Middle School Academics

Grade 8 Academics

Coding, Computer Science, Engineering, Robotics, Technology Education

In order to prepare all students for demands of college, careers, and the rapidly changing workforce, MCPS will equip all middle school students to reach their potential through engaging, hands-on electives in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). A priority for MCPS is ensuring that all students have experiences with and exposures to computer science and coding during the middle school years, while also developing the communication, problem-solving, computational, analytical, and innovative thinking needed to thrive in the 21st century. MCPS utilizes external curriculum from national organizations such as Code.org and Project Lead the Way to include units in coding, robotics and engineering design processes. A variety of skills are employed to spark student interest in STEM fields, in alignment with high school programs of study that prepare students for college and careers. Many courses are available in semester or quarterly modules. Please contact your school counselor for further information.

Coding, Computer Science, and Robotics

Computer Applications (2941)

Computer Applications provides students with active learning experiences related to the productive use of computer-based applications. Students use word processing, spreadsheet presentation, programming, and research skills to complete authentic projects. These courses focus on the selection and use of appropriate technology tools and resources to solve problems and accomplish a variety of tasks. Course outcomes are based on national and state technology standards, such as the International Society for Technology in Education, the National Workforce Center for Emerging Technologies, and the Maryland State Technology Literacy Standards.

UNIT 1: COMPUTER LITERACY INCLUDING HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE
UNIT 2: CYBER-SAFETY
UNIT 3: PRODUCTIVITY TOOLS—PRESENTATION, WORD PROCESSING AND SPREADSHEET
UNIT 4: INTRODUCTION TO PROGRAMMING

Computer Science Discoveries (2750/2751)

Computer Science Discoveries (CS Discoveries) is an introductory Code.org® computer science course that engages and empowers all students, regardless of background or prior experience, to solve problems, communicate, create projects and artifacts and have fun using computer science. Students are introduced to coding languages appropriate for beginners as well as more complex projects for students with more experience. Using App Lab, Game Lab environments, students will progress from blocks to typed coding and learn JavaScript. Students successful in this course will be prepared for AP Computer Science Principles high school course.

Website Development A/B (2991/2992)*
HS credit

This high school course is for Grade 8 students who would enjoy learning web design from storyboard to finished online web page. The student will develop actual sites from customers’ specifications, using XHTML, CSS, and web editors. Skills in streaming media, audio, and simple animation are developed. Project management provides students with skills to lead teams through projects from inception to completion.

Foundations of Computer Science TE A/B (2916/2917)*
HS credit

This course provides an engaging introduction to computing concepts through a nationally developed curriculum, offered through a unique partnership with Code.org®. The course focuses on the conceptual ideas of computing so that students understand why tools and languages are used to solve problems through a study of human computer interaction, problem solving, web design, programming, data analysis, and robotics.

*Restricted to schools where currently offered

Engineering, Design, and Technology Education

Grade 8 Global Technology Systems (7899)

Students develop the ability to apply learned knowledge and skills to solve problems involving basic medical technologies, agricultural and related biotechnologies, energy and power technologies, information and communication technologies, transportation technologies, manufacturing technologies, and construction technologies. Emphasis is placed on the study of the human-designed world. Students also develop additional understanding of the nature of technology, technology and society, design, and the abilities needed to succeed in a technological world.

Other STEM Electives

In addition to full year or semester options in the courses listed above, courses that include a combination of coding, computer science, robotics, and engineering are also available.

These courses can be matched with other quarter rotations or semester courses.

Grade 8: See Electives Listed Above, available in semester courses:
  • Computer Science Discoveries (2750/2751)
  • Grade 8 Global Technology Systems (7899)
  • Website Development A/B (2991/2992)*
  • Foundations of Computer Science TE A/B (2916/2917)*
  • Introduction to Engineering Design A/B TE (5152/5153)*

*Restricted to schools where currently offered

English 8 (1002)

English 8 is composed of two semester courses: Writing and Language 8A and Literature and Language 8B.

Writing and Language 8A—like its counterpart in ninth grade—puts writing at the center of teaching and learning. The course focuses on developing the skills students need to communicate effectively for a variety of purposes, audiences, and media in a world in which the means for communication are rapidly changing. The writing class is a workshop: Students write every day, keep a portfolio to track progress and set goals, and explore ways to convey their own voice. They read as writers, analyzing short texts, practicing the writers’ techniques, and imitating the style and sentence structures of published authors. They study literature and language as an integral part of the writing and revision process. Students write to explore their own thinking, engage in reflection, and learn each day that they have control over improving their craft.

Literature and Language 8B—like the first semester course—parallels English 9B. Both courses center on the study of language and literature as the vehicle of creative and critical thought that enables students to think about and understand the world. The focus shifts in the second semester to a careful study of how professional writers create stories and use language in thoughtful and deliberate ways. Students read short stories, novels, nonfiction, drama, and poetry and explore how writers use the same techniques students have practiced in their own writing. Through careful reading of both print and nonprint texts, students search for understanding and sometimes learn to be comfortable with ambiguity in a world of people who have both common and diverse experiences. 

