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Year 8 Maths — The Essential Guide for Aussie Parents

Looking to help your child ace Year 8 Maths? This guide is for you! Packed with topic breakdowns and learning strategies, discover how to support your child through one of the most important years of their schooling.

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Math Minds

Monday, 30th May 2022

Year 8 Maths is a crucial year for students, as they need to consolidate their prior knowledge and prepare for the years ahead. This guide aims to provide students and parents with all the information they need to make the most of this year.

From smarter study habits to tackling difficult topics, we've got you sorted. We'll cover the whole curriculum, revision methods and some mindset secrets on how to approach learning.

What do Year 8 learn in Maths?

Year 8 Maths is all about expanding on what was learned in Year 7. Students will explore more complex concepts in topics within algebra, geometry and data analysis. They will also continue to develop their problem-solving skills, which will be essential for application in other areas of their lives.

confident student learning maths in their school classroom

While there are some 'new' topics that are introduced, like congruency of geometrical figures and two-way tables, the bulk of Year 8 Maths builds on the solid foundations laid in Year 7 Maths. This means that students need to have a good understanding of these basics before they can move on to more difficult concepts in Years 9 and 10.

Year 8 is the perfect opportunity to refine their knowledge of mathematical terms, catch up on any topics that were missed in previous years and consolidate learning in areas that may have been challenging. The Year 8 Maths Curriculum is divided into 6 strands:

  • Number

  • Algebra

  • Measurement

  • Space

  • Statistics

  • Probability

We'll take you through the subtopics of each strand and some key skills being tested in Year 8 which you should look out for.

Number and Algebra

Students begin to explore more complex number concepts - Highest common factor, lowest common multiple and order of operations involving negative values. They'll extend their algebraic and graphical techniques and learn how to solve linear equations with 3-steps.

Students also build on their understanding of ratios and rates and profit & loss. They learn to calculate with negative fractions, recurring decimals and percentages and are introduced to the index laws for the first time.

Number and place value

  • Index notation and application of laws

  • Four operations with rational numbers

Key skill:

  • Finding a fraction of an amount

  • Identify the lowest common multiples and highest common factors

Real numbers

  • Terminating and recurring decimals

  • Percentage increase and decrease

  • Rates and ratio problems

Key skill:

  • Calculating percentage mark-ups and discounts

  • Converting between a fraction, decimal or percentage

  • Simplifying fractional and decimal ratios

  • Distributing an amount in a given ratio

Money and financial mathematics

  • Percentage profit and loss, with and without a calculator

Key skill:

  • Expressing profit and loss as a percentage of the cost price

Patterns and algebra

  • Expand and factorise algebraic expressions

  • Simplify algebraic expressions

Key skill:

  • Use the distributive law

  • Substitution of variables

  • Simplify an algebraic fraction

Linear relations and non-linear relationships

  • Plotting linear graphs on a cartesian plane

  • Solve linear equations

Key skill:

  • Find the rule from a table of values or a graph

  • The balance method to solve linear relations

  • Connect rules for linear relations with their graphs

  • Determine if a relationship is linear

  • Using a variable for the unknown, solve problems by setting up equations

Measurement and Space

The Measurement and Space strands in Year 8 Maths immerses students in a range of topics that they'll need in their daily lives - from reading a 24-hour time to unit conversion and calculating the area and perimeter of irregular shapes.

For the first time in secondary maths, students begin to investigate the elements of a circle, including circumference and area. Students also develop their understanding of scale factors, which will be essential for work in later years on Similarity.

Units of measurement and Shape

  • Perimeter and area of special quadrilaterals (parallelograms, trapeziums, rhombuses and kites)

  • Volumes of prisms

  • Circumference and area of circles

  • Conversion of units

Key skill:

  • Converting metric units for length, volume and area

  • Calculate the volume of rectangular and triangular prisms

  • Solve duration problems in 24-hour time

Geometric reasoning

  • Define congruence of plane shapes using transformations

  • Congruence conditions (SSS, SAS, ASA and RHS)

  • Establish properties of quadrilaterals

Key skill:

  • Solve problems using the properties of congruent triangles

Statistics and Probability

Year 8 Maths sees students learning about chance, data and statistical concepts in a more formal way. They'll interpret and construct frequency tables, line graphs, stem-and-leaf diagrams and box plots. The effect of individual data values, including outliers, on the mean and median, is further explored with a focus on drawing conclusions from a particular problem.

