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Aligning 8th Grade Math with TEKS

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

If you are an eighth-grade math teacher in Texas, you probably think a lot about how to prepare your students for high school math. This lesson offers an overview of the eighth-grade math standards with an eye toward aligning your curriculum.

Eighth Grade Math and TEKS

Do you teach math to eighth graders in Texas? If so, you have an important responsibility. The work you do with your students really sets the stage for them to succeed as high school math students. This means that you are preparing them to face sophisticated geometry and algebra, eventually working toward trigonometry and calculus. Though this work is important, you need not feel overwhelmed!

The Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills offer something of a roadmap for you to follow in planning out the year with your eighth graders. These rigorous standards outline precisely what your students need to know when thy complete middle school. The standards also build on work from previous grades, so that you do not have to reinvent the wheel, and you know what material your students have already covered.

TEKS thinks of mathematics in terms of discrete but interwoven strands. In eighth grade, the four major strands that the standards focus on are proportionality; expressions, equations and relationships; foundations of functions; and measurement and data. One way to conceive of your year and ensure your instruction is aligned with these standards is by planning one unit around each of the strands. Your first and last units will be the briefest, whereas focusing intensively on the middle two units will really set the stage for your students to succeed in geometry, algebra, and trigonometry.

The remainder of this lesson offers an overview of what students are expected to know and be able to do under each of the strands. By understanding these requirements well, you will be better equipped to meet them while simultaneously paying attention to your students' particular abilities and needs.

Proportionality

Much of what students do in this unit will be review, but there is also some extension of former knowledge. By eighth grade, your students should already have a strong understanding of rational numbers and should be fluent in their use of the four operations. You will practice this knowledge and also extend their understanding of sets and subsets. Help your students understand how to approximate irrational numbers and place a set of real numbers in order. Then, review their understanding of ratio and proportion and the ways that algebraic expressions can be used to express proportional relationships.

Expressions, Equations, and Relationships

This unit focuses on many foundational concepts in algebra and geometry. Here, you will teach your students about the formula for the volume of different three-dimensional shapes as well as how to model and understand the Pythagorean theorem. Students should learn about surface area and should know how to solve problems that involve cylinders, cones, and spheres. They should learn how to write and solve one-variable equations and inequalities that represent real-life situations and problems.

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