Instruction in reading and writing strategies, grammar, and vocabulary is embedded in every unit. All students develop portfolios and revisit their compositions as they work to strengthen their writing skills. English 8 prepares students for the rigors of high school English classes as well as for county, state, and national assessments.

Level 1 (1261)

This course is designed to teach English as a new language to Entering ESOL students. The four skill areas of reading, writing, listening, and speaking are integrated as they practice oral and written language in an academic context. Students have various learning activities that emphasize vocabulary development and oral fluency. This course meets for a double period every day.

Level 2 (1262)

This course is designed to teach English as a new language to Emerging ESOL students. Students continue to develop proficiency in four skill areas of reading, writing, listening, and speaking and are integrated as they practice oral and written language in a variety of academic contexts. Learning experiences are provided to support students as they read informational and literary texts.

Students also learn to respond to factual questions and write paragraph summaries about their readings. This course meets for a double period every day.

Level 3 (1263)

This course is designed to teach English as a new language to Developing ESOL students. The four skill areas of reading, writing, listening, and speaking are integrated as students practice oral and written language in an academic context.

Students at this level of language proficiency understand basic vocabulary dealing with everyday home and school life. Students learn to analyze reading passages and respond to both factual and inferential questions as they read and discuss both literary and informational texts. Students practice speaking fluency, applying editing skills to their writing, and composing different types of paragraphs using grammatical structures that have been taught. This course meets for a single period every day.

Level 4 (1264)

This course is designed to teach English as a new language to Expanding ESOL students. The four skill areas of reading, writing, listening, and speaking are integrated as students practice applying language using a variety of academic functions, academic vocabulary, and grammatical structures in context, both orally and in writing, for a variety of academic purposes in discourse. Students practice using various reading strategies while reading a variety of literary and informational texts. Students practice writing single-text and multipleparagraph essays. In this course, they review known text structures (problem and solution, sequence, main idea and detail, comparison and contrast); study text structure as a guide to increased comprehension; and focus on cause and effect as a structure. Students study poetry, its elements, and its interpretation as they read, analyze, and respond to poetry. They discuss and write comparisons of related ideas in two forms— poetry and prose. This course meets for a single period every day.

Level 5 (1265)

This course is designed to teach English as a new language to Bridging ESOL students. Students practice applying language in the four skill areas of reading, writing, listening, and speaking, both orally and in writing, during extended discourse. As students expand their vocabulary and increase their control of English, they practice using sophisticated sentence structures by connecting ideas and combining sentences to form compound or complex sentences, in context, when speaking and writing. Students focus on expressing their ideas in a paragraph format. Emphasis is placed on forming introductory and concluding paragraphs. Students employ the writing process to produce five-paragraph essays. Students also select a research topic, research the topic, analyze the data, write a report, and make a presentation. In order to become more effective essay and report writers, students learn about paraphrasing and plagiarism. While conducting research, students practice using electronic-literacy skills. This course meets for a single period every day.

Academic Acceleration for English Language Learners (AAELL) (#1267)

This course is designed to teach English a new language to Advanced ESOL students who have not exited the ESOL program. Students deepen their ability to process and produce the academic language of College and Career Readiness Standards. They demonstrate their knowledge of language, the conventions of standard English, and vocabulary usage as they interpret facts, make claims and evaluate evidence, make arguments, and engage in discourse around complex texts about various topics and contexts. They listen, speak, read and write using multimedia and texts sets that include literary and expository texts.

Programs

Multidisciplinary Educational Training and Support Program (METS)

Family and Comsumer Sciences (4510, 4520)

Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) programs focus on processes and skills that enhance individual, family, and societal well-being. Programs reflect the National Standards for FACS Education and integrate math, science, English, and social studies. A project-based curriculum encourages students to investigate and solve authentic problems. Students learn to use communication and critical-thinking skills as well as current technologies to make informed decisions.

UNIT 1: INDIVIDUAL, FAMILY, AND SOCIETAL NEEDS
UNIT 2: DECISION-MAKING PROCESS
UNIT 3: NUTRITION AND WELLNESS
UNIT 4: PERSONAL FINANCE
UNIT 5: LIVING ENVIRONMENTS
UNIT 6: COLLEGE AND CAREER PLANNING

FINE ARTS

The fine arts are important to every child’s development and play a vital role in providing students with a well-rounded, world class education. Dance, Music, Theatre, and Visual Art promote academic excellence, creative problem-solving, and social emotional learning, which are essential components of college and career readiness. In order to meet the evolving needs of a 21st century learner, the fine arts focus on developing artistic literacy by engaging in the artistic processes (creating, performing/presenting, responding, and connecting) through authentic materials and techniques. The fine arts introduce students to new world views and cultures, help students to value the perspectives of others, and enable students to creatively express a personal viewpoint. Through artistic experiences, students become independent and divergent thinkers, selfmotivated workers, and innovators. All students have access to fine arts programs in middle school. In Grades 6–8, students may specialize in one or more of the fine art forms.