Students learn about experimental and theoretical probability through games and begin to use tree diagrams to calculate combined probabilities.

Chance

  • Identify complementary events

  • Two-way tables and Venn diagrams

Key skill:

  • Fluency in the language of probability ('at least', 'or', 'and' & 'mutually exclusive')

  • Convert Venn diagrams into two-way tables

Data representation and interpretation

  • Compare the full range of data types

  • Statistical comparisons

  • Population vs Sample

  • Construct frequency tables, histograms, stem-and-leaf plots and dot plots

Key skill:

  • Calculate mean, median, mode and range for sets of data with decimals

  • Use measures of centre to make sense of and explain data

  • Understand the effect of outliers and bias in surveys

How to study Maths

Maths is a language that requires both practice and understanding. The beauty is everyone can succeed in Mathematics with the right mindset and approach.

mother discovering how to teach maths at home

How we look at the topics, to what extent we need to practise and the way we learn varies from individual to individual. However, there are a few key things that are essential for all students.

Focus on understanding instead of memorisation

When students focus on understanding instead of memorisation, they develop a stronger foundation that will help them in their future studies.

To understand a concept, students need to be able to explain it in their own words so they can apply it to different situations. It's not enough to just photocopy a process. While this might lead to short term gain for an upcoming test, in the long run, students will find it difficult to progress onto more difficult concepts.

Practise, practise, practise

In order to embed their understanding, students need to solve as many problems as possible. This doesn't mean doing 100 questions of the same type. It means varying the types of questions they do and making sure they challenge themselves.

One way to do this is to use a variety of resources. Students can find textbooks, workbooks, websites and apps that will help them practise the topics they find difficult.

In secondary maths, a key stage in consolidating the content is to practice the process of deconstructing and reconstructing problems.

That is, rather than just solving a problem, students need to take the time to understand what the question is asking, what information is given and what needs to be found.

Make connections between big ideas

When students make connections between different Maths topics, they develop a deeper understanding of the Australian curriculum as a whole.

In year 8 Maths, students need to experience the connections between decimals, fractions and percentages. In school, these are often taught in isolation. However, making links between these ideas will help students understand each one better.

See the relevance

Maths is everywhere. It's in the music we listen to, the games we play and the patterns we see in nature. Helping students see the relevance of Maths around them will make them more likely to engage with the subject matter.

numeracy in nature

When students understand how Maths is used in everyday life, they are more likely to appreciate its importance. This might mean showing them how to budget their pocket money or helping them understand how interest works.

We must inspire young minds to view Maths differently. It is not just an ordinary school subject, but a vital tool that helps us make sense of this world.

Hone your problem-solving skills

Maths is not just about getting the right answer. It's about asking the right questions. Developing curiosity. Thinking outside the box to creatively solve real-life problems.

When students can apply their Year 8 Maths knowledge, to a real-life situation, the learning is deeper, more relevant and engaging.

Some ideas for problem-solving activities at home include:

  • Creating a floor plan for their dream home

  • Navigating their way around an unfamiliar city using public transport timetables

  • Working out how long it will take to save up for a new bike

  • Calculating how much paint is needed to cover a wall

Encourage a growth mindset

A growth mindset is the belief that intelligence can be developed and it is one of the most important things you need to succeed in year 8 Maths.

When you have a growth mindset, you're more likely to persevere when you find a concept difficult. You're also more likely to take risks and try new things.

father helping son address his maths homework

Students who adopt this attitude see mistakes as an opportunity to learn, instead of something to be embarrassed about. By year 8, students should already be familiar with correcting their own work. Placing ticks and crosses. Making annotations. Reworking problems that they got wrong.

