Programs - Grades
In 8th grade the history curriculum completes the age of exploration, delves into the subsequent age of enlightenment and the great revolutions, including the American, French and the Industrial revolutions. The geography of Asia and the Pacific region completes the geography curriculum begun with local geography in grade four. On a practical level, the study of simple machines from 7th grade progresses into the industrial revolution, the technological breakthrough of the steam engine and the concurrent immense social impact. In science, physiology and organic chemistry and physics hold center stage. Topics include the musculo-skeletal and organ systems, photosynthesis, digestion and nutrition, hydraulics, aerodynamics and meteorology. The core mathematics study continues with algebra and plane geometry, surface area and volume. Graphing linear equations, construction of Platonic solids, the principles of the Fibonacci sequence and the Golden Ratio are introduced and explored. The study of literature and writing continue, occasionally including staging a Shakespeare play. Some 8th grade classes will undertake a lengthy independent research project together with an adult mentor. These projects are then presented to the entire school community. Past topics have included: architectural design (site study, needs assessment, design & model building); photography (biographical research and exploration of techniques); building a steam engine; shoe design and construction; and the honeybee explored (artistically, empirically and scientifically). These young adults have presented their projects and fielded questions from their audience (from first graders to adults) with poise, grace and good humor.
River Valley is immensely proud of its 8th graders. These young people stand at the threshold of adulthood, ready to continue their education at a variety of high schools throughout the region. Thanks in large part to their teachers; they come away with knowledge of humanity, of the world and of themselves. During their time at River Valley, teachers have striven to convey to these students knowledge of the human being, the world and themselves so that they can, in turn, create a place for themselves in the world.
To peruse some of the major themes of River Valley’s grade school curriculum at each grade level, please see below:1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Specialty classes