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.


PHYSICAL 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 prealgebra
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. Based
on placement criteria.

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. Based on placement criteria.


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.


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 7-9. The
course takes a wide lens on computer science by covering topics such as their digital footprint, programming,
physical computing, 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.


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.)


ART
This class puts emphasis on the basic principles of art and appreciation of the humanities. Students use a variety of
media, including pencil, paints, oil pastels, and mixed media. Units explore drawing, color mixing and painting.
These areas are all well-mingled with discussions on art history and the role of art and the artist in our changing
world.

DRAWING FUNDAMENTALS
Drawing Fundamentals is a semester course, which provides students with a coaching environment to practice the
perceptual skills needed to draw extraordinarily well. Students will unveil their current conversations and limitations
they have about their drawing ability and will have breakthroughs in those conversations and abilities. Right brain
and left-brain concepts are studied to enhance the quality of student work.
This course is recommended for people who have a desire to learn or improve upon their drawing and rendering
skills and further developing illustration skills at the high school leading to different career pathways. Beginners as
well as the more advanced will benefit from the “tricks of the trade” taught in this course. Multiple texts will be
referred to during the course. Each student will receive Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards.

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.

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 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.