8th Grade Math
Some students entering eighth grade are ready to begin algebra while others are not. The way to tell is to consider a student’s current math abilities.
In order to be successful in algebra, students should already have a strong foundation in basic math facts, including place value, fractions, decimals, and percentages. They should understand positive and negative numbers and be able to add, subtract, multiply, and divide them. Students should be familiar with roots and radicals, additive and multiplicative inverses, order of operations, and the associative, commutative, and distributive properties.
If your eighth grade student has not mastered these topics, instead of moving into algebra, consider these alternative eighth grade math programs:
Eighth Grade Math Curriculum
Math for 8th graders is not a subject where you'll want to wing it. You’ll want a trusted curriculum to guide the way, cover everything your child needs, and teach math in a logically sequential order.
Each option below has everything that you need for an entire school year of eighth grade math instruction.
Worksheets for Eighth Grade Math
Whether your student uses worksheets, workbooks, written practice problems, or online app exercises, practice is essential at any level of math learning. Eighth grade is no exception!
These two workbooks provide exercise worksheets on math for 8th graders.
Worksheets in Eighth Grade Math Curriculum
- Math-U-See includes a student workbook with both practice and review/application worksheets for each lesson. Students complete only as many problems as necessary to prove mastery of the lesson. See pages 7-10 here for eighth grade math worksheets.
- Saxon uses a textbook only. So a Saxon student copies problems to notebook paper and works them there instead of in a workbook. Basically, the student creates their own eighth grade math worksheets.
8th Grade Math Lessons
Math-U-See includes video lessons (both DVD and streamable), so you know exactly how to teach each lesson. Also there is a printed Instruction Manual with more help for teaching the math lessons.
- Download a lesson from Math-U-See Algebra 1 here.
- Watch the video below for a demonstration of a Math-U-See Algebra 1 lesson.
8th Grade Math Charts of Formulas for Reference
Download, save, and print the 8th Grade Mathematics Reference Sheet to keep these key formulas handy.
8th Grade Geometric Formulas
Perimeter of rectangle 2l + 2w = P
Perimeter of square 4s = P
Circumference of circle 2πr = C or πd = C
Area of rectangle lw = A
Area of square s2 = A
Area of triangle ½ bh = A
Area of circle πr^2 = A
Area of trapezoid ½ h(b1 + b2) = A
Surface Area of rectangular prism 2B + Ph = SA
Surface Area of right cylinder 2πrh+2πr^2= SA
Surface Area of right pyramid ½ l P + 2B = SA
Pythagorean Theorem a2 + b2 = c2
To calculate distance traveled d = rt
Volume of rectangular prism lwh = V
Volume of right pyramid 1/3Bh = V
Volume of right cylinder πr^2 h = V
Volume of cone 1/3 πr^2 h = V
Volume of sphere 4/3 πr^3=V
Perimeter of rectangle
2l + 2w = P
Perimeter of square
4s = P
Circumference of circle
2πr = C or πd = C
Area of rectangle
lw = A
Area of square
s2 = A
Area of triangle
½ bh = A
Area of circle
πr2 = A
Area of trapezoid
½ h(b1 + b2) = A
Surface Area of rectangular prism
2B + Ph = SA
Surface Area of right cylinder
2πrh + 2πr2 = SA
Surface Area of right pyramid
½ ℓ P + B = SA
a2 + b2 = c2
Volume of rectangular prism
lwh = V
Volume of right pyramid
1/3Bh = V
Volume of right cylinder
πr2 h = V
Volume of cone
1/3 πr2 h = V
Volume of sphere
4/3 πr3 = V
To calculate distance traveled
d = rt
8th Grade Imperial Measurement Conversion Factors
12 inches = 1 foot
3 feet = 1 yard
5,280 feet = 1 mile
8 fl oz = 1 cup
2 cups = 1 pint
2 pints = 1 quart
4 quarts = 1 gallon
16 oz = 1 pound
2,000 pounds = 1 ton
Units of Time
60 seconds = 1 minute
60 minutes = 1 hour
24 hours = 1 day
7 days = 1 week
52 weeks = 1 year = 365 days
8th Grade Metric Measurement Conversion Factors
|10 millimeters = 1 centimeter||10 milliliters = 1 centiliter||10 milligrams = 1 centigram|
|100 centimeteres = 1 meter||100 centiliters = 1 liter||100 centigrams = 1 gram|
|1,000 meters = 1 kilometer||1,000 liters = 1 kiloliter||1,000 grams = 1 kilogram|
8th Grade Math Problems & Equations
For algebra 1, eighth grade students will learn to work these kinds of problems and equations:
- solving equations and inequalities in one and two variables
- solving literal equations
- working with ratios and proportions
- graphing linear equations and quadratic equations
- factoring polynomials and trinomials
Numbers & Operations for Eighth Grade Math
Eighth graders will study these kinds of numbers:
- square roots
- cube roots
- rational and irrational numbers
The 4 essential operations are
In eighth grade, students learn how to order these operations using the mnemonic PEMDAS: Please excuse my dear Aunt Sally. A fun math activity is to ask your child to create an original mnemonic for PEMDAS. The goofier the better because it will be more memorable.
