Eighth Grade Courses

Language Arts
Social Studies (Intro to Global Studies)
Physical Education

Electives - Choose a total of 4 semesters of electives


Prerequisite: Pre-Algebra
Algebra is a year-long course that is intended to cover the MN Standards for Algebra. Semester one includes an introduction to algebra, operations, equations, linear introduction, and linear applications. Semester two includes inequalities, absolute value, linear systems, exponents, and radicals. 

Prerequisite: Algebra
Students in Geometry will explore the characteristics of geometric figures in two-dimensions including: area, transformations, measurement, and congruence. Students will also use logic and reasoning to prove geometric theorems, corollaries, and properties. Properties of shape, location, measurement, and algebra will be used to justify reasoning in a logical argument. Students will also explore the characteristics of three-dimensional objects including the concepts of surface area and volume. Right triangle trigonometry will also be introduced.

Algebra 2
Prerequisite: Geometry
Students will explore linear, quadratic and exponential functions, including function operations in multiple forms and transformations. Translating between numerical, tabular, graphical and real world situations will be emphasized, as will studying polynomial operations and complex numbers and their operations along with the properties of rational exponents.  Students will investigate arithmetic, geometric and infinite sequences and series.  By the end of the course students will have learned how to solve quadratic equations and inequalities, exponential equations, systems of inequalities, and absolute value inequalities. Students will also learn to analyze data, find correlations, and make predictions. Additionally, students will calculate measures of center and regression lines, display data in multiple formats, and explore probability and counting methods. Graphing technology will be used throughout the course.  

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English 8
English 8 students learn reading and analysis strategies for fiction, literary nonfiction, and informational texts. Through textbook selections, novels, short stories, poetry, and nonfiction articles, students explore a variety of genres and authors. Writing emphasis is on crafting cohesive analysis of reading assignments using text evidence to support ideas.  Speaking, listening, viewing, and media literacy skills are embedded throughout the course with specific emphasis on informational texts. Language skills, including grammar and vocabulary, are a continual focus.

Honors English 8
Honors English 8 is a course for students with a strong skill base and passion for English. Increased rigor is provided by more independence and accelerated pacing. Students learn reading and analysis strategies for fiction, literary nonfiction, and informational texts. Through textbook selections, novels, short stories, poetry, and nonfiction articles, students explore a variety of genres and authors. Writing emphasis is on crafting cohesive analysis of reading assignments using text evidence to support ideas.  Speaking, listening, viewing, and media literacy skills are embedded throughout the course with a specific emphasis on informational texts. Language skills, including grammar and vocabulary, are a continual focus. Placement into this course will be based on several data points.

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Science 8 - Earth Science
Earth Science is a course designed to investigate general chemistry topics, minerals, rocks, plate tectonics, climate, meteorology and astronomy.  Students will study and explore topics using small and large group discussions, hands on projects and labs, interactive computer simulations, technology, engineering and math.  This course will help prepare students to be knowledgeable stewards of the Earth.

Physical Science
Prerequisite:  LEaP Science
Students will evaluate interactions between Chemistry, Physics, and select principles of Earth Science encountered in everyday activities. This course focuses heavily on experimental skills, utilizing formal lab procedures and scientific lab write-ups.  The experimental process uses a variety of technical writing approaches and includes an introduction to a variety of engineering concepts. Integrated within the course are activities that utilize up-to-date technology and tools, ie, motion sensors for laboratory work and internet-based research for real-life applications.  Also as part of the course, students will gain a familiarity and proficiency with standard lab equipment.  They will demonstrate this proficiency by completing a science fair projects and the sludge lab.  Student focal points in chemistry are: properties and states of matter; atomic structure and the use of the periodic table; chemical bonds and chemical reactions; and nuclear chemistry. Student focal points in physics are: the basic fundamentals of forces and motion; work, power, and energy; with explorations in sound, the electromagnetic spectrum, electricity, and magnetism.

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Social Studies 8 - Introduction to Global Studies, 1 semester
Grade eight Geography as the lead discipline with a strong secondary emphasis on contemporary World History.  Students in Introduction to Global Studies use the tools of the geographer and a spatial perspective to explore patterns and trends in various world regions.  Focus is on U.S., Canada, Latin America and Oceania.

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Physical Education 8 - 1 semester
This required course focuses on participating in a variety of activities that enhance personal fitness.  Possible activities include: tennis, soccer, softball, volleyball, badminton, pickle ball, flag football, team building and fitness.

