Preparing Boys for Life

Eighth Grade


Our Form II boys are the leaders of the division and they model to our younger boys the academic excellence, sportsmanship, respect, and behavior that we expect of all our students. We teach them the difference between giving and taking, rights and privileges, expected actions and exceptional actions, so they can learn to make good decisions on their own.

They are young men, and after two full years in our Middle School, they know the culture, the tone, and the honor code. They know how to own a mistake when they make one. They are accountable for their actions and understand the consequences for their behavior, both good and bad. They are young men who are prepared to learn, lead, and listen as they leave us and enter the Upper School.

The Haverford School for boys Main Line Philadelphia

Haverford Highlight: Rite of Passage

Our signature Rite of Passage program formally recognizes students' completion of Middle School and the shift from boyhood to manhood. Our students' journey starts at Haverford and continues through Philadelphia and beyond, with a hike from Camden, N.J. back to campus. Through the successful completion of the Rite of Passage, our boys build confidence, resilience, responsibility, and independence, all important virtues for the next stage of their lives in Upper School.


Algebra I, Part II

In the second part of this comprehensive Algebra I course students will build on their understanding of linear equations and systems of linear equations in two variables. In addition students will explore basic operations with polynomials, factoring, and the solution of quadratic equations using various methods. Considerable focus will be placed on multiple representations of these solutions, especially graphs. Students will become familiar with handheld technology tools, like the TI 83/84 family of calculators. Upon completion of this course, a student’s performance will be evaluated placement into Geometry or Honors Geometry in the Upper School.


This course emphasizes the development of visual/spatial thinking skills and students use the same curriculum that was developed by faculty in our Upper School. Beginning with the building blocks of geometry, students will investigate the properties of points, lines and planes, and their relationships to real-world models. With the use of concrete models and puzzles, the geometry student will investigate the unique characteristics of both two- and three-dimensional shapes and figures. Students will also learn how to justify major theorems of the course using mathematical proofs. Time will be spent on constructions with the use of math tools and the derivation of formulas and theorems. Students will gain valuable experience with dynamic math technology, like Geogebra, and the TI 83/84 family of handheld calculators.


The Form II science course builds upon the skill development of 6th grade and Form I Science and the more rigorous content-rich nature of Form I Science. The boys revisit and master skills, design and execute their own demonstrations and experiments, gain background knowledge from a variety of texts, and complete several larger scale projects. While continuing to explore the systems and cycles as well as structure and function of Earth’s biotic and abiotic factors, the boys exit the Form II science curriculum and the Middle School experience as a whole well-prepared to fully engage in their Upper School science classes. A sampling of Form II Science topics includes:

  • Scientific method
  • Measurement
  • Experimental design
  • Taxonomy and classification
  • Microbiology
  • Evolution and natural selection
  • Biodiversity and dissection
  • Chemical reactions
  • Dissolving properties of water
  • Physical oceanography
  • Marine biology
  • Astronomy


World Cultures is designed to grant students an understanding of the major players and events that shaped our contemporary world by examining the evolutions of various global cultures from pre-modern to modern times. The course explores the political, economic, sociological, and philosophical factors that contributed to such evolutions, and it thereby serves as a vehicle for introducing students to multiple disciplines in the social sciences and humanities. We augment that background information by studying the material products of each culture (such as artworks, artifacts, legends, and primary documents) to gain an appreciation of daily life throughout history. In order to contextualize this course content, the units also consider how each culture defines itself and how others define it, and we discuss the cultural biases that are associated with such definitions.

Throughout the year, each World Cultures student strives to develop his own sense of intellectual responsibility as he practices several tools of humanistic inquiry, such as engaging in critical discussion, conducting proper research, and composing logical and persuasive analyses.



Form II English emphasizes consistent refinement of reading comprehension, writing, and speaking/presentation through engagement with a variety of texts. This includes, but is not limited to, novels, short stories, poetry, art, music, and film/video/digital materials. Each year, young men in Form II will critique how a major theme influences authors’ decisions about voice, character, setting, style, and other literary components through ongoing and in-depth literature analysis and discussion. Students can expect several collaborative and independent projects, formal research (papers/presentations), and creative writing opportunities. By the end of the year, young men in Form II can expect to have furthered their analytic/persuasive essay-writing skills, public-speaking poise, vocabulary knowledge, and writing-mechanics expertise. Recent readings include To Kill a MockingbirdRomeo and Juliet, and House on Mango Street.

