7th Grade Curriculum
UTICA COMMUNITY SCHOOLS JUNIOR HIGH
7TH GRADE COURSE DESCRIPTIONS 2017-2018


REQUIRED FULL YEAR COURSES

ENGLISH 7

This course emphasizes the development of the student’s strategic reading skills, literary knowledge, writing abilities, oral language, and research skills. The study of grammar, along with literature, editing skills, and vocabulary, are taught as part of the writing process.

ACCELERATED ENGLISH 7
This course is aimed at helping students acquire the academic skills and habits of mind for success in college-level work and AP courses.  It encourages students to engage in active questioning while analyzing vocabulary, reading/literature, and writing/grammar.   Strategies in fiction and nonfiction will be addressed while focusing on literary analysis, nonfiction analytic strategies, and the task of developing a logical and effective argument.  Students are selected based on current academic performance in 6th grade; homework completion, strong work ethic and NWEA test scores.  Qualifying students will receive an invitation to participate in this course.  A summer reading assignment is required.

GEOGRAPHY
This course acquaints students with the relationship between people, the natural environment and the necessity of global interdependence.  Cultural diversity, population growth, human migration, environmental protection, food and energy distribution and human rights are examined.  Basic concepts include: latitude, longitude, boundaries, topography, climate, natural resources and habitat.  Geographical skills of map reading and plotting as well as graph interpretation are emphasized.

ACCELERATED GEOGRAPHY
This course will explore and analyze the geographical and spatial relationships between human societies and cultures, the natural environment, and historical changes that have shaped the contemporary world.  Important themes include, population, religion, human rights, developing and developed countries, colonialism, sustainability, impact of modernization, globalization of economics and cultures, political conflicts, cultural diversity, and global environmental concerns.  Geographical skills involving the ability to acquire, organize, interpret, analyze, summarize, and evaluate data related to the various types of maps, charts, tables, graphs, timelines and visuals will be reinforced and expanded.  Students are selected based on current academic performance in 6th grade; homework completion, strong work ethic and NWEA test scores.  Qualifying students will receive an invitation to participate in this course.

SCIENCE 7
This course is an exploratory science course that covers basic laboratory and measuring techniques, basic chemistry principals, physics and earth sciences.  The course uses a hands-on approach in laboratory discovery that requires students to utilize critical thinking and problem-solving skills based on the scientific method.


MATH 7
This course stresses both the reading and application of mathematics.  Arithmetic principles are consolidated and integrated with concepts from algebra and geometry. An emphasis is placed on problem- solving strategies.  Focus is placed on pre-algebra skills in preparation of eighth grade.


ADVANCED MATH 7
This course is designed for students displaying a high degree of skill and interest in mathematics, enabling capable students to make the transition from elementary school mathematics to algebra in one year.  It emphasizes pre-algebra skills and concepts, such as variables, equation solving and problem solving. The full range of topics needed for the successful study of algebra is presented.   This course will cover both Math 7 and Math 8 in one year.  Placement is based on criteria established by Utica Community Schools.


ALGEBRA I
Students will be recommended for Algebra based on an exceptionally high performance on an aptitude test along with high grades in mathematics enabling the most capable students to begin junior high in an algebra class.  Completion of this course with a 70% or better on the final exam fulfills 1 credit of mathematics graduation requirements, but the grade will not be counted in the student’s high school GPA. The course stresses both the structure of algebra and the development of computational problem-solving skills; Students study the structure and properties of real numbers, equations, inequalities, functions, and statistics.  Applications of these ideas are used in solving problems which include uniform motion, multiple variables, inequalities, scatter plots and approximation, and exponential growth and decay. Placement is based on criteria established by Utica Community Schools.




REQUIRED SEMESTER COURSE-20 weeks

PHYSICAL EDUCATION/HEALTH
Students study various aspects of physical education including basketball, floor hockey, flag football, volleyball, softball, soccer and other leisure time activities.  In health, students are introduced to decision-making skills that will help them throughout life.  Units of study include:  substance abuse, emergency care, consumerism, infectious and non-infectious diseases, and systems of the body.


