Eighth Grade Course Descriptions

Eighth Grade Required Year-Long Classes

Algebra IA

This course covers material from the first semester of Algebra I, in addition to an emphasis on problem-solving, building number sense, and foundational math skills the student will master:

  • Use order of operations to evaluate phrases and perform the four basic operations with rational numbers
  • Solve, graph, write, and model with linear equations and inequalities

Algebra I

This course is designed as a college preparatory course for continued studies in mathematics and science. Areas of study include solving linear equations and inequalities, quadratic equations, and systems of equations using real numbers, graphing (both on a number line and in a coordinate plane), factoring, working with functions, as well as problem-solving. The student will master:

  • solving equations
  • literal equation
  • functions
  • slope
  • linear equations
  • linear modeling
  • inequalities
  • systems of equations & inequalities
  • applying systems
  • properties of exponents
  • writing exponential functions
  • exponential modeling
  • polynomial operations
  • solve by factoring
  • solve quadratic using Quadratic Formula
  • graph quadratic
  • quadratic modeling
  • comparing functions

Algebra II
Prerequisite: Formal Geometry

Algebra II enhances the problem-solving process started in Algebra I by continuing to develop the basic and advanced properties of functions and algebra. Algebra II gives students the opportunity to model real data by understanding and applying the algebraic concepts of equations and inequalities, regression equations, basic relations and functions, polynomials, and exponential functions. Students in Algebra II are able to describe the world around them by utilizing estimation, technology, and graphing techniques,. Algebra II is designed to meet part of the three-year entrance requirements for mathematics to most colleges. Algebra II provides a valuable background for those entering technical fields and also serves as a useful course for other college-bound students. The student will master:

  • linear optimization
  • transformations of parent functions
  • function inverses
  • piecewise functions
  • complex number operations
  • quadratics
  • polynomial,
  • rational expressions and equations
  • graph rational functions
  • solve radical equations
  • using properties of logarithms
  • graph logarithmic and exponential functions
  • applications of exponential and logarithmic functions


English Language Arts

Through experiences with short stories, novels, independent reading projects, and in-class reading instruction, students study a variety of literary genres with assessments tailored to develop essential reading, communication, and thinking skills. Multiple formal writing assessments, ranging from creative poems, stories, essays, and formal argumentative writing, are completed throughout the year.  Extended reading and writing opportunities allow students to work towards meeting both common and individual goals and include the integration of learning necessary to successfully master grade-level skills on the proficiency scales.

Formal Geometry
Prerequisite: Algebra I

This course is designed for college-bound students who intend to enroll in Algebra II. It uses both planar and spatial objects to develop deep understanding of geometric relationships and logic. Students are given frequent opportunities to use definitions, postulates and theorems to formulate proofs of relationships studied in class. The student will master:

  • geometric communication
  • angle relationships
  • transformations
  • similarity
  • triangle measure and congruence
  • proofs
  • right triangles and trigonometry
  • distance with application
  • conditions of slope or parallelism
  • volume
  • circles


In this 8th-grade science class, students will:

  • Illustrate the constructive and destructive forces that cycle and distribute Earth’s rocky material on the surface at varying rates over time.
  • Relate the internal structure and processes of Earth to the movements of plates on the surface and illustrate multiple pieces of evidence that support these changes.
  • Illustrate the changes in the particle motion of matter under varying amounts of thermal energy through the evaluation of a student-generated investigation.
  • Differentiate between kinetic, potential, and electromagnetic forms of energy acting at varying distances.
  • Use mathematical representations to describe the properties of waves (electromagnetic, sound, digital, and analog) and illustrate the behaviors of reflection, absorption, and transmission through various materials.
  • Relate the different genetic variations and mutations that may occur through sexual and asexual reproduction to subsequent protein changes that affect species survival or desirability.
  • Evaluate fossil evidence to establish evolutionary relationships of the changes in biodiversity over time.

Social Studies

Eighth-grade social studies students will focus on American History from the pre-colonial settlement through the Civil War. An emphasis is placed on historical events during the time period, America’s cultural diversity, the basis of a democratic society, and recognizing the need to study the past and relate it to the present.

Eighth Grade Required Semester Classes


Students will create a personal wellness plan based on the 7 dimensions of wellness, while utilizing community health resources. Students will study the characteristics of mentally healthy individuals, including topics such as maintaining healthy relationships, managing stress, and resisting negative peer pressure. Additionally, students will summarize physical and emotional changes of puberty, and identify factors that support sexual health.

Physical Education

The goals of this course are to develop physical fitness, establish an understanding of individual and team sports while promoting a healthy lifestyle. Students will develop specialized motor skills; understand movement concepts, principles, strategies, and tactics in physical activity; acquire understanding of health-related fitness components; demonstrate safe practices, rules, procedures, and etiquette in all physical activity settings; develop respect for others and participate cooperatively in physical activity; understand the personal, social, and emotional benefits of physical activity; and understand the health benefits of physical activity. Students may take either Physical Education or Introduction to Strength Training to fulfill their physical fitness requirement.

