Year 8 Overview
The majority of students will be well settled into the high school environment after the completion of Year 7, and most will find the Year 8 Maths curriculum continues on from the previous year without many hiccups.
For those who struggled at a Year 7 level, the increase in required knowledge and concept development can be difficult to grasp as they continue through their high school education journey, and some students will require support to keep up with their peers.
Many schools will begin to organise students into different Maths learning streams in Year 8, meaning those who need help will be able to obtain it – and those who excel can extend themselves if they wish.
Year 8 Maths continues to build on those foundations laid down for the concepts required for Years 11 and 12, where external assessments must be achieved to complete schooling and apply for some forms of higher education. No matter their skill level or perceived interest, all Year 8 students should continue to apply themselves to Maths learning in order to keep up with the work required. It only speeds up from here!
What’s included in Year 8 Maths?
The three main content strands introduced in Year 7 continue through to Year 8 Maths: number and algebra; measurement and geometry; and statistics and probability. Most students will have developed fluency and understanding of the vocabulary and wider concepts involved in these strands, and will continue to explore and become proficient at working mathematically within this content.
What can students expect in Year 8 Maths?
Being able to show your understanding and display your reasoning skills is an important part of Year 8 Maths. Working with the growing level of maturity of Year 8 students, they will be asked to think about the hows and whys behind the formulas and various data they are given to work with.
This is a departure from the kinds of Maths learning students may have been used to through primary school and even in Year 7. For some it is a nice surprise as they develop an understanding of the logic and reasoning behind data and how it relates to real life and to the discipline of mathematics. For others, it may be more challenging to get their heads around. However, with patience and varied styles of teaching, most students should be able to display understanding of these concepts by the end of Year 8.
Important skills to nail in Year 8
The skills and modules taught in Year 8 Maths can be grouped under four headings: Understanding, Fluency, Problem Solving and Reasoning. Many different mathematical applications can be applied to these four areas.
Skills that will be introduced and built upon through the Year 8 Maths curriculum include:
- Describing patterns with indices and recurring decimals
- Finding commonalities between operations that use algebra and arithmetic
- Finding connections and rules to describe linear relations within graphs
- Statistical measurements and their applications
- Perimeter and area measurements
- Calculating simple decimals, indices and integers
- Recognising equivalency between decimals and fractions
- Simplifying basic algebraic expressions
- Evaluating perimeters and areas of shapes
- Evaluating volumes of 3D objects
- Formulating and modeling situations that use ratios, profit and loss
- Formulating and modeling areas and perimeters of shapes
- Calculating probabilities using two way tables and Venn diagrams
- Being able to reasonably justify the result of a calculation or estimation
- Finding probability from statistics
- Using congruence to find the properties of a triangle
- Estimating means and proportions from population statistics
How to study for Year 8 (or any Year!) Maths
Understanding the theory behind each mathematical concept in the curriculum will ensure a good groundwork of understanding for learning in Year 8. Creating and maintaining a personal dictionary of terms and vocabulary with simplified definitions is a good way to demystify the language involved in these concepts.
To develop this understanding, theory should be applied through practice. Students can solve example problems using these concepts to ensure the knowledge is solidified, referencing back to their definitions or notes as often as needed. Examples from previous exams or tests are available online. These can be very helpful for revision and to assess performance under pressure.
Keeping up with homework will also help. Students become increasingly busy in Year 8 as their teen years progress. Parents may have to take extra care to ensure homework is done by providing incentives and keeping track of progress.
Presentation of Maths work should also be practised. In Year 8 and above, if the working of a problem is not demonstrated, students will not achieve full marks. This is a skill that should also be practised, as many students end up losing marks for not showing their working, despite achieving the correct answer.
Even when concepts have been understood and achieved, it is important to keep revising as the year goes on. This will help to sharpen skills and boost speed and accuracy. Students can take mock exams under self-imposed time constraints to boost confidence and discover any gaps in learning as they continue through the year.
What assessments to expect in Year 8
As mentioned, many schools will begin to stream Maths classes by ability in Year 8. This is not to make judgements on students in terms of behaviour or skill level but instead to ensure the assistance required is there for those who need it, and to extend others beyond the syllabus. Some students can fall through the gaps when placed in a class where they can not keep up. If this isn’t picked up promptly at a Year 8 level, students may struggle through the rest of their schooling and many will drop Maths learning as soon as they are able to.
While there are no formal assessments at the Year 8 level, teachers will often carry out their own assessments throughout the school terms to check in with students and see how they are learning. This will help them to find any gaps and also to get more support for specific students if necessary. At the end of the year, schools will often carry out in-school exams to further assess student’s abilities and absorption of the curriculum, and to help students practise under examination conditions for their senior high school years. Having already practised this in year 7, Year 8 Maths students should be well equipped to sit their school exams with confidence.
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