California 8th Grade Science Standards

Instructor: Shelby Golden
Familiarize yourself with California's 8th grade science standards with this article. Learn about what students will study and go over some useful study options.

Core Standards

Students in California will focus on studying physical science during 8th grade. The major scientific subjects discussed in this grade include:

  • Matter and how it functions
  • Motion, forces and interactions
  • Energy
  • Waves and possible wave applications
  • Engineering design

These concepts are covered in depth throughout the school year. Children will develop an understanding of the atomic composition of molecules, as well as chemical reactions and processes. They will also study various manmade materials and particle motion under different conditions.

While studying motion and energy, students will learn more about Newton's 3rd Law, and the connection between motion, force and mass. They will study the forces associated with electricity, magnetism and gravity. Class time will also be devoted to understanding kinetic and potential energy. Different forms of energy transfer will be covered.

The study of waves will involve understanding the way waves interact with different materials, as well as wave amplitude. Special attention will be paid to the uses of waves in modern technology.

While working on engineering, students will learn to understand engineering problems and develop useful solutions to these situations. They will also learn how to work with data, develop designs and models, and use gathered information to determine the best solution to their problems.

Core Practices

Throughout the school year, students will also need to meet core standards related to science and engineering, as well as Common Core standards related to literacy in science.

In order to meet these standards, students will be expected to create and use models, conduct research, and analyze data. They will also gather, study, and explain different scientific concepts. Over the course of the year, students will need to work on design projects that assess their understanding of what they're studying.

Classroom work will also ensure that students can follow directions, comprehend information that is expressed in different ways, research and properly cite information, and use their skills to effectively reason through scientific situations. They should be able to use mathematical concepts, including ratio and rate, algebraic expressions, square roots, positive and negative numbers, data displays, data sets and more.

Crosscutting Concepts

California encourages the development of certain skills across all grade levels. In 8th grade science, students will work on understanding:

  • Patterns
  • Cause and effect
  • Systems and system models
  • Stability and change
  • Scale, proportion and quantity
  • Structure and function
  • Energy and matter
  • Engineering and technology
  • The influence of science on the surrounding world

These concepts will be taught throughout the school year through various materials and projects, allowing students to develop well-rounded scientific skills.

8th Grade Help

You can help 8th graders reinforce what they're learning in class with this Physical Science Study Guide for middle school. This online course is self-paced and full of engaging video lessons that allow students to go over what they're studying. They can explore the structures of matter, the role of investigation and experimentation in science, chemical reactions and more. They'll be able to complete short, interactive quizzes that give them the chance to track their understanding of different concepts. If they're struggling to grasp a particular subject they can get in contact with scientific experts for additional help. Middle School Science Worksheets offer extra practice and ways to check for understanding.

And if your child could use some extra tips on studying science material, check out this Study Skills for Middle School lesson. The lesson will touch on goal setting, studying effectively, and techniques for memorization.

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