Students in the eighth grade can be described as curious and independent learners who are discovering who they are and determining their place in the world. They are asserting their independence from adults and are becoming more reliant on their peers. These students need to be allowed to develop their independence with a great amount of guidance. Through exposure to various media and first-hand experiences, students are becoming more aware of events on a global scale and are learning how these events affect them.
The study of world history in Grade 8 addresses the time period from prehistoric man to the 1500s. Content standards for this grade incorporate the strands of economics, geography, history, and political science, with an emphasis on the history and geography strands. This course covers the migrations of early peoples, the rise of civilizations, the establishment of governments and religions, the growth of economic systems, and the ways in which these events shaped Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas.Unique to this course are the experiences that provide for the study of the ways human beings view themselves over time. The prevailing use of terms to describe the Gregorian calendar is B.C. (before Christ) and A.D. (Anno Domini, Latin for "in the year of our Lord"). The terms B.C.E. (before the Common Era) and C.E. (in the Common Era) are beginning to appear in some schools of theology, state and national assessments, and in national history standards. The use of the abbreviations B.C.E. and C.E., also based on the Gregorian calendar, does not, in any way, diminish/negate the importance of the abbreviations B.C. and A.D.
To address the independent and curious nature of eighth graders, instruction is designed to actively involve students in critical thinking and exchange of ideas, including critical evaluation, interpretation, reasoning, and deduction. Instruction of this nature can best be accomplished through the use of electronic media such as the Internet, videos, and television as well as by participation in small-group and individual activities.