Dance

Middle School Dance 1 (6027)

Students with no previous dance experience should begin at Level 1 in the dance sequence. This beginning course provides a survey of dance styles and elements

Middle School Dance 2 (6007)

In this intermediate level course, Grade 7 students will continue to develop technique in a variety of dance styles and skilled application of dance elements. Students may audition to qualify for this level or receive permission from the dance teacher to enter this course. This course may be taken for more than one year.

Middle School Dance 3 (6092)

In this advanced level course, Grade 8 students continue to develop and refine dance concepts and skills as they build their repertoire. Students may audition in order to qualify for this course or receive permission from the dance teacher to enter this course. This course may be taken for more than one year. This course is aligned with new frameworks for a level 3.

General Music

Music Investigations 2 Grade 8 (6502)

Music Investigations 2 students increase their knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of music through contact with a greater variety of music literature.

Piano (6522/6523)

Students acquire basic piano technique and learn to read written music notation. Students develop effective practice habits so they will be able to progress independently. Check with your child’s counselor to see if this is offered at your school.

Guitar (6589)

Students learn beginning guitar techniques, including selected major, minor, and seventh chords; basic finger picks and strums; and tuning technique. Students develop effective practice habits so they will be able to progress independently. Check with your child’s counselor to see if this is offered at your school.

Choral Music

MS Chorus 1 (7893)

Students will create, perform, and respond to music in a variety of styles/genres. Students will develop the fundamentals of proper vocal technique and choral singing in relation to posture, breath control, tone, intonation, diction, blending, singing in harmony, music literacy, and sight-singing. Students will primarily sing state level 2 music. There will likely be a minimum of two school concerts and students are expected to participate in all performances. This course is open to all students, regardless of music background.

MS Chorus 2 (6695)

Students will create, perform, and respond to music in a variety of styles/genres. Students will continue to develop the fundamentals of proper vocal technique and choral singing in relation to posture, breath control, tone, intonation, diction, blending, singing in harmony, music literacy, and sight-singing. Students will primarily sing state level 2-3 music. There will likely be a minimum of two school concerts as well as the opportunity to participate in other festivals/performances and students are expected to participate in all performances. An audition and/or a prerequisite of MS Chorus 1 may be required.

MS Chorus 3 (6696)

Students will create, perform, and respond to music in a variety of styles/genres. Students will continue to develop proper vocal technique and choral singing in relation to posture, breath control, tone, intonation, diction, blending, singing in harmony, music literacy, and sight-singing in multiple keys and parts. Students will primarily sing state level 3 music. There will likely be a minimum of two school concerts as well as the opportunity to participate in other festivals/performances and students are expected to participate in all performances. An audition and/or a prerequisite of MS Chorus 1 and/or 2 may be required.

Instrumental Music

Middle School Beginning Band (7892), Strings (6845), Wind and Percussion (6815)

This course is for students with no prior instrumental music experience. Students prepare for participation in performing ensembles and develop technical skills necessary to perform Grade 1 Level music, a performance level established by the National Association for Music Education and not a reference to first grade. Basic instrumental skills are developed by performing a variety of music. Students are taught the elements of musical form, terms and symbols, tone production, instrument care and maintenance, and the importance of consistent practice habits. Cultural context of the music and its historical significance as they relate to performance is studied. Students may attend live performances and perform in public. Students may be concurrently enrolled with 7892, 6845, 6815, and Middle School Band I (6880) or Orchestra I (6800) if necessary to run the course.

Middle School Band I (6880), Orchestra I (6800)

Students refine skills learned from their elementary Grade 4 and 5 instrumental music programs or in Middle School Beginning Band, String, or Wind and Percussion, and develop more advanced performance techniques. The development of technical skills necessary to perform Grade 1 to Grade 2 Level music is stressed. Emphasis is placed on developing formal rehearsal decorum, following a conductor, and developing pitch and rhythmic security in preparation for performing an independent part in the traditional band or orchestra ensemble. Students also learn melodic form and construction as they examine and perform more complex folk melodies and melodies from master composers. Students discuss the social and intellectual influences that affected the creation of the music they are studying. They begin to develop aesthetic criteria for measuring the quality of instrumental performance. Students may attend live performances and perform in public.

Prerequisite: Attainment of outcomes for Beginning Band, String, or Wind/Percussion Instruments in Grades 4–5 or 6–8.

Middle School Band II (6830), Orchestra II (6860)

Students develop and refine their technical skills in order to perform music at the Grade 2 Level of difficulty. Emphasis is placed on developing formal rehearsal decorum, following a conductor and developing pitch and rhythmic security in preparation for performing an independent part in the traditional band or orchestra ensemble. Students learn the social, cultural, and intellectual influences reflected in the musical works they are studying and discuss performance styles and musical forms of corresponding historical periods. The study of music theory includes performance and recognition of major scales, diatonic and chromatic intervals, and simple melodic dictation. The critical listening skills that are developed as a result of preparation for instrumental performance are used to help the student formulate criteria for effectively evaluating his/her own performance as well as the performance of others. This band or orchestra represents middle schools at public performances.

