8th Grade Course Descriptions

Language Arts/Social Science

integrated through an interdisciplinary team approach in which the skills and content of both curricula complement each other.  A language arts/social science team of teachers works closely with students throughout the two-year program in order to achieve continuity and build upon the skills mastered in the first year.  This highly successful program allows teachers and students to establish a healthy student-teacher relationship, which leads to a meaningful middle school experience.


The Language Arts curriculum is a literature and expository text based program which integrates with the Social Science content through a Common Core aligned approach.  The program emphasizes learning experiences that build upon the student’s prior knowledge to integrate reading, thinking, literature, writing, oral language, spelling, listening and research skills.


In Social Science, the curriculum is a study of United States history and geography, which includes ideas, issues and events that link the past to the present.


Active learning is incorporated into both the Social Science and Language Arts curricula through hands-on projects using research skills, writing activities, seminars, cooperative learning, dramatizations, oral presentations and use of higher level thinking skills.  Additionally, language arts and social science classes also emphasize the application of word processing and Internet research skills.


In Lakeside’s unique, comprehensive program, we address the needs of all students including GATE, high achieving students, and English Language Learners in the classroom by providing scaffolds as well as opportunities for academic enrichment while developing leadership and communication skills, higher level thinking skills and problem solving techniques.  In addition we provide scaffolded curriculum to better support the literacy and language needs of all levels of learners.


All support staff participate in the language arts/social science program through the collaborative model.  By partnering with the regular teachers, specialists are able to provide direct classroom support and instruction to all students as well as those with learning difficulties.


supported language arts/social science

This program is integrated through an interdisciplinary team approach in which the skills and content of both curricula complement each other.  A Language Arts/Social Science team of teachers works closely with students to achieve continuity and build a base of skills that will prepare students for mainstream ELA/History coursework. The purpose of this program is to provide Limited English Proficient students, who are at the emerging and expanding levels of proficiency, with access to the core ELA and History curricula with substantial to moderate language support. Through frequent assessment, scaffolded assignments, and multi modal learning models students receive individualized instruction within a small group setting.



instruction is divided into two classes as follows:

Math 8:
In Middle School Math 8, instructional time focuses on several integral concepts. Students are taught that there are numbers that are not rational, and learn to approximate them using rational numbers, working with radicals and integer exponents; they work to understand the connections between proportional relationships, lines and linear equations. Students use these connections to analyze and solve linear equations and pairs of simultaneous linear equations. In Middle School Math 8 students also learn to define, evaluate and compare functions and use functions to model relationships between quantities. Instruction is also focused on understanding congruence and similarity using physical models, various rigid transformations, transparencies, or geometry software. Students extend their knowledge of solving real-world and mathematical problems involving volume of cylinders, cones and spheres. In addition, instructional time focuses on understanding and applying the Pythagorean Theorem and investigating patterns of association in bivariate data.

Enhanced Math I:
In Enhanced Math I, students continue their work with expressions and modeling and analyzing situations. In earlier grades, students informally define, evaluate, and compare functions, and use them to model relationships between quantities. In Math I, students will learn function notation and develop the concepts of domain and range. They move beyond viewing functions as processes that take inputs and yield outputs and start viewing functions as objects that can 2 be combined with operations. Students explore many examples of functions, including sequences and interpret functions represented graphically, numerically, symbolically, and verbally, translate between representations, and understand the limitations of various representations. Students work with functions given by graphs and tables, keeping in mind that, depending upon the context these representations are likely to be approximate and incomplete. Their work includes functions that can be described or approximated by formulas as well as those that cannot. When functions describe relationships between quantities arising from a context, students reason with the units in which those quantities are measured. Students build on and informally extend their understanding of integer exponents to consider exponential functions. They compare and contrast linear and exponential functions, distinguishing between additive and multiplicative change. They interpret arithmetic sequences as linear functions and geometric sequences as exponential functions. In Middle School Enhanced Math I, students build on their prior experiences with data, developing more formal means of assessing how a model fits data. Students use regression techniques to describe approximately linear relationships between quantities. They use graphical representations and knowledge of the context to make judgments about the appropriateness of linear models. With linear models, they look at residuals to analyze the goodness of fit. In previous grades, students were asked to draw triangles based on given measurements. They also have prior experience with rigid motions: translations, reflections, and rotations, and have used these to develop notions about what it means for two objects to be congruent. In Math I, students establish triangle congruence criteria, based on analyses of rigid motions and formal constructions. They solve problems about triangles, quadrilaterals, and other polygons. They apply reasoning to complete geometric constructions and explain why they work. Finally, building on their work with the Pythagorean Theorem in the grade eight standards to find distances, students use a rectangular coordinate system to verify geometric relationships, including properties of special triangles and quadrilaterals and slopes of parallel and perpendicular lines.

