8th Grade – United States History and Geography: Growth and Conflict
Course Description: The eighth grade course of study begins with an intensive review of the major ideas, issues, and events that shaped the founding of the nation. In their study of this era, students will view American history through the lens of a people who were trying—and are still trying—to fulfill the promise of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Throughout their eighth grade United States history and geography course, students will confront the themes of freedom, equality, and liberty and their changing definitions over time. This course will also explore the geography of place, movement, and region, starting with the Atlantic Seaboard and then exploring American westward expansion and economic development, the Civil War and Reconstruction, and finally, industrialization. Covering parts of three centuries, the historical content outlined in this chapter is both substantial and substantive, which poses a significant challenge for teachers, with limited time for in-depth study. In order to address this challenge, this chapter is organized into five large sections that incorporate relevant questions that can help students understand how individual events and people comprise a larger narrative explanation of our past.
Essential Questions: (Five Themes)
- What did freedom mean to the nation’s founders and how did it change over time?
- How and why did the United States expand?
- Who is considered an American?
1. The Development of American Constitutional Democracy
- Why was there an American Revolution?
- How did the American Revolution develop the concept of natural rights?
- What were the legacies of the American Revolution?
2. Envisioning a New America
- How much power should the federal government have and what should it do?
- What was life like in the Early Republic?
- Was the Louisiana Purchase Constitutional?
- How did the government change during the Early Republic?
3. The Divergent Paths of the American People: 1800–1850
- How did individual regions of the United States become both more similar and more different?
- What was family life like in each region?
- How did work change between 1800 and 1850?
- What was the impact of slavery on American politics, regional economies, family life, and culture? What did the frontier mean to the nation in the first half of the nineteenth century?
4. The Causes, Course of, and Consequences of the Civil War
- Why was there a Civil War?
- How did the United States transform during the Civil War?
- How was the Civil War conducted militarily, politically, economically, and culturally?
- How was slavery abolished through the Civil War?
5. The Rise of Industrial America: 1877–1914
- How did America’s economy, industries, and population grow after the Civil War?
- How did the federal government affect the country’s growth in the years following the Civil War?
- Who came to the United States at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century? Why did they come? What was their experience like when they arrived?
7th Grade - World History and Geography: Medieval and Early Modern Times
Course Description: The medieval and early modern periods provide students with opportunities to study the rise and fall of empires, the diffusion of religions and languages, and significant movements of people, ideas, and products. Over this period, the regions of the world became more and more interconnected. Although societies were quite distinct from each other, there were more exchanges of people, products, and ideas in every century. For this reason, world history in this period can be a bewildering catalog of names, places, and events that impacted individual societies, while the larger patterns that affected the world are lost. To avoid this, the focus must be on questions that get at the larger world geographical, historical, economic, and civic patterns.
MAJOR (i.e. Tests, Quizzes, Projects) = 50%
MINOR (i.e. Class Work, Homework) = 35%
PARTICIPATION (i.e. Class & Group Discussions, Staying on Task, Prepared for Class) = 15%
- Homework Policy: Homework will be assigned at the teacher’s discretion.
- Students will write down assignments in planner.
- Assignments must be completed.
- Long-term assignments will have specific due dates.
- Parents will be notified via Discipline Form of any missing homework assignments.
- Disciple Form must be signed and returned to teacher the next day.
- Missing homework should be made up immediately. (You might be able to receive some credit for it.)
- Absences do not excuse missing assignments. It is up to the student to find out what has been missed, so they may make up assignment.
- Students are not to copy classmate’s homework. Yes, this would be considered cheating!
Upon returning to school after an absence, a student has the responsibility within the number of days equal to the length of the absence to meet with the teacher to develop a plan for making up missed work, quizzes, and examinations.Student Expectations:1. Be RESPONSIBLE for your own learning.a. Be prepared. Have all materials with you when you come to class.b. Be a positive, active participant in class.c. Complete homework, including reading assignments within required time frames.d. Study regularly in small amounts rather than just the night before tests or quizzes.e. Ask for help.f. Do your own work. Cheating will result in a zero.2. Be RESPECTFUL of others and their things.a. Listen while someone else is talking.b. No put downs – We are a team!c. Treat others as you would like to be treated.d. Clean up after youself before you leave class.