Prerequisite: Attainment of outcomes for Middle School Band I or Orchestra I. Students may also audition to qualify for this course. This course may be taken for more than one year.

Middle School Band III (6890), Orchestra III (6900)

Students distinguish between abstract and programmatic music and learn and discuss the social, intellectual, and historical influences on each. Students develop and refine their technical skills in order to perform music at the Grade 2 to Grade 3 Level of difficulty. In addition, students perform and historically categorize transcriptions of a variety of composers. This band or orchestra represents middle schools at public performances.

Prerequisite: Attainment of outcomes for Middle School Band II or Orchestra II. Students may also audition to qualify for this course. This course may be taken for multiple years.

Theatre

Middle School Theatre 1 (6907)

Students in Grades 6, 7, or 8 with no previous theatre experience should begin at Level 1 in the curricular sequence. In this beginning level course, students will explore how the theater is a space that both creates and challenges COMMUNITY. Theatre artists create an ensemble amongst themselves which functions as a safe space for risk-taking and creating. A sustained investigation of COMMUNITY in this intermediate level course engages students to study a variety of dramatic works, participate in the creation and enhancement of ensemble, and question the role of theatre within their COMMUNITY.

Middle School Theatre 2 (6902)

In MS Art Theatre 2, Grade 7 students explore a multitude of identities on and off the stage. Personal, familial, and cultural identities can provide a launchpad for exploring self, character, conflict, and personal approaches to theatre. IDENTITY is commonly at the root of nearly all dramatic works and is a defining element in a theatre artists’ approach to performance, design, production, and critique. A sustained focus on IDENTITY enables students to approach a variety of practices, games, dramatic works, traditions, and resources through a common lens, one which reinforces theatre’s eternal focus on “the human experience.”

Grade 8 students with no previous theatre experience may begin at Level 2 with permission of the theatre teacher.

Middle School Theatre 3 (6903)

Students in Grade 8 with prior theatre experience may continue with Level 3 in the curriculum sequence. In Middle School Theatre Level 3, students will have the opportunity to refine their craft while exploring ideas about CONFLICT. CONFLICT drives drama. When a character faces an obstacle, the tension created, the decisions made, and the consequences portrayed on stage engage the audience and artists in deeper reflection of the world around them. There are many types of conflicts that theatre artists face both onstage and off. The way conflicts are handled and developed reveal much about the agents involved.

This course is aligned with new frameworks for a level 3.

Visual Art

Middle School Art 1

Students will be provided multiple and varied opportunities explore IDENTITY and the many ways this theme can be represented through visual art. Students will develop a fundamental understanding of ideation, media techniques, formal qualities, and compositional devices. Students in Grade 6, Grade 7, and Grade 8 with no previous art experience in middle school should begin at Level 1 in the visual art sequence.

  • Middle School Studio Art 1 (6002): Students will explore a variety of traditional student media and techniques including drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, and crafts to create artworks.
  • Middle School Digital Art and Photography 1 (6122): Students will utilize raster-based digital media and/or digital photography to create artworks.
Middle School Art 2

Students will explore how the theme of RELATIONSHIPS can be used to create artworks that communicate personal meaning and individual ideas. Students will gain a deeper understanding of how artists generate and conceptualize ideas, refine craftsmanship through practice and persistence, and intentionally arrange compositional elements to effectively communicate meaning. Students with no previous art experience may begin at Level 2 with permission of the visual art teacher.

  • Middle School Studio Art 2 (6001): Students will refine their ability to use traditional studio media and techniques including drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, and crafts to create artworks.
  • Middle School Digital Art and Photography 2 (6123): Students will design art using both vector and rasterbased software, and/or manually operate a digital camera and utilize photo editing software to create artwork.
Middle School Art 3

Students in Grade 8 with prior visual art experience may continue with Level 3 in the visual art sequence. In Middle School Art Level 3, students will have the opportunity refine their skills and develop their personal artistic style while exploring how INFLUENCE may be communicated through art. Level 3 also offers several specialized art courses that provide advanced level students with opportunities to refine skills and master techniques in specific art media and creative processes.

  • Middle School Studio Art 3 (6011, formerly Middle School Art 3): Students will develop a portfolio of work demonstrating proficiency in working with traditional 2D and 3D studio media and techniques including drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, and crafts to create artworks.
  • Middle School Digital Art 3 (6005, formerly Intro to Computer Art): Students will refine skills and utilize advanced vector and raster-based software techniques to create works of digital art and design.
  • Middle School Photography 3 (6021, formerly Beginning Photography): Students will refine skills and utilize advanced techniques by shooting and editing photographic images to create artwork.
  • Middle School Drawing/2D Art 3 (6022, formerly Drawing/Composition): With an emphasis on drawing, students will develop a portfolio that demonstrates ability to skillfully manipulate 2-D studio media.
  • Middle School Ceramics/Sculpture 3 (6024, formerly Ceramic Studio): Students will develop a portfolio that demonstrates ability to skillfully manipulate 3-D studio media.

