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Checklist for grades 6-8

Checklist: What Your Child Should Learn in Grades 6–8

see what your kids will learn this school year

One thing we learned last spring: We’ve obviously been out of school for a while—and the math our kids are doing is somehow totally different than whatever we were taught. It’s always valuable to know what your child is learning, but this year, with many kids Zoom-ing to school, it may be more critical than ever. So we scoured the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (the state’s masterlist of standards) and created this grade-by-grade guide covering the four core subjects: math, English language arts and reading, science and social studies. If you want to see every single standard as originally written, you can find them at texas.tea.gov—here, we’ve included the key concepts in parent-friendly language. (You may still have to Google some math terms—we did!)  

SIXTH GRADE 

MATH 

  • Classify whole numbers, integers and rational numbers 
  • Order integers and rational numbers on a number line 
  • Add, subtract, multiply and divide integers fluently 
  • Multiply and divide positive rational numbers fluently 
  • Give examples of rates and ratios 
  • Find equivalent fractions, decimals and percents 
  • Solve problems using proportional relationships (e.g., find the whole given a part and the percent) 
  • Identify independent and dependent variables, and represent their relationship using equations and graphs 
  • Write numerical expressions (including exponents), and determine whether two expressions are equivalent 
  • Understand the relationship between side length and angle measure in a triangle 
  • Write equations to solve problems related to area and volume where dimensions are positive rational numbers 
  • Write one-variable, one-step equations and inequalities based on real-world problems 
  • Graph points in all four quadrants 
  • Summarize data using mean, median, mode, relative frequency and measures of spread 
  • Compare debit and credit cards, and the features and costs of checking accounts at various local banks 
  • Understand credit history and how a credit report is used 
  • Explain various methods to pay for college 

ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS & READING 

  • Participate in discussions by asking for suggestions from other students, taking notes and identifying areas of agreement and disagreement 
  • Respond to reading material orally and in writing, and make changes based on new evidence 
  • Analyze plot elements such as flashback and how characters’ responses develop the plot 
  • Describe the characteristics of literary genres such as realistic fiction, adventure stories, historical fiction, mysteries and humor 
  • Examine how poets use meter and structural elements (such as line breaks) 
  • Analyze how playwrights develop their characters through dialogue and staging 
  • Recognize a thesis and explain how the author uses various types of evidence to support the thesis 
  • Explain the differences between rhetorical devices and logical fallacies 
  • Create and edit compositions with complex sentences, consistent verb tenses and correlative conjunctions 
  • Write literary texts; multi-paragraph essays with a thesis statement; multi-paragraph argumentative texts; and letters that offer an opinion or request information 
  • Come up with research questions, gather and synthesize information from multiple sources, examine sources for bias and faulty reasoning, cite sources and present the results 

SCIENCE 

  • Conduct experiments and descriptive investigations, and collect data using the International System of Units (SI) 
  • Use data from repeated trials to identify patterns 
  • Create models of things in the natural world such as Earth’s layers 
  • Collect and analyze information using notebooks, beakers, Petri dishes, meter sticks, hot plates, test tubes, balances, microscopes, computers and other tools, as well as safety equipment 
  • Understand the difference between an element and a compound 
  • Look for evidence of chemical changes such as the production of a gas or precipitate, or a change in temperature or color 
  • Compare metals, nonmetals and metalloids based on physical properties like luster, conductivity and malleability 
  • Test the hardness, color, luster and streak of minerals 
  • Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using various kinds of power sources (e.g., coal, natural gas, hydropower, solar) 
  • Compare and contrast potential and kinetic energy 
  • Calculate speed and graph changes in motion 
  • Understand conduction, convection and radiation 
  • Demonstrate energy transformations (e.g., energy in a flashlight battery changing from chemical to electrical to light energy) 
  • Classify rocks as metamorphic, igneous or sedimentary 
  • Identify the major tectonic plates and describe how they cause earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and other geological events 
  • Describe the physical properties and movements of the sun, planets, moons, meteors, asteroids and comets 
  • Identify whether organisms are prokaryotic or eukaryotic, unicellular or multicellular, and autotrophic or heterotrophic 

