8th Grade Exploratory Course Offerings (updated 4/2019)

Computer Programming 7/8
Introduces students to procedural scripting and object-oriented programming.  Using languages such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Python, Java and C++ students will learn to create websites from the ground up as well as learn how to program drones and circuit boards.  The course builds on many of the main ideas from Computer Science class and presents students with common programming problems; includes computational and critical thinking skills, and engages students in the creative aspects of the field.

Intro to App Development (7 & 8)

This course introduces the basics of mobile application development. Students will demonstrate an understanding of designing mobile applications with a user interface as well as block & script based programming.  The objective of the course is to enable students to build an Android application using the Android Studio. This class has a prerequisite of B or higher in Mr. Starkey's Computer Programming (aka Computer Systems) OR B or higher in Mrs. Golgart's Computer Science.

Broadcast Technology & Patriot TV

This course uses modern computer applications and video production techniques to examine and create multiple video presentations and a weekly school-wide broadcast. Students will have the opportunity to work with studio equipment and other media software and hardware. An application with teacher recommendations is required for placement into this class.

Theater 1

This class introduces students to the basics of acting and play production. Topics covered include handling stage fright, public speaking, character development, warming up, auditioning, jobs in the industry, and tech work/designs.  

Advanced Theater

Building on what you learned in Theater, this class produces a play for the public.  Students will work as both actors and techies to put together a full production with evening performances.  We also look more at theater history, current theater trends, and go to see live productions at local theater companies.  Students must pass Theater 1 and have teacher approval to be in this class.

Musical Theater

Students audition to be an actor or apply to be a techies for the annual school musical.  The students who make it are then enrolled in this class, which is where the majority of rehearsals occur.  Auditions are usually in October, and the class is spring semester.

World Mythology

Explore the myths and fables from across the world!  We’ll focus on Egyptian, Greek/Roman, Norse, and British myths; but we’ll also encounter creatures from all over the world from Baba Yaga to the Bunyip, from the Kelpie to the Kitsune.  The class uses reading, writing, art, and oral storytelling to explore these folklores.

Symphonic Band

This class is for students who have 2-3 years experience playing their instrument and have advanced instrumental skills mastered.  This class consists of mostly 8th grade students but accelerated 6th/7th grade students may be a part of this class as well.  Symphonic Band members will perform 4-5 concerts during the school year including 1-2 festival concerts outside of school.  All Jefferson County Music Content Standards are part of everyday class and students will be expected to improve on these throughout the full year course.  If you are new to the area and wish to be in this class please contact Mr. Cavaliere before enrolling.

Jazz Band

This class is an ‘additional’ class offered here at Dunstan and NOT at most middle schools in Jefferson County.  Students must be enrolled in Intermediate, Concert Band, Symphonic Band, or Orchestra to be in Jazz Band as it meets on a limited basis within the school day.  Students should be at a high level of musicianship in order to be in Jazz Band due to this limited meeting time. Jazz Band has 4-6 performances each year including a performance outside of school.  Auditions for the band will be held in May each year. If you are new to the area and wish to be in this class please contact Mr. Cavaliere before enrolling.

Mr. Cavaliere


Physical Education-General PE

Students will work on their individual fitness through warm ups, fitness testing and the use of fitness technology: Heart Tech Plus (HTP) and pedometers, acquiring MVPA (Moderate-Vigorous Physical Activity). Students will participate in a variety of traditional and non-traditional fitness activities (soccer, lacrosse, ultimate frisbee, disc golf, badminton, nitro ball, takraw, pickleball, team handball, etc.).

SMART Fit Girls-Recreation Sports (⅞ only)

Smart Fit Girls is a program that teaches adolescent girls how to love their bodies by embracing their own strength. During our program, girls participate in exciting activities aimed at improving their self-esteem and body image, and are introduced to resistance training exercises in a fun, group environment.

Fitness & Conditioning (8th grade only)

*PREREQUISITE: Students who have completed one semester of General PE and have the recommendation of the PE Department may sign up for Fitness & Conditioning.  Students in Fitness & Conditioning learn how to lift weights safely, using correct form and technique. Students will engage in a variety of workouts focusing on: upper body, lower body and core. Lessons on nutrition and living their healthiest life complement the workouts.

Pre-Engineering 1 (7th & 8th)

Are you creative or imaginative? Do you like to work with your hands? Imagine turning your creative design ideas into reality with the help of 3D printers, computers, and power tools. In this STEM course you will explore the engineering design process in order to design, draft, and build various projects. You will also develop trade skills in measurement, technical drawings, Computer-Aided Drafting (CAD), 3D modeling and printing, basic circuitry, and tool & machine safety.

Pre-Engineering 2 (8th)

Prerequisite: Pre-Engineering 1. In this STEM course you will apply your creativity and all the skills acquired from Pre-Engineering 1 inorder to design and manufacture problem solving solutions for projects of your own choosing through an open-design concept.  This course comes fully equipped with 3D printers, a computer lab, and a machine shop. Students will employ problem solving skills, technical skills, teamwork, communication methods, engineering standards, global and human impacts, and critical thinking skills needed to solve problems in the real world.

