8th Grade Curriculum
UTICA COMMUNITY SCHOOLS JUNIOR HIGH
EIGHTH GRADE COURSE DESCRIPTION 2018-2019


REQUIRED FULL YEAR COURSES

ENGLISH 8

Eighth grade English teaches and reinforces listening, speaking, writing and reading skills. The study of grammar, along with literature, editing skills, and vocabulary are taught as part of the writing process. Students develop reading skills through a study of drama, poetry, short story and the novel.

ACCELERATED ENGLISH 8
Accelerated English covers the standard curriculum of English 8. The class will also address certain areas to meet the special needs of these students such as leadership, college preparation, community outreach and academic achievement. Students are expected to be independent and self-directed learners.Teacher signature on the course selection sheet is required for entry into this accelerated course.  A summer reading assignment will be given at the end of the 7th grade year.

U.S. HISTORY 8
The purpose of this course is to increase students’ knowledge of American historical events.  The course emphasizes the development of the United States through the study of people, places, events, and ideas.  Students also examine major historical documents such as the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.  Social studies skills such as reading for the main idea, writing, and using maps, charts, and diagrams are stressed.


ACCELERATED U.S. HISTORY 8
Accelerated History follows the same curriculum as the history course described above, with the addition of a more in-depth look at topics, additional reading and research into topics and more writing—often using a compare and contrast format, which encourages higher level thinking in students.  Students who are self-motivated and avid readers are most successful in this course.  Teacher signature on the course selection sheet is required for entry into this accelerated course.

SCIENCE 8
This is an exploratory course that covers basic laboratory and measuring techniques, basic chemical principles, ecological factors 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 8
Mathematics 8 is a course designed to prepare students for Algebra I.  Arithmetic principles are consolidated and integrated with concepts from algebra and geometry.  An emphasis is placed on problem-solving strategies and calculator usage in the applications or mathematics.

ALGEBRA I
Students who were successful in Advanced Math 7 will be recommended for Algebra I.  The course stresses both the structure of Algebra I 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.  Completion of this course with a 70% or better fulfills 1 credit of a mathematics graduation requirement, but the grade will not be counted in the student’s high school GPA.

ACCELERATED GEOMETRY
Accelerated Geometry is a full year course designed for students who have successfully completed Algebra I. This course is designed to meet the Michigan Merit Curriculum requirements for high school Geometry. Geometry builds on key concepts developed in the middle grades. In our ever-increasing technological world, a rich study of logic and mathematical proof is fundamental for reasoning and good decision making. The study of Geometry offers students the opportunity to develop skill reasoning and formal proof. The content expectations include reasoning about number systems, measurement, mathematical reasoning, laws of logic, proofs, figures and their properties, relationships between figures, and transformations of figures in the plane. Geometric thinking is a powerful tool for understanding both mathematical and applied problems, and offers ways of reasoning mathematically, beyond Algebra, including analytical and spatial reasoning.   Completion of this course with a 70% or better fulfills 1 credit of a mathematics graduation requirement, but the grade will not be counted in the student’s high school GPA.


ELECTIVE FULL YEAR COURSES

BAND 8
Band gives students the opportunity to learn and understand musical notes, symbols and terms, as well as a chance to develop proficiency on their musical instruments.  Students are required to perform at band concerts, band festival, and various school functions.  Students are required to attend after school rehearsals and performances.

Computer Science Discoveries
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 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.


FRENCH I
Students are introduced to the four language skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing the French language. Questions are presented in French for student responses along with special readings, vocabulary, grammar, and dictation exercises. Considerable emphasis is placed on conversation. An introduction to French culture is also included. This is a first-year foreign language high school class.  The level II class must be taken in consecutive years with level I course to meet graduation requirements.  Utica Community Schools will award High School credit to 7th and 8th grade students that demonstrate mastery in a World Language course.  To prove mastery, students must earn a score of 70% or higher for each semester.  These elevated expectations meet State-level mandates.

