What Middle School Students Learn

Your child is in the midst of many transitions as they go through middle school. They transition from children to young adults. Their social connections become increasingly important. They crave new experiences. This can be a critical time in your child's life. Your child will use the same skills and habits your child develops in middle school into high school.

The more you know about what your child is learning, the better you can help them out at home. This information can also help you when you're talking with your child's teachers. Use this page to find out what you can expect your child to learn and talk about when they come home. You can also explore this site to find general information about learning standards, how they relate to Common Core and standardized testing.

If you have any questions about what your child is learning, please contact your child's teacher.

Resources to Help at Home

Even though your child is becoming more mature and independent, your continued involvement will help them succeed. Here organizations with tips and resources you can use to help your child at home:

  • National PTA Parent's Guide to Success in Sixth Grade (pdf) Seventh Grade (pdf) and Eight Grade (pdf): Includes key skills, activities you can do at home, and tips for talking to your child's teacher (in Spanish)
  • Khan Academy: Includes interactive exercises and videos to help in math, science, economics, computing and arts and humanities
  • Great Kids Milestones: Videos describe literacy and math concepts for middle school
  • Be a Learning Hero: Allows parents to search by state, grade and subject to find homework support resources
  • Raise the Bar Parents: provides  educational 'checkups' they to see if your child is making progress toward meeting the standards. The site also includes resources to help students improve

Your child’s teachers can also share more tips and suggest activities to strengthen your child’s skills at home.

Standards

Click the bars below to learn more about standards for grades 7 and 8, Visit our sixth grade standards page for more about what our sixth graders learn. 

English Language Arts (ELA)

Seventh- and eighth-grade students will continue to develop literacy through integrated reading, writing, speaking and listening experiences. They will learn critical reading skills and increase academic and content-area vocabulary through these experiences. They will give evidence of their learning through their writing and through collaborative participation in conversations. By the end of eighth grade, they will be able to read complex texts at their grade level independently and write in the persuasive/argumentative style, the expository style and the narrative style.

Reading (by the end of eighth grade)

  • Build on the reading skills developed in sixth grade and evolve to a level of critical reading to prepare for high school
  • Read literary texts during 45 percent of their reading day and informational texts for 55 percent of their reading day
  • Read critically, including using skills such as analyzing how an author develops a main idea in a text and makes connections between individuals, ideas or events
  • Analyze how words set a tone in a piece of writing and how the structure of paragraphs and sentences play a role in refining a concept
  • Determine an author’s point of view and analyze how the author acknowledges and responds to conflicting evidence or viewpoints
  • Determine the author’s claim, find evidence to support the claim and decide whether the author’s reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant and sufficient
  • Read independently texts at the top range of grade-band complexity

Writing (by the end of eighth grade)

  • Respond to text-based questions in short as well as more extended responses
  • Develop research skills with short and more extended research projects
  • Engage in a cycle that includes reading, discussing what has been read with others and writing about what they have read and discussed
  • Through content studies, integrate these literacy skills in ways that will prepare for high school work

For detailed information about ELA standards, visit the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction's English Language Arts Learning Standards page.

Seventh-grade Math

In seventh grade, students will focus on becoming fluent and accurate in adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing positive and negative integers, fractions and decimals, solve two-step linear equations, solve single and multi-step word problems involving fractions, decimals and percent, be able to construct and interpret histograms, stem-and-leaf plots and circle graphs, represent proportional relationships using graphs, tables and equations, determine the slope of a line corresponding to a graph and determine the unit rate in a proportional relationship. Students will extend their understanding of probability and basic geometry into multiple events. 

The Standards for Mathematical Practice K-12 describe behaviors that all students will develop in the Washington State Learning Standards. These practices rest on important “processes and proficiencies” including problem-solving, reasoning and proof, communication, representation and making connections. These practices will allow students to understand and apply mathematics with confidence.

Ratios and Proportional Relationships

  • Analyze proportional relationships and use them to solve real-world and mathematical problems.

 

The Number System 

  • Apply and extend previous understandings of operations with fractions to add, subtract, multiply, and divide rational numbers.

Expressions and Equations

  • Use properties of operations to generate equivalent expressions.
  • Solve real-life and mathematical problems using numerical and algebraic expressions and equations.

Geometry

  • Draw, construct and describe geometrical figures and describe the relationships between them.
  • Solve real-life and mathematical problems involving angle measure, area, surface area, and volume.

