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Social Studies

An important goal for middle school social studies is that students can make connections between the social science disciplines and skills so that they will see relationships between events, time and places.

The curriculum is presented as a four year study. By the end of two years, students will have begun two timelines, an American History timeline and a World History timeline, which record events, people, places and times. Creative cues designed to help students recall the event are added for each entry on the timeline. These timelines are a work in progress for the entire middle school years.

Course Descriptions

5th Grade - Early America Through the Revolutionary War

Students start off the year with a unit on the ancient civilizations of the Inca, Maya and Aztec. This unit includes a hands-on STEAM project where students make a replica of one of the ancient history sites and how they integrated an irrigation system. They continue, chronologically through American history, by learning about the Native American regions and conduct a research project on a specific tribe, highlighting the amazing engineering and resourcefulness of their tribe. The students then learn about the Age of Exploration and discover how the technology and innovations helped shape the discovery of the New World. 5th grade continues through the history of our nation by using creative hands-on investigations about the early colonies of Roanoke, Jamestown and Plymouth. This lays the foundation for students learning about the colonial regions and thirteen colonies. Students finish the year by learning about the causes of the Revolutionary War, significant events of the war and participate in a class simulation experiencing life as a loyalist or patriot.

6th Grade - Formation of American Government Through Civil War

Our 6th grade students start off the year by recapping the import ant government documents laid out by our founding fathers. They continue into the era of Westward Expansion by learning about the War of 1812 and the great idea of Manifest Destiny that helped shape our nation. Students participate in a hands-on research STEAM activity where they create a scale replica of one of the major modes of transportation for this time period. Students also experience a local element of Westward Expansion by meeting a guest speaker and having traditional western grub for lunch. Students continue, chronologically, learning about the changes in our industry and the first wave of immigration. Students then begin learning about the rising tensions that would give way to the Civil War and impact on the United States. This unit has a culminating simulation where each student is able to represent a state within the union or confederacy and make choices/decisions based on their needs. This live simulation allows students to experience some of the effects states felt during the war, the manner in which the war came to an end, and ultimately how our nation needed to rebuild. The Reconstruction Era completes the year.

7th Grade - Second Wave of Immigration through Modern American Decades

7th grade begins with a study of the landmark cases of the Suprem e Court and continues with the changes in origins of immigration, Ellis Island and the need for cheap labor to fuel the Industrial Revolution taking off in America. Students host an interactive New York tenement reenactment that is the prompt for a writing piece about the sights and smells of tenement life. The Gilded Age unit focuses on technological changes in building, infrastructure and on the robber barons that created the massive changes taking place in our society. This is a full STEAM unit with students building models of the great structures of New York City. Women’s suffrage, African American leaders of reform, child labor and factory safety laws continue this unit study. WWI is the following study of new technologies of war, societal changes and the Treaty of Versailles. The roaring 20s and the economic trends that caused the stock market crash of 1929 bring students closer to “modern America”. Students participate in the Stock Market game, an interactive game, buying, selling and maintaining a portfolio. A “crash” party demonstrates the wide gap between the wealthy and the poor during the Great Depression. WWII is a comprehensive unit from the Holocaust to the home front, from the European to the Pacific fronts; students emerge with a very solid understanding of this war and its subsequent effects on modern American life and the Cold War. Lastly, the study of political, economic and social changes from 1950-2000 complete the year.

8th Grade - Pre-History through Renaissance

Students begin the year with the study of the great river civilizations of Mesopotamia, India, China and Egypt. We continue on to Persia, Phoenicia and then Greece and Rome. All of these civilizations are studied through the filter of great engineering feats, as well as through their geographic, economic, cultural and political influences. This study is concluded with an Ancient Artifact Academy, using the engineering design plan, they create their own scale drawing, research paper and build a model. We host younger students, parents and make our “Academy” a perfect STEAM showcase. Once the students experience the fall of Rome, the Dark Ages follow and then lead into the Middle Ages. This a comprehensive unit with students conducting research on a variety of topics from feudalism to the Norman Conquest, The Church and the Crusades, castles and cathedrals, the Bible to the Magna Carta, the Silk Road and the origins of global trade. This unit allows students a variety of skills as they prepare for a Medieval Faire. Every student does research and portrays an actual person from this era and they are able to choose according to their own personal areas of strength. Following this is an art intensive unit with the Renaissance, focusing on da Vinci in both science and art, to make connections to this time period.