Pre-Algebra for Eighth Grade Math
While the necessity of algebra 2 and higher math is debated among educators, there’s strong consensus that algebra 1 is the minimum floor of math proficiency for most jobs and trades. Because math is incredibly sequential, the path to algebra 1 always passes through pre-algebra which is commonly studied in the eighth grade.
Although Saxon Math Homeschool does not have a level called pre-algebra, two levels cover pre-algebra topics: Saxon 8/7 and Saxon Algebra ½. A student doesn’t need to use both of these though. Start with Saxon 8/7 and if successful, move directly to Algebra 1. If more practice is needed, then opt for Algebra ½ for additional review.
Life of Fred Pre-Algebra
Life of Fred has five books in their pre-algebra series for middle schoolers which can be done any time during grades 5-9. These titles take a quirky approach to math that can resonate with teens who typically dislike math. So they make a great option for remediation or filling gaps.
Although the publisher claims they can be a stand alone math program, Sonlight considers Life of Fred books a supplement to enrich a more comprehensive math curriculum (such as Math-U-See or Saxon below). A student without a good foundation in fractions, decimals, percents, and pre-algebra can use Life of Fred to build the skills they will need in algebra.
Eighth Grade Math Standards
Math standards are set by state departments of education. But they are typically easy to find online. Simply search [state] 8th grade math standards to find your state’s particular guidance.
41 states have opted to use Common Core Standards for math. You can read the Common Core Grade 8 Standards here. In grade 8, the focus is linear algebra and linear functions.
For math curriculum that meets Common Core standards, opt for one of these programs:
Please note that while these programs cover the standards, they are presented in a slightly different order than prescribed in Common Core. So a certain topic may be assigned to 2nd grade in Common Core but is covered in 3rd or 1st grade in a certain curriculum. If Common Core Standards are important to you, simply remember that as long as you stick with the same program over many years, your child will eventually cover all of the concepts.
Eighth Grade Math State Tests
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed into law on December 10, 2015 as an updated version of the 2002 No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. This act requires states to test students in grades 3-8 annually in math and language arts.
States can set their own standards for these tests, but they are required to be “challenging.” Many states have opted to use Common Core standards. Since each state is different, it’s best to go directly to the particular state department of education website for information about your state’s eighth grade math test. Begin your search here at the U.S. Department of Education’s map.
Achieve.org offers data about the various state mandated tests to measure math mastery. Read their math policy report here. Algebra 1 is a key math marker, and thus many states give students an end of course test in high school on that particular topic.
Eighth Grade Math Vocabulary
Here’s a list of key vocabulary for eighth grade math. Any good eighth grade math curriculum will teach students the meanings and applications of these terms.
- cartesian coordinates
- linear equation
- quadratic equation
- scientific notation
- rational numbers
- irrational numbers
- commutative property
- associative property
- distributive property
- order of operations
- square root
- base (for example, base 10)
Eighth Grade Math FAQ
Eighth grade math is typically either pre-algebra or algebra. The answer depends on the student’s aptitude for math and the pacing of the curriculum a student is using.
With Saxon Math Homeschool the pacing is different. If a Saxon student starts in kindergarten and completes one level per year, pre-algebra (Saxon 8/7) is covered in 7th grade. Students who do well with 8/7 will move on to Algebra 1 in 8th grade. Students who need more work on pre-algebra topics will study Saxon Algebra ½ to get more practice with pre-algebra before moving on to Algebra 1 the following year.
You cannot make a student ready for a higher level of math until they have successfully completed lower levels. Keep math tear-free by staying at a reasonably challenging level. If your eighth grader is starting a brand new curriculum, be sure to take a math placement test to determine the best level.
