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2017-2018 Electives Course Catalogue Seventh and Eighth Grade


Students will select one of the following eleven elective options in 4th period, Monday, May 22nd.

Please note that placement into a student’s preferred electives is our goal but may not occur due to increased requests, class size, and other scheduling constraints. If a student is not placed into both of their top choices, we try to place the student into at least one of their requested semester electives. Thank you



Option 1. Concert Band (Year Long)


Option 2. Jazz Band (Year Long)


Option 3. Kitchen Chemistry (Year Long)


Option 4. 8th Grade Only: Spanish 1 (Year Long - Prerequisite: Spanish Intro in 7th grade)


Option 5. 8th Grade Only: Spanish 1 (Year Long - No Prerequisite)


Option 6. Art II (Year Long)


Option 7. Two of the following semester options: Health & Fitness, Project Lead The Way, Kitchen Chemistry, Tech 2


Option 8. Two of the following semester options: Health & Fitness, Ceramics, Intro to Spanish


Option 9. Two of the following semester options: Ceramics, Kitchen Chemistry, Film & Lit


Option 10. Two of the following semester options: Design Thinking, Debate, Environmental Studies, Intro to Spanish


Option 11. Two of the following semester options: Minecraft, Intro to Leadership, Intro to Spanish



Fine Arts


Course Title: Ceramics - Semester                        Term: Semester            Eligibility: 7th and 8th grade

Prerequisites: None

Course Description: This semester-long course is designed for students who want to explore art through the medium of clay. This class is great for students who like working with their hands, who are creative and innovative! Students will learn basic hand-building techniques such as wedging, rolling slabs, coils, and simple sculpture while also considering the basic principles and elements of art. Projects explored may include: Name Slab, Name Stand, Sun, Bank, Shaped Box, Animal Mug, Clocks, and Jack-O-Lanterns.

Ceramic PowerPoint:

Course Title:  Art II                              Term: Year                   Eligibility: 7th and 8th grade

Prerequisites:  Students must have a love of art and a willingness to be challenged by new media and techniques.

Course Description: This year-long course is designed for students interested in further exploring the basic principles andelements in art. Students will develop their talents through a wide range of media.

First Semester: “Guided Exploration” of media including but not limited to: yarn, pencil, chalk and oil pastel, scratchboard, block printing, watercolor, and acrylic.
Second Semester: “Guided Studio Time" with an emphasis on painting ending with a final student selected project.
Students will focus on communicating ideas and creating personal meaning through media of their choice.

Art II Powerpoint:

Music and Performing Arts



View UMS Bands in action 


Course Title:  Symphonic Band            Term: Year                   Eligibility: 7th and 8th grade 

Prerequisites: Successful completion of Intermediate or Concert Bands and passage of audition with the director.

Course Description: Symphonic Band is a year-long course for seventh and eighth grade students that have already been in intermediate band or concert band AND they have displayed a high level of ability to play in Union’s highest-level ensemble through an audition with the director. During the fall,  the band rehearses towards the winter concert and also marching in the holiday parades as a marching band. During the spring, this group performs on tour for the elementary students, a pops concert, a CMEA band festival, a spring concert, and in graduation. Symphonic band meets during "zero" period, before the normal school day. Students in Symphonic Band should be able to read music.



Course Title: Jazz Band              Term: Year            Eligibility:7th and 8th grade

Prerequisites: Students should have at least 1 full year experience on the instrument they intend to play.

Course Description:  Jazz Band has been an important ensemble in the Union Music Department for many years, but has always operated as a once a week before school club. Jazz band will be offered as a five day per week class during second and periods! Jazz band performs in the Union home concerts, on tour, at big events such as jazz festivals. The group performs a wide variety of music including: Swing Jazz, BeBop, Latin Jazz, Rock, Pop, R&B, Funk, and Soul. It is one of the most eclectic groups on campus, and a lot of fun! If you play a band instrument (especially, trumpet, saxophone, or trombone), and want something different than concert band, this is the band for you!