Comprehensive Health Education in Grade 8

Comprehensive health education is taught for a term of 9-weeks during Grade 8. Knowledge, concepts, skills, and strategies essential to making healthful decisions are presented promoting lifelong health and well-being. Certified Health Education teachers implement a variety of learning activities to promote and practice wellness skills and health literacy. The development of lifelong positive health-related attitudes and behaviors are emphasized to promote self-reliance and self-regulation.

Key Concepts

  • Alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs—accessing information about tobacco and marijuana; accessing information about addiction, and community treatement resources.
  • Personal and consumer health—accessing information about the identification of food borne illnesses, preventing the spread of food borne illnesses.
  • Family life and human sexuality—decision making about appropriate use of social media; sexual behaviors and limits, decision making and contraception; teen pregnancy and parenting; accessing information about maternal changes occuring during pregnancy.
  • Safety and injury prevention—using decision making and interpersonal communication skills to use technology responsibly.
  • Nutrition and fitness—analyzing influences on body image; managing weight; accessing information about eating disorders.

Mathematics 8 (3018)

Mathematics 8 extends students’ understanding of mathematical concepts developed in Mathematics 6 and 7. Instruction at this level will focus on three critical areas: (1) formulating and reasoning about expressions and equations, including modeling an association in bivariate data with a linear equation and solving linear equations and systems of linear equations; (2) grasping the concept of a function and using functions to describe quantitative relationships; and(3) analyzing two- and three-dimensional space and figures using distance, angle, similarity, and congruence, and understanding and applying the Pythagorean Theorem. Students who successfully complete this course will be ready for Algebra 1 in Grade 9.

Mathematics 8 focuses on the Standards for Mathematical Practice to build a climate that engages students in the exploration of mathematics. The Standards for Mathematical Practice are habits of mind applied throughout the course so that students see mathematics as a coherent, useful, and logical subject that makes use of their ability to make sense of problem situations. Through this course, students will do the following:

  • Use linear equations and systems of linear equations to represent, analyze, and solve a variety of problems, including the association between two quantities in bivariate data.
  • Solve and analyze situations using systems of two linear equations in two variables and relate the systems to pairs of lines in the plane.
  • Understand that functions describe situations where one quantity determines another.
  • Use ideas about distance and angles to describe and analyze two-dimensional figures.
  • Understand and apply the Pythagorean Theorem to find distances between points on the coordinate plane, to find lengths, and to analyze polygons.
  • Complete their work on volume by solving problems involving cones, cylinders, and spheres.
TOPICS OF STUDY:
  • The Number System
    • Know that there are numbers that are not rational, and approximate them by rational numbers.
  • Expressions and Equations
    • Work with radicals and integer exponents.
    • Understand the connections between proportional relationships, lines, and linear equations.
    • Analyze and solve linear equations and pairs of simultaneous linear equations.
  • Functions
    • Define, evaluate, and compare functions and use functions to model relationships.
  • Geometry
    • Understand congruence and similarity using physical models
    • Understand and apply the Pythagorean Theorem.
    • Solve real-world and mathematical problems involving volume of cylinders, cones, and spheres.
  • Statistics and Probability
    • Investigate patterns of association in bivariate data
Overview and Parent Guides
Algebra 1 (3111/3112)

HS credit

Algebra 1 is designed to analyze and model real-world phenomena. Exploration of linear, exponential, and quadratic functions form the foundation of the course. Key characteristics and representations of functions—graphic, numeric, symbolic, and verbal—are analyzed and compared. Students develop fluency in solving equations and inequalities. One- and two-variable data sets are interpreted using mathematical models.

Algebra 1 focuses on the Standards for Mathematical Practice to build a climate that engages students in the exploration of mathematics. The Standards of Mathematical Practice are habits of mind applied throughout the course so that students see mathematics as a coherent, useful, and logical subject that makes use of their ability to make sense of problem situations. Through this course, students will do the following:

  • Develop fluency and master writing, interpreting, and translating between various forms of linear equations and inequalities in one variable, and using them to solve problems.
  • Solve simple exponential equations that rely only on the application of the laws of exponents.
  • Interpret functions (graphically, numerically, symbolically, verbally), translate between representations, and understand the limitations of various representations.
  • Use regression techniques to describe approximately linear relationships between quantities and look at residuals to analyze the goodness of fit and use more formal means of assessing how a model fits data.
  • Compare the key characteristics of quadratic functions to those of linear and exponential functions and select from among these functions to model phenomena.
  • Explore more specialized functions—absolute value, step, and those that are piecewise-defined and select from among these models to model phenomena and solve problems.
TOPICS OF STUDY:
  • Relationships between Quantities and Reasoning with Equations
    • Linear Equations in One Variable
    • Linear Inequalities in One Variable
    • Exponential Equations in One Variable
  • Linear and Exponential Relationships
    • Characteristics of Functions
    • Constructing and Comparing Linear and Exponential Functions
    • Solving Systems of Equations and Inequalities in Two Variables
  • Descriptive Statistics
    • Analyzing Data Representations
  • Quadratic Relationships
    • Quadratic Functions
    • Equations in Two Variables
    • Solving Quadratic Equations
  • Generalizing Function Properties
    • Function Families
Overview and Parent Guides
Curriculum 2.0 Honors Geometry (3203/3204)

