Grade 8

Grade 8 Courses

English 8
English 8 is a course that adheres to the Virginia Department of Education’s Standards of Learning and focuses on and continues the development of the three strands of English:  grammar, writing, and literature.  The course will integrate technology standards and emphasize figurative language. Students will write in his/her journal, demonstrate comprehension of vocabulary, and analyze sentence structure, as well as focus on long term units and standards deemed appropriate by the state of Virginia.
SOL Test – Writing 8 & Reading 8 

World Geography

1 Credit     State Code: 2210

The focus of this course is the study of the world’s peoples, places, and environments, with an emphasis on world regions.  The knowledge, skills, and perspectives of the course are centered on the world’s population and cultural characteristics, landforms and climates, economic development, and migration and settlement patterns.  This is a high school credit class that requires successful completion of the course and passing the World Geography SOL.
SOL Test – World Geography 
Computer Applications
1 Credit     State Code: 6611
The Computer Applications course is for eighth grade students.  Students who successfully pass this course will receive a high school credit.  The course is designed to develop and enhance keyboarding proficiency and provide the student with basic skills in operating systems, word processing, spreadsheets, databases, and presentation software.  The course will also explore ethical issues relating to computers and the use of computer systems. A grade of “C” or above in the Computer Applications course is required for students wanting to continue on to such courses as Computer Information Systems (CIS) or Web Design at the high school. 
No SOL Test
Math 8/Algebra PrepThis course is a class designed to reinforce skills taught in previous grade levels, while building upon and enhancing the students’ mathematical knowledge in preparation for Algebra.  Topics to be covered will include: applications of rational numbers, applying proportions, analyzing data and using statistical calculations to make generalizations about that data, finding volume and surface area of three dimensional objects, solving one and two-step  linear equations and inequalities, and graphing linear equations
SOL Test – Math 8
Algebra I

Prerequisite: Successful completion of previous math course with a “B” average or above, advanced test scores, and teacher recommendation

 1 Credit     State Code: 3130

Algebra I is offered at THMS and Mathews High School.  It is a high school credit class, so students will earn one credit upon successful completion of this course and passing the Algebra I SOL. The Algebra I curriculum is designed to enhance the student's understanding and readiness in dealing with abstract mathematical concepts through practical application. Students are encouraged to discuss and reason-out logical sequences in problem solving and to determine the relationship between algebra and arithmetic, geometry, and probability and statistics. Class discussion and guided practice are aimed at enhancing student thought processes while developing greater confidence as they master basic algebraic concepts. Topics such as equations, expressions, functions, rational numbers, linear equations, and proportional reasoning are taught. Algebra I advances to the studies of linear inequalities, systems of linear equations, polynomials, quadratics, and rational and radical expressions and equations. 
SOL Test – Algebra  

Science 8 – Physical Science

This Science class covers concepts of basic chemistry (such as measurement, atomic structure, nature of matter and the periodic table) and basic physics (which covers topics such as motion, energy, sound, waves, and electricity.)  Students will learn these concepts through classroom instruction and hands-on laboratory activities.  Classroom instruction is driven by the 8th grade science Standards of Learning.
SOL Test  - Science 8               
Computer Essentials
Prerequisite: Enrollment is limited to 8th grade students who are recommended by their core curriculum teachers and Keyboarding teacher.
This course develops proficiency in keyboarding,  word processing software, and other appropriate technology. Early classes teach proper keyboarding skills and use of specialized computer hardware. Class also includes overview and use of available educational software. Instruction is tailored to the individual needs of each student.
No SOL Test 
Physical Education
Students attend PE for one week and then Health for one week.  In Physical Education the objective is for each student to be able to successfully demonstrate mastery of individual skills in various sports.  The students at this level should be able to play the various sports and demonstrate knowledge of their rules and regulations.  Fitness is a large portion of their grade at this level and students are given many opportunities to practice and improve their scores.
No SOL Test 
The Health curriculum rotates on a biannual schedule.  It covers the following topics:  nutrition, anatomy, body systems, drugs, safety, first aid, consumer awareness, self-esteem, and many others.  A large portion of their grade is derived from their ability to keep an organized notebook.
No SOL Test               


