8th Grade Course Descriptions
Core Course Descriptions
Overview – At McPherson Middle School, 8th Grade students are enrolled in four (4) core classes, select two (2) elective courses each semester, Pack Time and Personal Learning Time.
English Language Arts
•ELA – In this course students will improve their writing, spelling, and grammar skills. Students will include literature, vocabulary and critical reading and thinking skills.
•Pre-Algebra – Areas stressed are computations and equations involving the real number system. This is a Mastery class in which students are expected to meet mastery requirements for the district. This is a pre-requisite course for Algebra. The student needs to be a good achiever and highly motivated.
•Algebra I - The course covers a basic understanding of algebraic expressions, polynomials, exponents, radicals, graphing, and vocabulary relating to real numbers. Placement in this course requires teacher recommendation and completion of mastery requirements of Pre-Algebra. The student needs to be a good achiever and highly motivated.
•American History – American History covers United States history from the discovery of America to the present time. Emphasis is on the American Revolution through the Industrial Revolution. CNN Newsroom broadcasts are used for discussing current events.
Science 8 – A general science class with an emphasis on earth science and health.
Pack Time - Pack Time is a Tier 1 intervention to provide social and emotional support to students throughout the school. The purpose of this time is to build relationships between teachers and classmates and begin the day on a positive note to help prepare students for learning throughout their day.
PLT Personal Learning Time - This class gives the students the opportunity to work on their academic level and meet with their teacher one on one to discuss progress in classes using the Summit Learning Platform.
Elective Course Descriptions
Art 3 (1 Semester) – Students will continue the exploration of the elements and principles of art with emphasis on creativity, originality and development of art skills. There will be additional instruction of new media, 3- dimensionality and art history.
Art 4 (1 Semester) – The prerequisite for this class is the proficient completion of Art I. This class will enable the serious art student to further explore visual art at an advanced level. Exemplary effort and attitude will be required.
Physical Education 8 (1 or 2 Semesters) – The basic concept of physical education is the development of the total person; physically, socially, and emotionally. This is achieved through team games, individual games, and skill development. Various activities are used to develop traits of self-confidence, sportsmanship, teamwork, responsibility, and the aesthetic appreciation of grace and movement. Grading is done in three main areas: daily work, skill improvement, and written work.
SPS (1 or 2 semesters) - Speed, Power, and Strength This course focuses on teaching the basics of weightlifting, improving sprinting speed, improving change of direction speed, improving jumping ability, and working on injury prevention.
Technology Explorations I (1 Semester) – The purpose of Technology Explorations course is to give students an opportunity to explore many subjects in the content areas of technology, family & consumer science, and science. Students work in a module for seven sessions, learning about a module topic using various types of technology. Some of module topics available are: Applied Physics, Audio Broadcasting, Breakfast Nutrition, Creative Problem Solving, Electronics, Engineering Bridges, Forensic Science, Interior Design, Flight Technology, Robots, Rocketry & Space and Weather. Students can expect to explore 8 different modules within the semester.
Technology Explorations II (1 semester) – The concept behind the Technology Explorations II class is to give those students who enjoy working on their own, with guidance from computer software and the instructors, a chance to explore more module content than what they previously have. Hands-on projects, built by teams of students, will also be incorporated to enhance the problem solving skills of the students. This class may be taken twice to complete all of the modules available. Prerequisite: Technology Explorations I. This course can be taken multiple times.
Technology Explorations III-Robotics (1 semester) – Students enrolled in this course will study robotics and the computer programming used to make the LEGO NXT Mindstorm Robots operate. Problem solving, teamwork and communication skills will be emphasized during the hands-on semester course.
Choir 8 (Full Year) – This is a performance-based class. Students will work on improving their singing voices through many various styles of music. This class will encourage student development personal and group musicianship through a deeper sense of expression and performance readiness. Students will have numerous opportunities to perform through concerts and music festivals.
Pops Choir (Full Year) - This course is an auditioned performance-based group showcasing dancing and singing. Students are expected to learn music quickly and be vocal leaders. There are many opportunities in this performing group for solos and small group performances. Students are expected to be able to sing in front of peers or by themselves regularly.
Strings II (Full Year) – This course continues to focus on developing technique and note-reading skills. More concert opportunities are given including contest. Various styles of music are introduced.
Strings III (Full Year) – This class focuses on advanced techniques and emphasis is given on musicianship. Students will have opportunities for contest and state-wide orchestra.
Band III (Full Year) – This class is for the band student with a minimum of two years playing experience. The course involves playing a musical instrument as part of a large group. Emphasis will be placed on higher level playing techniques (i.e.-tone, balance, intonation, interpretation, theory and performance). Several evening performances are required for this class. Other performances will include the A.S.D. parade, contests, solo festivals and small ensemble opportunities. Students are responsible for securing an instrument and method book for the year. Instruments may be purchased or rented from a local music store. Prerequisite: Two years of experience playing a band instrument or consent of the instructor.
Jazz Band (Full Year) – Jazz band is an advanced performance group for the student with at least one year of playing experience. The course involves playing a musical instrument as part of a jazz ensemble. Several evening performances are required for the class. An emphasis will be placed upon playing, listening to, and evaluating different styles of jazz music. Simultaneous enrollment in a fundamental performing ensemble is required. Students are responsible for securing an instrument for the year. All music and materials will be provided. An audition/skills test is required before enrollment. Prerequisite: One year of experience playing an instrument, and consent of the instructor.