GERMAN I
Students are introduced to the four language skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing the German language. Learning vocabulary words and grammar is accomplished through classroom drills, team games, homework, and dictation exercises. Considerable emphasis is placed on conversation and on knowledge of German culture. This class may contain a combination of 8th and 9th grade students. This is a first-year foreign language high school class. The level II class must be taken in consecutive years with level I course to meet graduation requirements.   Utica Community Schools will award High School credit to 7th and 8th grade students that demonstrate mastery in a World Language course.  To prove mastery, students must earn a score of 70% or higher for each semester.  These elevated expectations meet State-level mandates.

SPANISH I
Spanish I is a beginning academic course providing elementary practice in speaking, listening, reading, and writing. There is emphasis on pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, and structure of the language. Also, through reading, discussion, filmstrips, and film, the student is made aware of the Hispanic lifestyle and customs. This class may contain a combination of 8th and 9th grade students. This is a first-year foreign language high school class. The level II class must be taken in consecutive years with level I course to meet graduation requirements.   Utica Community Schools will award High School credit to 7th and 8th grade students that demonstrate mastery in a World Language course.  To prove mastery, students must earn a score of 70% or higher for each semester.  These elevated expectations meet State-level mandates.

PHYSICAL SCIENCE
This course will go more in depth with physics and chemistry concepts learned in previous science classes.  This course will cover the Michigan High School Essential Benchmarks for physics and chemistry.  One semester is physics-based, with topics including forces and motion, work and energy, electricity, sound and waves, and light and optics.  The other semester is chemistry-based and includes the topics of matter, the periodic table, heating and cooling, and water and solutions.  The course is heavily lab-oriented, with 2-3 labs being done per week.  Most work is done in class; therefore, good attendance is very important. Students who have successfully completed Accelerated Math 7 may elect to take this course in addition to their Science 8 course.

AP Human Geography
This class is an academic, yearlong course designed to represent a systematic study of the earth & its inhabitants.  APHG mirrors a typical undergraduate level Introduction to Human Geography course and covers the following seven units; the geographic perspective; population; cultural patterns and processes; political organization of space; agricultural and rural land use; industrialization and economic development, and cities and urban land use.  This course should help students understand how cultural, economic and political systems relate to the distribution of human activities, the nature of places, and people’s interaction with their environment. Parent signature is required on the course selection sheet.


SEMESTER EXPLORATORY COURSES - 20weeks
(Exploratory courses may contain a combination of 7th and 8th grade students)

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.  This class is open only for those students who did not have Art in the 7th grade.


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.This class is open only for those students who did not have Drawing Fundamentals in the 7th grade.

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 7/8
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 communications skills draw on the students’ resourcefulness and help build self-confidence.  This class is open only for those students who did not have Drama 7/8 in the 7th grade.

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 & ENGINEERING 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. This class is open only for those students who did not have Exploratory Design and Engineering I in the 7th grade.

EXPLORATORY DESIGN & ENGINEERING II
Prerequisite: Exploratory Design and Engineering I
Exploratory Design and Engineering II will be a project-based course for students which will focus on skills in math, science, technology, and engineering as it applies to electric vehicles.  The course will provide students with basic fundamentals and an appreciation for electronics, sources of energy, and mechanical design.  The students will further their drafting and design skills acquired in Exploratory Design and Engineering I (EDE I).  Students will design and build small electric powered vehicles with the intent of racing them in competition with other student created vehicles. In the process of building the vehicles, students will learn basic information about engineering and design processes, electrical circuits, batteries, gearing ratios, and converting electrical energy into mechanical energy.


WOOD 8
This is a co-educational course designed to teach the principles of safety in the woodshop and the basic skills of woodworking with hand tools.  These principles and skills are addressed through informational text, worksheets, lectures, and demonstrations and hands on practice.  This course incorporates the use of mathematical skills and measurement skills.  Woodshop requires proper attire.

PHYSICAL EDUCATION 8
In this exploratory program, students become acquainted with activities which include floor hockey, flag football, volleyball, basketball, badminton, softball, track, soccer and many other facets of physical education that lead to lifelong leisure activities.

LIFE SKILLS 8
Life Skill 8 is a fun, interactive class that showcases you! You will earn success and motivational tips, explore your values, goals and communication styles.  The career pathways will be explored by incorporating hands-on activities.  For example, you will use the engineering process to develop candy cars and market a product “Shark Tank” style.  These activities and more will prepare you for your future by determining your interests.  Your final exam is a comprehensive project-based assessment assisting you in your “future you.”