Science 8

A year-long science course in which students explore and use cognitive processing skills to discover a variety of scientific concepts. The curriculum is aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards where students develop a three-dimensional science proficiency. Students construct and apply their inquiry and questioning abilities by performing a variety of investigations, while integrating an understanding of disciplinary core ideas, science and engineering practices, and crosscutting practices. Engineering projects are incorporated into the curriculum as learning experiences for students to create original solutions and meaningful connections to real-world problems. Common Core is embedded in the science program through conducting independent research projects, reading science journals, and writing informative/explanatory texts. During the course of the year, students develop understanding of disciplinary core ideas in motion and forces, energy, waves, heredity, evolution, and Earth's place in the universe. Human impact is addressed as a unifying theme. Numerous extracurricular opportunities are offered including Science Fair, Academic Pentathlon, Green Team, and UCI Water Challenge.

physical education

A co-educationally based instructional program designed to encourage lifetime involvement in physical activity. Basic knowledge and skill acquisition in a variety of sports and activities are presented as part of a two-year curriculum. Sports and activities include basketball, bowling, dance, flag football, floor hockey, Frisbee, golf, lacrosse, pickle-ball, racquetball, soccer, softball, table tennis, team handball, track, volleyball and innovative games. Students will also receive instruction in a variety of health and fitness related concepts. A physical fitness pretest will be administered during the first trimester allowing students the opportunity to assess their fitness and set goals. Throughout the year students will perform cardio-respiratory and resistance training activities on a regular basis in order to maintain and/or improve their personal fitness. A final assessment of physical fitness will be administered during the third trimester to see if students have achieved the Lakeside basic level standards as well as their own personal goals.


Elective Courses

public speaking/debating

(grade 7/8) In this course, students will give individual speeches on various topics. Students will learn public speaking strategies, such as using varying voice pitch, eye contact, body language, and formal speech format to reach the audience. The class will also include a debating section with students working in groups to prepare debates. Students will learn the different roles and rules of debate as well as the importance of preparing proper arguments and rebuttals.

intro to spanish

(grade 7/8) This is a one-trimester class designed to expose students to the Spanish language through the development of basic Spanish vocabulary. The course will focus on listening and oral communication skills that will lay a foundation for success in future Spanish courses. Students will also be introduced to the geography and culture of various Spanish-speaking countries. It is recommended that anyone interested in taking Spanish I in 8th grade or high school enroll in this course.

law in society

(grade 7/8) This is a one-trimester class designed to expose students to various courtroom roles through simulated, role-playing activities. Students will take part in a series of short trials using fun and timely fact scenarios. Coursework will focus on the crafting and judging of persuasive arguments, and the application of basic legal strategies. Students will also examine theories of crime and punishment and explore the role that law plays in their daily lives.


ADVANCED law in society

(grade 7/8) This is a one-trimester class for students who have already successfully passed the Law in Society elective. Students will explore advanced concepts in jurisprudence, including jury selection, civil court procedures, and the different roles and responsibilities within our diverse and specialized court system. Coursework will include the continued development of persuasive arguments, public speaking skills, logic and reasoning, advanced legal strategies, and role-playing while considering more complex mock trials.

introduction to art

(grade 7/8) In this 12-week repeatable class, students will be exploring a variety of media and techniques. These may include drawing, painting, printmaking, graphics, sculpture, design, lettering, handcrafts, art history and art appreciation.

advanced art

(grade 8) This trimester class is intended to provide students who have taken Intro to Art as an opportunity to strengthen and further develop their drawing and painting skills utilizing a variety of media and techniques (pencil, charcoal, colored pencils, pastels, oil pastels, watercolor, acrylics). The course will also incorporate the study of art history, art appreciation and the contribution of different cultures and artists.

video production

(grade 7/8) This class is designed to teach students the skills needed to produce and edit digital video projects. They will learn digital computer editing, sound mixing, lighting design and camera techniques. We will be applying a “hands-on” approach with the ultimate goal of producing our 7th and 8th grade slide show videos. Additionally, this class is responsible for creating our school video news program, “Lakeside Live.” This is a challenging and difficult course for students who need a lot of structure, but successful students may repeat the class.


(grade 7/8) In this 12-week repeatable class, students will create ceramic art using a variety of hand building techniques. Students will be introduced to the history of clay, fundamentals of ceramics, including types of clay, firing techniques and low-fire glazes.


(grade 7/8) Students will be introduced to basic performance skills through monologues, scene work, and improvisation, culminating in a final production presented in an evening performance for families and friends, as well as during school wide assemblies. All students are welcome, regardless of previous performance experience. This course is repeatable.

