjunctive, future, and conditional tenses. Additionally, they will acquire vocabulary that is needed in everyday situations and learn how to describe things in nature and discuss environmental issues. They will expand their knowledge of the different Hispanic cultures and explore them in depth. Culture and language will be presented through music, art, and a wide selection of literary texts from Spain and Latin America.

Suggested Textbooks: ¡Qué chévere! Level 3 Student Edition Print Grammar & Vocabulary Workbook; ¡Qué chévere! Level 3 Student Edition Print Workbook


Art: Studio III

Art Studio III students will pick an area of concentration using the idea of a theme to guide their work. The course will encourage students to plan, discuss, and critique each other’s work as they create their own pieces. Students will align themselves with a particular artist for research and presentation purposes. Field trips to art fairs—such as Basel and Art Miami—will allow them to connect with both contemporary artists and masters of the art world. With this Increased awareness of art and self, the students will be presented with an opportunity to affect their community in a positive way; eighth-grade students will select and produce a community service-art project as a culminating project.

Mandarin Chinese: Mandarin Chinese 8

Students will learn basic Mandarin Chinese through listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Participants will also learn pronunciation rules, character-writing skills through calligraphy practice structures in Chinese, and how to read and write simple sentences with proper grammar. Additionally, students will learn about Chinese culture through story reading (Confucius thought), Chinese poetry, cooking, Chinese clothing, tea ceremony, and arts and crafts. At the end of the course, students will achieve:

  • Insights into Chinese culture;
  • Strengthening of their overall ability to effectively communicate in Chinese;
  • Ability to recognize 160-180 vocabulary words;
  • Ability to write focused Chinese vocabulary;
  • Ability to read 250-400 word novels;
  • Ability to research and present class projects in Chinese.

Suggested Textbooks: Easy Steps to Chinese Level 2; Mei Zhou Hua Yu Level 3; HSK Test Preparation Book Level 3

Music: Music 8

This course is designed to give students intermediate experience in all aspects of music— including music appreciation, music history, playing an instrument, critiquing, and composing. Performance etiquette and dance will also be covered, culminating in at least one song-and- dance performance each semester. General instruction will be offered in both vocal and instrumental training, with an added emphasis on harmony, group instrumentation, and introductory music theory. Ensemble performance and rehearsal will be a common motif within this class. Additionally, students will gain experience and practice in writing their own music in several varieties of historical and musical styles.

Physical Education: PE 8

The physical education curriculum for middle-school students stresses learning and practicing skills and game strategies for various sports such as soccer, basketball, flag football, baseball, tennis, and street hockey. Students in P.E. 8 will demonstrate knowledge of rules, procedures, and terminology for all games, activities, and units and apply this knowledge during each class period. The program also focuses on developing proper sportsmanship through friendly competition and incorporates cardiovascular fitness lessons, along with strength development. All students will participate in the FIDS Fitness Test which gauges: individual strengths in long distance running; quickness/reaction speed; flexibility; upper-body strength; and abdominal strength. Toward the end of the year, students in P.E. 8 will have the opportunity to design their own, individualized fitness programs. These programs will include all components of health-related fitness in order to prepare the students for participation in a strenuous high school sport. FIDS’s athletics, sports, and fitness activities provide more than just exercise and competition; the curriculum encompasses the virtues of kindness, courage, grace, persistence, discipline, and teamwork.

Additional Elective Offerings May Include:

  • Broadcasting
  • Independent Study
  • Journalism/Newspaper
  • Keyboarding
  • Robotics
  • Sailing
  • Yearboo