Eighth-Grade Course Listing
The information on this page has been updated for the 2018-19 school year. Every effort is made to schedule each seventh grader with the electives they choose. It is possible that this may not happen due to staffing restraints, class size, seats available, teaming, etc.
*Denotes full-year course
Adv. English: ENG802*
This advanced course will provide priority time for students to engage in the language processes of reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Students will study classic and contemporary literature in a variety of genres. Instruction and practice in the writing process with assignments ranging from narratives based on personal experience to explanatory essays. The emphasis is on developing an individual voice and on learning through reading, discussion, and expository writing—to shape experience, discover ideas and communicate effectively in a variety of rhetorical situations. In the context of the students’ own writing, matters of grammar, punctuation, and usage are reviewed as necessary. This course will help in preparing students for Accelerated Pathways at Valley Southwoods as well as allow West Des Moines junior high students to take advanced courses without leaving the district. This course is open only to qualified students.
Reading, writing, speaking, listening, and thinking skills and strategies are integrated to form a dynamic process-based program which explores relationships among and between the communication arenas. This integrated approach provides priority time for students to demonstrate their literacy growth, encourages students to assume responsibility and ownership for their own language learning, and provides opportunities for students to discover, explore, formulate, and evaluate ideas. Reading workshop, writing workshop, and traditional theme-centered projects integrating all content areas are significant components of the curriculum.
Algebra C (Advanced): MTH831*
The course content is similar to 9th-grade Algebra which includes problem-solving techniques, the real number system, polynomials, functions, and quadratic equations. This course is open only to qualified students who have successfully completed pre-algebra C (advanced), by teacher recommendation, or special testing. This course is for high school credit.
Pre-Algebra A: MTH811*
This two-semester course is aligned to the Eighth-Grade Iowa Core Math Standards. Pre-Algebra topics include algebraic expressions, linear equations and systems of equations, functions, and geometric relationships of two-dimensional and three-dimensional figures. This A-level course is designed to meet the learning needs of students who are approaching proficiency in their knowledge of the Seventh-Grade Iowa Core Math Standards. This course is a prerequisite for Algebra I A.
Pre-Algebra B: MTH821*
This two-semester course is aligned to the Eighth-Grade Iowa Core Math Standards. Pre-Algebra topics include algebraic expressions, linear equations and systems of equations, functions, and geometric relationships of two-dimensional and three-dimensional figures. This B-level course is designed to meet the learning needs of students who are proficient in their knowledge of the Seventh-Grade Iowa Core Math Standards. This course is a prerequisite for Algebra I B.
Physical Education Course
Physical Education: PHY870*
The physical education program encourages the development of a healthy lifestyle. The curriculum utilizes a variety of individual and group activities to improve the student’s knowledge, appreciation, and performance in the areas of fitness, motor skills, and games. Classes meet every other day. A plain white T-shirt, (may be purchased at IH) any colored gym shorts/gym pants, socks, and gym shoes are required.
Adv. Physical Science: SCI852*
This is a high school level course with a focus on middle and high school Physical Science, Engineering Technology and Earth-Space science concepts as outlined by the Iowa Core standards. Students enrolled in this course will experience a compacted, in-depth, and rigorous learning environment inclusive of standards associated with middle school and high school physical science. This course leads to enrollment in Biology at the 9th grade. This course is for 2 high school credits and fulfills 2 credits of the Physical Science graduation requirements.
This course provides an integrated and balanced coverage of all science disciplines including physics, life science, earth science, chemistry, and sequences them so that topics presented in each course build upon previously learned concepts. Health topics include drug and alcohol education and human growth and development.
Social Studies Courses
Adv. Social Studies: SOC842*
This course will have similar content base compared to the regular section of 8th-grade social studies (1500’s – 1900’s US History), but will take a more intense look at the history through a variety of different methods. Students will have the opportunity to debate historical issues, study and compare work of historians, analyze primary resources, apply historical learning in a modern setting and explore problem-based learning. Students will be asked to read and write at a high level in the promotion of higher order thinking skills related to the content. This course will help in preparing students for Accelerated Pathways at Valley Southwoods as well as allow West Des Moines junior high students to take advanced courses without leaving the district. This course is open only to qualified students
Social Studies: SOC841*
Students will be provided with a relatively comprehensive overview of American history from Pre-Columbian America to 1877. In addition, this course provides opportunities to engage in research and enriched activities.
While beginners are welcome in band, it is recommended that students have previous training on their instruments so that they may participate in large group band instruction. During the year, the band will perform various concerts. Each student will have a group lesson once per six days. All students have the opportunity to audition for jazz band and will be encouraged to perform in solo and ensemble contests. Band meets every other day and is a one-year course.
Chorus is open to any student who enjoys singing and wants to further his or her musicianship. Attention is placed on development of vocal skills and choral technique. The students sing three and four part music and perform various concerts and occasions throughout the year. All chorus members are eligible to audition for the show choir, which is an extra-curricular activity. Chorus meets every other day and is a one-year course.
Communication Media: ENG809
This course consists of hands-on projects such as the school newspaper, creating a magazine, radio broadcasting, TV programming, and film production. Students will learn to recognize and understand the media’s importance and influence in the world and in their lives. Students will also have many opportunities for advancing their speaking, writing, reading, and listening skills.
