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.


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  Students also examine major historical documents such as the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.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.  This course also researches colleges and leadership roles.  Students who are self-motivated and avid readers are most successful in this 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.   


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 in accelerated math.  It also fulfills 1 credit of a mathematics graduation requirement, but the grade will not be counted in the student’s high school GPA.


ACCELERATED GEOMETRY

PREREQUISITE: Algebra 1. Geometry builds on a number of key geometric topics developed in the middle grades, namely relationships between angles, triangles, quadrilaterals, circles, and simple three-dimensional shapes. It is expected that students beginning Geometry are able to recognize, classify, and apply properties of simple geometric shapes, know and apply basic similarity and congruence theorems, understand simple constructions with a compass and straight edge, and find area and volume of basic shapes.

 

Students studying Geometry should develop analytic and spatial reasoning skills. Work is done with two-dimensional and three-dimensional figures in real-world contexts, building spatial visualization skills and deepening the understanding of shapes and relationships. Areas of study include: right triangle trigonometry, algebraic reasoning applied to geometric situations, transformations of linear and quadratic functions to geometric transformations, and coordinate Geometry. The study of formal logic and proof helps students to understand the axiomatic system that underlies mathematics through the presentation and development of postulates, definitions, and theorems. Students should develop deductive reasoning skills. This rigorous course moves more rapidly and studies the topics in greater detail than in regular Geometry. Completion of this course with a 70% or better allows the student to move forward in accelerated math.  It also fulfills 1 credit of a mathematics graduation requirement, but the grade will not be counted in the student’s high school GPA.


FULL YEAR ACADEMIC COURSES (ELECTIVE – equals 2 choices)

May be selected as an elective in order to advance / accelerate progression on UCS Course Pathways


ADVANCED PLACEMENT 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. Students must take U.S. History with AP Human Geography to fulfill course preparation for the M-Step.  Parent signature is required on course selection sheet.


PHYSICAL SCIENCE 9

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.  The first semester is physics-based, with topics including forces and motion, work and energy, electricity, sound and waves, and light and optics.  The second 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


ELECTIVE FULL YEAR COURSES (equals 2 choices)


AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination)

AVID is a college-preparatory course for students willing to commit themselves to a rigorous curriculum, display good work habits, and appropriate classroom behavior. Students in this elective demonstrate the dedication necessary to be successful in junior high, high school, and at the college level. The course offers additional instruction in writing, reading, thinking, and communication skills. AVID provides opportunities to collaborate in a group setting, with support from college tutors. AVID also includes activities, such as field trips, campus visits, and guest speakers, which focus on preparing students for college. AVID opens up numerous opportunities for leadership in and out of the classroom.

**Enrollment in this course includes a review of academic potential and possible interview with AVID Site Team members.**


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. 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. 


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.

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.

 

YEARBOOK

This course focuses on the many aspects of yearbook journalism, including photography, layout design, interviewing, writing, editing and desktop publishing.  A limited number of seats are available for this course.

 

EXPLORATORY SEMESETER COURSES – 20 weeks

Exploratory courses may contain a combination of 7th, 8th grade and 9th 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 on 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 at the Jr. High and further develop 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. This class is open only for those students who did not have Drawing Fundamentals in the 7th grade.

 

PHOTO & FILM

This is a semester course, which is an in-depth study of digital photography and digital video/editing, concepts of which address a variety of issues and demands that prepare students for ongoing 21st Century Skills using Digital Technology.

There would be no prerequisite; however, this course is recommended for serious students who seek to expand their proficiency in the digital arts. Students must be willing to work additional hours outside class time. They will be asked to demonstrate their understanding of the digital technologies through the use of digital cameras for photos, digital video cameras for videos, and computers for digital editing of both the photographs and videos. This class is open only for those students who did not have Photo & Film 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.


ELEMENTS OF MUSIC

Davis Junior High is the only school in the district with a music technology lab. Students in this class learn to compose, arrange, read and notate music. With the use of computers it allows students to see each musical note displayed on the computer screen in relation to time and pitch, which allows a better understanding of how the notated composition forms music. Students will have to use the five elements of music which are melody, rhythm, harmony, form, and tone color to manipulate music as they write songs and orchestrate arrangements. Musical experience is not required for this class. Everyone in the class learns how to play piano.


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  

Exploratory Design and Engineering II will be a project-based course for 8th -9th grade 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 life long leisure activities.

 

LIFE SKILLS 8

Life Skills promotes a positive self-esteem to guide students toward effective living.  Food preparation, goal setting, conflict resolution and relationships, decision-making skills and money management are explored.  This course includes cross-curricular learning and study skills.  Student success is enhanced through the use of hands-on projects and cooperative learning experiences.