8th Grade Curriculum
UTICA COMMUNITY SCHOOLS JUNIOR HIGH
EIGHTH GRADE COURSE DESCRIPTION 2017-2018


REQUIRED FULL YEAR COURSES

ENGLISH 8

In addition to reinforcing lessons taught in Seventh grade English, Eighth grade English builds a foundation for college and career readiness. Students will read critically from a broad range of high-quality, increasingly challenging literary and informational texts. They will write routinely and for various purposes by employing the writing process. Students will demonstrate command of the conventions of Standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking and will gather vocabulary knowledge during reading and writing activities. Finally, they will engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions and presentations, adapting to a variety of contexts and tasks.

ACCELERATED ENGLISH 8
Accelerated English covers the standard curriculum of English 8 to a deeper extent. Students are expected to be independent and self-directed learners. Projects will require significant out-of-class time and there will be a required summer reading assignment given at the end of the seventh grade year. Teacher signature on the course selection sheet is required for entry into this accelerated course.

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 Students also examine major historical documents such as the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.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.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE
This is a course that covers basic laboratory and measuring techniques, basic chemical principals, 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. Students interested in accelerating their science instruction may take Environmental Science and Physical Science together.

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 the new common core curricular standards.

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 allows the student to move forward on the accelerated math pathway. It also 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.

FRENCH I
French I is a study of the French language with equal emphasis on listening, reading, speaking, writing and culture. Learning will concentrate on bringing new vocabulary and grammar into meaningful communicative situations. Students will be introduced to the French-speaking people and their customs and traditions by means of video, audio, and computer technology. At the high school level, regular use of the language lab will be an integral part of the curriculum. Frequent listening activities will enhance students' ability to communicate in French. Cultural studies will include French cuisine, schools, family life, calendar, music, famous people, art, and geography. 8th grade student may pursue Level 1 World language for high school credit. To receive credit, they must earn a 70% or more as a final grade for each semester.

GERMAN I
This course is offered to all students and introduces the four language skills: listening, reading, speaking, and writing the German language. Students will learn to talk and write about themselves, their families, and their daily lives. German-speaking countries, their people and lifestyles are studied using a variety of authentic media such as film, advertisement, and maps. Students will practice speaking German in classroom activities. They will also be exposed to German songs, festivals, and foods. Cultural topics include the home life of German teenagers, clothing, school, and leisure time activities. At the high school level, regular use of the language lab will be an integral part of the curriculum. 8th grade student may pursue Level 1 World language for high school credit. To receive credit, they must earn a 70% or more as a final grade for each semester.

SPANISH I
Spanish I is a beginning course providing elementary practice in speaking, listening, reading, and writing the Spanish language. There is a strong emphasis on oral communication and listening comprehension through the use of varied classroom exercises as well as the use of authentic audio and video sources. This course is interwoven with much interesting information concerning school life, social life, geography, customs, songs, and foods of the many Spanish-speaking countries. The importance of Spanish to a person living in the U.S., as well as career opportunities are also discussed. At the high school level, regular use of the language lab will be an integral part of the curriculum. 8th grade student may pursue Level 1 World language for high school credit. To receive credit, they must earn a 70% or more as a final grade for each semester.

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 Environmental Science course.

Computer Science Discoveries
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.

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)

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, pen and ink, and mixed media. Units explore drawing, color mixing and painting. These areas are all well-mingled with discussions of art history and the role of art and the artist in our changing world. This class is open only for those students who did not have Art in the 7th grade.

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

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 Exploratory Design & Engineering II, as well as 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 Skills 8 is a fun, interactive class that showcases you! You will learn 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.”