Middle School Social Studies Department
Philosophy: The philosophy of the social studies department tries to be consistent with that of the entire St. Paul’s School, that is, to develop the whole child within a Christian framework. Specifically we feel it is our mission to help develop the student's awareness of his/her heritage by understanding the historical, cultural, social, political and economic systems that have shaped their heritage. The social studies curriculum has been designed to develop a student's knowledge of historical events and concepts within a chronological and topical framework. The curriculum's further goals consist of developing the skills necessary for inquiry, critical thinking, investigative writing and presentations in a variety of modes. Special emphasis is placed on developing tolerance for all cultures through continued study of the past and its relationship to current events. As we prepare students for the rigors of college we strive to prepare the students to be good citizens and learn the benefits of contributing to society.
Courses of study
AMERICAN HISTORY 5
This course examines United States history from Native Americans to the Civil War. Special emphasis is on a cultural interpretation of America’s history by examining the people, events, stories, and way of life of each era. The emphasis in Geography is placed on locating the states east of the Mississippi River and the knowledge of those states’ capitals. This information will continuously be tested throughout the year. Writing, critical thinking, study skills and test-taking strategies are integrated in the curriculum throughout the year. A project (or projects) is completed each quarter providing an opportunity for students to have a hands-on experience with an event from our history or geography. Evaluation measures include tests, quizzes, writing assignments, and projects. AMERICAN HISTORY 6
This course will focus on the time period from Reconstruction to the Present. Special emphasis will be placed on geography, current events, states west of the Mississippi River, and presidents 17-44. History of religion is taught and discussed throughout the year. Map skills, independent reading and comprehension, and short essay writing are incorporated into the sixth grade instruction. In addition, students complete several projects throughout the year using research materials, computers and crafts. Students are evaluated by means of tests, projects, quizzes, essays, and homework. WORLD HISTORY 7
This course examines how geography has shaped world history. Emphasis is placed on the six essential elements of geography: (1) the world in special terms, (2) places and regions, (3) physical systems, (4) human systems, (5) environment and society, and (6) the uses of geography. Projects will be assigned which provide opportunities for students to have hands-on experiences in geography and history. Writing skills, critical thinking skills, study skills and test taking strategies are integrated throughout the year. CIVICS/ECONOMICS 8
This course is divided into two sections. The primary focus of the course will be the U.S. constitution. Students examine the Constitution as both an historical and a living document. Special attention is also given to the U.S. legal system. Opportunities and responsibilities for effective citizenship, both now and in the future, are emphasized. One quarter of the course will be devoted to the introduction of basic economic concepts and principles. A highlight of the 8th grade study is the class trip to Washington, D.C. where students directly experience our government in action and see historical sites.