World Cultures continues the study of civilizations begun in sixth grade. Students learn to think critically about historical eras, analyze primary sources for accuracy and bias, define problems, and relate historical events to the modern world. Students acquire the patterns needed to read actively for both the main idea and increase their vocabulary. Students focus on writing as a process. Students concentrate on the process of developing their essays through such stages as pre-writing, outlining, and first and second drafts. Students extend the depth and detail of their writing and practice writing introductory paragraphs, topic sentences, and strong conclusions. Beginning the year in a large group, they learn the skills necessary to complete projects independently, including planning, time management, outlining, and research. Research involves interviewing, reading for specific information, and using both print and electronic research. In the course of the year, students practice speaking skills including, exchanging ideas; debating, and honoring ideas of others. Units include geography and the human experience with an emphasis on current world geography; Middle Ages in England, China, Middle East, North Africa, and Japan with an emphasis on mapping of culture, impact of religion, and development of political systems; and revolutions in science, Enlightenment, America, France, and Estonia. Spring brings planning a trip to a country in the Eastern Hemisphere with an emphasis on studying the culture of a country through travel. The final unit of study involves the history of Mt. St Helens.
Eighth grade science is an introduction to physical science. Topics include volume and mass, mass changes in a closed system, characteristic properties, and solubility. In this laboratory-based class, students further refine their application of the scientific method and improve their ability to observe and record; to make and refine hypotheses; and to design, run, and write up lab-based inquiries. In an eagerly anticipated final project students use the skills, theories, and techniques learned throughout the year to separate “sludge,” a mixture of numerous solids, liquids, and gases. The year ends with the formulation of the atomic theory of matter. It is a smooth transition to the high school science program as 9th grade picks up where we left off on the atom and the nature of bonding. Students are expected to be thoroughly engaged in inquiry, curious, respectful and invested in their learning.
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