Eighth Grade Science

Eighth grade science explores topics in physics and chemistry while building science and student skills that will support the transition to the challenges they will encounter in high school.


This unit delves into the nature of matter, with a textbook-supported study of how the physical and chemical properties of different substances are a result of atomic interactions. Students:

  • Investigate connections between the atomic nature of matter and the physical and chemical properties that result.
  • Learn information management approaches for textbook-based learning, and strategies for the quiz and test based assessment approaches students will encounter in high school.
  • Explore of a number of mind blowing ideas through hands-on investigations that also sharpen and expand lab skills.

We shift gears conceptually from the nature of matter to an investigation of energy, and then to a consideration of forces and motion. This unit:

  • Explores the concepts of energy and energy transformation, and investigates forces and motion.
  • Emphasizes conducting and reporting on quantitative investigations, as students develop their experimental writing through a series of experiments involving mechanical and thermal energy.
  • Uses the power of Excel to crunch large data sets, and practice and improve the detailed skills involved in presenting, interpreting, and analyzing results.
  • Gives students detailed strategies for setting up and solving algebraic-based physics problems.
  • Provides a challenge in which students develop skills over time and with repeated practice, with the emphasis placed on using points of confusion and mistakes as useful signposts.

In parallel with the chemistry and physics units, each student works on a science topic of personal interest over a five month period, for their SciEx (Science Exploration) project.

  • Students select a topic to explore in depth, either by developing and conducting an experiment, using an exhibit at the Exploratorium for inspiration, or conducting research into a science topic of personal interest.
  • Student receive extensive support and time to really dig into their topics, and never cease to amaze with the learning they create for themselves when motivated by their own curiosities.
  • Students share their learning with each other informally in seminar fashion, and with the GMS community in a poster session in early March.