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Electives - (Choose a total of four semesters of electives)

Semester Electives:

  • Art Studio - 1 Semester
    Eighth Grade Art is a semester-long class for students who wish to explore the Arts and Art History more deeply. Students will build upon their prior knowledge. Using the Elements and Principles of Design, they will  further develop their drawing skills, create original paintings, and design dynamic sculptures in various media. They will continue to learn about art movements and periods, and important artists of the past and present. Each semester will offer different creative projects. This course may be taken twice.
  • Lifetime Fitness - 1 Semester
    This course offers a variety of options and fun activities including: lifetime, recreational, team and individual sports.  The focus will be on daily active participation. Emphasis will be placed on advanced skills, strategies and team play.  Enhanced activities, tournaments and competitions will be included.  Potential units are: speedball, team handball, softball, track/field, lacrosse, basketball, touch football and a mixture of other team and individual sports and activities.
  • Public and Performance Speaking - 1 Semester
    This is a course designed to teach students effective persuasive and theatrical speaking skills through the preparation and presentation of a variety of speeches, debates, and theatrical scenes. This class may be taken twice.
  • Design and Make - 1 Semester
    Design and make is a project based course that allows students to apply the skills they acquire in design and modeling and automation and robotics to a topic of interest or passion using varied technologies and mediums.  This class may be taken twice.

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Full-Year Electives:

  • Band - 2 Semesters
    Students will continue to develop the fundamentals of large group band rehearsal and performance, including performance of authentic and challenging literature in a variety of styles. Students will continue to develop instrumental and expressive technique using a variety of approaches including individualized instruction designed to target student strengths and challenges, performance assessment, technology, self and peer analysis, etc. Opportunities for travel, touring, and performance evaluation are an integral part of the students’ experience. Two hours of practice is needed per week to be able to progress at the level of the group. Students will be expected to participate in the two evening concerts and the Solo and Ensemble festival. The Stillwater Band Department is an award winning and highly respected program of ensembles ranging from the beginners in our elementary schools through collegiate- level experiences at our senior high school.  
  • Choir 8 - 2 Semesters
    In this choral performance class, students will work toward becoming independent musicians. Music reading skills, vocal performance skills, correct singing techniques and choral skills will be developed through the study of music from a variety of cultures, styles and time periods. Students will continue to improve music reading skills, perform quality middle level literature with thoughtful expression and age- appropriate skill, demonstrate knowledge of correct singing technique and participate cooperatively and effectively in large and small ensembles. Students will perform in winter and spring concerts and tour in the spring. The biggest event of the year is the Choral Clinic Festival in March when a clinician from outside the district is invited to work with the choirs for two days. This culminates in a concert in which all the choirs perform. 
  • Orchestra - 2 Semesters
    Students will to continue to expand their abilities within vibrato, shifting, note reading in position, theory (written work) and rhythmic independence. Students will work towards mastery in the development of tone quality, bowing techniques and flexibility, and intonation (pitch awareness and accuracy). Students will be introduced and/or continue to develop skills of musical expression (style and phrasing) through the development of advancing articulations, control of bow speed and bow placement. Students will participate in the MNSOTA middle level orchestra festival. Please contact teacher for additional information. 
  • Spanish Level I – 2 Semesters
    ¡Bienvenidos! The focus of Spanish Level I is to build the basic foundation for success in subsequent levels. By the end of Spanish Level I students will be able to ask and answer simple questions on familiar/personal topics, understand carefully constructed speech that is sympathetic to the needs of non-native speakers, read passages about familiar topics, give personal information, write using learned phrases and memorized expressions, and have a basic understanding of cultures in Spanish- speaking countries. Topics that will be covered include; introductions, room vocabulary, school classes and supplies, what you do in your free-time, family, and foods.
  • French I – 2 Semesters
    Bonjour! Students will begin to communicate in French through a variety of lively classroom activities such as conversations, skits and role plays in partner and group settings. Students will describe their everyday lives, families, likes and dislikes, and they will explore diverse cultures. The course will be taught in French as much as possible.
  • Advancement via Individual Determination (AVID) – 2 Semesters
    Advancement via Individual Determination (AVID) is a college preparatory program designed to increase the number of students who are eligible for admission to universities and four-year private colleges. Students receive two hours of instruction per week in college entry skills, two hours per week in tutor led study groups, and one hour per week in motivational activities and academic survival skills. In AVID, students participate in activities that incorporate strategies focused on writing, inquiry, collaboration, organization and reading to support their growth academically. 

    AVID is for students with academic potential who have average to high test scores, 2.0 - 3.5 GPA, and the desire and determination to be successful. Students must go through an application process and be approved by the AVID site team in order to take the class.

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