Eighth Grade

For Admission

Middle School
Duration : Year Long
Teachers: Melissa Williams, Julie Riddle, Jim Ranieri, Joel Houghton
Phone : 919-786-0114
Fax: 919-786-0621
Email : chuffstutler@trinityacademy.com

Transition. Reflection. Seeking friendship. Desiring freedom.

The eighth grade year is truly a bridge to the Upper School. Cognitively, thirteen year olds are likely to challenge intellectual and social authority. What better time to introduce them to the rudiments of Logic? Socially, eighth grade girls long to find 2-3 good friends, and eighth grade boys long to become members of a “pack” of likeminded peers. What better time to offer Middle Grades Senate, leadership on Middle Grades’ athletic teams, and a myriad of social event offerings that provide opportunities to bring the class together?  Emotionally, eighth graders often ride the proverbial roller coaster. What better time to provide them with an adult mentor in their gender-based advisory group, or ground them in the truths of God’s word through a Biblically-based character education program? Throughout every step of a Middle Grades student’s journey, great intentionality undergirds the curriculum chosen, the teaching approach taken, and the caring atmosphere developed.

The eighth grade Religious Studies course focuses on New Testament themes. Through Socratic dialogue, personal journaling, and didactic instruction, an exceptional Bible instructor guides our students through this semester-long course. Because students are able to begin engaging in logical analysis, sophisticated topics such as orthodoxy and heresy are introduced. In keeping with Trinity’s philosophy of training students how to think, not what to think, lively discussion of a myriad of Bible topics are welcomed and encouraged. By combining knowledge of Scripture with practical application whenever possible, students are awakened to God’s redemption story and its implication for their personal lives.
History, English, and Literature are taught in back-to-back periods. Working in tandem, this classical approach ties the events or themes of the historical time period with the study of important literary elements. In both History and Literature, the Humanities course surveys United States history from colonization to modern era. From Johnny Tremain to Treasure Island, thematic integration seeks to make meaningful connections as students read, write and discuss key historical foundations.
All eighth grade students will take a one-semester course in World Geography. Geographical understanding is advanced through a combination of factual and analytical skills. This course highlights how the events of the past and present are influenced by this physical process that shapes patterns in our physical environment, as well as the political, economic, and social processes that have shaped the cultural patterns of a region. By the end of the course, students have broadened their geographical awareness in preparation for more in-depth analysis and critical thinking in the Upper School’s Humanities’ courses.
Students in eighth grade generally take Algebra I. This course is designed to broaden the concepts learned in Pre-Algebra. Topics include graphing, functions, systems of equations, and quadratics. Students will problem solve, work with formulas, manually and electronically calculate, work in cooperative groups, and work independently as they strive to master the basics of Algebra.
Eighth grade students take a year-long course in Physical Science where students have opportunities to practically apply challenging science concepts. When studying projectile motion and potential/kinetic energy, for instance, students enjoy a punkin’ chunkin’ contest. This fun tradition involves a bucket truck, pumpkins, and enthusiastic students involved in a lesson they will never forget!
A true Trinity distinctive, Logic, the science of sound reasoning, is a one-semester course taught to our eighth graders. Capturing upon the adolescent’s natural inclination to question and argue, Logic trains their minds to differentiate between fallacies and truths. Taught in a dynamic atmosphere, students attack Logic puzzles, find fallacious arguments in television commercials and print ads, and sometimes, in their own parents’ assertions. (Nothing delights them more!)
Students continue to explore the classical tenets of truth, goodness, and beauty in the area of the visual arts. Students analyze color and expression through the development of their drawing, painting, and sculpting skills. Eighth graders typically work with oil pastels, silk painting, and advanced clay techniques. The primary goal of the middle grades’ Art program is to see that all students gain the tools necessary to ensure they feel successful in their creative endeavors.
Each middle grades’ student will join the Middle School Concert Choir for one year. By the end of that year, choir students will have performed music representing diverse genres and cultures, learned to evaluate music and music performances, have read and notated music, and of course, learned to sing accurately with good breath control throughout their singing ranges.  Annual performance opportunities include: Grandparents’ Day, Lessons and Carols worship evening in December, taking a day trip to sing at a senior center each winter, and attending Busch Gardens “Music in the Parks Competition” in the spring.
In either 7 or 8 grade, students will take part in a year-long theatre course. Taught by a dynamic, experienced drama instructor, students gain confidence in public speaking, acting, and even directing. Opportunities for performances take place three times a year: Duo Interpretations in the fall, full productions in January, and a fun evening of short presentations in the Spring. Productions change from season to season as the teacher gets to know her students and hand picks plays and parts that suit her class. No matter what the students are performing, audiences are delighted with the end product showcasing our middle grades’ talent.
For several years, we have sought to incrementally expand our Middle Grades technology offerings.  Computer Navigation has long been a part of the 7 grade curriculum and was expanded last year to include Robotics.  And your children experienced the inauguration of Virtual Robotics as an addition to the 6 grade curriculum two years ago.  These programs continue to be part of the 6 and 7 grade curriculum, but there has been no technology offering for 8 grade.  This year, each student will be issued a programmable Linux-based Raspberry Pi mini computer, and will receive instruction on its use in executing project-based assignments.  Projects range from an introduction to Python scripting to utilizing a Sense-Hat accessory to create their own amp;#8216;mini space-stationamp;#8217; which measures and records a variety of weather-related indices and reports back to a student generated database.
Eighth graders participate on a sports team of their choice, which then serves as their PE credit for that year. Sports participation is curricular; by requiring students to engage in sports, all students gain the social, emotional, and athletic benefits from being on a team. Coaches are carefully chosen that adhere to Trinity’s mission of excellence in both character and competence. We play to win, but we also strive to play for God’s glory. Visit the Athletics tab for more information on sports offerings.

Trinity Academy Distinctives

In addition to the classes above, students are exposed to:

Aligned to Biblical virtues, the character education program ensures that contemporary challenges are placed in the context of core teachings of the Gospel. Students are taught the elements of etiquette and good behavior, along with the qualities of humility, responsibility, and respect. They are encouraged to ask questions and seek support and answers through Scripture and the discipleship of a faculty of believers.
Students are encouraged to challenge themselves outside of their comfort zone within the safety of a nurturing community. To that end, we offer students the opportunity to serve on Middle School Senate.
Trinity assigns each student an advisor who is their advocate. The teacher is responsible for 8-10 boys or girls in grade seven. The advisory is intentionally designed to pull students away from their best friends and align them with those to whom they may not naturally gravitate. They begin their day with advisor touch points, and the advisor acts as the parents’ touchstone for what’s going on in the life of the school.
Middle School students serve in a variety of ways through their involvement in Jr. Beta Club, Feed the Hunger, and other local non-profits during SELA week.

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