Teachers and parents can help students foster a growth mindset by using positive reinforcement and providing opportunities for students to reflect on their work.

One way to encourage a growth mindset is to praise effort instead of ability or skill level. For example, instead of saying "you're so clever", say "you've worked so hard". This will help students see that their success is not based on natural ability, but on how much effort they put in.

It's also vital to encourage students to take on new challenges, even if they're afraid of failing. This is how they'll grow their confidence and become independent life-long learners.

Secondary Maths needs regular revisions

There are many different ways to revise for Maths. Some students prefer to take a more structured approach, while others prefer to dip in and out of different topics as they come up in class.

students working on numeracy skills together outside

By year 8, students are now familiar with the format of testing that takes place at their school. Usually, every 2-3 weeks, the teacher will set a date for a topic test.

To do well in these tests, it's important to revise on a regular basis, rather than leaving everything to the last minute. Cramming the night before is not an effective way to learn and will only lead to students feeling stressed and anxious.

Instead, students should adopt what's called spaced learning. This means breaking up their revision into manageable chunks and spreading it out over time. This will allow them to gradually build their knowledge and retain more information in the long term. Just 30 minutes a day, spent going over key concepts, will make a big difference.

spaced learning

When it comes to the number of practice questions, many students are under the false pretence that the school assigned ones are enough. They're definitely not.

A better approach would be to keep practising until you feel like you've mastered the concept. What you might not realise, is this amount is unique for each individual. So, don't worry if it takes you longer than your friends. The important thing is that you understand the concept, not that you can do it in a certain amount of time.

Ask for help when you need it

In year 8, plenty of students start to lose motivation. This generally happens for one of two reasons.

The first is that they're struggling to keep up with the pace of the class. The second is that they're not being challenged enough and are starting to feel bored.

High school student checking their answers in an online tutoring session

If your child falls into either of these categories, it might be worth considering getting them a tutor.

Whether they need to catch up or get ahead, personalised maths tutoring is an effective way to boost confidence and improve outcomes. A tutor can help your child with specific topics they struggle with and tailor their lessons to suit their individual needs.

When looking for a maths tutor, It's important to find someone that your child feels comfortable with and can build a rapport with. Even in year 8, it's about making maths fun and engaging, but also challenging enough to continue learning and progressing.

At Math Minds, we use our fast-track method to quickly identify and plug gaps from previous years. At any given moment we ensure students have a strong understanding of the Year 8 Maths content.

Our approach is far from the traditional 'rinse and repeat' pedagogy that is often associated with traditional learning centres. Our focus is more on inspiring a love for learning. We help you understand the 'why' behind the 'what' and 'how'. It's about building fundamental fluency rather than simply regurgitating a process.

We do offer unlimited free worksheets, but instead of boring written repetitive practice questions, they're delivered through an engaging digital platform.

The software is driven by an AI engine that not only adapts to the student's individual level but provides real-time feedback. We're talking over 50,000+ interactive step-by-step hints, worked examples, explainer videos as well as detailed reports to track progress and mastery.

If you're looking for a way to help your child succeed in Year 8 Maths, contact us today to find out more about our unique holistic approach.

Final Thoughts

Year 8 is a crucial time that lays the foundation for many important math concepts. It's vital that students have a strong understanding of the Year 8 content in order to progress confidently into years 9 and 10.

One way to ensure your child has a thorough understanding of the material is by becoming more familiar with the topics yourself. Hopefully, this guide has provided some useful tips and information on how you can do just that.

Another way to succeed in Year 8 is by seeking out extra help from an online maths tutor or learning centre. At Math Minds, we offer a free online assessment to help pinpoint your child's strengths and weaknesses across all 6 strands of Mathematics.

Our adaptive learning platform with real-time feedback, backed by our experienced maths tutors and proven fundamental teaching approach ensures your child has all the tools they need to succeed. If you're looking for a way to help your child excel in Year 8, contact us and experience the Math Minds advantage today.

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