Worcester’s premier college-preparatory co-ed day school serving students from Central MA and MetroWest, Pre-K–Grade 12

HGP: Grade 8 Courses

Students in 8th grade HGP prepare to transition to Upper School classes, taking on increasingly complex assignments and higher degrees of responsibility for the organization and completion of their work. Individualized daily support is provided in planning out homework schedules, breaking down long-term assignments, and determining when and how to seek out clarification and support. Each student develops a strong awareness of his or her individual learning profile and practices independently seeking out accommodations. Additionally, students become well-versed and flexible in the range of assistive technology options available. Students graduate from HGP knowing  how to take charge of their own learning.  

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Humanities: English & World Geography

The eighth grade HGP Humanities course fosters connections between English and World Geography. Throughout the year, students answer the question How can I learn about a country? Direct instruction in grammar, vocabulary, and reading fluency is woven into the curriculum.

Students study locations within Central/South America, several regions within Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. They develop a deep and personal understanding of each location by reading a novel set in the location, researching its issues, and creating a final product to show what they have learned. 

Instruction in this course is explicit and skills-based, enabling students to develop both comprehension of the material and the skills that will carry them through the rest of their academic careers. Students learn how to:

  • Take notes in class,
  • Summarize the main ideas of nonfiction text,
  • Show their thinking visually,
  • Develop and support an argument,
  • Write a strong five-paragraph essay, and
  • Research effectively using websites, books, and databases.

When reading literature, students gradually progress from focusing on plot, character, and setting to analyzing theme, character development and motivation, impacts of the setting, multiple conflicts, and shifts in tense. Students are able to take a high degree of ownership in the way that they show their learning, with a focus on relevant, choice-based projects and writing assignments over traditional tests.

Throughout the course, students learn practical grammatical concepts that they immediately apply to make their writing clearer, more descriptive, and more fluent. Grammar instruction at this level bridges the multisensory program taught in sixth and seventh grades with the more traditional language and format used by most upper schools. Vocabulary instruction emphasizes Greek and Latin roots, enabling students to break down and infer the meaning of a vast quantity of words.

Finally, frequent reading fluency drills using curriculum-based texts improve reading speed and accuracy while also cementing content knowledge. 


8th grade Introduction to Physical Science will investigate the components that make up the dynamic Earth system. Students will study topics related to the geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere in order to better understand the complex interactions that occur between these components. The goal of this course is for students to ultimately recognize that in order to sustain life on Earth, humans must make choices that will maintain the delicate balance that exists between these components.

The course will cover concepts including but not limited to: plate tectonics, minerals, rocks, weathering, erosion, weather, atmosphere, weather patterns, and water.

Students will investigate these topics through hands-on activities, experiments, discussions, readings, and projects. Lab activities and experiments will develop skills including researching, note-taking, hypothesizing, metric measuring, observing, recording data, organizing data, analyzing data, calculating, graphing, and identifying patterns or trends. Projects develop all of the previous skills as well as allow students to let their creative juices flow.

Students will design and execute an experiment that will be presented during the annual Bancroft Science Fair.

The HGP teacher accompanies students and provides added support in science class.


The 8th grade math program is designed to prepare our students to think strategically and methodically, and see the real-world and interdisciplinary connections between mathematics and other courses, while being continually motivated to reach for higher-level mathematics skills. Incorporating a balance of student-centered and traditional techniques, the daily practice will rely on student collaboration and the power that comes from teaching others. The course will include supplements that further develop problem-solving expertise and real-world applications. We will also integrate challenges, projects, and games to increase student engagement and support the content.

Course Levels

To best meet individual student needs, there are currently two sections of 8th grade math: Algebra I and Algebra Fundamentals.

  • In Algebra I, we strive to establish a solid conceptual and computational foundation in algebra and strong problem-solving skills as students transition into geometry. 
    Textbook: Math in Focus (Course 3) by Marshall Cavendish

  • In Algebra Fundamentals, the goal is to support students where they are comfortable in math, and continually push them toward increased depth of understanding. 
    Textbook: Algebra I: Common Core by Pearson

Students are typically sectioned by their pacing abilities, and the HGP teacher accompanies students who need added support in math class.

Technology Integration

Visual Arts



Physical Education

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