Academics » Fifth - Eighth » Eighth Grade

Eighth Grade

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The eighth-grade curriculum integrates the arts and sciences with each student’s place in the natural world and encourages each student to form a vision for their future. To help students develop realistic educational goals and a detailed plan for their high school education, a variety of instructional practices are used in a multidisciplinary context in an effort to show the interconnections of life. At the culmination of the year, eighth-grade students participate in service activities to finance a week-long field trip to the Outer Banks which highlights curricular studies and serves to create a deeper sense of connection through a truly unforgettable experience.

In science, 8th-grade students explore the NC state standards through arts-integrated lessons involving matter; properties and change, energy conservation and transfer, Earth systems structures and processes, Earth history, structures and functions of living organisms, ecosystems, evolution and genetics, and molecular biology. Students enjoy creating models of energy cities, sewing stuffed microbes, studying Alexander Calder to create a balanced chemical equation mobile, and daily lessons involving all of the arts. Students work both collaboratively and individually to work through difficult concepts in creative ways.

Eighth graders have the benefit of two different math classes – the on-track 8th-grade curriculum and the high school Math I curriculum.  Both classes will learn content in functions, geometry, statistics, the number system, and more. However, students learning the Math I curriculum will learn the 8th-grade curriculum alongside the high school course.  It’s a fast-paced class full of connection-making and higher-level problem-solving, that often leads to starting high school with one course already successfully completed. Both classes include some interesting art projects, and our goal is to meet the challenge level that each student needs.  

Eighth grade English language arts revolves mainly around two main ideas:  the five pillars of the First Amendment and banned books. Literature includes Nothing but the Truth, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and Feed, all unabridged and uncensored.  We also do detailed studies of short stories, poetry, and non-fiction and hone our own creative writing through poetry, short story writing, literary analysis, and personal essay.

In their Social Studies class, 8th-grade students explore United States history, with a particular emphasis upon North Carolina’s role in our country’s development. Major units include the American Revolution, the Constitution, the Rip Van Winkle Era, Westward Expansion, the Civil War, the Gilded Age, the Jazz Age, the Great Depression, the Vietnam War, Civil Rights, and North Carolina Geography.

About Mr. Ian

Ian holds a B.A. in history from Macalester College and an Master’s of Education in social studies from the University of Minnesota. Over the past seven years he has worked in schools as a teacher, tutor, mentor, and college access coach. He joined the ArtSpace staff in 2014. Outside of school, he enjoys music, reading, and walking his dog along the French Broad River

About Ms. Leila

Leila holds a BA in Comparative English and French Literature from Davidson College and a Master of Arts in Teaching Secondary English from Agnes Scott College.  She has taught kindergartners through high school seniors subjects including French, humanities, phonics, creative writing, and martial arts. Leila joined the ArtSpace staff in 2014. Leila loves Shakespearean theater, poetry, long distance running, and bouldering.  Leila also enjoys spending time with her husband, three children and many cats.

About Ms. Megan 

Megan earned her a bachelors in environmental science in Pennsylvania and a masters in teaching from Western Carolina University, and she is still loving and learning new things about math every day. Megan is also the co-director of the GRITS extracurricular program. Outside of school Megan is a big fan of backpacking, playing water polo, cooking, and making music.

About Ms. Mindy

I am excited and honored to join the ArtSpace community and I look forward to getting to know everyone!" Mindy's family (husband and her two sons, who will also be at ArtSpace in grades 5 and 8) have relocated to Asheville after having left nearly 20 years ago. They are are absolutely thrilled to be back! Mindy is entering her 13th year in education as a middle grades science teacher. She is a National Board Certified Teacher, holding a Masters Degree in Secondary Education and a BS in Science. She shares, "Science, math, and all-things adolescent development are what fill me up... I look forward to many labs, arts integrated projects, and empowering the ArtSpace adolescents by teaching them about the inner workings of their brains and how it connects to who they are as a person. I can’t wait to see what all this year has to offer and to the many possibilities ahead of us!"

About Ms. Marni
Marni joined the ArtSpace faculty in 2006 and was Teacher of the Year in 2013-14. Marni holds a BFA and a MEd from West Virginia University. Marni lived in Taos, New Mexico for 5 years where she began her teaching career in an Expedition Learning Outward Bound school. She directed a camp in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and she also taught 6th grade at a charter school in New Mexico. In her free time, Marni enjoys spending time with her son, husband, and dog, reading, and exercising.
About Mr. Ryan

Ryan obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education from Georgia College & State University, with a Minor in Spanish.  During his time there, he spent over a year teaching math in an 8th-grade inclusion/resource setting.  He recently moved to North Carolina from Atlanta, where he worked for three years at a therapy center for students with a wide range of physical and intellectual exceptionalities.  In his free time, he enjoys hiking, paddle boarding, and playing bass guitar and banjo.