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Bala Cynwyd Middle School


Social Studies

Grade 6 - Ancient Civilizations

The social studies curriculum for sixth grade introduces students to the study of six of the world’s ancient civilizations.  In addition to opportunities for content-area integration, the global nature of the ancient civilizations curriculum, with its focus on key aspects of culture, affords students the chance to explore the development of many diverse cultures. By exploring how ancient people lived day-to-day, governed themselves and solved problems, students begin to see how the past informs our current way of life. While exploring the ancient world cultures in social studies, students learn skills that help them to gather, manipulate, and present information from multiple sources.  Reading skills are integrated with the historical concepts through citations of textual evidence, vocabulary development within text, communication of conceptual ideas, and visual literacy.  Writing and research skills are integrated through the application of informative writing structures, the exploration of the process of research and inquiry, and the analysis of historical text.  Throughout the year and during multiple units, these skills are practiced and honed.

Grade 7 - U.S. Social Studies

The seventh grade social studies program surveys American history chronologically from its colonial foundations to the outbreak of the American Civil War. Students are challenged to “think like historians” by asking analytical questions of the past and applying that knowledge to modern society. An emphasis will be placed upon analyzing primary and secondary sources with the purpose of drawing conclusions about how people and their governments develop over time. Units of study may include, but are not limited to, North American Colonization, War for Empire, Causes of the American Revolution, the American Revolution, American Political Systems, and Westward Expansion. In preparation for eighth grade, students will begin to develop the skills of evidence-based opinions, discussion, and debate.

Grade 8 - U.S. Social Studies

The eighth grade Social Studies program surveys American social studies chronologically from the mid-19th century through the early 20th century. Topics include: The Civil War, Reconstruction, government and the Constitution, the West, the Industrial Revolution and immigration, involvement in world affairs, World War I, and changing foreign policy, the struggle for civil rights, and America's role in an increasingly interdependent world.  More contemporary topics are taught whenever possible to the extent that they relate to more distant social studies and help bring the past to life. A student centered approach to learning will offer students an opportunity to express opinions and involve themselves with social studies in many different ways, including: projects with technology, primary and secondary source investigations with a focus on the PA Core Standards, essay writing, debate, open dialogue, and simulations.  Presenting social studies as a compelling story, the teachers help students appreciate the relevance of the past to their present and their future.