Eighth Grade Electives Offered at Holdrum

Holdrum Middle School

Elective Course Offerings

During this elective, students will draw with pencil, pen, charcoal, ink and digitally on tablets. The creative exploration done by students during this class will be representational, imaginative and allow for student’s personal interests to be investigated artistically. In addition to our physical and digital art-making this class will compare and reflect on the form, function and relationship between digital and physical drawing.


This Course is open to all 8th grade students, regardless of previous musical experience. Students will create original musical recordings in a variety of musical styles. Through this class students will acquire basic digital music production skills, develop piano keyboard and percussion skills, and learn how to record both digital music and live audio using various types of microphones.  

Students will focus on learning what goes into creating a successful business through a variety of activities. From brainstorming, researching, developing and preparing a business plan, product pricing, marketing and advertising, you will learn how to organize and promote your business and its products and services.

In this course students use clay in a variety of building methods: hand building, coil, slab and some students use the potter’s wheel. Once ceramics students have grasped the fundamentals of these techniques they will be required to create a large scale final exam piece that explores function, expression and symbolism through the act of art-making. 

Do you know that Presidents, Senators, and Representatives work for you, future voter?  Do you know that the personal rights we have as citizens make our nation unique around the world?  What are your rights as an American?  How can freedom of speech protect your right to an opinion in what you say but also what you wear?  Do you know enough about United States civics to pass the citizenship test?  

In this elective we will explore the Constitution and your rights as a US citizen through hands on activities such as a photo essay, making a short film, and enabling you to be an active citizen with an issue you feel is important.  We will make connections with the community and create original content to share what you have learned about your rights.  This course will empower you with knowledge of civics so that you are prepared to be an informed voter and active citizen.

“I have the best idea for a story.  If only I had enough time to write it!”  If you’ve ever made such a statement, this elective is for you.  Working in conjunction with the teacher, you will develop your own ideas for short stories—or even begin a novel! We will also look at the important features of short stories by reading some of the genre’s masterworks.  You will then incorporate those features into your own work.  End the year by exploring great works of fiction…and your own creativity.

da Vinci, da Vinci, da Vinci
This three-part exploratory course offers eligible students the opportunity to explore the life of Leonardo da Vinci: the scientist, the artist, and Renaissance man.

The first part of the course, offered trimester three, of grade seven, for selected students, will focus on da Vinci’s role as an inventor and thinker. This portion of the course will provide students with the opportunity to apply some of da Vinci’s ideas in a hands-on manner.

The second part of the course, offered the first trimester of grade eight for selected students, will address the artistic contributions da Vinci has left the world. Students will be engaging with design principles that Leonardo da Vinci established centuries ago, but in a modern way utilizing cutting edge digital technologies. This rigorous course will offer a variety of hands on experiences that will challenge the creative and tactile abilities of students.

The final part of the course, offered during the second trimester of grade eight for selected students, will delve into da Vinci’s persona as a renaissance man, the study of the era during which da Vinci lived, culminating with a look into anatomy and physiology explored by da Vinci during his career.

Students will learn to see photographically through an exploration of the basic tools, techniques and aesthetics of modern digital picture making. Emphasis is placed on the creative use of camera controls and image editing using Photoshop. Students will be encouraged to discover the joys of the artistic investigation by exploring individual expression, communication and craftsmanship. There is no requirement for a student to have a digital camera to join this class.

What machine, company, or idea are you passionate about? If you are willing to do a deep dive into learning how “it” works through active, responsible research, building/creating a model and presenting your newly understood concept in an inventive way, this course is for you.

This course is open to all 8th graders who are interested in learning more about the properties of flight and want to learn the basics of flying an aircraft.  Through virtual hands on experience, students will learn the science of aviation and understand why objects can fly.  We will explore the history of flight and look at the pioneers who paved the way for the modern technologies we have today.  Through physics, we will explore the conditions that allow planes to fly, factors that cause planes to stay aloft, move, navigate, and land.  Throughout the course, students will be using virtual flight simulators that mimic flying an airplane.  They are complete with steering wheel, throttles, pedals, and instruments that are part of an actual cockpit.  Students will apply concepts learned to successfully take off, fly, navigate, and land an aircraft.

The areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) all rely on computer programming.  This course is an introduction to computer programming and looks at game design and development.  The game industry is one of the fastest growing segments of the entertainment market and an excellent field for career advancement.  In this course you will be introduced to the world of computer science.  You will learn mathematical and computational concepts while thinking creatively, reasoning systematically, and working collaboratively to design and program your own game.   Using Scratch, a graphical programming language developed at MIT, you will learn the fundamental programming concepts such as variables, loops, conditional statements, sequencing, iteration, and event handling.  By the end of the course you will have developed an idea for a game and used your problem-solving and project-design skills to develop your own game.

If you’ve ever wondered how to make your own stop-motion animated shorts, this class is for you. Students will learn basics of writing a script, storyboarding, taking photos, uploading photos, and creating a movie by stringing together still images using Microsoft MovieMaker.  You will learn the difference between 2D and 3D animation, and will collaborate with classmates to create short animated movies of each type.  You will be getting creative and using different mediums—paper, ink, and real life objects like gummy bears or your classmates—for each mini movie you make.

Students will begin to learn the differences between micro and macroeconomics, the types of economic systems, the importance of supply and demand, and an introduction to the Stock Market.

Students will learn to increase focus, listen actively, and communicate clearly through a variety of acting exercises. They will also develop more of a 3-D understanding of human interactions through relationship-building and improvisational activities.  The final project will be an original screenplay that showcases the complexities of human nature in day-to-day life.

This course is designed as an introduction to journalism and layout design. You will learn techniques for writing news articles, features, reviews, and opinion editorials. You will learn the basic of journalistic responsibility and importance of fair, impartial, and meticulous press. You will be asked to consider the role of the world-wide-web and other media in constructing news. Journalism will provide a collaborative learning environment. You will have the opportunity to work with Google Sites to build an online and real-time edition of the Hawk’s Eye school newspaper. 

In this class, students will have the chance to learn both the keyboard/piano and the guitar/ukulele! All students will receive training on both instruments, and will later be given the choice to focus on either one of those instruments or an equal combination of both. We will use these instruments as individuals and in groups/bands, and will have the chance to learn to play several different styles of keyboard and guitar music.

Focusing on an overarching theme of Tolerance, this class will learn the elements of film and film analysis while exploring films about difficult periods in history, from the Civil War, to the Holocaust, segregation in the U.S., and apartheid in South Africa. Using these films, the class will discuss: Does film reflect society? Can film influence society? Can we learn more about ourselves through film?

Students will be engaged in the creation and meaning surrounding public mural art. Through the course of a trimester students will participate in the production of several school murals which focus on the themes and activities of Middle School life. They will also be responsible for the creation of a personal mural for their home or community. This is a rigorous class that students will be challenged to draw and paint at their highest potential, but most importantly: students must work together to create artistic beauty and enrichment for the whole school’s benefit.

Do you feel stressed out?  Does music help you calm down and focus?  This wellness-based class will incorporate elements of yoga, mindfulness, breathing techniques and music listening, appreciation and performance to give students the tools to use music and movement to reduce stress, improve focus and improve personal wellness. 

Have you ever wondered how your favorite songs were originally written? Are you curious about how songwriters get their inspiration to create the music that you know and love? In this class, we will spend time listening to music, exploring the stories behind the songs, and using what we learn to write your own songs. We will be using the HMS Noteflight page as well as other music-writing programs to assist you in creating your music.

Learn about the heroes, gods and monsters of the ancient world in this elective. Using Ancient Greece as a starting point, you will explore other cultures that interest you as well. We will cover creation stories, the hero’s journey, the Trojan War, and other famous stories of mythology. In addition, we will have discussions on the deeper meanings of myths and their role in our society today. 

In this elective, students in grade 8 will have the opportunity to explore concepts in dance and theater.  In dance, students will explore the roots of Hip Hop, an American art form that has inspired generations of young people and transformed the landscape of numerous global cultures. They will experiment with the art form of dance and physical theater while developing locomotive skills and learning creative expression. Additionally, students will discover acting, playwriting and cooperation skills as they create an original theater piece. In devised theater, the creative experience originates from a collaborative, improvisational process, which students are led through by a professional teaching artist from NJPAC. Students will engage in a culminating dance and theater performance that showcases the targeted skills learned through this elective. 

Students will learn about what is involved in television production including camera shots and angles, scriptwriting,  interviewing, researching, working a digital video camera, switcher and sound mixer, editing videos and if time, even create and produce the WHMS news show.

An elective class for 8th grade students that aims to offer students tools to help them balance the many facets of their lives in an effective and focused manner.   Life can be stressful and overwhelming, and this course aims to offer tools to deal with the challenges that life presents.  Through yoga, mindfulness meditation, breathing techniques, and music listening, students will learn how breath, sound, and movement have the possibility to reduce stress, enhance focus, and improve personal wellness.  The class will also encourage students to investigate other elements of their lives, such as organization, sleep and diet, empowering student choice. 

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