Creative Writing (7th & 8th) Semester

Do you have a passion for writing? This course is designed for a community of writers to experience various genres and styles of creative writing. Frequent writing exercises, often inspired by the readings, will provide students with the opportunity to explore a variety of ideas, structures, styles, and other elements of creative writing in order to develop a unique writing style and hone their craft. Much of class time is devoted to workshop, in which students write, share and respond to each other's writing.

Art Portfolio (8th)
In this year-long class, students will explore more an in-depth look at various art media such as drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, and design. This is an advanced class for highly motivated students. Students will engage in long term assignments, that will further strengthen their advanced skills and techniques. Students will focus on recognizing art as a form of communication and expression, identifying and using the elements and principles of art and design, and exploring the role of artists in society throughout history all while building their own skills as an artist. Students will also be exposed to various careers in the arts. Students are encouraged to take risks, think critically, and solve problems visually. Students will master new art vocabulary, art methods, techniques, and will form a deeper connection to the fine arts.

Drawing / Painting (7&8)

Drawing provides students with the knowledge and opportunity to explore an art form and to create individual works of art through drawing techniques. With a focus on two-dimensional work, students will explore several different media such as pen-and-ink, pencil, charcoal, and chalk pastel. Students will begin to understand the elements of art and the principles of design as they relate to two-dimensional work. Students will keep a sketchbook in class for notes, ideas, and assignments.

Painting will provide students with the knowledge and opportunity to explore paint media and to create individual works of art through a variety of painting techniques. Students typically work with several media such as watercolor, tempera, oils, and acrylics. Students will explore painting techniques and skills needed to complete a variety of painting assignments. Students will be introduced to color theory, application of the elements and principles of design, compositional organization, as well as art history and contemporary painters.

Ceramics (7&8)

Ceramics/Pottery focuses on creating three-dimensional works of art. Ceramics will introduce students to the materials, techniques, and processes involved in creating works of art using clay as a medium. This is primarily a hands-on studio experience. Students will learn the basics of hand building, including slab and coil as well as the basics of throwing on the potter’s wheel. Students learn how to apply several surface treatments and glazes to their projects, as well as a basic understanding of the kiln-firing process. They will assess and analyze their own and others’ artwork. They will explore ceramics’ place in history and culture while being introduced to contemporary artists.

Forza - 8th grade orchestra (open to 7th graders by recommendation and/or audition)

This orchestra is a performance-oriented ensemble that is open to students who have had two or more years' experience in playing a stringed instrument and have a working knowledge of more advanced concepts such as shifting and vibrato. The group will perform 4-5 concerts throughout the year including a tour of the local elementary schools and will play both classical and popular music. If you would like to audition for this group, please contact Mrs Hawley at

Video Game Design (8th only)

Prerequisite Computer Science

The Video Game Design class will provide students with the opportunity to design, program, and create functional video games. The course builds on many of the main ideas from Computer Science class and will build on proficiencies that are essential to developing a video game. Knowledge and skills are developed through interactive software, text, pictures, animations, and digital video. This class is highly interactive where students are assisted through the exciting world of video game design. This class has a prerequisite of B or higher in Computer Science.

Computer Science (7th & 8th)

In Computer Science, students will learn about logical thinking while coding, programming video games, and creating animations. It will also facilitate problem solving skills, which will be supported by plans and tools that lead to success.  All students are encouraged to take this class from the basic user to the computer 'guru' and will show that computer science is exciting, collaborative, and creative.

Destination Imagination
Destination ImagiNation will prepare you to be an innovator of the future by combining the arts, sciences, and technology with creativity, teamwork, and problem solving. You will use your leadership, collaboration, and project management skills to create a STEAM-based project to present at a Destination ImagiNation tournament held on a Saturday in February or March. Teams finishing first or second at the Jeffco tournament will advance to the Colorado Affiliate Tournament held on a Saturday in April. Teams finishing in the top three at the Colorado tournament will be invited to attend the Global Finals in Kansas City at the end of May. It is not required to take this elective to participate in DI, but it is encouraged.

Robotics (6-8?)
The objective of this course is to introduce the student to the engineering process, basic programming and problem solving strategies. This course will involve students in the development, building and programming of a LEGO Mindstorm robot to address real world situations and problems. Students will work hands-on in teams to design, build, program and document their progress as they explore the world of robotics.

Mind Blown: Philosophy and the Theory of Everything (7th & 8th)

Dive deep into a wondrous journey of intellect and imagination. Be astonished by the world and wake yourself from the enchanted sleep of a mundane existence. See the wonder of the world through the eyes of a child again while tackling some of life’s greatest questions: Where did we come from? Why are we here? How did the world come into existence?

By studying your philosophy, you can refuse to be a slave to the subconscious philosophies of other people’s notions and thoughts; ideas that aren’t really ours but that we all pick up throughout our lives. Understanding yourself and your ideas can be a tool for motivation, success and happiness.

Learn to acquire knowledge more readily, think critically and argue more effectively.  Learn to be truly free.

Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2020 Intrado Corporation. All rights reserved.