Student Support

Course Title: THRIVE                           Term: Semester        Eligibility: 7th and 8th grade

Prerequisites: None

Course Description: THRIVE is a semester-long course designed to improve students’ productivity, organization, character, and connection to the school. Topics for instruction include, but are not limited to: goal-setting, conflict resolution, time management, positive self-perceptions.  Two days a week are dedicated to academic support allowing for quiet time with access to teachers, tutors, and supplies. One day a week is devoted to sustained silent reading. The final day of the week is reserved for team-building group activities, guest speakers, or field trips. Students will keep a journal, set and track weekly goals, and keep neat, up-to-date planners and binders. This is a great course for students who are open to developing the habits of mind necessary for school and life success.


Course Title: Health and Fitness                           Term: Semester        Eligibility: 7th and 8th grade

Prerequisites: None

Course Description: Union Middle School's Health & Fitness Elective will enhance each student's individual fitness levels. This class will encourage each student's individual growth in (1) strength, (2) flexibility, (3) breath, and (4) balance, while facilitating a mindfulness element. The curriculum will cultivate student fitness through various yoga styles with a focus on energetic power flow, power core techniques, and meditation/focus components. Curriculum involving proper exercise techniques, concepts involving injury prevention, and applications of exercise physiology and recovery will also be presented. Our goal is that every student will be empowered and inspired to create wellness tools to last a lifetime.

Community Service

Course Title: Service Learning                  Term:Semester           Eligibility: 7th and 8th grade

Prerequisites: 2.0 GPA and never have taken School Learning previously.

Course Description: Students interested making their school a better place and learning principles of volunteerism are encouraged to consider “Service Learning.” Students may request one semester during their middle school experience to serve as an aide for a teacher in the classroom, in the library, or in the office. Students will complete various organizational and clerical activities for staff, assist students in the classroom, and/or setup labs, lessons, and learning experiences. Students enrolled in Service Learning will enjoy the opportunity to see a more “behind the scenes” perspective of how school works. Students enrolled in Service Learning are required to complete a 2-page written reflection regarding what they learned about their school, themselves and/or community service as a culminating exercise.

**Students interested need to sign up in the office to request this as an elective.  Since the availability for Service Learning opportunities is limited, students also need to make 2 elective requests from one of the groups in the PowerSchool.  




Course Title: Leadership                         Term: Year                   Eligibility:  8th grade ONLY

Prerequisites: Election as an ASB officer or appointment via application and interview.

Course Description: Leadership is the course available to student leaders elected or appointed to ASB to complete their service to Union Middle School. The mission of ASB is to promote and support leadership development and student activities.Students enrolled in this course will earn the principles of ‘service leadership’ and are expected to uphold the highest of behavioral and academic standards. This 8th grade class consists of 5 ASB Officers (elected in May) - President, Vice President, Secretary,Treasurer and Activities Commissioner- and 25 students involved in commissions- Dance, Activities, Student Store, Technology, and PR. Student leaders will develop as leaders and organize many of the school-wide activities and community service events. All members must have a 2.5 GPA (3.0 for Officers)and be a positive role model on campus. 


Course Title: Introduction to Leadership       Term: Semester      Eligibility: 7th or 8th grade

Prerequisites: None

Course Description: Introduction to Leadership is a semester-long elective in which students have the opportunity to serve their school community, support student activities and develop personal and leadership skills. This course is a great introduction to the world of service and leadership in the broader community, along with being a great precursor to the year-long Leadership experience at the middle or high school levels. This class consists of multiple “commissions” among these are: Pay It Forward, Go Green, Acts of Random Kindness, Appreciation, and Intro to Public Relations. Students will develop as leaders and organize a few school-wide activities and community service events. All members should be a positive role model on campus.