SOCIAL STUDIES 

  • Understand how historical events such as colonization, immigration and trade have influenced contemporary societies 
  • Analyze ways that people have adapted to, modified and been affected by their physical environments 
  • Understand factors of production (natural resources, labor, capital and entrepreneurs) and how they affect the economy in various societies 
  • Compare and contrast free enterprise, socialist and communist economies 
  • Describe levels of economic development based on indicators like life expectancy, gross domestic product and literacy 
  • Compare limited and unlimited governments, and list examples of human rights abuses by both types of governments 
  • Compare how governments are set up in countries around the world, and how citizens participate in the political process 
  • Explain the relationships between rights, responsibilities and duties in societies with representative governments 
  • Define a multicultural society and analyze the contributions of diverse groups to multicultural societies 
  • Identify the institutions that all societies have in common, including governmental, economic, educational and religious institutions, and compare these institutions in various societies 
  • Describe how culture is spread through trade, travel and war, and explain the impact of cultural diffusion 
  • Explain the relationship between societies and their architecture, art, music and literature 
  • Explain the significance of religious holidays and observances around the world 
  • Explain how resources, economic factors and political decisions affect the use of technology 
  • Compare various world regions using data from maps, graphs and charts 

SEVENTH GRADE 

MATH 

  • Add, subtract, multiply and divide rational numbers fluently, and solve problems using these operations 
  • Represent constant rates of change based on information in a picture, table, graph or algebraic equation 
  • Solve problems involving ratios, rates and percents 
  • Convert between measurement systems 
  • Use list and tree diagrams to illustrate all possible outcomes of simple and compound events 
  • Make predictions using both experimental data and theoretical probabilities 
  • Solve problems using data from bar graphs, dot plots and circle graphs, including part-to-whole and part-to-part comparisons 
  • Use words, tables, graphs and equations to represent linear relationships 
  • Solve problems involving the surface area and volume of rectangular prisms, triangular prisms, rectangular pyramids and triangular pyramids 
  • Find the circumference and area of a circle 
  • Write and solve one-variable, two-step equations and inequalities 
  • Compare groups of numeric data using dot plots or box plots, and make inferences about populations based on sample data 
  • Identify personal budgeting categories (e.g., savings, variable expenses) and calculate what percentage of the budget each category makes up 
  • Determine the minimum household budget and hourly wage needed for a family to meet its basic needs 
  • Calculate and compare earnings from simple and compound interest 

ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS & READING 

  • Give a presentation critiquing a work of literature or drama 
  • Offer and accept constructive feedback 
  • Respond to reading material orally and in writing, and make changes based on new evidence 
  • Make inferences with supporting evidence 
  • Analyze how elements like foreshadowing and suspense advance the plot 
  • Describe the characteristics of literary genres such as fantasy and science fiction 
  • Examine how poets use rhyme scheme, meter, punctuation and capitalization 
  • Identify subjective and objective points of view, and explain the purpose of rhetorical devices such as direct address and rhetorical questions 
  • Create and edit compositions with complex sentences, appropriate use of verb tenses, and pronoun-antecedent agreement 
  • Write literary texts; multi-paragraph essays with a thesis statement; multi-paragraph argumentative texts; and letters that offer an opinion or request information 
  • Come up with research questions, gather and synthesize information from multiple sources, examine sources for bias and faulty reasoning, cite sources and present the results 