HS credit

Honors Geometry formalizes and extends students’ geometric experiences from the elementary and middle school grades. Students explore more complex geometric situations and deepen their understanding of geometric relationships, progressing toward formal mathematical arguments. Instruction at this level will focus on the understanding and application of congruence as a basis for developing formal proofs; the relationship among similarity, trigonometry, and triangles; the relationship between two- and three-dimensional objects and their measurements; exploration of geometric descriptions and equations for conic sections; and application of geometric concepts in modeling situations.

Honors Geometry focuses on the Standards for Mathematical Practice to build a climate that engages students in the exploration of mathematics. The Standards of Mathematical Practice are habits of mind applied throughout the course so that students see mathematics as a coherent, useful, and logical subject that makes use of their ability to make sense of problem situations.

Through this course, the student will do the following:

  • Prove theorems and solve problems about triangles, quadrilaterals, and other polygons.
  • Apply understandings of similarity and right triangle trigonometry to find missing measures of triangles.
  • Utilize the rectangular coordinate system to verify geometric relationships.
  • Apply understandings of circles to derive equations and solve problems.
  • Measure two- and three-dimensional objects.
TOPICS OF STUDY:
  • Congruence
    • Experiment with transformations in the plane
    • Understand congruence in terms of rigid motions
    • Prove geometric theorems
    • Make geometric constructions
  • Similarity, Right Triangles, and Trigonometry
    • Understand similarity in terms of similarity transformations
    • Prove theorems involving similarity
    • Define trigonometric ratios and solve problems involving right triangles
    • Apply trigonometry to general triangles
  • Circles
    • Understand and apply theorems about circles
    • Find arc lengths and areas of sectors of circles
  • Expressing Geometric Properties with Equations
    • Translate between the geometric description and the equation for a conic section
    • Use coordinates to prove simple geometric theorems algebraically
  • Geometric Measurement and Dimension
    • Explain volume formulas and use them to solve problems
    • Visualize relationships between two-dimensional and three-dimensional objects
  • Modeling with Geometry
    • Apply geometric concepts in modeling situations
Overview and Parent Guides

MULTIMEDIA LITERACY

Lights, Camera, Literacy! (LCL!) (1041, 1042)

This course increases literacy in both written and visual text, improves collaboration skills, builds confidence and motivation, and provides opportunities for high-level thinking via specific strategies. Students transfer their skills as viewers of film to skills on the written page, as well as learn how to read visual text and create effective visual communications. The course focuses on all three areas of the MCPS Moving Image Education—integrating, deconstructing, and creating the moving image. Students transfer reading skills such as inference from screen to script page to book. They use critical-thinking skills and explore new vocabulary in the areas of lexicography, chess, and film. Students deconstruct information at the literary, dramatic, and cinematic levels. Throughout the course, students reflect on their learning through student-to- student discourse and journal writing. They work collaboratively to apply the various skills and use technology to produce an authentic product—a short film.

Lights, Camera, Film Literacy! (LCFL!) (1043)

This course offers a study of film and film history as the core for teaching more advanced literacy skills. Students learn the physics and history of motion pictures, as well as how to apply filmmaking techniques to their own visual communications. Students read one novel as well as shorter written text selections and screenplays. The eight units include How Movies Got their Start; Silent Narrative Films; Early Talkies; Early Color; Genre Classics: The Golden Age of Hollywood; Classic Adaptations: The Golden Age of Hollywood and Beyond; Documentaries; Animation; and The Business of Film and Film Festivals.

(Completion of Lights Camera, Literacy! is not required.)

Lights, Camera, Media Literacy! (LCML!) (1044)

This course offers a study of media, its history, and basic related physics concepts as the core for teaching even more advanced literacy skills. Lights, Camera, Media Literacy! presents a timeline of media with focus on the history and physics of communication from the earliest times via storytelling by troubadours and griots to today’s mass media world. The units include Storytelling; The Printing Press; Newspapers & Print Advertising; Photography & Film; Radio; Television; Computers and the Internet; and Media & Our World. Students develop related multimedia projects within each of these units.

(Completion of Lights Camera, Literacy! or Lights, Camera, Film Literacy! is not required.)

The LCL! course series is of high interest; allows for ease of differentiation; and addresses the visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learner. The LCL! strand focus is on increasing literacy in both written and visual texts, authentic use of vocabulary, improving collaboration skills, building confidence and motivation, and providing opportunities for higher-level thinking.

