8th Grade Exploratory Offerings

Course Selection:

All ACPS secondary students will pick courses they believe they are ready to be challenged by. After students make those selections, teachers will either agree with the student's choice, or have a conversation with the family about a move up or down.  Those teacher recommendations will be made by current teachers in Winter each year. Teachers will make these comments based on a variety of data points, including:

  • SOL scores
  • MAP scores
  • Class grades
  • Work ethic
  • Classroom participation

Teacher comments for student selected courses will be available on ParentPortal under the CLASS REGISTRATION field. To view these, you can click on the pencil icon as some teachers include notes.

Certain classes may be pre-registered for students; this includes all core classes (except math), Homeroom, and Health and PE. Electives will be chosen during school. Students will fill out a Google Form wherein they rank their electives by importance. Please note: we do our best to ensure students get an exploratory they desire; however, there are many factors at play when building a child's schedule. Certain choices may not be offered at a time that a student is available, some courses may be full, and certain courses may drive a student's schedule. We cannot ever guarantee that students will get each of the exploratory they ranked most important. 

Once all courses have been finalized, we will mail home a letter confirming the students' selections for approval. You may always make changes after the final date by calling the Counseling Office and speaking to your child's counselor.


Art 8 – Eighth-grade art students will engage in several units of study throughout the year that focus on opportunities for students to explore a variety of components.  Students in art use the elements and principles of design as the basis for various visual art projects. Students can use paint, drawing materials, collage, printmaking, and digital resources to create 2D projects. Additionally, students will learn about how mixed art media can be used in traditional and contemporary crafts. We will produce art objects that are both functional and decorative. Students will explore the tools and techniques used by many cultures, especially Native-American, Middle Eastern, and African craftsmen/artists. This class will incorporate important skills which will transfer to other disciplines, such as problem solving, critical thinking, planning, and collaboration. Example projects: Papermaking , Weaving, Basketmaking, Batiking, etc. Also. students will create three-dimensional art using hand-building clay techniques as well as using sculpting techniques in other mediums to create sculptural projects. Each project will show a variety of the principles of design which includes balance, unity, rhythm, pattern, proportion, movement, emphasis, and variety.  Decorations will be added to the surfaces of the clay along with various glazes during the building process before firing.  The history of ceramics from various cultures will also be explored to give the students a basic knowledge of its importance and valid purposes to different civilizations. 

AVID 8 - AVID is a nationally recognized program for students who have the desire to achieve in rigorous, college-preparatory courses.. The course’s focus is on writing, inquiry, collaboration, organization, and reading across disciplines. The AVID elective provides students with academic support and motivational team-building activities. 

Band  – Students who play band instruments receive more advanced, specific instruction on their instrument as well as more emphasis on playing in an ensemble setting. Selected advanced students may also participate in the county’s Honors Band Program.

Broadcast Journalism 8 - Students will work collaboratively with their peers to run WSMS - the Lakeside Middle School news and information station. Students will create and produce the school video announcements, as well as plan and produce exclusive stories.  They will learn to use a variety of broadcasting equipment and become proficient in video editing and production.

Coding, Cyber and IT Exploration - Students will be introduced to the foundations of computer science and basic programming, with an emphasis on helping students develop logical thinking and problem-solving skills.  Students will see computing as a relevant career field and experience how coding allows them to be problem solvers, creators, and innovators capable of changing the world.  This is an introductory coding course and no previous coding experience is required.

Chorus 8 – Students are instructed in vocal technique as well as note and rhythm recognition.  Classroom instruction focuses on posture, breathing technique, intonation, diction, dynamics, unison, harmony, and performance technique. Students are required to perform periodically as a group. Students are provided opportunities to audition for other choral opportunities throughout the school year.  

Design & Construction Exploration – In this STEM class, students will design and build projects that explore physical science and mathematics concepts through the lens of engineering.  Each project is developed around a technology system including power & energy, transportation, and micro-controlled (robotic) systems.  This class offers students an introductory experience in both the woodshop and in the technology lab.  In the woodshop, students will be introduced to traditional woodworking tools and techniques.  While in the technology lab, students will use CAD software to design projects for the laser cutter and 3D printer as well as harness the power of code through the use of microcontrollers.  

Drama 8 – Students who participate in drama are given instruction focusing on the following aspects of drama:  creative thinking as it pertains to individual and collaborative performances; developing acting skills; recognizing key elements of theatre production; understanding theatre arts as it relates to culture and history; evaluation skills; and applying aesthetic criteria for making artistic choices. 

French I – This is a yearlong course in which we mimic as closely as possible the process by which children acquire their first language.  The children are immersed in a language-rich environment through the use of body language, visual aids, and abundant repetition in a variety of contexts.  The teacher uses mainly story-based activities to bring language to life.  Students will develop proficiency and be able to use French in real-world situations that are spontaneous and unrehearsed.  Through songs, web-based programs, and class activities, the students will hear French spoken in a variety of countries and be exposed to the diverse cultures of the Francophone world.  This is a proficiency-based program and the target for students at the end of this course is to reach Novice High proficiency, as outlined by ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language).  Students may choose to take the STAMP test at the end of 8th-grade help aid placement for world language at the high school.  

Media, Arts & Design Exploration –  This course explores digital media through hands-on and real world application in several areas of study. Students will develop a set of skills in various major competencies, including but not limited to: graphic design, audio production, video production, web design, digital photography, and the legal and safety obligations involved in digital media. Students will utilize a variety of programs to achieve these goals, including Adobe Rush, Adobe Photoshop, Audacity, GarageBand and other platforms.

Orchestra 8 – Students who play string instruments receive more advanced ensemble instruction and typically perform several concerts during the year.  Instruction will include music competencies such as intonation, tone, phrasing, history, and composition.  Students may have the opportunity to participate in regional orchestra and assessment events and travel for a competitive orchestra event in the spring.

Spanish I – This is a semester-based course in which we mimic as closely as possible the process by which children acquire their first language.  The class will be made understandable to students through pictures, gestures, visual aids, and repetition. Students will develop proficiency mainly through storytelling, and will also be exposed to the diverse cultures of the Spanish-speaking world.  This is a proficiency-based program, and the course objective is for students to reach Novice High proficiency, as outlined by ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language).  Students may choose to take the STAMP test at the end of 8th grade to place into Spanish at the high school.