Academics → Social Studies → Middle School
The social studies program in middle school builds
chronological and thematic understanding of world and
United States history, while also developing the social
studies strands of geography, economics, political systems,
and culture. Each social studies unit is organized around a
historical era and a social studies strand. A mix of modern
content and the lessons of history provide the background
knowledge and thinking skills that prepare students for
high school instruction and their responsibilities as citizens,
including meaningfully evaluating financial decisions.
In Grades 6 and 7, the focus of study is on ancient world
history and culture from Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin
America. In Grade 8, students learn about the founding
and early development of our nation, from the Revolution
through Reconstruction. At all grade levels, students build
understanding of the modern world by applying concepts
of geography, economics, political systems, and culture to
This course provides enriched opportunities for learning
about ancient world history. Building on the current four
units of Grade 6 world studies, students will deepen their
understanding of the rich cultures and history from the earliest
human settlements to great civilizations of the year 1000 CE.
Students are challenged to analyze archaeological evidence,
ask questions to further their knowledge, and understand
history as an ongoing investigation. These historical thinking,
reading, and writing skills support success in future Advanced
Placement and honors social studies courses.
Teachers will implement the curriculum in Grade 6 as follows:
UNIT 1: PATTERNS OF SETTLEMENT IN THE ANCIENT AND
UNIT 2: CITIZENSHIP AND GOVERNANCE IN CLASSICAL
AND MODERN TIMES
UNIT 3: THE IMPACT OF ECONOMICS IN ANCIENT AND
UNIT 4: CULTURAL SYSTEMS: THE FIRST MILLENNIUM
**This course is the core course in Grade 6 and the model will
phase in to Grades 7–8 in 2019–2020.
Unit 1: Students use their social studies literacy skills to investigate the geography of Latin America and the consequences of geographic modifications. Students will explore life in Latin America at the height of the Aztec and Inca Empire learning how modifications to their environment were essential to their success. Additionally, students will be able investigate and research life in Latin America today and the impact economic choices have had on the environment of their respective region. Unit Question: Why do people modify their environment?
Unit 2: Students use their social studies literacy skills to evaluate the structures and functions of an evolving political system starting at the height of the Roman Empire, ending with the formation of individual nation states in Europe. By studying the changing political systems of Europe from feudalism to the emergence of nation-states, students learn how the source of power in the modern age became centralized and dependent on a growing middle class. At the end of the unit students will be able to answer the Unit Question: How is a political system impacted when a society changes?
Unit 3: Students use their social studies literacy skills to investigate the culture of Medieval African societies and modern day Africa. Students gain an understanding of how culture impacts a society and the decisions made by a society in regards to their political and economic structures. By investigating the culture of African societies, students will begin to examine their own culture to better understand how the beliefs, values and traditions held by cultural groups impact modern day social and political structures. At the end of the unit students will be able to answer the Unit Question: How do interactions among diverse cultures impact a society?
Unit 4: Students use their social studies literacy skills to investigate the shift to a global market place after the Middle Ages by analyzing the benefits and costs of a world connected by trade. Students end the unit by shifting from how a global market changed the world in 1450-1750 to how it is changing the world today and the institutions put into place to support the global economic and political foundations. Unit Question: How does globalization impact the world?
This course enhances the four MCPS Grade 8 U.S. History
units through the development of skills from high school
Advanced Placement courses in history. In addition to the
MCPS course of study, students deepen their understanding of
key concepts and events through reading, writing, document
analysis, and historical thinking. These skills will be applied
in each unit and students will be expected to show progress
in skill development and historical knowledge in exams and
historical document-based projects.
Teachers will implement the curriculum in Grade 8 as follows:
UNIT 1: DEMOCRACY: POLITICAL SYSTEM OF THE PEOPLE
UNIT 2: CREATING A NATIONAL POLITICAL SYSTEM AND
UNIT 3: GEOGRAPHIC AND ECONOMIC CHANGE SHAPE
THE NATION 1815–1850
UNIT 4: A NATION DIVIDED AND REBUILT 1840–1877
Students are awarded 10 SSL hours at the completion of Grade
8 Social Studies for their full participation in SSL activities.