Main Lesson Teacher

Karen Hartz
  • Karen Hartz

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8th Grade - Welcome and Introduction

Friday, August 22, 2014

8th grade students have reached the culmination of the grade school experience. Their sharpened observational skills and growing critical faculties are preparing them for their transition to the heavy focus on conceptual reasoning and discursive exploration of topics in high school. The 8th grade curriculum explores connections in reasoning, relationships between people, and explorations of similar patterns in cultures and events that hold true across varied contexts.

In History the students study the American, French and Industrial Revolutions. These epochs model enormous changes in cultural and social thought that pervade all aspects of society. The students analyze how specific changes have broad influences and implications in adapting and developing other realms of society and culture.

In Chemistry the students examine sugars, starches, proteins, fats, and oils in the body. They analyze the parallels between the uses of these materials in the human body with their uses in industry and commercial production. In Physics the class studies hydraulics, aeromechanics and the practical applications of electromagnetism in motors.

The students' study of World Geography includes surveys of landforms, ocean currents, atmosphere, climates and the ecological "life zones" of the whole earth. Students explore these topics to understand their connections and influences. The curriculum specifically emphasizes how these interrelated factors affect life, the ecosystem and cultures in the present as well as in the historical record of the past.

The students take a more active role in Drama as the 8th grade play gets a high public profile and is performed for the entire school community. The 8th grade play is a culmination of all the public performing talents that students have worked to develop throughout their grade school experience.

The 8th grade class trip is an active outdoor adventure-themed socially bonding experience. Trips are chosen to build and support students' confidence and independence in a structured, supervised setting. Examples of past trips have included whitewater rafting, hiking in Arches National Park in Utah and canoeing in Canada.

Main Learning Objectives

  • Main Lesson Skills:  American, French and Industrial Revolutions, Understanding Interconnected Spheres of Influence, Analyzing Historical and Cultural Movements
  • Language Arts: Conceptual and Discursive Reasoning, Independent Writing, Reading, Vocabulary, Grammar
  • Mathematics: Algebra, Mechanical/Mathematical Geometry
  • Sciences: Physics- hydraulics, aeromechanics and electromagnetism. Chemistry- sugars, starches, proteins, fats, and oils
  • Geography: Global Perspective- surveys of landforms, ocean currents, atmosphere, climates and ecosystem's life zones

Special Subjects

  • Foreign Language: German and Spanish
  • Practical Arts: Wood-working
  • Music: Band or Orchestra, Choral Singing
  • Gym: Physical activities and strategic games are interwoven with social dynamics, communications skills and organizational thinking.
  • Eurythmy: Artistic interpretation, emotional and spiritual energy expressed through movement


  • Write rough drafts; present & incorporate revisions to book reports and research papers.
  • Study and prepare for end-of block math, vocabulary and subject-based tests
  • Organize their Main Lesson block books for periodic assessment & feedback
  • Learn their parts to perform in and stage the 8th grade play with public presentation
  • Practice for orchestral or band performances with string instruments (Violin, Viola, Cello or Bass)

Welcome to the Chicago Waldorf School classrooms!
This welcome page introduces you to the typical curriculum for a Waldorf class in this grade. Each teacher customizes their class curriculum and will use this area of the website as a communications and resource bulletin to share the details about the main class and special subjects. This message board is a resource for the teacher to post information and impressions about the progress of the class and the students' activities. Ranging from a broad analysis of the learning goals of the year, to reflections on classroom developments, to the specifics of a deadline for a homework assignment, you will find information about the activities of this class in these periodically updated posts.