Elective Courses
* All Elective courses do not have SOL Tests *
Prerequisite: Students receiving teacher recommendation and/or a Reading SOL score of 415 or below.
Some students, depending on their past performance, reading levels, and test scores, may be required to take a Reading class in place of one elective. The goal of this class is to improve reading skills in order that students can comprehend core academic subjects and pass the SOL tests. 
Art is an elective in the seventh and eighth grades.  The students are in classes that meet for the entire year.  They are given an opportunity to do art using as many types of media as possible while focusing on the elements and principles of art.  Art terminology and concepts of aesthetics, art criticism, art history, and art production are applied and reinforced throughout the year.  Drawing skills are emphasized.

Beginning Guitar

This course is for any 7th or 8th grade student interested in learning how to play guitar.  It is not recommended for students who took beginning guitar last year.  Students must bring their own guitar to class.  Parents must consult with the band director before purchasing a guitar.  Students will study basic music terminology, theory, take fingering chart tests, learn concert etiquette, and learn basic scales.  Students will also learn how to read standard music, lead sheets, and guitar tab.  The goal is to build a good foundation for aspiring musicians to perform through the guitar.   
Symphonic Band

Prerequisite: Prior band experience or private lessons

Admission to Symphonic Band is by audition only through Mr. Owens.  This ensemble is any 7th & 8th grade student who has successfully completed a year of beginning band or taken an equivalent amount of private lessons.  Symphonic Band will be the top ensemble of Thomas Hunter Middle School and will be graded on practicing, concerts, and quizzes.  The group will also learn and perform a variety of music genres and will participate and perform for Gloucester/Mathews Festival Band and Area Band.    The ensemble will learn and perfect the following major concert scales:  C, F, B-flat, E-flat, A-flat, G, D, A, E, and their chromatic scale in two octaves. 
Computer Design and Multimedia (Yearbook Class)

Prerequisite: Only by teacher recommendation

The Computer Design and Multimedia curriculum is open to students in 7th and 8th grade.  This year long course is designed to develop and enhance skills in desktop publishing, digital photography, and computer graphics.  Within this class, students will design and produce the school yearbook.  In addition students will capture and edit digital pictures, create digital presentations, and design various desktop publishing documents.  Grades will be based on student’s performance.

Creative Writing

Prerequisite: “B” average or above in English course and teacher recommendation

Available to students in grades 7 & 8 who demonstrate advanced writing skills.Students selected for this class will express their creativity through various methods of writing.  Included are persuasive, narrative, and personal essays; letter writing, newspaper writing, biographies, and short stories.  Poetic devices will be discussed and students will explore writing various forms of poetry.  Emphasis will be placed on vocabulary as an essential component of good writing. 

Spanish I

Prerequisite: “B” average or above in English 7 and teacher recommendation

1 Credit    State Code: 5510

Spanish 1 is a course, which teaches basic Spanish vocabulary and grammar.  Students learn to speak in Spanish using correct pronunciation and stress.  They learn to read for functional purposes and recognize essential comprehension structures.  Students will learn how to listen and write in the Spanish language.  The course examines basic aspects of everyday life such as sports, family, pastimes, foods, school, travel, clothing, and the household.Students must meet prerequisite standards.  This course is only offered to 8th graders.  If the course is successfully completed, students will earn 1 High School credit.


Prerequisite: Each student is required to have a digital camera for use both inside and outside of the classroom.

In this elective students will explore the basic functions of a (digital) camera and learn the essentials for taking better photos. A typical class will begin with learning a new skill, followed by time to explore and take photos with a partner. We'll also spend some time uploading our photos and working with various programs on the computer.

Exploring Film as Literature 

Learn about various  film  genres such as suspense, adventure, horror, epic, and comedy.  Explore literature concepts: elements of plot, characterization, symbolism, setting, allusions, etc., though in-depth discussion and analysis of movies.  Students will critically examine classic and modern films to see similarities and differences and explore the elements that make movies a unique art form.  Pre-viewing activities, student  journals, written reviews, group projects and quizzes and tests will support the viewing of the movies.  Students will also complete assignments outside of class in writing, research, reading and critiquing other movies and novels.