Exploring Culinary Arts

(grade7/8) Students will explore the world of culinary arts during this fast paced cooking class, with emphasis placed on developing culinary instincts while creating delectable and savory fare. Students will learn knife skills, proper seasoning, a culinary vocabulary, a proper knowledge of kitchen basics, recipe reading and more! Added bonus? We eat what we cook!

fashion & design

(grade 7/8) This class introduces students to the world of fashion beginning with clothing design and the basics of garment construction. Students will master the use of the sewing machine, and they will learn to fabricate and mend clothing. They will be introduced to the inspiration process that influences design by creating an inspiration book, sketching, and fabricating looks from non-conventional materials. Students will complete the course by creating a final project to wear or display.

beyond the Book

(grade 7/8) This class will focus on both best-selling, high interest stories, and beloved classics, and provide students with reading and discussion strategies to help encourage their love for reading and deepen their understanding of the words in front of them. Students will read and discuss teacher and student selected novels throughout the trimester.


Intro Global Studies

(grade 7/8) In this course students will learn about the government organization and international relations of different countries around the world. Topics to be covered include government structure, basic economics, legal issues, and current events. In addition, students will learn fundamental debate and diplomacy skills as student simulate international events and relations into today's modern world.


modern speech/communication

(grade 7/8) This course adds a modern take on the more traditional form of speech and debate.  Students will learn and practice a variety of ways to communicate important topics to each other and the world, through narrative, informative, and persuasive genres. While students will have the opportunity to explore a traditional speech and debate, they will also use technology to deliver their ideas through different media platforms such as podcasts, vlogs, and social media.  Students will focus on speaking, listening, research skills and more, while developing their own unique voice to share with others in today’s society.


Computer applications

(grade 7/8) This course will introduce students to a variety of computer applications. The class will start with some basic keyboarding practice and build to an intro to computer coding. Using a combination of code.org CS Fundamentals and Scratch coding, students will be introduced to the world of computer science and coding. We will be working to develop problem-solving skills and creating basic games using block coding. In addition, students will have the opportunity to experience cross-curricular lessons using VR headsets and to create their own virtual tours and lessons using 360-degree cameras. This is an introductory course to set students on their way to a future of critical thinking and working with computers.


(grade 7/8) In this class students will develop their skills in computational thinking and problem solving, begin to become literate in multiple coding languages, and learn to program robotics and 3D printers to solve specific design challenges.


Writer's workshop

(grade 7/8) This course is designed for any student who wants to grow as a writer.  Writer’s Workshop is based on the idea that students learn to write best when they do it often and when they are able to choose their own topics.  The sky’s the limit when it comes time to write in this class, be it poetry, graphic novels, fanfiction, blogs, journals, short stories, and much more. While students will have the freedom to choose what they write about, they will be guided through the writing process by their teacher.  Throughout the process they will have an opportunity to join in skill workshops and peer reviews to help improve their writing. When possible, publications will be shared with real-world audiences and students will be given opportunities to enter writing contests as well.


(grade 7/8) (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) is a multidisciplinary full-year course.  Students will engage in real-world, hands-on collaborative learning to work on common goals associated with the theme for the year.  Some of the possible activities include: working with various types of media and techniques of art, performing engineering design challenges, creating web sites and videos, learning basic coding skills, conducting hands-on lab activities and research projects.  Students should be comfortable working collaboratively with their peers.


(grade 7/8) This course serves as an introduction to playing the guitar and ukulele and will provide students with an instant access to making music. Focus points will be strumming and rhythms, reading music, improvising, and beginning songwriting.

Student aide

(grade 8) A trimester class in which the student assists a teacher in organization, paperwork, bulletin boards, and filing. (Teacher will make recommendation)

library aide

 (grade 8) A trimester class in which a student learns skills used in running a library media center, including shelving books, assisting with circulations, and helping maintain the library and its technology. The student needs to be willing to be an independent worker who can provide service to others with a smile. (Teacher/Librarian will make recommendation)

office aide

(grade 8) A trimester course in which student assistants learn a variety of general office skills and responsibilities such as filing, distributing mail and delivering call slips to teachers. Students work and interact directly with all staff members and office personnel including the Principal, Assistant Principal, Secretary, Clerks and Nurse. (Teacher will make recommendation)


Year-Long Elective Courses

Spanish 1

(grade 8) This is a challenging first year high school equivalent course designed to provide instruction of the written and spoken language along with culture from the 21 Spanish-speaking countries. Students who successfully complete this course, maintaining a solid B or better grade all three trimesters, will be recommended for Spanish 2 in high school. An average grade of at least an A- in Language Arts, and the recommendation of the language arts teacher are required for enrollment in this course. (Language Arts teacher will make recommendation)


A yearlong exploratory class designed to help improve students’ basic art skills; drawing, painting and sculpting, design artwork using a variety of media and techniques, develop students’ creativity and self-expression, and recognize and use the art elements (line, shape, color, value, form, texture and space), and design principles (rhythm, balance, proportion, variety, emphasis, harmony and unity).  The curriculum is student driven and changes yearly.  All levels welcome.

concert band

(grade 7/8) This is an intermediate level wind and percussion ensemble. Students who have previous experience as well as motivated beginners are welcome to join. Instruments are available upon request. Performances are mandatory.