Modern & Classical Languages


In Form II Latin, students continue their exploration of the language, culture, and history of the ancient Romans. The vocabulary and grammar learned builds on the foundational knowledge acquired in Form I. Students translate passages adapted from authors of the ancient canon. They also delve into aspects of Roman daily life, researching the Roman entertainment of the Colosseum and Circus Maximus, and discovering the organization and technology of the Roman army. Mythology makes up a key aspect of any Latin curriculum, and our Form II students build on their knowledge of the Greco-Roman pantheon by examining the familiar stories of Greek heroes and demigods. Through a mix of readings and projects, students leave Middle School Latin with a solid understanding of the language, mythology and daily life of the people of ancient Rome.


During seventh and eighth grade, students receive a solid foundation in the structure of the Spanish language as well as an understanding of the cultural background of Spanish speaking countries. These introductory levels are taught with an emphasis on basic vocabulary and fundamental grammatical concepts. In their Spanish classes, students will engage in easy conversation, as they work on speaking in complete and correct sentences. They will also read easy texts, summarize them in their own words and narrate a story in front of the class. We use DESCUBRE as a textbook to study all the grammatical concepts, and also supplement our curriculum with easy readers, online resources and fables.

Visual Arts

2D and 3D

The eighth grade art program is a combination of two-dimensional and three-dimensional work with a sprinkling of art history thrown in. Projects tend to be more challenging in this course as students are asked to follow specific guidelines and processes. The 8th grade student may expect to be given a long-term sculpture project in clay, plaster or wood as well as an in depth self-portrait painting. One art project will be directly related to their academic study of World Cultures and History or Greek Mythology. Suggestions, from the art and photography teachers, will be made to the students and parents regarding art course decisions for Upper School.

Video Production and Multi-Media

Eighth graders boys begin the year with an in depth unit in Video Production. They cover shot types, camera angles and movement, lighting, composition, and sound. The boys move through the three processes of video: Pre-production (scripting and storyboarding), Production (treatment and filming), and Post-production (sequencing, editing, and sound). Eighth grade boys then move on to a unit that blends the traditional arts (drawing, painting, and sculpting) with new media: Animation. Through animation the boys learn technical aspects like the math and science behind a film’s frame rate, its key frames, tweening, shots, and scenes. Both through video and animation the boys learn how to tell stories through sequence and montage. They will write and develop characters learning about arcs and linear / non-linear storytelling.

Learn more about our esteemed Visual Arts Program >


Students will walk away from this course with the knowledge of different methods and systems of acting from diverse cultures. They will create an ensemble and begin to perform as a troupe in sketch comedy, original works and in published dramatic plays.

Learn more about our thriving Theater Program >


Eighth grade music is the culmination of the Middle School curriculum. In small groups, students utilize the music literacy and performance skills gained over the previous two years to compose their own songs and prepare them for a final performance in front of their peers. Students write lyrics, choose chord progressions and strumming patterns, and compose melodies. Both singing and guitar playing are requirements for the songs, but students may also incorporate instruments on which they have achieved proficiency through private study – such as piano, electric bass or drums. During this time, study of music theory and history proceed through class guitar and group presentations.

In addition, all middle school boys are encouraged to join our performing ensembles: The Fantastic Fords Concert Band, The Haverford School Orchestra, Centennial Singers and Celebrantes.

Learn about our music programs >

Health & Physical Education

The primary goal of the Health and Physical Education curriculum is to provide the boys with the framework necessary to develop and maintain a fitness plan that they can utilize for a lifetime. Through the health portion of the curriculum the boys are introduced to body systems, changes during puberty, male and female reproductive systems, pregnancy, childbirth and STDs. Through the physical education curriculum, we aim to provide the boys with a variety of lifetime sports and activities that will give the boys the sport skills necessary to establish a lifetime commitment to a healthy lifestyle. It is the department’s goal to improve students' physical fitness, overall well being, skill development and teamwork in a fun and learning environment.

  • Trimester Fitness Testing: mile run, push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, resting heart rate, blood pressure and body composition.
  • Gaelic Football
  • Hurling
  • Cricket
  • Rugby
  • Flag Football
  • Soccer
  • Ultimate Frisbee
  • Squash
  • Badminton
  • Volleyball
  • Weight Training
  • Swimming
  • Floor Hockey
  • Basketball
  • Climbing/Bouldering (also during split for double period for all indoor activities)
  • Frisbee Golf
  • Tennis
  • Softball/smashball
  • Lacrosse
  • Track and Field