Social Studies Overview for Grades 7-8

In social studies the students in 7th and 8th grade will explore the United States and New York State beginning with the settlement of North America by Native Americans and ending with an examination of the United States in the 21st century.  This is a two year course where students will also build skills and content from geography, politics, economy, and culture into the study of history.


Grade 8 social studies:  The students will explore the early 20th century and end at present day.  The students will study nine key ideas which also incorporate geography as well as economic, social and political trends.  Below are the key ideas, description of topic, and some activities.  More details will be given on each topic and project throughout the school year.  *Activities include projects, essays, document base questions with essays (DBQs), journals, and other themed reports related to the key ideas.


Changing Society and Progressive Era-  causes of urbanization of America and reforms- *Immigration and Progressive Document Base Questions

Expansion and Imperialism- westward expansion and more aggressive United States foreign policy  - * Geography of Pacific islands and nations

World War I and Roaring Twenties- causes and effects of the war.   * Trench warfare model

Great Depression- Economic and environmental disasters in the 1930s  - *DBQ and Hoovervilles models

World War II- aggression of the Axis powers threatened US security and led to war - *  report weapons used during WW II

Foreign Policy – communism, Cold War, Middle East conflicts  -  * Geography and research report on selected topics

Demographic changes – changing population after WW II

Civil Rights Movement- equality for all - *  DBQ

After the Cold War era to present day- causes and effects of the Cold War, Conflicts in the Middle East  -  *  Report- topics will be given

Grade 7 social studies:  The content will be divided into eight key ideas tracing the human experience in the United States from pre-Columbian times until the Civil War.  Below are the key ideas and some activities.  More details will be given on each topic and project throughout the school year.   

Native Americans – environment influenced the development of the first human settlements and the culture of Native American (Dwelling project)

Colonial Developments -  European exploration resulted in interactions and colonization of Native Americans

                *Colonial Fair

American Independence- explore the causes and effects of the American Revolution

                *Activities:  Flip charts, time lines, cause and effect charts and other hands -on projects

Historical Development of the Constitution- United States struggled to create a powerful but fair government

                *Compromise debates (done in class)

The Constitution in Practice- how the government works and responds to political and social change

                *Are You an Informed Citizen?   (Report)

Westward Expansion- the United States expanded its boundaries to the Pacific Ocean.

                *Lewis and Clark Journal

Reform Movements – study social, political, and economic inequalities sparked reform movements

                                *Reform movement Document Base Questions (DBQ)

A Nation Divided- causes and effects of the Civil War

                                *Reviewing for finals