8th Grade Courses

8th Grade Course Descriptions 2017-2018

Wetsel Middle School

Required Courses:

1.     Pre-Algebra II, Algebra, Geometry, Algebra II

2.     Language Arts 8

3.     Science 8

4.     Academic Earth Science

5.     Social Studies 8

6.     Physical Education/Health 8


Elective Courses:

1.      Advanced Band 8 (all year)

2.     Spanish I **

3.     Technology Foundations 

4.     Family and Consumer Sciences 8

5.     Art 8


**It is a privilege for students to begin the study of high school Spanish I in the eighth grade. Students must have a strong interest in studying foreign language and plan to pursue advanced foreign language studies in the high school. Eighth graders should understand that the curriculum and pacing used at the high school will also be used in the middle school. Colleges encourage students to pursue foreign language during their entire high school career.


In order to take Spanish I in the eighth grade, parents and students must sign a consent form accepting the rigor and expectations of the course. Successful completion of Spanish I in the middle school will earn students one credit toward graduation requirements.


*STEM Electives:

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) course will serve as inspiration for students to further their study in all of these areas in high school and beyond.


*Athletic Academic Eligibility  (Requirements at WMS)

Academic eligibility requirements for middle school students who wish to participate in Madison County High School athletics are:

1.     All athletes must pass 3 out of 4 classes per semester, including English and Math, to become eligible to participate in sports

2.     Middle school students must also pass 3 out of 4 classes, including English and Math, for the semester to remain eligible to play a sport.

It is important for students to perform well in the classroom if they have a desire to participate in a sport.



*Student placement will be determined by standardized test scores and teacher recommendation.



The seventh-grade standards place emphasis on solving problems involving consumer applications and using proportional reasoning and gaining proficiency in computation with integers. Students will gain an understanding of the properties of real numbers, solve 1- and 2-step equations and 1-step inequalities, and use data analysis techniques to make inferences, conjectures, and predictions. Two and three-dimensional representations, graphing transformations in the coordinate plane, and probability will be extended. Students will use concrete materials and appropriate technologies such as calculators, computers and videos.  However, facility in the use of technology shall not be regarded as a substitute for a student’s understanding of quantitative concepts and relationships or for proficiency in basic computations.  Problem solving has been integrated through the six content strands.



This course reviews and/or extends concepts and skills learned in previous grades and new content that prepares students for more abstract concepts in algebra and geometry. Students will gain proficiency in computation with rational numbers and use proportions to solve a variety of problems. New concepts include solving two-step equations and inequalities, graphing linear equations, visualizing three-dimensional shapes represented in two-dimensional drawings, and applying transformations to geometric shapes in the coordinate plane.  Students will verify and apply the Pythagorean Theorem and represent relations and functions using tables, graphs and rules.  Students will use concrete materials and appropriate technologies such as calculators and computers. However, facility in the use of technology shall not be regarded as a substitute for a student’s understanding of quantitative concepts and relationships, or for proficiency in basic computations.  Mathematics has its own language and the acquisition of specialized vocabulary and language patterns is crucial to a student’s understanding and appreciation of the subject.  Problem solving has been integrated throughout the six content strands.




Prerequisite: Successful completion of Pre-Algebra and based on standardized test scores.

This is the fundamental course for any study of advanced mathematics.  The topics include polynomials, solving equations, functions, graphing, exponents, and beginning statistics.  This course will involve extensive use of the graphing calculator.  An SOL test will be taken at the end of the course.






Prerequisite: Successful completion of Algebra and based on standardized test scores.

This course places an emphasis on applying logic to problem solving, using algebra and the coordinate plane to solve polygons from triangles through circles.  Students will also study right triangle trigonometry, transformations, and constructions.  Writing proofs will be an integral part of the course.  An SOL test will be taken at the end of the course.


Algebra II

PREREQUISITE: Successful completion of geometry with C or better and/or Administrative Approval

In this course, a thorough treatment of advanced algebraic concepts will be covered through the study of functions, “families of functions,” equations, inequalities, systems of equations and inequalities, polynomials, rational and radical equations, complex numbers, and sequences and series, and statistics. Emphasis will be placed on practical applications, modeling, and statistical analysis throughout the course of study. Oral and written communication concerning the language of algebra, logic of procedures, and interpretation of results will also permeate the course. This course will take a theoretical approach. An SOL test will be taken at the end of the course.



Students will study and discuss a variety of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry to enhance their ability to understand and appreciate literary elements such as figurative language, word choice, and imagery. Students will incorporate written composition skills to produce engaging and creative narrative, persuasive, and expository pieces. By applying accepted grammatical conventions, students will demonstrate correct use of language, spelling, and mechanics. Vocabulary study will continue with learning word origins and studying word parts to increase word knowledge and usage. Students will expand skills in utilizing research techniques and technology to gather, organize, and communicate information while properly citing print and online sources. This class will ask students to respond to higher order questions through project based learning. Daily homework should be expected. Preparation for the Standards of Learning Tests in reading and writing will also be part of this course.



Students will continue to build skills of systemic investigation with a focus on variables and repeated trials, using observation, experimentation, models, evidence, and problem solving. Students will plan and conduct research involving both classroom experimentation and literature reviews from written and electronic resources. Major areas covered by the standards include the organization and use of the periodic table; physical and chemical changes; nuclear reactions; temperature and heat; sound; light; electricity and magnetism; and work, force, and motion.



