Online Middle School: Grades 6-8
The middle school years are an important time for the development of critical thinking and problem-solving strategies.
The online middle school program at Virtual Preparatory Academy of Arizona is a tuition-free program. Our Arizona state-approved online middle school program is designed with your child’s success in mind. We offer education for sixth, seventh, and eighth grade in our online middle school curriculum.
We strive to provide a relevant, engaging, and challenging online public-school curriculum that is developmentally appropriate, meets their individual needs, and prepares them for high school.
* Course offerings are subject to change and may vary based on school staffing.
Curriculum, Grades 6-8
In this course, students will read and analyze informational texts. These texts take many different forms, including biographies, personal accounts of events, instructional documents, film reviews, and persuasive letters. The course’s reading selections demonstrate ways to understand explicit and implicit information, central ideas, and key details, and claims and arguments, among other ideas and concepts. Over the course, students will read the novel The Road by Jack London. They will also examine informational texts to better their understanding of the science behind sunsets, the lives of several important historical figures, the history of the Olympics, and the process of flotation used by archaeologists, among other topics.
In this course, students will focus on learning reading skills based on literary texts. The texts come from several genres and include a novel, excerpts from novels, short stories, poems, and plays. The course’s reading selections demonstrate ways to understand explicit and implicit information, theme, characters, plot, poetic techniques, and figurative language, among other ideas and concepts. Students will read the entire novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, and read a portion of it in almost every lesson throughout the course. They will read excerpts from the novels Little Women and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and stories and plays about challenging situations, getting caught doing something wrong, finding something unexpected, and why the crocodile has a wide mouth. Additionally, students will read poems from famous poets, such as Robert Louis Stevenson, Robert Frost, and Carl Sandburg, to name a few. Students will also watch several videos of famous poems being read aloud.
In this course, students will build on previously learned concepts like adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing. They will deepen their knowledge of arithmetic with fractions and work with decimals and negative numbers. They will apply these new skills to help solve real-world problems using statistics, ratios, unit conversions, and geometry, as well as expand their ability to write and evaluate expressions, including ones involving new concepts like variables and exponents. Students will also begin working with equations and learn what it means to solve them.
In this course, students will build on previously learned concepts, like positive and negative integers and fractions, to learn about rational numbers and how to compare them. They will find the distance between points, both on the number line and in the coordinate plane, and then solve geometry problems involving these concepts. They will study the relationships between variables and how to represent them in different ways. They will learn about ratios and unit rates, and then use them to solve real-world problems. Students will also work with data and discover different ways to display data and how to describe data mathematically.
This course focuses mainly on plants and animals. The course begins with an introduction to cells. The course then continues with the hierarchy of organization through a discussion of tissues, organs, and organ systems. Once students have learned what makes up organisms, they will look at the interactions between them. The course will also cover the growth of plants and animals and what factors affect their growth. Students will then track the life cycles of plants and animals and find out how they reproduce.
Second Semester: This semester begins with an introduction to energy and matter, as well as different types of energy and energy transformations. Students focus on natural cycles, the effect of the sun on ocean and air currents, and different types of pollution and the effects of greenhouse gases on the Earth’s climate. This semester uses many creative and interactive assets, including virtual labs and review games, to immerse students in a 21st-century online learning environment.
SOCIAL STUDIES 6A
Sixth grade students will study the beginning of early civilizations through the Gupta dynasty. Students will study the geographical, social, economic, and political foundations for early civilizations progressing through the Gupta dynasty. They will analyze the shift from nomadic societies to agricultural societies. Students will study the development of civilizations, including the areas of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Ancient Israel, and India. The study of these civilizations will include the impact of geography, early history, cultural development, and economic change. The geographic focus will include the study of physical and political features, economic development and resources, and migration patterns. This class will conclude with the Gupta dynasty.
SOCIAL STUDIES 6B
Second Semester: Students explore the geographic, political, economic, and cultural development of ancient Greece, Rome, and China. The course examines the birth and spread of Judaism, Christianity, Taoism, and Confucianism. Students apply historical thinking skills to understand implications of ancient literature, art, and philosophy on later Western culture.
In this course, students will read and analyze informational texts. These texts take many different forms, including biographies, personal accounts of events, presidential speeches, and persuasive letters. The course’s reading selections demonstrate ways to understand explicit and implicit information, central ideas and key details, and claims and arguments, among other ideas and concepts. In the course, students will read the biography The Story of My Life by Helen Keller. They will also examine informational texts to better their understanding of the lives of several important historical figures, including Jane Goodall and Zora Neale Hurston; places as far away as Dubai, the Galapagos Islands, and the Hoover Dam; and the similarities between country music and hip-hop, among other topics.