This is an exploratory theater arts course. Units of study include informal and formal acting opportunities culminating in an one-act play production. The study of drama teaches commitment, concentration, creativity, and cooperation which all students need to succeed in an increasingly complex world. Drama also provides opportunities for students to engage actively and personally in all four communication skills: speaking, reading, writing, and listening.
Exploring Technology: TEC820
This course studies how men and women use different materials and change these materials to make them more useful. Students will gain experience working with wood, metal and plastic, and study the processes of laminating, welding, and forming. Problem-solving is also studied. Projects include clocks, mini-basketball hoops, and various plastic projects.
This semester course will provide students the opportunity to develop valuable kitchen skills as they work individually and with others in the labs. Students will gain knowledge of kitchen safety and food sanitation through the preparation of items such as: pizza, muffins, biscuits, breads, vegetables, fruits, cookies and many other foods. Lifelong nutritious food choices are discussed and encouraged. The planning, preparing, serving and table etiquette are all life skills that are taught in the 8th-grade foods class.
This semester course will provide students the opportunity to improve their machine and hand sewing skills. Students will create several sewing projects (frog, sports bags, a clothing item such as flannel pants, etc.) that will teach many sewing techniques as well as fabric selection and care. Students will explore the areas of design, color, and the history of clothing. For a class final, students may create a project by using a computer-aided program or an independently chosen alternative project. Students will need to pay for the projects that are ordered for them.
GTT: DMAR: TEC821 Gateway to Technology:
Design & Modeling – Students apply the design process to solve problems and understand the influence of creativity and innovation in their lives. They work in teams to design a playground and furniture, capturing research and ideas in their engineering notebooks. Using Autodesk® design software, students create a virtual image of their designs and produce a portfolio to showcase their innovative solutions.
Automation & Robotics – Students trace the history, development, and influence of automation and robotics as they learn about mechanical systems, energy transfer, machine automation, and computer control systems. Students use the VEX Robotics® platform to design, build, and program real-world objects such as traffic lights, toll booths, and robotic arms.
Students are provided large group, small group, and individual orchestra experiences. Each student also participates in a combined junior high chamber orchestra. Individual or small group lessons are available to each student. The orchestra will perform at several concerts during the year. Orchestra meets every other day and is a one-year course.
Spanish I: FRL801
This course is an initiation into the structure of the Spanish language and a survey of the cultures in Spanish-speaking countries. Speaking, reading, writing, and listening skills will be developed through varied classroom activities. Students will gain basic working vocabulary with which they will be able to communicate. It is recommended, but not required, that students complete 7th grade Spanish if they intend to take Spanish I in 8th grade. After successfully completing a full year of Spanish I, a student is qualified to enroll in the level II course at Valley Southwoods.
Visual Art: ART840
This course is designed to explore the visual arts in depth, expanding students’ previous experiences. Students will increase their understanding of the importance of the visual arts, their function in society and impact on their daily lives. They will analyze, assess, and derive meaning from works of art, including their own, according to the elements of art, the principles of design, and aesthetic qualities. The role and development of the visual arts in past and present cultures throughout the world, noting diversity as it relates to the visual arts and artists will be explored. Students will continue to study a variety of art media and methods through self-expression. National art standards are incorporated in the art curriculum.
Recommended Courses (based on teacher feedback)
E.S.O.L.: ESOL Newcomers
As students enter the WDM School District with English for Students of Other Languages, the Idea Proficiency Test (IPT) will be administered. Students scoring a low proficiency score on oral, written, or reading will be served within the Newcomers Program at Valley High School for three periods in the mornings. Students are eligible to participate in the program for two full semesters. After completing the Newcomers Program, students will be served by the regular E.S.L. teacher at Indian Hills by taking ESL892.
The purpose of E.S.O.L. is to provide support and modifications for students whose native language is not English. This class teaches basic skills in reading, writing, and speaking English. The class meets every day in order to teach English and support academics in content area classes.
Extended Learning: LRN899
The purpose of this class is to develop self-directed, independent life-long learners. Students work individually, in small groups, and with the entire group on projects and presentations based upon their interests, needs, and abilities. ELP is open only to identified gifted and talented students who have been recommended. Parent permission is required. The class is a one-year course scheduled every other day opposite physical education or study hall.
Learning Lab: LRN801
The learning lab is a non-graded class designed to help and assist students who are struggling with academic success, organization skills, and assignment completion. Parents will be contacted to discuss this option after the school year begins if problems become apparent. The learning lab will become a closely supervised study hall with a small teacher to student ratio. The class meets every other day or every day, if needed.
Math Resource: MTH810
The purpose of this course is to provide students with additional direct instruction in math skills and strategies. Students will be assessed for problem areas, and review key concepts using a variety of strategies and methods. Enrollment is based on assessment scores and team recommendation. This course meets every other day. If it becomes apparent by the building administrator, that the student has been inappropriately placed, an adjustment will be made.
The purpose of this class is to provide students with additional time to read and develop study skills and reading strategies useful for core subject reading. Enrollment is based on test scores and teacher recommendations. The class meets every other day all year. Students scoring an NSS score of 219 and below for 7th grade and 231 and below for 8th grade on the Reading section of the Iowa Assessments will be required to take this class if it can be fit into their schedule. If it becomes apparent by the building administrator, that the student has been inappropriately placed, an adjustment will be made.