Academic Earth Science

Prerequisite: Recommendation from Principal and Science Teachers

Students will continue to build skills of systemic investigation with a focus on variables and repeated trials, using observation, experimentation, models, evidence, and problem solving. Students will plan and conduct research involving both classroom experimentation and reviews of current environmental issues. Demonstrations, laboratory exercises, and JASON Project are used to enhance the learning of the topics being considered. Major topics covered by the standards include astronomy, geology, meteorology, and oceanography. 




Students will examine the roles citizens play in the political, governmental and economic systems in the United States. Students will research and interpret the U.S. and Virginia Constitutions; identify the rights, duties and responsibilities of citizens; and describe the structure and operation of government at the local, state and national levels. Students study microeconomics; basic investment formats and investigate the process by which decisions are made in America's Free Enterprise system and interaction in the global economy.



Students will improve their fitness level in the four main areas of physical fitness: Cardiovascular endurance, Abdominal strength, Upper body strength, and Flexibility. Students will demonstrate positive attitudes toward classmates and good sportsmanship towards teammates, opponents, and officials. Dressing out daily will promote each student's responsibility and good personal hygiene. Students will also participate in various sports and games such as flag football, tchoukball, indoor soccer, softball, volleyball, tennis, backyard games, ultimate frisbee, whiffle ball, basketball, and track and field. There will be four Family Life Education lessons during the year and throughout the course health education will be incorporated.  Some of the topics include nutrition, physical activity, communicable and noncommunicable diseases, the risks of tobacco, alcohol, and drugs, using medicines wisely, building character, building healthy relationships, abstinence, body systems (endocrine, reproductive, immune), mental and emotional health, conflict resolution, violence prevention, safety, and environmental health











Advanced Band 8:

Students will continue to develop their musicianship skills by preparing and performing standard band works. Performance opportunities include: All District Band, Winter and Spring Performances, and District Band Assessment. Advanced Band students also combine with the high school Concert Band for performances in the spring and will be introduced to the basics of marching band.


**Teacher recommendation required to sign up for 8th Grade Band.




PREREQUISITE: Administrative Approval

This course focuses on the development of students' communicative competence in Spanish and their understanding of the culture of Spanish-speaking countries. Students learn to communicate in real-life contexts about topics that are meaningful to them. In order to develop their communication skills, students are encouraged to use the Spanish language as much as possible. Rather than isolating grammar in a separate strand, it is integrated into instruction according to the vocabulary and structures needed in the various situations in which students are required to function. Topics to be explored include pastimes, school life, food and drink, shopping, the family, and the home.




Technology Foundations 

Students acquire a foundation in technological material, energy, and information and apply processes associated with the technological thinker. Challenged by laboratory activities, students create new ideas and innovations, build systems, and analyze technological products to learn further how and why technology works. They work in groups to build and control systems using engineering design in the development of a technology.


Family and Consumer Sciences 8

Students in Independent Living build life skills focusing on establishing positive relationships, balancing work and family life, investigating careers, making responsible consumer choices, applying nutrition and wellness knowledge, and studying child development and parenting. Curriculum will be broken into the major units, with career readiness and financial preparedness being a major focus. This will allow us to continue making connections with prior business skills learned as well as build upon civics lessons. A minimum of at least two food labs will be a part of the course, students must be prepared to dress and prepare according to safety standards.





Students may enroll in Art for either first or second semester. First semester students will be working with perspective drawing. Students build on fundamentals learned in 6th grade Exploratory Art on how to create the illusion of three dimensions on a two dimensional surface, their drawing paper. Students will work with both one and two point perspective and be introduced to three-point perspective. Students will use both drawing techniques to create two separate city landscapes. Students will design a house and build a 3D-paper model of their design. The model then becomes the pattern for building the house with clay, which upon completion will be colored by glazing or painting. The second half of the semester will be devoted to print- making and calligraphy. Students will practice lettering using felt tip and metal calligraphy pens. Printmaking will also be studied by m

aking linoleum and/or woodcuts. Students will design a card and use calligraphy to print a message inside.



Second semester Art students will study the human figure. Students are required to bring in photos of a human in action and a portrait. Students will learn how to use blind contour and semi blind contour drawing in developing their drawing skills. Studies will be done in drawing portraits in pencil, collage, tempera, and pastel. The figure will be drawn in pencil and colored pencil. The final project will be a sculpture of their action figure from their earlier photo. The sculpture will be made from Paris Craft and upon completion will be displayed in the school library. If time allows, students will be given the opportunity to make a sun catcher from colored cellophane paper, use watercolors, and try their hand at the pottery wheel.





Services are provided on an individual basis as designated by the student's IEP. Students must first go through the special education eligibility process to qualify for this service. Each child receives services according to their IEP in the areas of articulation, voice, fluency, language and/or hearing impairment. The amount of time each student is seen is based on the IEP.




This program bases its curriculum on the individual needs and IEP goals of the 

student. More one-to-one assistance and smaller class size are characteristics of the self-

contained program. The self-contained class covers all areas of academics. Courses 

taught are language arts, math, science, and social studies.