GRADE 8 COURSE DESCRIPTIONS:
Grade 8 – Year Courses
Math 8 – Students who require more demonstration and practice time in order to master the course topics of Algebra I (see list above) may choose Math 8 in 8th grade and Algebra I in 9th grade. This class covers the same Algebra curriculum over two years of instruction. Math 8 will consist of students extensively working on: order of operations with integers, solving equations, simplifying expressions, rules of exponents, the Cartesian coordinate plane, and introduction to solving and graphing linear equations.
Algebra I – Algebra I is a course in which students learn how to solve problems by using variables to represent unknown quantities and then solving for those unknown quantities by writing equations and inequalities. Course topics include a review of the order of operations with integers, solving equations, and simplifying expressions. Students will work extensively on solving and graphing linear equations and inequalities. Additional topics will include rules of exponents, factors and polynomials, polynomial fractions, and radicals. Students who earn a 70% or above in this course may elect to take Algebra II in 9th grade. Students who earn below a 70% will need to repeat Algebra I as freshmen.
Geometry – The Geometry course is for students who have successfully completed Algebra I in 7th Grade with an average of 82% or better. The course includes the following topics: geometry terminology, inductive and deductive reasoning, the development of a postulate system, and the geometric proof. Various algebraic techniques are incorporated. Students will also study area, volume, circles, and right triangles. Students who successfully complete this course by averaging an 88% or better in middle school will move on to Honors Algebra II. Students who earn above a 70% can take Algebra II as freshmen.
English Language Arts (ELA) – Throughout this course, students will study universal themes presented through a variety of literary genres, including the novel, the short story, poetry, drama, and non-fiction. While the literature textbook is the foundational resource, additional resources such as articles, stories, and poems provided in handouts may be used as well. A variety of writing assignments will allow students to expand their thinking through composition, exploring the ideas of writers and their reactions to those ideas, using adequate text-based support when appropriate, as well as exploration and development of their own ideas. Expectations for writing improvement will increase as the year progresses. The primary focus of this course is to enable students to become focused, analytical readers who can comprehend an array of texts, as well as continuing to develop and improve writing skills. A plethora of discussions, activities, assignments, projects, presentations, research, etc. will be offered to enhance each student’s reading and writing abilities.
Pre-Honors English Language Arts (ELA) – This course consists of intense instruction in grammar, sentence and paragraph writing, and literature, focusing on the four genres: the short story, the drama, the novel, and poetry. There is a focus on informative and persuasive essay writing using the TEX3I format, including the effective use of the writing process, writing appropriate and effective introductions and conclusions, and using textual support. Vocabulary development is approached through a variety of vocabulary activities including SAT preparation and context clues. In addition, students complete an extensive independent project on a supplementary novel, which may involve research, writing, speaking, artwork, or a particular strength that students may decide to showcase. A number of enrichment activities also permit students to guide their own learning.
Life Science – Life Science is an introductory level course designed to enable students to explore basic biological concepts in a laboratory setting. Students focus on concepts that are shared by all living things such as cell structure, biochemical make-up, and inheritance. As students move through the first semester, the focus of instruction is on ecology and classifying the many different species of living organisms into kingdoms and other classification categories. Students finish the year with a unit on diversity of life that relates the interdependence of living with each other and with their environment. Students who earn below a 75% will schedule for Applied Biology as freshmen. Students who earn a 75% or higher can choose to take Academic Biology in 9th grade. Students who earn a 92% or higher may elect to take Honors Biology.
US/PA Studies – This year long course covers early American history, geography, and government. Students will study American history beginning with the American Revolution and continuing through Westward Expansion in the mid-1800s. While focusing on foreign and domestic issues facing our nation in this era, students will engage in critical and creative thinking skills and primary source analysis.
Pre-Honors US/PA Studies – Pre-Honors US/PA Studies is an advanced course of the US/PA Studies course. The Pre-Honors US/PA Studies class follows the basic curriculum of the US/PA Studies course and covers topics in greater depth. More emphasis is placed on independence, critical thinking skills, written and oral communication, and literary analysis. Various enrichment activities are included.
Health – The Health curriculum, conducted in conjunction with the Physical Education program, is designed to help individuals become sensitive, healthy persons who take an active role in protecting, maintaining, and improving their health. Students study STDs, HIV and AIDS, nutrition, alcohol, drugs, CPR, eating disorders, and fitness. This half credit class meets every other day over the course of the school year.
Physical Education – The Physical Education program provides each student with the opportunity to participate in a comprehensive program consisting of skill development, lead up games, team sports, individual sports, and physical fitness activities. The students receive instruction in rules, skills, and strategies associated with the different sports as well as learning experiences involving physical conditioning activities and lifelong physical activities. The program promotes the spirit of cooperation, leadership, fair play, and friendly competition. This half credit class meets every other day over the course of the school year.
