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Westside Middle School

8th Grade Courses

Eighth Grade Required Courses

Language Arts 8
All eighth grade curriculum choices and related assessments are aligned with program outcomes and essential learnings already established for the middle school and the district. Students will apply critical thinking skills to each area listed below.

Reading (Literature)

  • The student will identify, understand, and apply vocabulary to challenging fiction and nonfiction texts.
  • The student will analyze how literature reflects the issues of its culture, era, and environment. •The student will identify and understand connections between literature and life.
  • The student will analyze essential elements of nonfiction, fiction, and drama.

Writing

  • The student will understand and demonstrate the writing process (prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing), and the student will know and use the Six Traits of Good Writing, including content, organization, voice, word choice fluency, and conventions (appropriate mechanics, spelling, and usage).
  • The student will explore writing as a vehicle for reflection and self-assessment.
  • The student will effectively compose descriptive, informative, and persuasive writing, using formal and informal formats.

Speaking and Listening

  • The student will participate productively in both small and large group discussions. •The student will follow spoken directions.
  • The student will use appropriate and effective listening skills in a variety of settings.

American History 8
This course studies the development of the United States from early American History to the present. Students learn about the major events and concepts that have shaped our nation. The goal of this class is to help students see the connections of our nation’s past to current events and issues in America. The first semester the focus is on US History and the major events and issues between the years of 1790 to 1900. During second semester the focus will be on US History and the major events and issues between the years of 1900 to 1990.

Science 8
In this course students explore and learn about a variety of physical, life, and Earth science topics. Throughout the year, students will study earth science by examining the rock and fossil record of the earth, and by exploring the dynamics between the sun, moon, and Earth. Physical Science leads to an in-depth study of forces and motions, while the Life Science unit exposes students to the biodiversity and the interactions of living things.

Math 8
Math 8 is a grade level math course with instruction and assessment in the following areas:

  • Geometric Properties
  • Number Sense
  • Computation
  • Rates, Ratios, Proportions, Probability * Data Representations and Analysis
  • Expressions, Equations, Inequalities

Honors Algebra 8
Algebra is an accelerated math course with instruction and assessment in the following areas:

  • Number Sense
  • Expressions, Equations, and Inequalities
  • Rates, Ratios, Proportions, and Probability * Graphs and Functions
  • Linear and Absolute Value Equations
  • Systems of Equations and Inequalities
  • Polynomials and Factoring
  • Quadratic Equations
  • Radical Expressions and Equations
  • Data Analysis
  • Algebraic Applications

NOTE: Students should maintain a grade of “B” or higher to remain in the class and to be ready for the next course level in the honors math program.

Honors Algebra Enrichment
This course is intended for students who desire a deeper understanding of Algebra concepts before proceeding to Geometry. The class will revisit concepts in Algebra including: slope/intercepts, systems of equations, factoring, solving quadratic equations, exponents, and radicals. In addition, students will be introduced to proofs and logic tables in preparation for Honors Geometry.

NOTE: Students should maintain a grade of “B” or higher to remain in the class and to be ready for the next course level in the honors math program.

Honors Geometry
Geometry is a fast-paced, challenging high school level algebra course for accelerated math students. Continuation on this path places students in Calculus as a junior in high school. Areas of instruction and assessment include the following:

  • Understand and properly use the language of Geometry
  • Use inductive and deductive reasoning to solve problems and prove theorems based on Euclidean geometry
  • Be able to do indirect proofs, paragraph proofs and two column proofs
  • Deduce properties of and relationships between figures from given assumptions *Continue in the study of Algebra

NOTE: Students should maintain a grade of “B” or higher to remain in the class and to be ready for the next course level in the honors math program.

Health 8 (Alternate days with PE)
This class will focus on enabling students to become independent problem solvers. Students will understand the impact certain health decisions can have on their overall health. Health topics will encourage students to make educated daily decisions regarding their physical, mental, and social health.

Health topics include: Self-concept/self-esteem – Goal setting – Decision Making – Nutrition – Relationships – Skeletal and Muscular System – Drug and Alcohol Prevention – Non-communicable Diseases – Communicable Diseases – Human Growth and Development

Physical Education 8 (Alternate days with Health)
Eighth grade students will participate in Physical Education classes every other day for the year. The course will include advanced team activities and interest development for lifetime fitness. Students are required to wear appropriate clothing (shorts, shirts, sweats, and tennis shoes).

