Social Studies Curriculum Overview
Middle School Course Offerings
Chairperson: Joelle Keats
Grade 6 – World Geography
Students undertake a year-long study of the geography of the world with emphasis on utilizing the tools and themes of geography to study the world’s regions and people in depth. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s Western World Geography will be the primary text utilized in this course. The course begins with an overview of the essential elements of geography as the study of Earth and its people, including building skills related to the six essential elements of geography: studying the world in spatial terms, places and regions, physical systems, human systems, environment and society, and the uses of geography. Students then engage in an intense study of both physical and human geography with focus on the relationship between the physical characteristics of the Earth and the historical and cultural development of its people. Regional focus units include more in depth study Latin and Middle America. Finally, students will engage in ongoing geographicskill development and global competencies by mapping and examining demographics in all regions of the world, locating and studying places of interest related to current events, and exploring global themes such as population, energy, human rights, etc.
Grade 7 – Ancient Civilizations
The course begins with a study of prehistory and early humans and continues with the ancient civilizations of the Middle East. Using Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s Ancient Civilizations as the primary text, students will then trace the development of civilization through the cultural and historical contributions of the early empires of Egypt, Africa, Greece, Rome and Asia. The course concludes with a study of the emergence of Modern Europe through the middle ages. The course focuses on the development of mapping and analytic skills, historical thinking, use of primary sources, and increased global competencies.
Grade 8 – American History
This course traces the events and people that led to the creation of the United States of America and its history through 1890. The primary text that will be utilized is Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s U.S. History: Beginning to 1877. It provides students with a sense of history and an appreciation of American culture and traditions. Throughout the course, the strands of citizenship, history, geography, and economics are woven into the student knowledge base. The students are also given numerous opportunities to develop and sharpen their problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Major topics of the course include the Exploration/Colonization Review, the American Revolution, Constitutional Government, Westward Expansion, Growth of Democracy, the Civil War and post-war expansion of the West, immigration, industrialization, and Pennsylvania History. Study of American History continues in 9th grade and culminates with the study of modern American History in 11th grade.