Adaptive Physical Education – This course is available for students in grades 7 and 8 who either temporarily or permanently may not participate in regular physical education class as specified by a physician’s excuse. This course utilizes a wide variety of activities to meet the needs of students participating in the program.
General Music – In this course, students will discuss the history of music, starting with ancient music and ending with modern music. Through listening examples, classwork, hands-on projects, quizzes and tests the students will have a working knowledge of Western classical, jazz, rock, and hip hop. Students will work toward becoming lifelong educated consumers of music. There are no required concerts or after school events with this course. This half credit class meets every other day over the course of the school year.
Band – The 8th Grade Band is open to all students who previously studied a band instrument. Students may enroll as a beginning band student with consultation from the band director. Students will increase their instrumental skills through use of warm ups, scales, and concert literature. Additional rehearsals occur outside of class during activity period. Two evening concerts (December and May), the Music Performance Assessment (during the school day in May) and a performance at the Homecoming football game (September or October) are required (graded). Students electing Band as a class may also participate in Orchestra and/or Chorus during activity period. There are additional opportunities for select honors groups, percussion ensemble and jazz band. This half credit class meets every other day over the course of the school year.
Chorus – The Middle School Chorus is open to all 8th grade students and will help students learn proper vocal techniques and develop better music reading skills. Simple choreographed movements may be used to enhance the mood and the rhythm. Students learn individual, small group, and large group ensemble techniques and will experience a varied choral repertoire. Individual and small group dance, keyboard, and/or vocal opportunities may be granted. Although not mandatory, students should attend their regularly scheduled activity period rehearsal, which occurs one day per six-day cycle depending on their voice part. Please note, as part of this course, students are required (graded) to attend two evening concerts (one in December and the other in May) with the possibility of optional performances throughout the year. Students may participate in any other sport and/or activities and do have opportunities to make up missed rehearsals. This half credit class meets every other day over the course of the school year.
Orchestra – Middle School Orchestra is open to 8th grade students who play violin, viola, cello, or bass. Orchestra class provides students with the opportunity to further develop their instrumental skills and experience quality orchestral literature through meaningful ensemble performance. Additional rehearsals take place several times a week during activity period throughout the school year. Two evening concerts (December and May) are required (graded). Students electing Orchestra as a class may also participate in Band and/or Chorus during activity period. This half credit class meets every other day over the course of the school year.
Grade 8 – Semester Courses
Computer Applications – Students learn the fundamental concepts of Microsoft Office. Students also review and apply advanced concepts in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Google Drive, Gmail, Google Calendar, and Edmodo will be implemented throughout the course. Students will also have the opportunity to use their personal electronic devices in conjunction with classroom activities.
Grade 8 - Nine (9)-Weeks Courses
Art – This is a discoveries course where students will engage in a variety of two and three dimensional projects. Basic design, drawing, painting, ceramic, and sculpture techniques will be explored. A concentration on the principles and elements of design, incorporated with art history, will be integrated into various art projects throughout the nine weeks.
Communications I – This course combines written planning and organizing with public speaking. Written work will include narrative, informative, persuasive, and entertaining styles of writing. These styles will also be carried over to the public speaking portion of this course. Students will understand and implement effective elements and choices of vocal control, diction, syntax, use of visual aids, and non-verbal communication skills through speech presentations. Delivery methods for speeches will include extemporaneous, impromptu, memorized, and manuscript readings with time requirements that change for each speech given. Students are instructed in the five steps to planning compositions and speeches. Additionally, students will work on creating an outline, basic composition, and proofreading skills.
Industrial Technology – Students will look at the role of a research and development engineer in racecar design. Students must consider aerodynamics such as drag, friction, streamlining, and turbulence while designing and developing their own compressed air dragster. Students will create a full size, to scale drawing of their design and build their prototypes out of pine wood. During the construction phase of the car, students will learn proper hand and power tool use and safety. Students will also use a 3D drafting program called Inventor to bring their designs to life. They will be challenged to design wheels for their prototype dragsters that follow a given set of constraints. Ultimately, each student's design will be manufactured through an additive process using our desktop 3D printer.
Family and Consumer Science –This nine-week, 8th grade Family and Consumer Science class focuses on independent living skills. Students are encouraged to practice organizational and decision-making skills while being given the opportunity to explore basic goal setting by efficiently using their available resources. Through theory and hands-on activities, as well as practical application in basic math and science skills, students obtain a background in budgeting, home maintenance and room design, basic meal planning, basic sewing skills, clothing selection and care, child development, and making wise consumer choices.