Eighth Grade Curriculum

List of 9 items.

  • Language Arts

    Students are instructed using the Lucy Calkins Reading and Writing Units of Study for grades 6-8. Each Unit of Study is aligned with Florida’s B.E.S.T. Standards for English Language Arts. Students read fiction and nonfiction texts; units on literary nonfiction and dystopian literature provide them with a well-rounded experience reading and analyzing a wide array of literature. Additionally, students participate in novel studies of The Book Thief and To Kill a Mockingbird, giving them the ability to develop sophisticated literary analysis skills in preparation for high school. Writing units build students’ knowledge of expository, informational, and persuasive writing by writing literary analysis essays, developing persuasive arguments, and delving into investigative journalism. 
  • Math

     In math we implement a blended learning approach using enVision Savvas Realize as a learning tool in the classroom. This math series provides high quality, standards-aligned material to increase student engagement and achievement. 

    Eighth grade splits into two potential tracks: 8th grade math (pre-algebra) or Algebra 1 Honors. If needed, a curriculum at a lower or higher level (Geometry Honors) may also be offered.

    The pre-algebra curriculum begins with real numbers then proceeds to analyzing and solving linear equations, using functions to model relationships, investigating bivariate data, analyzing and solving systems of linear equations, congruence and similarity, understanding and applying the Pythagorean theorem, and solving problems involving surface area and volume.

    The algebra curriculum begins with a firm foundational review of pre-algebra skills. Next we proceed to solving equations & inequalities, linear equations, linear functions, systems of linear equations & inequalities, piecewise functions, exponents & exponential functions, polynomials & factoring, quadratic functions, solving quadratic equations, working with functions, statistics and polynomial & rational expressions.  Students who successfully complete Algebra 1 Honors and pass the State of Florida’s EOC (End of Course) exam receive high school credit for the course . 

    Different learning styles are addressed in a variety of ways such as video examples, direct auditory lessons, visual instruction by the teacher and guided notes for every new lesson. Independent work is supported through digital games, whole or small group interactive challenges, as well as through station rotations, small group practice, one-on-one practice, and online individual adaptive practice. Each new unit includes a STEM project. In pre-algebra a 3-act math activity brings each new unit to life and relates the material to the real world.  
  • Biology

    Biology is the study of living things and their processes. In this class students learn the scientific process, develop skills in the laboratory , and gain an understanding of the fundamental principles of living organisms. Students will explore genetics and heredity, biological science as a process, cell structure and function, evolution and classification, and diversity of living organisms and their ecological roles.

    Students are given ample opportunities for hands-on learning in the lab.  Whether they are investigating properties of water (e.g., heat capacity, adhesion, cohesion, and state change); making and staining slides of cells to view under the microscope; modeling cell membranes with bubble solution and frames; or simulating cell division with Oreos and sprinkles for chromosomes, 8th grade biology always has something exciting going on!
  • Social Studies

    In American History, students learn about the deep past of the American continents. We begin with the opening of the land bridge Beringia and learn how the changing geography offered a traversable path from Asia to North America. We learn about indigenous cultures in the Americas and the process by which they came into contact with European powers. We learn about early colonies along the eastern coastline and the dynamics that led up to the Revolution. Motivational factors are of particular interest and we take special care to identify how these factors influenced the founding principles of America. 

    Next, students learn about the civil war.  Again, we take particular note of  the circumstances and actions that influenced this pivotal moment in American history. From here, we explore the many technological inventions that propelled America into a position of global power. These technologies played a role in the World Wars. The last one hundred years in America have been incredibly transformative and we focus here on civil rights, economics and international relations.     
  • Tefillah

    The students participate in daily tefillah (prayer), either in a Shacharit morning service or Iyun Tefillah (study of tefillah).  The students study the Amidah prayer.
  • Hebrew (Ivrit)

    The Middle School Hebrew language program builds on our students’ Hebrew knowledge acquired in elementary school and concentrates on spoken language. We utilize the Rosetta Stone language lesson program for an individualized approach that builds on students’ prior knowledge. The program personalizes language learning through an adaptive blended learning model and speech recognition technology. The individually-paced learning paths empower students to take ownership of their own progress.

    Students have the opportunity to earn two or three high school credits:  To earn two high school credits, students must complete all three levels of the Rosetta Stone Hebrew program.  To earn three high school credits, students must complete all three levels of the Rosetta Stone Hebrew program and assessments in vocabulary, grammar, comprehension and reading fluency.
  • Mitzvot

    Students continue learning the mitzvah of Pikuach Nefesh (saving a life).
    They also participate in the Jewish Court of All Time program (JCAT), an international program that explores a modern issue, addresses the roots, studies Jewish text in context, and applies it to the “case.” All students speak “in voice” after adopting the identity of a historical or current character.  

