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Middle School | Social Studies | History

Understand events, trends, individuals and movements shaping the history of the United States and other nations. George Santayana said "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." In a broader sense, students who can examine and analyze the events of the past have a powerful tool for understanding the events of today and the future. They develop an understanding of how people, nations, actions and interactions have led to today's realities. In the process, they can better define their own roles as participating citizens.

Learning Objectives

Apply the skills of historical analysis and interpretation:

  • Describe how historians use models for organizing historical interpretation (e.g., biographies, political events, issues and conflicts).
  • Make inferences about historical events and eras using historical maps and other historical sources.
  • Identify the differences between historical fact and interpretation.

Understand the development of significant political events:

  • Describe how different groups competed for power within the colonies and how that competition led to the development of political institutions during the early national period.
  • Explain how and why the colonies fought for their independence and how the colonists’ ideas are reflected in the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution.
  • Describe the way the Constitution has changed over time as a result of amendments and Supreme Court decisions.
  • Describe ways in which the United States developed as a world political power.
  • Compare the political characteristics of Greek and Roman civilizations with non-Western civilizations, including the early Han dynasty and Gupta empire, between 500 BCE and 500 CE.
  • Identify causes and effects of the decline of the Roman empire and other major world political events (e.g., rise of the Islamic empire, rise and decline of the T’ang dynasty, establishment of the kingdom of Ghana) between 500 CE and 1500 CE.
  • Identify causes and effects of European feudalism and the emergence of nation states between 500 CE and 1500 CE.
  • Describe political effects of European exploration and expansion on the Americas, Asia, and Africa after 1500 CE.

Understand the development of economic systems:

  • Describe economic motivations that attracted Europeans and others to the Americas, 1500-1750.
  • Explain relationships among the American economy and slavery, immigration, industrialization, labor and urbanization, 1700-present.
  • Describe how economic developments and government policies after 1865 affected the country’s economic institutions including corporations, banks and organized labor.
  • Describe major economic trends from 1000 to 1500 CE including long distance trade, banking, specialization of labor, commercialization, urbanization and technological and scientific progress.
  • Describe the economic systems and trade patterns of North America, South America and Mesoamerica before the encounter with the Europeans.
  • Describe the impact of technology (e.g., weaponry, transportation, printing press, microchips) in different parts of the world, 1500 - present.

Understand United States and world social history:

  • Describe characteristics of different kinds of communities in various sections of America during the colonial/frontier periods and the 19th century.
  • Describe characteristics of different kinds of families in America during the colonial/frontier periods and the 19th century.
  • Identify the origins and analyze consequences of events that have shaped world social history including famines, migrations, plagues, slave trading.

Understand United States and world environmental history:

  • Describe how early settlers in the United States adapted to, used and changed the environment prior to 1818.
  • Describe how the largely rural population of the United States adapted, used and changed the environment after 1818.
  • Describe the impact of urbanization and suburbanization, 1850 - present, on the environment.
  • Describe how the people of the Huang He, Tigris-Euphrates, Nile and Indus river valleys shaped their environments during the agricultural revolution, 4000 - 1000 BCE.
  • Explain how expanded European and Asian contacts affected the environment of both continents, 1000 BCE - 1500 CE.

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