Eighth Grade

In This Section

National PTA 125th Anniversary

Notes from the Backpack Podcast

Join PTA For Your Child

Eighth Grade Parents' Guide to Student Success

English Language Arts & Literacy

To prepare for bigger challenges in high school, 8th grade students must grapple with major works of fiction and nonfiction that extend across cultures and centuries. As they work diligently to understand precisely what an author or speaker is saying, students also must learn to question an author’s or speaker’s assumptions and assess the accuracy of his or her claims. They also must be able to report findings from their own research and analysis of sources in a clear manner.

A Sample of What Your Child Will Be Working on in 8th Grade

  • Citing the evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what is explicitly stated and/or implied from a book, article, poem, or play
  • Analyzing where materials on the same topic disagree on matters of fact, interpretation, or point of view
  • Learning how authors support their ideas through word choice, sentence and paragraph structure, and other methods
  • Building writing around strong central ideas or points of view; supporting the ideas with sound reasoning and evidence, precise word choices, smooth transitions, and different sentence structures
  • Planning and conducting research projects that include several steps and use many credible and documented print and digital sources
  • Analyzing the purpose of information presented in diverse media (e.g., print, TV, web) and evaluating its social, political, or commercial motives
  • Presenting findings and claims to others, emphasizing key points with relevant evidence and sound reasoning, adapting speech to the audience and the formality of the setting, and responding to questions and comments with relevant observations and ideas
  • Using strong, active verbs to create a clear picture for the reader (e.g., walk, skip, meander, lurch, limp)
  • Interpreting figures of speech (e.g., irony, puns) and developing a large vocabulary of general academic words and phrases


In 8th grade, your child will learn a number of skills and ideas that he or she must know and understand to be ready for college and career. Your child will continue to learn how to write and reason with algebraic expressions. Your child also will make a thorough study of linear equations with one and two variables. Building on previous work with relationships between quantities, your child will be introduced to the idea of a mathematical function. And your child will prepare for high school geometry by understanding congruence (same shape and size) and similarity of geometric figures.

A Sample of What Your Child Will Be Working on in 8th Grade

  • Understanding slope, and relating linear equations in two variables to lines in the coordinate plane
  • Solving linear equations (e.g., –x + 5(x + 1 ⁄3) = 2x – 8); solving pairs of linear equations (e.g., x + 6y = –1 and 2x – 2y = 12); and writing equations to solve related word problems
  • Understanding functions as rules that assign a unique output number to each input number; using linear functions to model relationships
  • Analyzing statistical relationships by using a bestfit line (a straight line that models an association between two quantities)
  • Working with positive and negative exponents, square root and cube root symbols, and scientific notation (e.g., evaluating √36 + 64; estimating world population as 7 x 109 )
  • Understanding congruence and similarity using physical models, transparencies, or geometry software (e.g., given two congruent figures, show how to obtain one from the other by a sequence of rotations, translations, and/or reflections)
  • Understanding and applying the Pythagorean Theorem (a2 + b2 = c2 ) to solve problems

Help Your Child Learn at Home

English Language Arts & Literacy

  • Make time in everyone’s busy schedule for family discussions about things going on around the world. Weekends can be a chance for everyone to catch up.
  • Visit the campus of a local college with your teen. Begin talking about college early. What does he or she expect from college? What high school courses will your child need to pass to prepare for college?
  • Make sure to keep books and magazines around the house that your child will enjoy reading and learning from. For a list of book recommendations, visit www.corestandards.org/assets/Appendix_B.pdf.


Ask your child to share with you any work he or she is doing in math class that strikes him or her as interesting. Some possibilities might include:

  • Solving interesting problems involving cylinders and spheres, such as figuring out how much water fits inside a garden hose, or how many earths would fit inside the sun.
  • Analyzing data with a scatterplot, for example to decide whether exercise and obesity are related.
  • Solving “just for fun” algebra puzzles, such as: “I’m thinking of two numbers. The difference between the numbers is 40. Twice the smaller number is 20 more than the larger number. What are my numbers?”