DIGITAL LITERACY AND MEDIA DESIGN
Digital Literacy & Media Design is a recommended semester long foundational course to be taken in 7th grade.  Students will learn digital citizenship principles and apply that knowledge through the strategic use of digital media.  This course will provide students the opportunity to work collaboratively to enhance their understanding of communicating ideas through digital displays of information.  Students will integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse formats and media, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.




EXPLORATORY SEMESTER COURSES (full year)

BAND (full year)
Band gives students the opportunity to learn and understand musical notes, symbols and terms, and a chance to develop proficiency on their musical instruments.  Members of this group are expected to develop and refine those skills that will lead to advancement into the 8th grade band.  All members are expected to practice regularly and give their utmost dedication to this group.   All students are required to attend after school rehearsals and performances.


COMPUTER SCIENCE DISCOVERIES (full year)
Computer Science Discoveries is a full-year introductory computer science survey course targeted at grades 7-8. The course takes a wide lens on computer science by covering topics such as digital footprints, programming, physical computing, JavaScript, HTML/CSS, and data. Students are empowered to create authentic artifacts and engage with CS as a medium for creativity, communication, problem solving, and fun.  Implementation of this course will create a natural pathway for students to enroll in high school computer science courses.




EXPLORATORY CLASSES-20 weeks
(Exploratory classes may contain a combination of 7th and 8th grade students.  Classes taken in the 7th grade may not be repeated in the 8th grade.)

INTRODUCTION TO ART
This entry level semester course is designed for students to learn the elements and principles of art and design.  Students will explore but not be limited to drawing, sculpture, color theory, painting, composition and design.  Students will learn about art history and art in the context of our ever-changing world.

INTRODUCTION TO DRAWING AND DESIGN
This course provides students with an environment to explore the elements of art and principles of design through various media.  Students will explore styles and concepts of current and historic artists while discovering their own identity.  This course is recommended for students who have a desire to learn and improve upon their two-dimensional art skills.  Two-dimensional exploration includes drawing and painting.  Beginners as well as the more advanced will benefit from this course.


INTRODUCTION TO PHOTO AND FILM
This course is an in-depth study of digital photography and digital video/editing concepts. During the course students will address a variety of issues and demands that prepare students for ongoing 21st Century Skills using Digital Technology. Students will be asked to demonstrate their understanding of the digital technologies through the use of digital camera, digital video, and computers for digital editing of both the photographs and videos.


DRAMA
This elective allows students to learn the basics of acting and the fundamentals of stagecraft.  Students also experience working together in pairs and groups to perform scenes.   The communication skills draw on the students’ resourcefulness and help build self-confidence.

VOCAL MUSIC
Vocal Music offers students a chance to perform and enjoy group singing.  Students study singing, choreography and musical theory.  Students are required to attend after school rehearsals and performances.


EXPLORATORY DESIGN & ENGINERRING PART I
This introductory course is designed for students who have an interest in drawing, design and engineering.  The course will provide students with basic fundamentals and an appreciation for the basic knowledge of mechanical, architectural, and engineering design.  This course encompasses proper lettering, use of measuring scales, use of design equipment, single, multi view and isometric drawings, and basic residential design.  The Engineering Design Process will be followed as students identify, analyze, predict, and test solutions to problem-based projects.  The students will analyze and interpret data, construct explanations, and design solutions.  This course will provide students a foundation for the Design & Engineering and Architecture programs at the high school.


EXPLORATORY LANGUAGE
The focus of this course is to introduce students to basic conversational and written phrases in French, German, Japanese, and Spanish.  In addition to counting, greetings, and simple nouns, students experience basic vocabulary and practice oral recitation.  This course also includes related study of the various cultures.