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VLA Grade 8 Course Descriptions

English Language Arts 180

2 Semesters: 36 Units
Required Course Materials

In Eighth Grade Language Arts, students engage in skill units that increase vocabulary and comprehension. They are responsible for obtaining copies of A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck, Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson, and Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson. All three books are Newberry Award Books. Students also read and examine informational text including newspaper columns, editorials, and warranties. Writing requirements based on the writing process are expanded to include persuasive and expository writing. A research paper is required. Students develop and present a variety of speeches.

Math 180

2 Semesters: 36 Units
Required Course Materials

In this course, students estimate, compute, solve, and judge reasonableness of problems with real numbers including ratio, proportion, percent, integers, rational numbers, numbers expressed in scientific notation, and square roots of perfect and non-perfect squares; solve a variety of real-world and multi-step problems; and convert, compare, and order size of US customary and metric units of measurement. In geometry, students apply direct and indirect measurement techniques, tools, and derivation of formulas to determine perimeter, area, volume, and various attributes of plane and solid geometric figures; and use coordinate geometry to analyze properties of two-dimensional figures and perform translations, reflections, rotations, and dilations. They explain and generalize patterns, sequences, and functions using tables, graphs, and symbolic algebra; solve and graph linear equations, inequalities, and systems of equations; determine slope, midpoint, and distance in the coordinate plane; compute with polynomials; and explore simple quadratic equations. Students use measures of center and spread to analyze data; investigate and evaluate the change of data and display it appropriately in graphs; make predictions based on samples representative of a larger population; use permutations and combinations to calculate the number of possible outcomes recognizing repetition and order; and compute the probability of compound events, independent events, and simple dependent events.

Science 180

2 Semesters: 36 Units
Required Course Materials

Students in the eighth grade explore space and plate tectonics as they continue to draw conclusions from scientific evidence that support theories related to the change of Earth's surface. They acquire knowledge to describe how positions and motions of objects in the universe cause predictable and cyclic events. Students explain that the universe is composed of vast amounts of matter and that it is held together by gravitational force. They explore equipment to study the universe - telescopes, probes, satellites and spacecraft. Motion of objects, effects of forces on objects, and how waves (sound, water and earthquake) transfer energy are explored. Students will be able to explain how extinction of a species occurs when the environment changes and its adaptive characteristics are insufficient to allow survival. Students design a solution to a problem or design and build a product, given certain constraints. Technological influences on the quality of life are also explored in this grade level.

Social Studies 180

2 Semesters: 36 Units

In this course, students will focus on European, British, French, and Spanish colonization of Americas, Indentured Servitude in Colonial America, Introduction of Slavery to the 13 Colonies, Development of Plantation System, The Colonial Assemblies; Northwest Ordinance, The Louisiana Purchase, Manifest Destiny, Causes of the Mexican-American War, Texas War for Independence; The Lewis and Clark Expedition; Selected Statistics on Slavery in the United States, States' Rights, Calhoun’s Contribution, Taney and the Territories, Secession and the Confederate Constitution, State Rights in the Confederacy, Economies of the North and South, Dred Scott: Introduction, Impact of Dred Scott, Kansas-Nebraska Act; Frederick Douglass, John Brown (abolitionist), Missouri Compromise, Compromise of 1850, The Lincoln Douglas Debate, The Election of 1860, The South’s Secession; Abraham Lincoln, General Robert E. Lee, Farewell to the Army of Northern Virginia, Ulysses S. Grant, The Emancipation Proclamation, The Battle Of Gettysburg; The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson, Reconstruction: Radicalism vs. Conservatism, 13th amendment, 14th amendment, black codes, Ku Klux Klan, 15th amendment; The Middle Colonies as the Birthplace of American Religious Pluralism, Religious Toleration in the Middle Colonies: A Trade-Off, Reacting to religious diversity, Religious Exclusivism, Pluralism & Inclusivism, How people respond to religious diversity, Exclusivism and religious freedom; Social, Economic, and Political effects of stereotyping and prejudice, Position Statement on Racism, Prejudice and Discrimination, Discrimination, Institutionalized Discrimination and Responses, Racism, Origins of racism, Institutional racism, Permanent Frontier, Indian Removal, Protection of the Frontier, Permanent Land Lost, A Long History of Treaties, The Reservation System, Native American Lands Sold under the Dawes Act, Treaties Between the United States and Native Americans; Enslavement of Africans in America; History of Women’s rights and diverse people in the U.S.;  Geography: Places and Regions/Human Environmental Interaction; Factors changing geographic patterns in the United States; Economics and the Civil War; Regulations of the Economy; Role of Government; Rules and Laws of Government; The United Sates Constitution and the Bill of Rights; How a bill becomes a law; Citizenship rights and responsibilities; The American Revolution; Obtaining information, and problem solving.

Spanish 180

1 Semester: 18 Units
Required Course Materials

Students in Spanish 180 will be introduced or re-introduced to skills in order to begin or resume communication in the target language. They will gain knowledge and understanding of vocabulary, grammar structure, pronunciation and conversation as well as study the many cultures of the target language including music, dance, art, literature, cuisine and traditions.

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