Science and Technology

Course Title: Environmental Studies        Term:Semester       Eligibility: 7th and 8th grade

Prerequisites: None

Course Description: This elective is perfect for students who want to learn more about our environment and how to protect it. Designed to educate the future stewards of our planet, students will be asked to identify the many environmental problems we face and discuss solutions to these problems. Topics discussed include: Greenhouse Effect and climate change, deforestation, recycling, reusing, reducing, habitat destruction, energy consumption and conservation, ideas for a “green” lifestyle. Students will be directly involved in the UMS in-class recycling program and other opportunities for “greening” their school. The class will determine which issues they would like to focus on and create a project that will benefit our planet on a global or local level. Along with learning about important environmental issues that affect us all, students will have the opportunity to work in a hands-on environment in the Union Middle School Organic Garden. Students will learn about the importance of utilizing a non-synthetic approach to growing fruits and vegetables as well as water conservation through drip-irrigation systems that hydrate our crops and grow delicious fruits and vegetables. Of course, we enjoy all of our harvest and share it with others, too.  We will view scientific/environmental documentaries as a springboard for project-based activism. 

Environmental Science Presentation:

Course Title: Project Lead the Way         Term: Semester           Eligibility: 7th or 8th Grade

Prerequisites: None.

Course Description: Students apply the design process to solve problems and understand the influence of creativity and innovation in their lives. They work in teams to design a playground and furniture. Then, using Autodesk® design software, students create a virtual image of their designs.

In conjunction with 3D Design, students trace the history, development, and influence of automation and robotics as they learn about mechanical systems, energy transfer, machine automation, and computer control systems. Students will use the VEX Robotics® platform to design, build, and program real-world objects such as traffic lights, toll booths, and robotic arms.

PLTW Elective Presentation

Course Title: Design Thinking          Term: Semester           Eligibility: 7th or 8th Grade 

Prerequisites: None.

Course Description:   In this elective, modeled after Stanford's Institute of Design,  teams of students are introduced to the creative process of designing meaningful solutions to problems at a local, domestic, and global level.  Students are encouraged to think and go “big,” while focusing on the key stages of the design cycle: empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test. Students are guided to identify needs, design solutions, collaborate with peers, and present their findings to a meaningful audience.

Design Thinking Presentation

Course Title: Minecraft 7/8         Term: Semester           Eligibility: 7th or 8th Grade 

Prerequisites: None.

Course Description:   Get your "Mine" blown! In the Minecraft Elective, we use server-based Minecraft to collaborate in teams, problem solve in pairs, and create individual projects. Students will be challenged by building projects including a UMS of the future, a full scale replica bridge, the ultimate domicile, working machinery and circuits, and create an original town with its own unique culture. Students also engage in pixel art, portraits, and create projects that use scientific concepts physics and chemistry - all in the digital world. Those interested in programming can learn to use command blocks using basic computer programming principles. Got an interest in using Redstone or working on a specific skill in Minecraft? This is the place to learn the basics or hone your craft and work towards becoming a master. Along the way, we manage to find time to engage in free choice projects and friendly competition. Students will research, learn basic file sharing and computer navigation skills, and learn to video edit while creating a screencast tour of one of their projects to be showcased.



Course Title: Tech 2        Term: Semester           Eligibility: 7th or 8th Grade 

Prerequisites: None

Course Description:  Tech 2 focuses on preparing students to become 21st century technology experts. Students will utilize Google Union Apps for Education in becoming experts at Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Slides, Google Maps,  and Google Forms. These students will also receive training in Digital Animation, Movie Creation, Stop Motion and digital photography. There will be opportunities to create digital graphic novels, cutting-edge infographics, and much more. You will leave Tech 2 as a future-ready, Tech-tastic student with skills directly applicable toward high school success.



Course Title: Introduction to Spanish      Term: Semester         Eligibility: 7th and 8th grade 

Prerequisites: None

Course Description: The curriculum for Introduction to Spanish focuses on the first semester of year-long Spanish 1. Eighth-graders planning to take Spanish 1 in high school will find their transition easier having taken the Introduction to Spanish course. Seventh-graders with Intro to Spanish experience will have the opportunity to elect a more ‘accelerated’ version of Spanish 1 as eighth-graders. At the end of the semester, students will be able to greet one another, talk about the parts of the body, the days of the week, months of the year, describe themselves and others, be able to share what they like to do, and identify basic classroom materials. Students will learn Spanish in a natural way, enjoy speaking Spanish in realistic situations, appreciate diversity, encourage respect for self and others and be encouraged to take positive risks in a safe environment.




