Social Studies

Middle School

The Social Studies Department challenges students to develop the knowledge, understanding, and skills necessary for the growth of an informed, caring, and active member of the world community. The Social Studies Department objectives are (course descriptions follow):

  • To provide the historical foundation essential for an understanding of the political, social, cultural, economic, and geographical forces shaping modern society.
  • To develop all of the following skills: study methods, critical thinking, oral and written communication, and research methodology.
  • To promote an appreciation of the diversity and dignity of all individuals and to encourage an active concern for their welfare.
  • To prepare students to act rationally and responsibly as citizens in a democratic society.

Social studies in the Middle School helps students understand their individual responsibilities on a personal, local, national and global level. Through critical analysis, students will come to pose and address many of the questions that have challenged society in the past and continue to cause conflict today. Our goal is to empower students with the confidence, skills, and understanding that will allow them to make a tangible, authentic difference in the world around them.

Social Studies 6

In grade 6, students gain from a unified humanities approach to language arts and social studies. By helping students make connections to their own lives, this course explores the spirit and experience of the individual through themes of origin, culture, and environment in literature, geography, and history. Students will learn about the factors that contribute to the formation of their identity as they develop the means of self-expression.

The course will begin by focusing on the application of geographic information and tools to understand the relationship between the physical environment, the individual, and the community. Students will examine historical case studies as well as literary characters that reveal the importance of geography in individual development and survival.

Teachers will then introduce students to the study of history as a narrative through an examination of early American and local history. Students will compare primary and secondary historical sources to stories told through fiction, memoir, drama, and poetry. By developing familiarity with narrative structure, students will develop composition skills for personal narrative writing.

We will explore the ways in which individuals are shaped by events and experiences. Students will analyze defining moments in the lives of historical and literary characters before shifting their focus to examine their own personal history. They will conduct research on census data, legal records, primary documents, and family traditions, etc.. As part of a unit synthesis project, students will express their identities through poetry, art, music, and creative writing as well as through visual and oral presentations.

Finally, students will consider and assess the options and choices they face as individuals. Through this study, they will develop life skills in personal economics, communication, and collaboration. Students will also participate in Literature Circles to discuss the themes presented throughout the year and articulate their understanding of personal identity and their individual goals.

Social Studies 7

This course is dedicated to developing young citizens who are prepared to make informed and reasoned decisions for the public good. The course begins with an examination of the historical roots of community, nation and government. Through case studies on Greece, Rome, China, and contemporary governments, students will learn how people participate in governing society given different geographic, economic and cultural contexts. Emphasis will be given to the foundations of American democracy, leadership, and the role of government in our lives today. Students will understand and practice the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, identify the uses and abuses of power, and recognize the variety of views on the American political spectrum. To further develop civic literacy, students will engage in town meetings, mock trials, Presidential crisis simulations, and civic engagement projects.


Social Studies 8

This course seeks to educate and engage students as global citizens by building on their understanding of who they are as individuals, as well as the development of community and the role of government. It begins with an introductory study of the scientific, economic, and social elements of diversity by delving into a historic and contemporary analysis of conflicting values, interests, and priorities. Using lessons and units from “Facing History and Ourselves,” and other engaging, relevant  resources, teachers will lead students to an understanding of the interconnectedness and foundational similarity of human emotion, needs, and motivations across the globe. This will be accomplished through the use of inquiry-based case studies, conflict resolution activities, and the exploration of character and leadership skills displayed by influential leaders, activists, and visionaries. Students will be empowered to make informed and responsible decisions by developing skills in media literacy, active listening, collaboration, relationship building, and critical thinking. Model United Nations simulations and international video conferencing will give life to these lessons as students engage in discussions to solve modern day problems. Our goal is to foster greater global awareness, and strengthen students’ understanding that they have a voice that can make a difference in the world around them.


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