PHYSICAL EDUCATION

The middle school physical education program focuses on health-related fitness, movement skills and concepts, and personal and social responsibility. Each physical education unit challenges students to better understand the benefits of physical activity toward fitness, fundamentals of efficient movement in physical activity and sport, and the essentials of responsibility in a movement setting. The learning tasks in physical education emphasize and teach problem-solving and decision-making skills. Students participate in games and activities that promote fitness, develop tactical awareness, and build social qualities.

PE Grade 8 (7602)

By the end of Grade 8, students should know and be able to do the following:

HEALTH-RELATED FITNESS:

  • Apply exercise principles to the health-related fitness components to develop, analyze, and refine a personal fitness plan.
  • Apply and analyze methods for measuring target heart rate.
  • Distinguish between nutritional needs that maintain the average healthy body and those for athletic performance

MOVEMENT SKILLS AND CONCEPTS

  • Apply and analyze concepts related to defense and offense in personal development and tactical games activities.
  • Develop, perform, and analyze creative skill combinations.
  • Create, analyze, and refine a personal movement (practice) plan based on a variety of feedback.

PERSONAL AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

  • Resolve conflicts and make healthy decisions that promote a sense of community and respect for others in physicalactivity settings.
  • Apply, analyze, and refine effective time-management strategies to improve movement skills and fitness levels.

SCIENCE

The middle school science program engages students in the exploration of both the concepts and practices of science and engineering. At each grade level, topics in Life Science, Earth Science, Physical Science, and Engineering are interconnected to show students the relationships that exist between the sciences and the natural world. Inquiry and laboratory investigations are an integral part of the program. Problem solving and online investigations are used continually to allow students to investigate authentic problems and reinforce science concepts. The middle school science program is aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and the Science and Engineering Practices that were adopted by the state of Maryland. High expectations and differentiated instruction allow all students a challenging and engaging access to science.

Dissection is one of the many instructional methods that may be used in middle school science. Students/parents/ guardians may request one of the county’s alternatives to dissection in these classes. Alternatives may include such materials as video, charts, diagrams, textbook overlays, and computer programs.

Investigations in Science 8 (3507)

Investigations in Science 8 provides opportunities for students to actively engage in the science and engineering practices and apply the crosscutting concepts to deepen their understanding of core ideas across science disciplines. The curriculum is problem/project-based; instruction is woven around a relevant problem/project that drives student learning. Students apply their understanding of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to propose solutions to problems. Instruction provides opportunities for hands-on explorations, productive discourse, and purposeful reading and writing.

UNIT 1: FORCES, MOTION, AND INTERACTIONS
UNIT 2: EARTH, THE SOLAR SYSTEM, AND THE UNIVERSE
UNIT 3: WEATHER AND CLIMATE
UNIT 4: EARTH’S MATERIALS AND SYSTEMS

LITERACY

Digital Literacy 1 (1057)

The Digital Literacy 1 curriculum focuses on developing critical and creative thinking through reading, writing, speaking, listening, and viewing in a 21st-century approach. Working through a problem-based process, students learn to define real-world problems of interest, research the causes of those problems using real-time global texts, and then create solutions to address the problems. Students will advance their understanding of comprehension, analysis, and evaluation of text as well as vocabulary acquisition through reading complex informational and argumentative texts in a technology-rich medium. Students will collaborate regularly through research and solution phases of their investigations. Students’ curiosity and motivation will engage them in their investigations while learning and refining the processes that will enrich all other courses and prepare them for college and career projects.

Digital Literacy 2 (1058)

The Digital Literacy 2 curriculum focuses on increasing critical and creative thinking through reading, writing, speaking, listening, and viewing through an integrated approach. By participating in a problem-based process, students learn to define, analyze, and evaluate real-world problems of interest related to standards-based curriculum topics. Students will use research skills to investigate problems using real-time global texts and then create solutions to address the problems. Students will participate in sustained inquiry, analysis, and evaluation of text through reading complex informational, expository, and argumentative texts in a technology-rich medium. Students will hone their communication, collaboration, research, and problem-solving skills and learn to give, receive, and use feedback to improve their process and products during complex tasks. Digital Literacy creates authentic work for students to engage in by allowing for presentation of their solutions beyond the walls of the classroom.

Challenging Problem or Question

SEMESTER 1: HUMANITIES
SEMESTER 2: STEM

Digital Literacy 3 (1059)

The Digital Literacy 3 curriculum focuses on increasing critical and creative thinking through reading, writing, speaking, listening, and viewing through an integrated approach. Students will be introduced to a variety of social issues from various perspectives, examine the history of social movements and the impact on social and economic justice, explore their identity, and understand the ways in which communities can respond to these complex issues. Students will explore social justice terminology in order to better advocate for a socially just society. They will have multiple opportunities to participate in book clubs, where they will interact with classmates to analyze social justice texts. Students will participate in sustained inquiry, analysis, and evaluation of text through reading complex informational, expository, and argumentative texts in a technology-rich medium. Students will use research skills to investigate a contemporary social issue using real-time global texts and then create solutions to address the issue at the individual and/or systemic level.