In this course, students will focus on learning reading skills based on literary texts. The texts come from various genres and include a novel and excerpts from novels, short stories, poems, and plays. The course’s reading selections demonstrate ways to understand explicit and implicit information, theme, characters, plot, poetic and dramatic techniques, and figurative language, among other ideas and concepts. Students will read the entire novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll and read a portion of it in almost every lesson throughout the course. They will read excerpts from the novel Black Beauty and a passage from Grimm’s “The Golden Bird” fairy tale. Students will also read stories and plays about challenging situations, discovering alternate realities, and robot rebellions. They will witness powerful historical events and people and compare how written texts are portrayed in film or audio. Additionally, students will read poems from famous poets, such as Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, and William Wordsworth, to name a few.
In this course, students begin with adding and multiplying rational numbers by using number lines, rules, and properties. Then, they move their focus to proportional relationships given in tables, diagrams, graphs, equations, and verbal descriptions. They also learn how to solve problems by finding and comparing unit rates. Next, they rewrite expressions using properties, as well as write and solve simple linear equations by using different methods. The next area of study is probability and statistics, where they will interpret and calculate simple probabilities, as well as learn about populations and samples. Finally, they move on to geometry and learn how to solve problems about scale drawing, circles, and angle relationships, and draw some geometric shapes.
In this course, students will subtract and divide rational numbers by using number lines, rules, and properties, and apply strategies to perform four operations. They will study and interpret proportional relationships, write equivalent expressions and explain their relationships, and write and solve linear equations and inequalities to solve real-world problems that involve rational numbers. Next, they’ll compare two data sets of random samples by using their center values and variability measures, and make conclusions about their populations. Finally, students will progress into geometry topics and work on problems that involve the area, surface area, volume, and cross sections of two- or three-dimensional objects.
Science 7 (1 of 2) focuses on science concepts from the fields of chemistry, biology, and ecology. Science 7 (1 of 2) begins by exploring the relationship between matter and energy. Next, the course examines chemical reactions. Students will then use their knowledge of matter, energy, and chemical reactions to build on their understanding of cellular respiration and photosynthesis. Finally, students will uncover the world of synthetic materials to see how they are made and how they impact society.
Science 7 (2 of 2) focuses on science concepts from the fields of ecology and geology. Science 7 (2 of 2) begins by exploring the interactions between and among organisms in an ecosystem. Next, the course examines different types of rocks, the rock cycle, and Earth’s resources. Students can then use their knowledge of Earth’s processes to better understand how natural hazard events and severe weather events occur. Students will then learn how technology can assist in natural hazard events and discover other benefits of technology. Finally, students will track some of Earth’s changes through time.
SOCIAL STUDIES 7A
This seventh-grade course explores the social, cultural, and technological changes that occurred in Europe, Africa, and Asia in the years AD 500–1789. After reviewing the ancient world and the ways in which archaeologists and historians uncover the past, students study the history and geography of great civilizations that were developing concurrently throughout the world during medieval and early modern times. These include the Roman Empire, the early Muslim empires, and empires in Africa, the Americas, and east Asia.
SOCIAL STUDIES 7B
In this second segment of the course, students study the Renaissance, Reformation, and the Age of Exploration, examining the growing economic interaction among civilizations. Students learn about the exchange of ideas, beliefs, technologies, and commodities. They learn about the resulting growth of Enlightenment philosophy and the new examination of the concepts of reason and authority, the natural rights of human beings and the divine right of kings, experimentalism in science, and the dogma of belief. Finally, students assess the political forces let loose by the Enlightenment, particularly the rise of democratic ideas, and they learn about the continuing influence of these ideas in the world today.
In this course, students will read and analyze literary and informational texts. These texts will come from a number of genres and a number of sources, including short stories, novels, myths, poems, magazine articles, and autobiographies. Through the presentation of these types of reading selections, the course demonstrates ways to understand explicit and implicit information, theme, central idea, and figurative language. They read the novel The Call of the Wild and short stories, such as “The Lottery,” “A Sound of Thunder,” and “The Tell-Tale Heart.” They examine informational texts to better their understanding of the Yukon, the Klondike Gold Rush, dog sledding, and wolves. They will learn about basics in grammar, usage, and punctuation, including phrases and clauses, sentence structures, ellipses, dashes, and commas. Students will learn the elements of a fictional narrative in order to plan, create, write, revise, and edit their own fictional narrative. In addition, they encounter numerous infographics and videos that build on the instruction.