Course Title: Spanish 1                     Term: Year                   Eligibility: 8th grade ONLY 

Prerequisites: None (Although, traditionally, students who have completed “Intro to Spanish” as seventh graders are grouped together as eighth-graders and instruction is paced accordingly.)

Course Description: Spanish 1 is a year-long high school-level world language course. Students completing this course will be comfortable with verbal communication in a variety of everyday situations travelers to a Spanish speaking country may encounter. The units covered include: Names, Greetings, Numbers, Alphabet, Body, Time, Calendar, Seasons, Weather, School, Family, People, Food, Pastimes, and Directions as well as present tense verb conjugations and sentence structure. Students will learn Spanish in a natural way, enjoy speaking Spanish in realistic situations, appreciate diversity, encourage respect for self and others and be encouraged to take positive risks in a safe environment.

At the end of the year, students are given a final exam. Students who score above 80% on the final may elect to take Spanish 2 as freshmen.

Welcome to Spanish presentation


High School Prep



Course Title:  Journalism                    Term: Semester              Eligibility: 7th and 8th grade

Prerequisites:  None

Course Description:  Journalism is a semester course that introduces students to journalistic writing and gives them an introduction to layout and design. Each semester we create one to two student newspapers for the school. In order to do this, students will learn to write different types of articles: news, features, sports, opinion. Students will also learn some photography skills, and how to take interesting pictures that accompany or are a main feature on a newspaper page. We will also learn how to use Adobe InDesign to create newspaper pages, posters, and pamphlets. Finally, students will also learn some Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator basics to create illustrations to accompany their work.


Course Title: Film and Lit.         Term: Semester           Eligibility: 7th and 8th Grade

Prerequisites: None

Course Description: This course is a 7th & 8th grade semester class that will include a survey of short and feature films with an emphasis on written response and analysis. Ever wonder what makes a movie a classic, or why we still enjoy watching movies from our childhood even as we grow older? Students will explore these ideas while learning about the elements of film and literary devices as they apply to the films they watch. We will consider feature films from a directorial perspective,  as an art form, and as a commentary about trends within society. The semester will culminate with a final project of the student’s choice ranging from making a short film or script to a research, compare and contrast, or analytical paper on a topic related to film. There will rarely be homework in this course unless an assignment is not finished in class.  Grades will be determined by participation, completion of work, and effort.

Film and Literature Presentation



Course Title: Debate and Mock Trial         Term: Semester           Eligibility: 7th and 8th Grade

Prerequisites: None

Course Description:  In this course students will learn effective public speaking strategies and practice improvisational speaking.  Students will research several debate topics and participate in multiple debates.  In addition, we will explore the fundamentals of our legal system by conducting two mock trials with students taking on the rolls of lawyers, witnesses, jurors, etc.  When appropriate and available, guest speakers, such as trial attorneys and judges, will be invited to share their expertise and perspectives with the class.  By the end of the semester, students will develop useful knowledge about the legal system, valuable questioning techniques, and critical thinking and oral advocacy skills. Participants will also gain an appreciation of the meaning of citizenship and constitutional protections.  More information HERE.


Course Title: Kitchen Chemistry (Home Economics/Union Bistro)    Term: Semester & Year Long   Eligibility: 7th and 8th Grade

Prerequisites: None

Course Description - Semester:  Students will learn the proper use of kitchen equipment, review kitchen safety rules, establish good table manners and settings, how to keep their kitchen clean, and of course how to plan, prepare, cook, and eat various recipes, mostly chosen by students! There will be a focus on how to best prepare a recipe, understand the nutritional content, adjust the size of a recipe to account for additional guests, financially price out the cost of the meal, make a shopping list (digital/handwritten), and compete against their classmates in a taste test of various recipes. There will also be the opportunity to open a classroom restaurant and serve lunch to staff and various distinguished guests. Each semester covers different topics and course may be repeated.

Course Description - Year Long:  For the year long class, a focus will be on cooking recipes across the world.  There will also be the opportunity to open a classroom restaurant and serve lunch to staff and various distinguished guests.