In eighth grade math, you learn
- cartesian coordinates
- graphing of linear and quadratic equations
- solving equations by graphing, by substitution, by elimination, and by factoring
- exponents and scientific notation
- unit multipliers
- polynomial addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division
- rational and irrational numbers
- commutative, associative, and distributive properties
- order of operations
- slope-intercept formula
- square roots
- graphing circles, ellipse, parabolas, and hyperbolas
- data collection, display, and analysis
- probability and statistics
Compared to earlier grades, eighth grade math, specifically algebra, requires more critical thinking skills because students are solving more complex equations and word problems. Students use skills they learn throughout their eighth grade year to solve problems that grow in complexity.
During middle school and especially in eighth grade, many parents transition from being the instructor of the math lessons to more of an advisor role.
- While Math-U-See Algebra 1 has video lessons for the parent to learn how to teach the lesson, it’s not uncommon for students at this level to often work mostly independently once both parent and student are familiar with the program and how to determine mastery of a lesson. Parents should still be involved to answer questions and help as needed.
- Saxon Math Homeschool 8/7 is designed to be independent for the student at eighth grade level. The DIVE into Math CD provides video lessons students can watch on their own.
The best way to become proficient at algebra (and math in general) is to practice daily. To learn eighth grade math, provide lots of practice with prompt feedback. Let your student solve just a few problems and then check the answers before moving on. Working an entire lesson incorrectly does not help a child master math; instead, it’s demoralizing.
Either you sit nearby to offer that feedback or simply give your eighth grader access to the solutions for self-checking. Giving them the answers provides eighth graders autonomy over their own learning. They realize the goal of a lesson isn’t simply to find the right answer; it’s about fully grasping the math concepts and being able to apply them.
Eighth grade math can be called simply Eighth Grade Math. Or it may be Pre-algebra or even Algebra 1. The name depends on the type of math your eighth grader is ready for at this stage. Many eighth graders are ready for an introduction to algebra at this grade (pre-algebra), while others need more practice in the basics (eighth grade math). And some are ready to go straight to an Algebra 1 course.
Eighth grade is a key year to begin your plan for high school graduation. Find out how many math credits your state requires for graduation and if any specific courses are required. Also consider college admissions requirements if your teen is college bound. Then work backwards to fit in all those math courses, sequentially from 8th to 12th grades.
Whatever math proficiency your child has by eighth grade, the key is covering math in a sequence that helps your child get to the end point of high school graduation.
Preparation for 8th grade math starts in kindergarten and extends through seventh grade as math skills scaffold one on top of another. Choose a math curriculum that works well for your child at the lower grades and then stick with it for continuity.
By eighth grade, students should have a firm grasp of all the basic functions: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. They must have their math facts memorized and can recall them fluently when needed. They must have mastered fractions, decimals, percentages, and measurements.
Before starting algebra 1, students should also understand that addition and subtraction are inverse operations, multiplication and division are inverse operations, understand how to add, subtract, multiply and divide integers (positives/negatives). They should understand how to solve for a simple unknown, for example: 5 + x = 12. They should be familiar with how to plot points on the coordinate plane. And they should understand simple substitution, for example: 5 + x = ? if x =4.
If your 8th grader has gaps in math skills, invest time in shoring up those deficiencies. You really can’t move on to higher math until those foundations are well-laid.
MAP is an acronym for Measures of Academic Progress. MAP Growth is a computerized assessment (standardized test) created by NWEA.org, the Northwest Evaluation Association. MAP measures achievement and growth in K–12 math (and other subjects). This assessment is often used as a way to identify giftedness and to determine readiness for the next grade.
It’s not meant to compare students to each other but to demonstrate a particular student’s growth over the course of a school year or several school years. However, your MAP report will include comparative data for example:
- the district grade level mean so you compare your own child’s score to other local children
- the norm grade level mean so you can compare your child to others nationally
At grade 8, the math MAP has 47-53 questions.
Scores are reported using the RIT scale (Rasch unIT) which is an equal-interval scale. Because RIT scores are stable and cover all ages, this assessment can be used to measure progress from year to year. RIT scores fall in the range of 140 to 300. A gifted 8th grader would likely score in the range of 244- 256.
Instead of looking for an average MAP math score, verify that progress is being made. Is this year’s score higher than last year? Is growth consistent? In addition, consider how your child compares to local and national peers. Also check the future progress prediction graph on the results report.