Welcome to Mr. Van Westen’s Math Class

Be Prepared!

Always bring a Pencil and your Textbook

Our goal this year in Eighth-grade Math is to reach the Mastered level on the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness, or STAAR.  This year’s test will be administered Tuesday, April 10; results should be received by April 30. We will tie algebra into most of our curriculum.  

Because of the amount of algebra taught in the eighth grade, our students will be using a graphing calculator on their district and state assessments.  So that students get familiar with using a calculator, we recommend they use them as often as possible.  I still expect to see their thinking on their papers.

The 8th grade textbook has two volumes.  Students have received their own copy of the first volume and are responsible for it. Students will also be creating their own study guide, so each student needs to bring that to class every day.  Your student needs to have a folder for our math work.

In order to meet our goal, students will need to practice their math skills at home.  These homework assignments will be listed on my classroom calendar and most will be available for download there.  I keep that calendar updated, so if there are ever any questions about an assignment, it can be referenced there. All students need a quiet place to work at home, set your student up for success by providing this.  My room is available before and after school on Tuesdays and Thursdays for students who need assistance.  I will try to let students know on the few occasions that I am not available at these times. 

Please feel free to contact me at any time with any questions, concerns or requests.  E-mail is the most efficient way to contact me (Contact Teacher in upper left).  I review my email and check voicemail before school, during my conference period (8:05-8:56) and after school.


We will start this school year with a study of the System of Real Numbers, which builds on the seventh grade study of rational numbers.  That will be followed with exploring Similarity and Dilations, which has a lot of new information for our eighth graders.  Our next unit, Proportional Relationships and Slope also builds on our students’ prior knowledge.  This unit will finish out the first six weeks and continue into the second.

  Our first Curriculum-Based Assessment will be administered on November 15 and 16.

Math Activity Websites:


www.khanacademy.org/math  Pre-Algebra and Algebra


www.coolmath.com  Pre-Algebra and Algebra