Eighth Grade Electives


Eighth grade art is a daily course for one semester. It is designed to teach students to become critical thinkers and visual problem solvers via exploring new and familiar media through drawing, painting, and ceramics. In this course students will be made aware of the creative process, that includes planning, creating, presenting, responding, and connecting. Students begin to see how the creative process relates to all disciplines, and come to know art as a tool of communication and self expression. Studio assignments have a connection to art history and are reinforced with thoughtful art criticism and appreciation, strengthening analytical thinking skills. 

Automation & Robotics/Applied Engineering

In this daily, semester-long course, students will acquire knowledge and skills in engineering problem solving by working in teams to solve design problems related to automated systems through the use of the design process. They will learn about structures, machine automation, and computer control systems in a variety of hands-on problem solving activities. Students apply the engineering design process along with math and science applications to solve a series of design problem activities. They will learn about following design constraints based on client specifications and then fabricate successful prototypes to be tested. Example units would include building simple mechanisms and navigating challenges using a virtual robot. These units promote communication and collaboration by emphasizing a teaming approach to solving problems.


This year-long, daily course is a continuation of skills and techniques learned in 7th Grade Band. The course focuses on proper playing technique on a chosen band instrument, tone production, reading of music notation and symbols, music composition, and proper ensemble performance practice. Grades will be based on periodic performance assessments. These may include scales, method book exercises, solo and ensemble literature, honor band audition material, and concert music check-off. In addition to the regular band program, students will have the opportunity to participate in honor band and solo/ensemble contests. Students interested in participating in Jazz Band must be enrolled in this band course. 8th Grade Band builds upon concepts learned in band class in previous grades. Students interested in joining Band who do not have previous experience in a band class and/or those who are new to playing wind or percussion instruments should contact the Band Director to discuss enrollment options prior to registration.


Enrollment for this year-long, daily course is open to all Waukee 8th grade students. Students will participate in a choral ensemble in which they will be learning techniques appropriate for the middle level learner. Students will have the opportunity to sing a variety of choral literature during the school year, and will be involved in two or three formal performances in which they will celebrate their skills and talents with the community. Students enrolled in curricular 8th grade choir are eligible to audition for additional co-curricular activities outside of the school day, such as show choir and honor choir(s).

Code, Create, Innovate

This course introduces students to the foundational concepts of computer science, focusing on developing computational thinking and problem-solving skills. Through hands-on activities, projects, and interactive lessons, students will explore various aspects of computer science and technology in today’s world.

Family and Consumer Sciences

This one-semester, daily course provides students with an overview of child development, career readiness, foods and nutrition, and sewing and textiles. Students will explore working in food labs to prepare a wide variety of foods that fit into the national nutritional recommendations. They will use appropriate recipes, meal planning, and safety skills. This course also includes a Basic Sewing Unit where students will be creating textile products with a sewing machine. Students will work to develop activities and literacy skills for working with preschool age children as well as explore a variety of career options.

German I

In German I, students will develop the ability to communicate about themselves and the immediate world around them using simple sentences with basic structures. They will experience German through stories, songs and authentic activities. They will experience the culture of German-speaking people and learn about the products, practices and perspectives of the culture. Students also engage in holiday celebrations in relation to culture. In German 1, students become language learners in the areas of communication, culture, comparison, connection, and communities. This course is a prerequisite for German II, and is for high school credit.

Please note that there is NO world language requirement for graduation from the Waukee Community School District. It is a very useful life skill, and can help increase scores for the RAI index for admission to Regent Universities, but is not a required class.


The iJAG program focuses on seven key areas including life skills, critical thinking and productivity, work-based learning, character and self-development, communication and technology, self-advocacy and conflict resolution, and career readiness. Students work toward these essential learning constructs through project-based learning and elite employer engagements. Through the iJAG program, students have the opportunity to learn from employers in the community to discover their interests and potential career pathways. iJAG is a multi-year program that ultimately strives to provide students with work-based learning experiences during their senior year of high school and assist them in finding employment and/or furthering their education after graduation.

  • Field Trips
  • Guest Speakers
  • Mentors
  • Volunteering

There is limited enrollment in the iJag program.  An interview with the iJAG instructor is required to be admitted into the program.

Spanish I

In Spanish I, students will develop the ability to communicate about themselves and their immediate environment using simple sentences containing basic language structures. Students will also become language learners in the areas of communication, culture, comparison, connection, and communities. This course will also allow students to develop a more complex vocabulary of the target language in order to communicate and explore themes of Personal and Family life, School Life, Emotions, body environment, and many more. This course is a prerequisite for Spanish II and is for high school credit.

Please note that there is NO world language requirement for graduation from the Waukee Community School District. It is a very useful life skill, and can help increase scores for the RAI index for admission to Regent Universities, but is not a required class.

Theatre Tech

This semester-long class provides students with opportunities to explore all of the elements that make up a theatre production, including acting, directing, design, writing, and producing. The class will culminate in a student-created original production.

Video Production

Lights, Camera, Action! Students will explore introductory video production and filmmaking techniques in a variety of production genres including television newscasting, short film, PSAs, and other platforms. They will consider how storyboarding, camera technique, technology, and video editing can help craft an engaging viewing experience. Learning will be applied in the creation of original video material which will be written, performed, and filmed by students.
Students will:

  • Understand the storyboarding process to create original material for filming
  • Explore introductory filmmaking techniques and video editing principles
  • Demonstrate an understanding of presenting for the camera
  • Create short films, news broadcasts, and other video projects
  • Present original material for an audience