In this course, students focus on learning reading skills based on both literary and informational texts. These texts come from several genres and from a number of sources, including short stories, novels, poems, Internet articles, and political speeches. The course’s reading selections demonstrate ways to understand explicit and implicit information, theme, central idea, and figurative language, among other ideas and concepts. parts of the novels Fahrenheit 451, Hatchet, and Black Beauty, as well as short stories such as “How the World Was Saved,” “Harrison Bergeron,” and “All Summer in a Day.” Students will examine informational texts to better their understanding of global warming and its effect on Earth, the role the fast-food industry plays in our lives, the widespread presence of corn in the food we eat, and the ways sleep affects the ability of students to learn, among other topics. In addition, they will learn about basics in grammar, usage, and punctuation, and informational and argument writing. Through the lessons provided in this course, students will master techniques that help them achieve a deeper appreciation of texts and writing. Numerous infographics and videos help build on the instruction.
In this course, students begin with the fundamentals of algebra. They compare, order, and perform operations on rational and irrational numbers; use inverse operations to solve for a variable in one- and two-step equations; write and solve two-step equations from contextual situations; and analyze properties of functions, focusing on linear functions. The next area of study is very large and very small numbers, where they will solve expressions involving powers of a common base, convert numbers to and from scientific notation, and perform operations on numbers in scientific notation. They will then move on to geometry, where they will perform rigid transformations on figures and prove congruence of figures through a series of rigid transformations.
In this course, students will build on and extend the knowledge they gained in Math 8A. After reviewing how to solve one- and two-step equations, they are introduced to multi-step equations and proportions. They will apply their knowledge of proportional relationships to geometry, where they perform transformations on figures and prove similarity of figures through a series of rigid transformations and dilations. Next, students will extend their knowledge of linear relationships by identifying and comparing properties of lines and their equations. Then, students will learn how to solve systems of linear equations using graphs, substitution, and elimination. After that, they build upon their algebraic skills by applying them to statistics, where they analyze and interpret patterns in bivariate data. Finally, students will explore and analyze three-dimensional shapes including cylinders, cones, and spheres.
Science 8 (1 of 2) focuses on life science concepts from biology, ecology, and environmental science. Students will explore the nature of science and has engineering and technology practices threaded throughout the course. Students begin with an introduction to scientific processes. Then, they explore cells, heredity, evolution, ecology, and genetic technology.
In Science 8 (2 of 2), students will focus on physical science concepts, including topics from physics and space science. They will begin by exploring the history of science and highlights influential scientists who laid the groundwork for the fields students are about to discover. Students will begin with physics—one of the more interactive sciences that can be seen in action in the world. Then they will explore concepts of velocity and acceleration, and dive into forces and Newton’s laws of motion. Students will also explore space, including the solar system, planets, and the Moon.
SOCIAL STUDIES 8A
Students will begin by exploring how American Indian societies lived in their environments. Next, they will examine reasons for European exploration and settlement in North America. From there, students will explore the development of the British colonies and the causes behind the American Revolution. They will learn how the Patriots were able to defeat Great Britain and achieve independence. They will be able to name the documents that define the democratic nature of our American republic. They will learn why the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are so revolutionary. Throughout much of the course, students study the growth of sectional divisions and conflict.
SOCIAL STUDIES 8B
This course will take students on a journey from early Spanish missions in western North America up to the end of the 19th century in the United States. Next, students will examine reasons for western westward exploration and expansion. From there, students explore the causes and effects of the Texas Revolution and the Mexican American War. They will also analyze the California gold rush and immigration to the West Coast. The course then explores the sectional causes and effects of the Civil War. After that, students will examine the changes to the lives of African Americans during Reconstruction, followed by the explosive economic growth of the Second Industrial Revolution. The Indian Wars of the 19th century are also a consistent topic of the course.
*Offerings may vary each year.
MIDDLE SCHOOL CODING 1A: INTRODUCTION
MIDDLE SCHOOL CODING 1B: LEARNING PYTHON
MIDDLE SCHOOL DIGITAL ART & DESIGN
There are so many different types of art in this world—fine art, classical art, visual art—but the impact of digital art and design is all around us, often in ways that you probably aren’t even aware of! After taking Digital Art and Design, you’ll enjoy a deeper understanding and appreciation for all things digital as you explore this special genre of art found in everything from advertising to animation to photography and beyond. In this course, you’ll learn about the evolution of art, the basic principles of art and design, and the role of art in politics and society. Additionally, you will create your own digital art and make it come alive. Give your creative side a boost with this Digital Art and Design course!