*Leggings and tights are not acceptable PE attire.

PE activities include: Soccer – Fitness Activities – Aerobics – Flag Football – Fitness Testing – Floor Hockey – Basketball – Frisbee Golf – Softball – Volleyball – Tennis – Dance.

Eighth Grade Required Semester Courses

Family and Consumer Science 8
Family and Consumer Science is a semester course designed to help students learn life skills that they need to be responsible, productive family and community members. FCS units have been developed to allow students to explore nutrition and food science, human science, careers, textiles, and consumerism. Since Family and Consumer Science covers much of what is fundamental to everyday living, the subject matter is engaging and useful to all students.

Engineering & Technology 8
Engineering & Technology is a semester course in which students will build on the core concepts of Engineering and Technology. Students will use Design Briefs to solve problems using the Engineering Design Process. They will apply what they learn about the types of technology and engineering to 3D technical drawings, floor plans, and electronics. Students will also learn how to use SketchUp, read schematics, and solder. Career Ready Practice Standards from the Nebraska Career Education Model will also be emphasized. Students will be involved in large group lectures, discussions, and lab activities. As they work with a partner, students will develop their own solutions to creatively solve problems. An Engineering Notebook will be used to record class work, ideas, notes, and sketches. It has all the information needed to be successful in class.

 

Eighth Grade Full Year Elective Courses

Band 8
This sequential yearlong band course meets every day and is open to all eighth graders meeting prerequisites. The main emphasis is on playing, with a continuation of performance fundamentals and music theory. Students have the opportunity to participate in jazz bands or other small ensembles. Students are given at least a four week notice and are required to attend all performances. Prerequisite: Successful completion of 7th grade Band at WMS or previous school

Chorus 8
This sequential yearlong choir course meets every day and is open to all eighth graders meeting prerequisites. This course will develop and refine skills in part singing and note reading. Sight singing will be emphasized. The concept of choral sound will be developed. Students will be introduced to choral selections of representative choral styles. Students will present at least four public performances a year at which attendance is mandatory. (Any student planning to audition for show choir must be in a chorus class). Prerequisites: Successful completion of Music 7 at WMS or previous school

Band/Chorus 8
Students interested in participation in both Chorus 8 and Band 8 will be expected to fulfill the requirements of each course. Prerequisite: Permission of both Band and Choral Directors

Strings 8
Students will continue to build the techniques required for orchestral performance and develop an appreciation of orchestra music. Each student will attend all performances, given four weeks notice. Prerequisites: Successful completion of a seventh grade Strings course or audition for director

Strings/Chorus 8
This course is open to those uniquely talented in both vocal and instrumental music. Since the student will be absent from “Strings ” rehearsals two days each week, it is essential he/she has above average skills. Students are given a four week notice and are required to attend all performances. Prerequisites: Permission of both Strings and Choral directors

The following World Language courses are a full year and are open to 8th grade students only who successfully studied the same language in 7th grade.

French 1B
This course is a continuation of the Beginning French course that students took in 7th grade. Students will continue to build vocabulary, and improve their skills in speaking, listening, reading, and writing in French. They will explore new cultural topics. Students who successfully complete this course should be eligible to enroll in French 2 when they register for high school. Prerequisite: a grade of C or better in Beginning French, or instructor recommendation.

German 1B
This course is a continuation of the Beginning German course that students took in 7th grade. Students will continue to build vocabulary, and improve their skills in speaking, listening, reading, and writing in German. They will explore new cultural topics. Students who successfully complete this course should be eligible to enroll in German 2 when they register for high school. Prerequisite: a grade of C or better in Beginning German, or instructor recommendation.

Spanish 1B
This course is a continuation of the Beginning Spanish course that students took in 7th grade. Students will continue to build vocabulary, and improve their skills in speaking, listening, reading, and writing in Spanish. They will explore new cultural topics. Students who successfully complete this course should be eligible to enroll in Spanish 2 when they register for high school. Prerequisite: a grade of C or better in Beginning Spanish/1A, or instructor recommendation.

 

Eighth Grade Semester Elective Courses

Animal Kingdom
Animal Kingdom is a course for students interested in Biology. The primary focus in this course is on the animal kingdom. Topics covered include animal characteristics, classification of animals, scientific naming, animal behavior, and basic animal anatomy in dissection labs. Students need to be prepared to study every night and be ready to dissect three animal specimens to help them learn about body systems and functions.

