Here’s a list of 36 unit study ideas for 8th grade, along with instructions for each week:
Week 1: History of Photography
- Research and discuss the history of photography, including the different types of cameras and techniques used throughout the years.
- Learn about famous photographers and their contributions to the field.
- Have students create their own pinhole camera and take pictures with it.
Week 2: Anatomy and Physiology
- Study the human body’s different systems and how they function.
- Learn about different diseases and how they affect the body.
- Have students create a model of a body system and present it to the class.
Week 3: Colonial America
- Learn about the founding of the 13 colonies and their relationships with each other and with Great Britain.
- Study the lives of colonial Americans and the impact of colonialism on Native American populations.
- Have students create a timeline of significant events leading up to the Revolutionary War.
Week 4: Earth Science
- Study the structure of the earth and the forces that shape it, such as erosion and plate tectonics.
- Learn about different types of rocks and minerals and how they are formed.
- Have students create a model of a geological formation and present it to the class.
Week 5: Shakespeare
- Read and study one of Shakespeare’s plays, such as Romeo and Juliet or Macbeth.
- Discuss the historical context of the play and its themes.
- Have students create a modern adaptation of a scene from the play.
Week 6: The Industrial Revolution
- Study the changes brought about by the Industrial Revolution, including the growth of factories and urbanization.
- Learn about the lives of workers during this time and the rise of labor unions.
- Have students create a poster or brochure advocating for better working conditions.
Week 7: Genetics
- Study the basics of genetics and heredity, including dominant and recessive traits.
- Learn about genetic disorders and their causes.
- Have students create a family tree and determine the likelihood of inheriting certain traits.
Week 8: World Religions
- Study the beliefs and practices of different religions, such as Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism.
- Discuss how religion has influenced culture and history.
- Have students research and present on a religion of their choice.
Week 9: The Civil War
- Study the causes and events of the Civil War, including key battles and figures.
- Discuss the impact of the war on the country and the lives of Americans.
- Have students create a map of the major battles of the war.
Week 10: Climate Change
- Study the science behind climate change and its effects on the planet.
- Discuss ways in which individuals and governments can work to mitigate its effects.
- Have students create a public service announcement or infographic about climate change.
Week 11: American Literature
- Study works of American literature from the 19th and 20th centuries, such as The Great Gatsby, To Kill a Mockingbird, or The Catcher in the Rye.
- Discuss the historical context and themes of each work.
- Have students write their own short story or poem in the style of a particular author.
Week 12: Ancient Greece and Rome
- Study the cultures and societies of Ancient Greece and Rome, including their mythology and art.
- Learn about important historical figures, such as Julius Caesar and Alexander the Great.
- Have students create a timeline of significant events from both civilizations.
Week 13: Psychology
- Study the basics of psychology, including cognitive, developmental, and social psychology.
- Discuss the different approaches to psychology, such as behaviorism and humanism.
- Have students conduct their own psychology experiment and present their findings.
Week 14: Current Events
- Study current events and analyze news sources from different perspectives.
- Discuss the importance of being informed and engaged in current events.
- Have students write a research paper or give a presentation on a current event of their choice.
Week 15: The Renaissance
- Study the art, literature, and culture of the Renaissance period in Europe.
- Learn about the important figures of the time, such as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo.
- Have students create their own artwork or write a poem in the style of the Renaissance.
Week 16: American Government
- Study the structure and function of the US government, including the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
- Discuss the roles of different branches of government and the electoral process.
- Have students participate in a mock election and analyze the results.
Week 17: World Geography
- Study the geography of different regions of the world, including climate, landforms, and culture.
- Learn about current issues related to global geography, such as deforestation and water scarcity.
- Have students create a map or infographic of a region of their choice.
Week 18: Civil Rights Movement
- Study the history and impact of the Civil Rights Movement in the US, including key figures and events.
- Discuss ongoing issues related to civil rights and equality.
- Have students create a timeline or collage of significant moments in the Civil Rights Movement.
Week 19: Art History
- Study the history of art from different time periods and cultures.
- Learn about different art movements and styles, such as impressionism and cubism.
- Have students create their own artwork in the style of a particular artist or movement.
Week 20: Energy and the Environment
- Study the different types of energy and their impact on the environment.
- Discuss ways in which individuals and communities can conserve energy and reduce waste.
- Have students research and present on a renewable energy source.
Week 21: World History
- Study the history of the world from ancient civilizations to modern times.
- Discuss the impact of major historical events, such as the World Wars and the Cold War.
- Have students create a timeline or map of significant moments in world history.
Week 22: Algebra
- Study algebraic equations and concepts, including variables, functions, and graphing.
- Learn how to solve and simplify different types of equations.
- Have students create their own algebraic equations and solve them.
Week 23: Creative Writing
- Study the different types of creative writing, such as fiction, poetry, and memoir.
- Learn about the writing process, from brainstorming to editing.
- Have students write and share their own creative writing pieces.
Week 24: Ancient Egypt
- Study the history, culture, and mythology of ancient Egypt.
- Learn about the pyramids, pharaohs, and daily life in ancient Egypt.
- Have students create a model of a pyramid or write their own myth inspired by ancient Egyptian mythology.
Week 25: Computer Science
- Study the basics of computer science, including coding and algorithms.
- Learn about the history and evolution of computers and technology.
- Have students create their own simple computer program or game.
Week 26: Immigration and Citizenship
- Study the history and impact of immigration in the US.
- Learn about the process of becoming a US citizen and the rights and responsibilities that come with citizenship.
- Have students write a reflection on their own family’s immigration story or the importance of citizenship.
Week 27: Evolution and Natural Selection
- Study the basics of evolution and natural selection, including the theory of Charles Darwin.
- Discuss the evidence supporting evolution and the controversy surrounding the topic.
- Have students research and present on a specific animal species and its adaptations.
Week 28: Music History
- Study the history of music from different genres and time periods.
- Learn about famous composers, musicians, and their contributions to music.
- Have students research and present on a particular musical genre or artist.
Week 29: Poetry Analysis
- Study different forms of poetry and analyze famous poems.
- Learn about literary devices, such as metaphor and symbolism.
- Have students write and analyze their own poems.
Week 30: Nutrition and Wellness
- Study the basics of nutrition, including food groups and dietary needs.
- Learn about the benefits of physical activity and healthy habits.
- Have students create a meal plan and exercise routine for a week.
Week 31: The Industrial Revolution
- Study the history and impact of the Industrial Revolution on society and the economy.
- Learn about key inventions and innovations during the time period.
- Have students create a timeline or infographic of the Industrial Revolution.
Week 32: Geometry
- Study geometric concepts, including shapes, angles, and measurement.
- Learn how to use geometric formulas and solve problems.
- Have students create their own geometric shapes or designs.
Week 33: Environmental Science
- Study the impact of human activity on the environment, including pollution and climate change.
- Learn about different ecosystems and their components.
- Have students research and present an environmental issue and potential solutions.
Week 34: Shakespeare
- Study the life and works of William Shakespeare, including famous plays such as Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet.
- Analyze Shakespeare’s use of language and literary devices.
- Have students perform a scene from a Shakespearean play or write their own sonnet in the style of Shakespeare.
Week 35: Astronomy
- Study the basics of astronomy, including the solar system, stars, and galaxies.
- Learn about the history of astronomy and famous astronomers.
- Have students create their own model of the solar system or research a specific astronomical phenomenon.
Week 36: Career Exploration
- Study different career options and their requirements, including education and experience.
- Learn about the job market and employment trends in different fields.
- Have students research and present a career of their choice and develop a plan for achieving their career goals.