Eighth Grade Humanities

Eighth grade Humanities builds upon the knowledge students have acquired in their sixth and seventh grade humanities courses, seeking to integrate world history through an examination of contemporary life and literature. The primary thematic lens that we use to focus our study of the present is justice, in all the ways we define it. We read a wide range of primary sources and literature, and write on a daily basis in a multitude of forms, from poetry and journaling to longer essays and responses to literature.


Unit One: Holocaust and Human Behavior

Essential Questions: Who decides what is right and wrong? What are the consequences of abusing power? How do we learn from our mistakes? What are the consequences of being a bystander? How do we define and seek justice after genocide? How do certain individuals stand up to the abuse of power?

Primary Texts: Night by Elie Weisel, primary and secondary sources, and an independent reading book with a theme of the Holocaust

Key Project: Compare & contrast essay on Night and related independent reading book

Unit Two: Immigrant Rights

Essential Questions: What are the basic human rights? What is the struggle between adopting a new culture while maintaining your native culture? What are the connections between struggles around the world? What can you do when a society does not value your voice or culture?

Primary Texts: current articles, testimonials. primary sources

Key Project: Two-day Model United Nations with persuasive speaking and writing

Unit Three: Revolution

Essential Questions: What is the relationship between individual and group identities? What can you do when society does not value your voice or culture? What impact does society have on individuals?

Primary Text: Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, primary and secondary sources, current articles

Key Project: writing and illustrating a “next chapter” for Persepolis


Unit Four: Romeo & Juliet

Essential Questions: How do we decode Shakespearean language? How do we use performance to gain a deeper understanding of a text? How can feuds, conflicts, and divisions within a community lead to its downfall? What impact does a society in conflict have on an individual?

Major Text: A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare, primary and secondary sources, current articles

Key Project: Class Performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream