Eighth Grade Electives Offered at Holdrum

Holdrum Middle School

8th Grade 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 designed for the student interested in building design. This class aims to give students a basic understanding of drafting and design through hands-on projects and activities. Students would learn about how to draft blueprints, survey buildings, build models, and about the different architectural styles.

This full trimester Art elective will challenge students to invent and physically create gaming equipment and marketing devices. Students will explore the complexity of both board games and electronic gaming. Hard core gamers and nubes alike will be tasked with making a real board game with all its components; from clay game pieces to the art on the game board itself. In addition to inventing and creating their own game students will create the visual art to market their very own video game. From the logo, cover art to advertising this class will challenge students to find out how much hard working art making goes into modern gaming.

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 love to read graphic stories? Do you love to draw or write? Then this elective is for you! We will explore the format of graphic stories and different genres while reading a collection of novels. We also will all have our own blank journals for students to write their own graphic novel. You will work to develop characters, plot, and setting to write your own novel. You will design your own panels and structure for the novel and will celebrate your final published piece with the group. 


“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.

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.

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. 

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?

In this class, you will have the chance to learn both the keyboard/piano and the guitar/ukulele! All students will learn both instruments to start the trimester, and will later be given the choice to focus on either instrument or an equal combination of both. You will learn the music of your choice as individuals as well as in acoustic pop/rock bands, where there will also be the option to include vocalists and percussionists. We will have opportunities to record music individually and in bands so you can take your accomplishments with you to share with friends and family! **Prefer classical or jazz music? There's a place for all music styles here! 

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.

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. 

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. 

This course is designed for the student interested in living a more sustainable lifestyle. Students will have many opportunities to explore topics such as sustainable energy, waste management, global warming, and sustainable gardening from hands-on activities and experiments including composting and growing your own plants!

During this full trimester elective students will immerse themselves in the fine art making of painting; with a physical and digital brush. Students will create a series of paintings with watercolor and acrylic paint that allow for skill and creativity to grow. Half of the trimester will focus on these traditional wet painting techniques, and the other half students will use digital painting techniques using photoshop. In the digital process students will see how they can build layers of color and form with ease and correct and undue all of their work through the benefit of the computer processor. The class will culminate in a final exam project where students will choose what medium will best work for a final creative design of their personal creation.

"Is slime a liquid or a solid?" "How did Holdrum Middle School get its name?" "Who is the top goal scorer in the NHL and what factors should be considered?" Students in this elective will use the internet and other resources to find answers to some really good questions. Anyone in the Middle School community can submit a question, and the elective team will go to work. We will feature some answers at morning announcements and design some interactive trivia activities based on the information we gather. Students will learn how to avoid "fake news" and learn real reporting techniques and using good sources as we find the right information to answer each question. (learning objectives: new Media Library learning objectives/research skills objectives) 

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. 

Do you like to watch suspenseful movies and shows? Do you know what a red herring is? Do you like to create your own mystery games? Well, this mysterious elective might be just the thing for you! This elective will explore the elements of the mystery genre. We will read some mentor texts, watch movie and television clips, and even explore some local mysteries and folklore in our area of NJ. We then will use what we learn about the Mystery genre to tackle writing and publishing (edit: writing and filming? writing and creating) a Who-dunnit-mystery (mystery board game?) by the end of the trimester.

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