    Students also learn the Jewish laws relating to drugs and alcohol and discuss other modern 21st century questions through a Jewish lens. All of this is designed to serve as a practical guide for Jewish life, both within our school and beyond the doors of the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School. 
  • Tanakh (Torah, Neviim, Ketuvim)

    The Lookstein virtual blended learning curriculum provides substantive content through innovative and differentiated instruction. Students study Shmuel Bet (Samuel II).  This course follows King David as he builds the foundations of his kingship and subsequent dynasty. Students explore King David’s actions in Shmuel Bet and other related texts, and they discover how David navigates challenges and conflicts to provide the model of a successful leader. In addition, they complete two leadership projects related to Jerusalem and King David. 
  • Learning Lab

    The purpose of the Learning Lab is to build solutions to problems using the engineering design process. Students learn to ask, imagine, plan, create, test, and improve their designs through interdisciplinary projects as part of both  Jewish Studies and General Studies curriculum. While working on these projects, students will apply many of the latest technologies including  modeling, robotics, coding, 3D printing, and laser cutting.


Middle school students are offered an enriching "rotation" program.  Students have the opportunity to choose a different rotation every 9 weeks. Rotations include music, library, sports, art and Learning Lab. In addition, Middle School students participate in an additional Physical Education and Learning Lab class once a week.

List of 5 items.

  • Art

    Art and creativity are timeless! Students learn about art history, traditional techniques, as well as innovative design methods in the art studio. Projects are inspired by artists, art movements, and discussions centered around materials, technique, style, use of color and lasting impact. Past projects have included analyzing the imagery in Marc Chagall’s I and the Village to discover memories of his childhood village; debating “what is art?” by comparing sculptures by Marcel Duchamp and Meret Oppenheim; and discussing how students’ art can inform their community through posters. Throughout the year your child has the opportunity to develop skills using paint, color pastels, gel crayons, clay, wood, wire, and 3D printing to produce spectacular results. Students are guided in new techniques and encouraged to trust their instincts. 
    Our families love following their artists through the online portfolio site “Artsonia.” The link can be shared with other “fans” of their work  as well.
  • Learning Lab

    The Learning Lab focuses on utilizing the engineering design process to build solutions to problems. Students learn to ask, imagine, plan, create, test, and improve their designs through interdisciplinary projects in both the Jewish Studies and General Studies classrooms. Students engage in modeling, robotics, coding, 3D printing, and laser cutting in the Learning Lab. 

    Incorporating traditional STEAM classes, our Learning Lab emphasizes creativity as a necessary component to traditional science, technology, engineering, art and math curricula. While these areas provide the tools, we teach that our big ideas, discoveries and solutions begin with a spark and some heart. The Learning Lab is where students are excited to solve problems. Using the engineering design process - ask, imagine, plan, create, test and improve - your child will sharpen their critical thinking skills and learn how to approach challenges from various perspectives. Whether it is through modeling, robotics, coding, 3D printing, software design and production, or using laser cutting tools, students become invested in their work and solving challenges versus simply completing an assignment - a lesson all its own!
  • Library

    Students can be found curling up with a book in our beautiful open school library. From reading to researching, the library has over 9,500 books of fiction and nonfiction titles to support every child’s needs. Our school librarian assists with research projects, helps students develop board games based on books, and fosters a love of literature. 

    Rotations are an opportunity for a fun, library-centric club which includes instruction and a mitzvah component. Students may develop and create their own picture book that they will share with the younger grades. Furthermore, the picture book project educates students with internet research skills that help students answer “What makes a good picture book?” and  “How does a book get published?”

    Our school librarian supports students in book reports, research projects and presentations, and prepares them to navigate the information sources they will encounter as they grow older. Through thoughtful class discussions and exercises, students learn the ethical use of copyrighted materials, healthy device/screen time use, safe internet practices including protective measures against cyberbullying, and awareness of false information across all platforms in publishing. 

    Above all, we want our students to identify with Elie Wiesel’s observation, “I do not recall a Jewish home without a book on the table,” and our collective value of knowledge. By introducing the thrill of independent learning and the quiet comfort found within a good book (and nook), we create the foundation for their Jewish home and its book(s) on the table.
  • Music

    Our music program appreciates that students follow the beat of their own drum….and that everyone wants to be the conductor! We channel that enthusiasm into the wide world of music appreciation and explore styles, sounds, methods and musicians through traditional lessons, such as hands-on band practice and sheet music instruction.

    Main skills focus includes: collaboration, emotional balance, creative thinking, and disciplined focus.
  • PE

    Our physical education program benefits from the resources of our vast campus. At over 34 acres, we have large fields for baseball and flag football, an indoor and outdoor basketball court, tennis courts, and a 25 meter pool. Students participate in physical education class  twice a week. All students participate in all roles. The focus is on the individual improvement of skills and learning what teamwork means, while improving the skills of a leader, player and good sport. 

    Students play soccer, exciting tag games, and flag football on our large field; use the  diamond area for wiffle ball and kickball; and practice shooting, dribbling and passing (teamwork) skills and play four square on our basketball courts. Additionally, students play volleyball on the outdoor net and improve their endurance by running the trail. On warm days, kids excitedly bring swimsuits to work on strokes and play “Marco Polo” (and splash each other) in our beautiful 25 meter pool. On cold or rainy days, students enjoy music and games in our indoor gym where “Menorah Tag” is in a league of its own.

Where Jewish Students Become Jewish Leaders

3662 Crown Point Road
Jacksonville, FL 32257

Martin J. Gottlieb Day School

Laurie Preschool

Fax 904-268-5292
Accredited by 
Member of NAIS
Member of Prizmah