Eighth Grade Social Studies

Eighth grade social studies is a year-long course of study serving as the first part of a two-year study in which students examine the history of the United States from the early colonial period through Reconstruction to build upon the content taught in fifth grade but with more depth and breadth. Historical content focuses on the political, economic, and social events and issues related to the colonial and revolutionary eras, the creation and ratification of the U.S. Constitution, challenges of the early Republic, westward expansion, sectionalism, Civil War, and Reconstruction. In the geography strand, students study physical characteristics of the United States and their impact on population distributions and settlement patterns in the past and present. Students analyze the various economic factors that influenced the development of colonial America and the early years of the Republic and identify the origins of the free enterprise system. Students examine the American beliefs and principles, including limited government, checks and balances, federalism, separation of powers, and individual rights, reflected in the U.S. Constitution and other historical documents. Students evaluate the impact of the Supreme Court cases and major reform movements of the nineteenth century and examine the rights and responsibilities of citizens of the United States as well as the importance of effective leadership in a democratic society. An evaluation of the impact of scientific discoveries and technological innovations on the development of our nation is also a part of the course of study. There is an emphasis on critical thinking skills, including the identification of bias in written, oral, and visual material.