Art Plus
Art Plus is a challenging art course which will build off of the drawing and painting skills taught in 7th and 8th grade art. This course will be geared toward those students who anticipate taking more art classes at the high school level. Extensive project work will revolve around a self-portrait, which will require a great deal of dedication in and outside of class. This is an advanced art class for the serious art student.

Digital Media and Literacy
In this course, students will learn the elements of digital citizenship, copyright law, and how to be a responsible digital citizen. Students will explore the different types of digital media devices and platforms in addition to how they affect and influence their lives in today’s world of technology. Students will complete a variety of digital media projects, including a personal web portfolio and Stop Motion movies. Students will also learn basic computer programming skills using applications such as Scratch computer Programming. Throughout this course, students will learn and have the opportunity to demonstrate 21st Century Skills: creativity and innovation, communication and collaboration, research and information fluency, problem solving, digital citizenship, and technology operations and concepts.

Mixed Media (Art)
Students choosing this class will experience a variety of two and three dimensional art units. These might include: sculpture, printing, art history, and pottery. Students opting for this class should want to continue their interest in art. Students should also have had a successful experience in their 7th grade art class.

All About Business
Students will be exposed to the exciting world of business with an emphasis on entrepreneurial discovery! They will complete projects utilizing marketing strategies in online marketing and selling activities involving eBay and PayPal. Students will explore economic principles including gross domestic product, profit, competition, supply and demand. They will demonstrate an understanding of ethical business practices. Entrepreneurship, investments, international business, and financing of a business venture are some of the interesting concepts covered.

8th Grade Current Events
This course will expose students to an array of current event topics with an emphasis on national and international issues. Students will research, analyze, and evaluate current events topics, write arguments to develop positions on debatable issues, and engage in discussion and debate to support their arguments. Additionally, students will assess the role that media and bias play in the portrayal of current events.

School Services
Students can sign up to assist in ONE of the following areas: administration (main) office, guidance office, or the media center. Character, responsibility and leadership are some of the qualities considered in the selection process. If selected, the student expectations for this ONE semester class will be to:

  • Maintain good academic standing
  • Appropriate school behavior

Students who are interested need to obtain a teacher recommendation which that teacher will submit through PowerSchool.

Drama
Drama is a single semester, basic acting and theater class. Students learn terminology, skills, and the fundamental concepts necessary for being involved in a theater production. At the end of the semester, students will showcase their work in a final performance in front of an audience. Drama 8 aligns national academic theater outcomes with district academic indicators for success, and prepares students for further theater training at Westside High School.

Exploratory French
Students will be introduced to the French language and culture. They will learn basic conversation skills, vocabulary, and structures. We will learn about where French is spoken around the world and where we find it in our everyday lives. Students will work independently and in groups to explore a variety of cultural topics. This course is one semester and is open to 7th or 8th grade students. (NOTE: This course does not qualify a student to move on to French 2)

Exploratory German
Students will be introduced to the German language and culture. They will learn basic conversation skills, vocabulary, and structures. We will learn about where German is spoken around the world and where we find it in our everyday lives. Students will work independently and in groups to explore a variety of cultural topics. This course is one semester and is open to 7th or 8th grade students. (NOTE: This course does not qualify a student to move on to German 2)

Exploratory Latin
Students will be introduced to the Latin language and culture. They will learn basic vocabulary and structures. We will learn how Latin improves our knowledge of English and other languages and how it can help improve reading and writing skills. Students will work independently and in groups to explore a variety of cultural topics. This course is one semester and is open to 7th and 8th grades students. (NOTE: This course does not qualify a student to move on to Latin 2)

Exploratory Spanish
In this course students will review and build upon the Spanish that they have learned. They will practice basic conversation skills, vocabulary, and structures. We will learn more about where Spanish is spoken around the world and where we find it in our everyday lives. Students will work independently and in groups to explore a variety of cultural topics. This course is one semester and is open to 7th or 8th grade students. (NOTE: This course does not qualify a student to move on to Spanish 2)

MIDDLE SCHOOL | Start 8:00 - Dismiss 3:15 ( Wednesdays | Dismiss 2:45 )