SCIENCE 

  • Conduct experiments and descriptive investigations, and collect data using the International System of Units (SI) 
  • Use data from repeated trials to identify patterns 
  • Create models of things in the natural world such as plant and animal cells 
  • Collect and analyze information using life science models, stereoscopes, microscopes and microscope slides, test tubes, tape measures, water test kits, temperature and pH probes, insect traps, cameras and other tools, as well as safety equipment 
  • Recognize that radiant energy from the sun is transformed into chemical energy through photosynthesis, and other transformations of energy within organisms 
  • Distinguish between physical and chemical changes in matter 
  • Predict and describe how catastrophic natural events impact ecosystems 
  • Analyze the effects of weathering, erosion and deposition on various Texas environments 
  • Explain the characteristics of our planet and solar system that support life, such as Earth’s distance from the sun and the composition of Earth’s atmosphere 
  • Describe how different environments, including microhabitats, support a diversity of organisms, and how biodiversity benefits an ecosystem 
  • Identify traits that have changed through natural selection and selective breeding 
  • List the main systems of the human body and their functions 
  • Compare the parts of a cell and their functions in plant and animal cells 
  • Investigate how organisms respond to external and internal stimuli 
  • Recognize that inherited traits are determined by genetic material found in chromosomes in a cell’s nucleus 

SOCIAL STUDIES 

  • Understand how people, events and issues from pre-colonization through the Mexican National Era shaped Texas history 
  • Describe the causes, events and people involved in the Texas Revolution 
  • Identify the people, events and issues that shaped the Republic of Texas and early Texas statehood 
  • Explain the role of slavery in Texas’ involvement in the Civil War, and how the war and Reconstruction affected Texas politically, economically and socially 
  • Understand the people, events and issues that shaped American Indian groups in Texas, the development of the cattle industry, the growth of railroads and the development of West Texas 
  • Explain the impact of the oil industry, boom-and-bust cycles, various reform movements, wars, migration and immigration on Texas during the 20th and 21st centuries 
  • Describe the various civil rights and equal rights movements in Texas and identify key leaders 
  • Compare Texas’ geographic, political and cultural regions 
  • Explain how Texans have adapted to and modified the environment, and how the environment has affected the political, economic and social development of Texas 
  • Analyze the effects of population changes in Texas 
  • Explain how national and international markets affect the Texas economy and vice versa 
  • Compare the Texas Constitution and Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights 
  • Understand the structure, functions and major sources of revenue of state and local governments 
  • Explain the rights and civic responsibilities of Texas citizens 
  • Explain the points of view of different political parties and interest groups on important Texas issues 
  • Describe how people from various cultural groups attempt to maintain their culture while adapting to the larger Texas culture 
  • Give examples of how Spanish culture (and other cultures) has influenced Texas place names, vocabulary, religion, architecture, food and the arts 
  • Analyze how scientific discoveries and technological innovations have impacted the development of Texas and the use of resources 
  • Evaluate the validity of sources 
  • Create and interpret thematic maps, graphs and charts about Texas  

EIGHTH GRADE 

MATH 

  • Represent and use real numbers, including irrational numbers 
  • Use proportional relationships to describe and graph dilations (i.e., transformations where the image changes in size but not shape) 
  • Understand slope as a rate of change 
  • Identify and distinguish between linear proportional (y = kx) and linear non-proportional (y = mx + b) situations using tables, graphs and equations 
  • Identify proportional and non-proportional functions Write equations in the form y = mx + b 
  • Solve problems involving the volume of cylinders, cones and spheres, and the surface area of prisms and cylinders 
  • Use the Pythagorean Theorem to solve problems 
  • Write and solve one-variable equations with variables on both sides of the equal sign 
  • Use a graph to solve for both x and y in two linear equations that intersect 
  • Understand rotations, reflections, translations and dilations of 2D shapes 
  • Create a scatterplot from data with two variables, and describe whether there is a linear, non-linear or no association 
  • Solve real-world problems involving interest rate and interest earnings 
  • Estimate the cost of a college education, and create a college savings plan 

ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS & READING 

  • Support a position using anecdotes, analogies and/or illustrations, along with good presentation skills such as eye contact, enunciation, and appropriate speaking rate and volume 
  • Participate in group discussions by making clear goals and deadlines, setting time limits for speakers, taking notes and voting on issues 
  • Defend or challenge an author’s claims using evidence in the text 
  • Analyze how an author develops themes through the interaction of characters and events 
  • Compare linear plot development to non-linear elements such as flashbacks, foreshadowing, subplots and parallel plots 
  • Describe the characteristics of literary genres such as short stories 
  • Examine how poets use visual elements such as punctuation and line length 
  • Analyze how playwrights build drama through acts and scenes 
  • Explain why authors use multiple points of view, irony, analogy and juxtaposition, and how language contributes to mood, voice and tone 
  • Create and edit compositions with complex sentences, appropriate use of passive and active voice, and correct punctuation for nonrestrictive clauses and phrases 
  • Write literary texts; multi-paragraph essays with a thesis statement; multi-paragraph argumentative texts; and letters that offer an opinion or request information 
  • Come up with research questions, gather and synthesize information from multiple sources, examine sources for bias and faulty reasoning, cite sources and present the results 

SCIENCE 

  • Conduct experiments and descriptive investigations, and collect data using the International System of Units (SI) 
  • Use data from repeated trials to identify patterns 
  • Create models of things in the natural world, such as an atom or molecule 
  • Collect and analyze information using beakers, anemometers, psychrometers, hot plates, test tubes, microscopes, spectroscopes and other tools, as well as safety equipment 
  • Describe the structure of an atom, including the properties of protons, neutrons and electrons 
  • Explain how the Periodic Table is arranged, and recognize how protons and valence electrons are used to identify and classify elements 
  • Understand how chemical formulas represent substances 
  • Differentiate between speed, velocity and acceleration 
  • Find examples of Newton’s three laws of motion in the real world 
  • Model how seasons are caused by Earth revolving around the sun 
  • Explain how the moon and sun affect tides 
  • Describe objects in the universe, including stars, nebulae and galaxies, and understand how scientists learn about them using different wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum 
  • Understand plate tectonic theory 
  • Understand the role of the sun in producing wind, and the role of oceans in the formation of hurricanes and other weather systems 
  • Investigate how organisms in an ecosystem depend on (and compete for) biotic and abiotic resources 
  • Recognize how human activity has affected ocean systems 

SOCIAL STUDIES 

  • Understand the causes of European exploration and colonization of North America 
  • Explain how and why representative government developed during the colonial period 
  • Analyze the causes of the American Revolution and explain the issues surrounding the important events, including the Constitutional Convention of 1787 
  • Describe the major domestic problems faced by the new republic and the development of political parties 
  • Analyze the major events of the 19th century, including the resettlement of American Indians, westward expansion and the U.S.-Mexican War 
  • Understand the political, economic and social factors, including congressional conflicts and slavery, that led to the growth of sectionalism and the Civil War Analyze the impact of Reconstruction on different groups in the United States 
  • Examine how physical and human geography (e.g., weather, landforms, waterways, transportation and communication) influenced major U.S. events 
  • Analyze how the physical environment affected population distribution, settlement patterns and economic activity in the United States through the mid-19th century 
  • Explain the causes and effects of regional economic differences in the United States through 1877 
  • Understand the economic factors that led to industrialization and urbanization in the 19th century 
  • Understand how other documents, including the Declaration of Independence, influenced the U.S. Constitution 
  • Describe the impact of the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments 
  • Explain the significance of landmark Supreme Court cases, including Marbury v. Madison, McCulloch v. Maryland, Gibbons v. Ogden and Dred Scott v. Sandford 
  • Summarize the rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights and describe the importance of free speech and press 
  • Understand the relationships and conflicts between people from various racial, ethnic and religious groups in the 17th19th centuries 
  • Evaluate the impact of reform movements in the 19th century, including abolition, temperance, women’s rights, prison reform, labor reform and care for people with disabilities 
  • Describe religious influences on society, including the impact of the first and second Great Awakenings 
  • Identify examples of art, music and literature that reflect different eras of U.S. history 
  • Explain the impact of technological and scientific innovations on the U.S. economy and daily life 
  • Create and analyze thematic maps, graphs and charts 

Image courtesy of iStock.