MIDDLE SCHOOL FITNESS
In this course, students explore the importance of physical activity. Students learn aspects of sports and recreation, including sportsmanship, leadership, and inclusivity. Safety while being active and developing lifelong healthy habits by encouraging daily activity they enjoy for lifelong fitness.
MIDDLE SCHOOL HEALTH
This course provides an overview of how behavior affects health. The broad range of topics include nutrition and physical activity; growth, development, and sexual health; injury and safety prevention; alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs; mental, emotional, and social health; and personal and community health. Students will explore how the choices they make about their bodies affect both their present and future. They will also be given the tools to make informed decisions to better their health.
MIDDLE SCHOOL EXPLORING MUSIC
What comes to mind when you hear the word ‘music’? Do you think about your favorite band or artist? Or do you think about instruments and scales and chords? The word music means something different to everyone. Which is why in this Music course, there’s a little bit of something for everyone! You will learn about how we hear music; how music affects our lives; important elements of music like rhythm, pitch, and harmony; different musical genres; singing and your voice; various instruments; music composition; and the history and culture of music over the years. Tune up your understanding and appreciation for all things music by signing up for this course!
MIDDLE SCHOOL 2D STUDIO ART
Close your eyes and imagine you’re standing in an art studio the smell of paint, the heat of the kiln, and the infinite creative possibilities that linger in the air. This is where art is born, and in 2D Studio Art, you’ll learn how to bring your art visions to life. Whatever medium you prefer painting, drawing, photography this course will teach you the design elements and principles needed to create a work of art, explore your artistic inspirations, travel back in time to look at art in different cultures, and gain insight about the art of critiquing. If you’ve ever dreamed about making a living as an artist, this course will give you the tools and background that you need to turn those dreams into a reality!
SPANISH 1A (APPROVAL REQUIRED)
In this introductory course, students will be introduced to the basics of the Spanish language through reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Students will learn how to introduce themselves and others, talk about interests and hobbies, ask for directions, and more!
In addition to learning the language, students will also learn about the cultures of some Spanish-speaking countries. They will learn about daily life in Mexico, the history of Spain, cultural traditions in Argentina, and more!
Students will participate in discussion boards, speaking practice, a culture project, and a speaking project.
SPANISH 1B (APPROVAL REQUIRED)
This course is the second semester of year one of Spanish. Students will continue with an introduction to the basics of Spanish language through reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Students will learn how to discuss school subjects, various professions, daily routines, and likes and dislikes.
In addition to learning the language, students will also learn about the cultures of Venezuela, Chile, Ecuador, Guatemala, and Cuba. Students will learn about the history, traditions and practices of each of these countries.
Students will participate in discussion boards, speaking practice, a multimedia writing project and a speaking project.
MIDDLE SCHOOL CAREER EXPLORATION 1
Students will get the opportunity to explore careers in a variety of fields and disciplines and understand the necessary skills and education needed to choose a future path. Students will discover careers including business and finance, manufacturing, engineering, and many more! Detailed information on the required education and training options for each are included. Have your students begin gathering information for their journey down a career path today!
MIDDLE SCHOOL CAREER EXPLORATION 2
Imagine that it’s 20 years from now. What career do you see yourself in? What do you imagine that you’ll be doing? Will you be fighting forest fires or engineering the next rocket into space? With all the careers available, it can be difficult to narrow them down. In Middle School Career Explorations 2 we’ll explore more careers and what they takes to succeed. You’ll learn more about what steps are needed to prepare for your career and how to compare the pros and cons of different career choices. Finally, you’ll get the chance to try out parts of different careers to see if you’re a perfect fit!
NEW! INTENSIVE READING (GRADES 6TH– 8TH)
This course provides foundational reading skills for middle-school students to remediate gaps in reading skills and to support learning of reading. This course provides instruction that enables students to further develop and strengthen their skills in reading and responding to texts. The instruction emphasizes reading fluency and comprehension, vocabulary and vocabulary skills, grammar skills, and writing fluency through responses to text. The skills in the course are taught through a variety of literary and informational texts. The readings have different text structures, different genres, and varying levels of complexity, while focusing on a wide range of topics.
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