In our latest blog series – ‘Year Overview’ – we help you get familiar with all the key topics your child will learn and the key skills they’ll improve in primary and secondary school. Here’s a brief overview of Year 8 in English, maths and science with focus areas and main topics.
* Year 8 Overview *
English – Years 7-9
Ms Brown – English teacher
Throughout Key Stage 3 the children will continue to develop an appreciation and love of reading. They’ll become critical readers and will read increasingly challenging material covering: whole books, short stories, plays, and poems. The children will read high quality works from English Literature, both contemporary and pre-1914. Over the three years they should cover two plays by Shakespeare, a wide range of other genres and a range of seminal world literature. They should cover at least two authors in depth each year and will be encouraged to choose their own books independently.
Children will now be writing accurately, fluently, effectively and at length. They’ll write both for pleasure and information and will write for a wide range of audiences and purposes such as: stories, scripts, imaginative writing, poetry, essays, notes, speeches, arguments and letters. Their reading will now be directly impacting on their writing and they should be able to use a range of literary and rhetorical devices in their own writing. They should be able plan, draft, edit and proof-read their own writing, paying close attention to accurate grammar, punctuation and spelling, and considering whether their writing suits the audience and purpose it was intended for.
The children will build on and consolidate their grammar and vocabulary from Key Stage 2 but will also draw on new vocabulary and grammatical constructions from their own reading. They’ll confidently use Standard English and will be able to distinguish between and use both informal and formal registers in both speech and their writing. They’ll become confident speakers and will be given opportunities to give short speeches and presentations, participate in debates and perform plays and poetry. By the end of Year 9 the children are fully prepared to tackle the GCSE examination courses in English and English Literature
Mr Lamberth – Maths teacher
Algebra takes centre stage in Year 8 as children simplify algebraic expressions by taking out common factors. They continue to graph linear equations and use the gradient and where it crosses the y-axis to help. The equation y=mx+c becomes so familiar that it feels as if they’ve been chanting it since birth! They also start to look at sequences of numbers algebraically, are able to discover patterns in the numbers and then find the nth term. Understanding of percentages is also developed at this point where one quantity is seen as a percentage of another and the terms percentage and fraction begin to be understood as operators. Children encounter scales on maps, are able to design their own scale drawings and recognise the link between scale and ratio. They also use all 4 transformations of translation, enlargement, rotation and reflection to manipulate shapes in many ways. Finally, there is a step up in terms of statistics where children need to be increasingly confident interpreting all types of graphs drawing out data such as the mean, median, mode and range.
Science – Years 7-9
Ms Latham – Science teacher
Year 8 is a continuity of the KS3 curriculum. Schools are told what has to be covered over the whole of KS3, but have the freedom to decide when and how the subjects will be taught. Science is split into three core disciplines; biology, physics and chemistry and students are taught how to utilise dedicated equipment in specialist labs. Year 8 enables students to further develop their scientific thinking and become more aware of some of the big ideas underpinning scientific knowledge and understanding. They should be encouraged to relate scientific explanations to phenomena in the world around them and start to use modelling and abstract ideas to develop and evaluate explanations. An example of a Year 8 syllabus could be;
- The nature of unseen forces: Balanced forces, speed investigations, energy transformations.
- The Life of Plants: What plants need to grow, plant cells, soil, nutrients for plants, photosynthesis, stomata & xylem/phloem, polymers & plastics.
- Organic chemistry Monomers & polymers: Properties of plastics e.g. viscosity, crude oil and fractional distillation, uses of plastics.
- Light & Sound: How sound works, how light works, EM spectrum simplified, intro to the Doppler Effect.
- What depicts life on Earth? Reproduction, cells & tissues, behaviour, adaptation and classification.
- Chemical reactions: Properties of metals, how chemicals interact in the world, displacement reactions, metals vs. non-metals, equations.