Symphonic band

(grade 7/8) This is an advanced level wind and percussion ensemble. In order to join, students should have two or more years experience and have the recommendation of their school music instructor. Instruments are available upon request. Performances are mandatory. (Mr. Robinson will make recommendation)

concert orchestra

(grade 7/8) This is an intermediate level string ensemble. Students who have previous experience as well as motivated beginners are welcome to join. Instruments are available upon request. Performances are mandatory.

Symphonic orchestra

(grade 7/8) This is an advanced level string ensemble. In order to join, students should have three or more years experience and have the recommendation of their school music instructor. Instruments are available upon request. Performances are mandatory. (Mr. Robinson will make recommendation)


(grade 7/8) This performance class provides students with the chance to sing in a choral ensemble. Enrollment is open to all students regardless of previous experience. Performances are mandatory.

engineering concepts

(grade7/8) Is a hands-on class designed to expose students to a wide-range of engineering fields from robotic engineering with VEX robotics, to genetic engineering with BioRad & miniPCR kits, to electronics with Raspberry Pi and Arduino. Interested students will be given the opportunity to utilize class time to participate in engineering-based competitions such as the VEX Robotics Competition, Genes in Space, and the OC Maker Challenge.


(grade 7/8) Students help design and create the actual Lakeside yearbook. Students will learn photography, graphic design, and journalism. In addition to working with a web based program for the Yearbook, students will also be introduced to Adobe Creative Cloud applications such as Lightroom, Spark, InDesign, Photoshop, and more. 


(grade 8) In this class, students will take a leadership role in various activities including dances, competitions, community service at school, fundraising, purchases, learning parliamentary procedures, and most importantly, becoming role models for others on campus. Students will also have the opportunity to serve as chairpersons and members of various committees. Students elected as ASB officers will automatically become members of the Student Leadership class for the 3rd trimester of their 7th grade year. (Prior application and approval for this class by Ms. Feng is required.)

Science Olympiad

(grade 7/8) Students will work together to prepare for the regional Science Olympiad competition in March. Science Olympiad is comprised of 23 different events including study events and building events. Following the Science Olympiad competition, all students will participate in advanced Science Workshop activities that are highly engaging and hands-on.  (Science teacher will make recommendation and students must pass the Science Olympiad Test).


8th Grade Mild/Moderate Special Education

directed language arts

A special education class, consisting of specialized academic instruction, focused on the principles of language: reading, writing, listening, speaking and language. Students read novels, short stories, and real world documents to increase their reading comprehension, vocabulary development, and word analysis skills. Students write informative/explanatory, argumentative and narrative compositions to improve their structure, coherence and mechanics. Enrollment in this class is based on a student’s IEP team’s decision that this class is appropriate. The curricular focus is based on the student’s individual needs (accommodations/modifications and identified goals) agreed to by the IEP team.

directed mathematics

A special education class, consisting of specialized academic instruction, focused on developing both the procedural skills and conceptual understanding leading to the application of mathematical concepts. Course topics include ratios and proportional relationships, the number system (rational and irrational numbers), expressions and equations, statistics and probability and geometry. Students solve real-life problems using a variety of mathematical operations and tools. Enrollment in this class is based on a student’s IEP team’s decision that this class is appropriate. The curricular focus is based on the student’s individual needs (accommodations/modifications and identified goals) agreed to by the IEP team.

directed social science

A special education class, consisting of specialized academic instruction, focused on the elements of history: economics, politics, sociology, culture and religion. Students make connections between past and present, prompting real-world connections and expanding their social and academic experiences. Through their study of history, students also learn intellectual skills such as spatial and chronological thinking, points of view, and historical interpretation. Enrollment in this class is based on a student’s IEP team’s decision that this class is appropriate. The curricular focus is based on the student’s individual needs (accommodations/modifications and identified goals) agreed to by the IEP team.

mariners center

A special education elective class, consisting of specialized academic instruction, offered to support general education curriculum. In this class, students review daily assignments, organize and prioritize assignments, clarify directions, study for tests, retake or finish tests, learn study skills and receive assistance with long term projects. This class is designed to support IEP goals in the areas of organization, study skills, homework completion, classwork completion or overall executive functioning deficits. Enrollment in this class is based on a student’s IEP team’s decision that this class is appropriate.
**This elective course is only available for students with an Individualized Education Plan through Special Education Services. Students are eligible to enroll concurrently with an additional elective and Extended Day Physical Education.