READING

Read 180 (1012)

READ 180 is an intensive reading intervention program designed to meet the needs of students whose reading achievement is below the proficient level. The program directly addresses individual needs through adaptive and instructional software, high-interest reading materials, and direct instruction in reading and writing skills. Students rotate among a small group, teacher-directed lessons, a computer station for reinforcement and practice, and an independent reading center where students read books at their reading level. The program is designed to rapidly accelerate student achievement with the goal of bringing students to grade level.

SOCIAL STUDIES

The social studies program in middle school builds chronological and thematic understanding of world and United States history, while also developing the social studies strands of geography, economics, political systems, and culture. Each social studies unit is organized around a historical era and a social studies strand. A mix of modern content and the lessons of history provide the background knowledge and thinking skills that prepare students for high school instruction and their responsibilities as citizens, including meaningfully evaluating financial decisions.

In Grades 6 and 7, the focus of study is on ancient world history and culture from Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America. In Grade 8, students learn about the founding and early development of our nation, from the Revolution through Reconstruction. At all grade levels, students build understanding of the modern world by applying concepts of geography, economics, political systems, and culture to present-day scenarios.

Advanced U.S. History Grade 8 (2410)

This course enhances the four MCPS Grade 8 U.S. History units through the development of skills from high school Advanced Placement courses in history. In addition to the MCPS course of study, students deepen their understanding of key concepts and events through reading, writing, document analysis, and historical thinking. These skills will be applied in each unit and students will be expected to show progress in skill development and historical knowledge in exams and historical document-based projects.

Teachers will implement the curriculum in Grade 8 as follows:
UNIT 1: DEMOCRACY: POLITICAL SYSTEM OF THE PEOPLE 1763–1783
UNIT 2: CREATING A NATIONAL POLITICAL SYSTEM AND CULTURE 1783–1815
UNIT 3: GEOGRAPHIC AND ECONOMIC CHANGE SHAPE THE NATION 1815–1850
UNIT 4: A NATION DIVIDED AND REBUILT 1840–1877

Students are awarded 10 SSL hours at the completion of Grade 8 Social Studies for their full participation in SSL activities.

WORLD LANGUAGES

Students are encouraged to pursue World Language offerings as early as possible in middle school. The world languages available in middle schools are Chinese, French, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, and Spanish for Spanish Speakers. Offerings vary by school. The world language courses are high school credit-bearing courses. Please see page 4 for more information about high school credit in middle school. Course numbers are language and level dependent.

Level 1A/1B
HS credit

Students begin to learn to communicate orally and in writing in a culturally appropriate manner about topics related to daily life. They interpret basic information when listening and reading. Vocabulary and basic grammatical structures are taught within the context of these familiar topics. Culture is embedded throughout the course.

NOTE: Levels 1A and 1B may be offered in middle school as full-year courses. In that case, students must pass the full year of 1A and the full year of 1B in order to earn one high school credit.

Level 2A/2B
HS credit

Students expand their ability to communicate orally and in writing in a culturally appropriate manner about topics related to daily life. They interpret information when listening and reading. Vocabulary and grammatical structures are taught within the context of these topics. Culture is embedded throughout the course.

Level 3A/B
HS credit

Students continue to expand their ability to communicate orally and in writing in a culturally appropriate manner about a variety of familiar topics. They interpret detailed information when listening and reading. Vocabulary and more complex grammatical structures are taught within the context of these topics. Culture is embedded throughout the course.

Spanish for Spanish Speakers 1 A/B (1777/1778)
HS credit Spanish for Spanish Speakers 2 A/B (1779/1780)
HS credit

Spanish for Spanish Speakers 1 A/B and Spanish for Spanish Speakers 2 A/B are offered at selected middle schools. Spanish for Spanish Speakers provides language instruction for students with proficiency in Spanish, either because it is their first language or it is spoken extensively in their home. Each course integrates history, culture, language, and connections related to the Spanish-speaking world.

World Language Immersion

Students who have completed an MCPS elementary school immersion program may join the immersion programs at the middle school level. Students who did not participate in the elementary program may test into an immersion program, if there is space available. The following middle schools offer these courses: Silver Spring International Middle School (Spanish/French), Westland Middle School (Spanish), Gaithersburg Middle School (French) and Hoover Middle School (Chinese).

The immersion language courses are high school creditbearing courses. Please see page 4 for more information about high school credit it middle school.

Grades 6–8 French (1763 through 1768)
HS credit

A two-period program of instruction enables students to enhance their language development through one period of language class and one period of the MCPS social studies curriculum in French.

Grade 6–8 Spanish (1769 through 1774)
HS credit

A two-period program of instruction enables students in Grades 6 and 7 to enhance their language development through one period of language class and one period of the MCPS social studies curriculum in Spanish. In Grade 8, students continue with one period of language instruction.

Grade 6 Chinese (1919/1920)
HS credit

This one-period course continues to build on the language skills acquired in the elementary school immersion program. Students transition into the regular MCPS Chinese 2 course in Grade 7.