For eighth graders, the second quarter is far more than a confluence of English, history, and science lessons. Instead, the quarterly theme “Quest” includes an out-of-this-world voyage to the red planet.

First, teachers pose big questions: What is our mission as a species? What is your quest? What endures about cultures over time? How does humanity endure?

As you ponder the human elements of these questions, you are asked to begin conceiving of a team-based mission to mars. You will grapple with terra-forming, scarce resources, psychological challenges, and communications problems.

Each team presents their mission overview to a squad of “investors” composed of UCSB professors, faculty, and other students, who pose challenges to the team. You and your team must channel your knowledge of science, human history, and human creativity to save your species’ mission in outer space.

This quest unit nudges you to embrace more pressing 21st century technologies from web design to contemporary business organization and, most importantly, teamwork.

An interdisciplinary thematic approach is what you can expect as part of the Middle School curriculum. For more information about the quarterly themes and projects in eighth grade, click here