Statistics and Probability

  • Use random sampling to draw inferences about a population
  • Draw informal comparative inferences about two populations
  • Investigate chance processes and develop, use, and evaluate probability models

For detailed information about math standards, visit the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction’s website

 

Eighth-grade Math

In eighth grade, students will extend their knowledge in solving one and two-step linear equations and graph the solutions on a number line. They will be able to represent linear functions with a verbal description, table, graph, or symbolic expression and make connections among these representations. Students will also extend their knowledge of geometric figures. They will be able to identify pairs of angles, determine missing angle measures, and determine the sum of angle measures in triangles and other polygons. Students will be able to represent and explain the effects of one or more translations, rotations, reflections, or dilations of geometric figures on a coordinate plane. Students will also be able to evaluate numerical expressions involving non-negative integer exponents using the law of exponents and order of operations. 

The Standards for Mathematical Practice K-12 describe behaviors that all students will develop in the Washington State Learning Standards. These practices rest on important “processes and proficiencies” including problem-solving, reasoning and proof, communication, representation and making connections. These practices will allow students to understand and apply mathematics with confidence.

The Number System

  • Know that there are numbers that are not rational, and approximate them by rational numbers

Expressions and Equations 

  • Work with radicals and integer exponents
  • Understand the connections between proportional relationships, lines, and linear equations
  • Analyze and solve linear equations and pairs of simultaneous linear equations

Functions

  • Define, evaluate, and compare functions
  • Use functions to model relationships between quantities

Geometry

  • Understand congruence and similarity using physical models, transparencies, or geometry software
  • Understand and apply the Pythagorean Theorem
  • Solve real-world and mathematical problems involving volume of cylinders, cones and spheres 

Statistics and Probability

  • Investigate patterns of association in bivariate data

For detailed information about math standards, visit the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction’s website

Science

Our state is currently in the process of updating science standards and this transition is expected to take several years. Many elements of these standards already appear in our classrooms. Our new state science standards are designed to help your child learn to answer questions and solve problems using scientific and engineering practices. Your child will learn about the core ideas, the practices, and the key concepts used by scientist and engineers in the real world. Each year, your child will build on what they learned in earlier grades. Your child may learn skills and knowledge in these broad areas:

Science and Engineering Practices

Science instruction at most grade-levels will include the following practices:

  • Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering)
  • Developing and using models, such as diagrams, drawings or computer simulations 
  • Planning and carrying out investigations
  • Analyzing and interpreting data
  • Using mathematics and computational thinking
  • Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering)
  • Engaging in argument from evidence
  • Obtaining, evaluating and communicating information

Disciplinary Core Ideas

The following areas of study will all be addressed over time:

  • Physical sciences
  • Life sciences
  • Earth and space sciences
  • Engineering, technology and applications of science

Crosscutting Concepts

Students will learn about the following important concepts that span across all fields of science and engineering:

  • Patterns
  • Cause and effect: mechanism and explanation 
  • Scale, proportion and quantity 
  • Energy and matter: flows, cycles and conservation 
  • Structure and function
  • Stability and change

 

Social Studies

Through units of study, students will build knowledge and skills in history, geography, economics and civics with the goal of developing responsible citizenship. Each grade will focus on different content:

  • Seventh-grade: United State history 1750-1850
  • Eighth-grade: United States 1850-1900 and Washington State History Statehood-present 

For more detailed information about standards, visit the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction website

Health & Fitness

We provide the educational foundation in fitness and health principles so students will understand the value of living an active life and practicing healthy nutritional habits that lead to life-long wellness. Students will learn to realize the importance of long-term health benefits through a comprehensive fitness and health program. They participate in fitness activities and fun games that promote key health and fitness concepts.
By the end of middle school, your child will:
  • Understand the relationship between nutrition and health
  • Understands stages of growth and development
  • Understands the concepts of prevention and control of disease.
  • Identify community health resources
  • Identify positive and negative consequences of behavior choices

In physical education classes, students will:

  • Participate in a variety of individual and team fitness activities
  • Demonstrate and categorize sports and physical activities as they relate to:  
    • muscular strength
    • muscular endurance
    • cardiorespiratory endurance
    • flexibility
    • body composition
    • Describe how physical activity contributes to a healthy lifestyle.

For more detailed information about standards, visit the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction website


Electives

Seventh and eighth grade students may also take other elective courses based on their skills and interests. Check your school's course catalog to see what options are available to you.