Eighth grade students spend much time on Pythagorean Theorem problems, which require the formula a^2 + b^2 = c^2 to solve for the length of one side of a right triangle when given the lengths of the other two sides. If two sides of a triangle are 2 inches and 4 inches, one uses the formula 2^2 + 4^2 = c^2 to get a hypotenuse length of 4.47 inches.
Other eight grade problems involve concepts relating to beginner algebra, understanding functions, scientific notation and geometry. Students spend time graphing and solving linear equations. Teachers ask them to use graphs to determine the slope and intercept of a line. With this information, they learn to write the equation of a line from a graph. They also learn to graph a line from an equation by determining two or more sets of ordered pairs that satisfy the equation.
During the eighth grade, students begin working with scientific notation. Problems involve converting between decimal numbers and scientific notation. For example, the number 0.0342 converted to scientific notation is 3.42 x 10^-2. Problems become more complex as students begin to perform addition, subtraction, multiplication and division using scientific notation.
Students continue solving geometry problems in their math course. They begin looking at translations, reflections and rotations of images. They work with measurements of angles and lines. They work to find the area of geometric shapes, including spheres, cones and cylinders.