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Curriculum Goals and Skills

Goal of Knowledge and Cultural Understanding    

The goal of knowledge and cultural understanding is pursued by developing students’ literacy in history and the other humanities (including ethics), geography, economics, sociology, and political science. Certain essential learning’s are integral to the development of each of these literacy strands.

Historical Literacy   To develop historical literacy, students must:

  • Develop research skills and a sense of historical empathy.
  • Understand the meaning of time and chronology.
  • Analyze cause and effect
  • Understand the reasons for continuity and change.
  • Recognize history as common memory, with political implications.
  • Understand the importance of religion, philosophy, and other major belief systems in history.

Ethical Literacy   To develop ethical literacy, students must:

  • Recognize the sanctity of life and the dignity of the individual.
  • Understand the ways in which different societies have tried to resolve ethical issues
  • Understand that the ideas people profess affect their behavior.
  • Realize that concern for ethics and human rights is universal and represents the aspirations of men and women in every time and place.

Cultural Literacy   To develop cultural literacy, students must:

  • Understand the rich, complex nature of a given culture: its history, geography, politics, literature, art, drama, music, dance, law, religion, philosophy, architecture, technology, science, education, sports, social structure, and economy.
  • Recognize the relationships among the various parts of a nation’s cultural life.
  • Learn about the mythology, legends, values, and beliefs of a people.
  • Recognize that literature and art shape and reflect the inner life of a people.
  • Take pride in their own cultural heritages and develop a multicultural perspective that respects the dignity and worth of all people.

Geographic Literacy    To develop geographic literacy, students must:

  • Develop an awareness of place.
  • Develop locational skills and understanding.
  • Understand human and environmental interaction.
  • Understand human movement.
  • Understand world regions and their historical, cultural, economic, and political characteristics.

Economic Literacy  To develop economic literacy, students must:

  • Understand the basic economic problems confronting all societies.
  • Understand comparative economic systems.
  • Understand the basic economic goals, performance, and problems of our society.
  • Understand the international economic system.

Sociopolitical Literacy   To develop sociopolitical literacy, students must:

  • Understand the close relationship between social and political systems.
  • Understand the close relationship between society and the law.
  • Understand comparative political systems.

Goal of Democratic Understanding and Civic Values   

The curricular goal of democratic understanding and civic values is centered on an essential understanding of the nation’s identity and constitutional heritage; the civic values that form the foundation of the nation’ constitutional orderand promote cohesion between all groups in a pluralistic society;and the rights an responsibilities of all citizens.

National Identity  To understand this nation’s identity, students must:


  • Recognize that American society is and always has been pluralistic and multicultural, a single nation composed of indivuals whose heritages encompass many different national and cultural backgrounds.
  • Understand the American creed as an ideology extolling equality and freedom.
  • Recognize the status of minorities and women in different times in American history.
  • Understand the unique experiences of immigrants from Asia, the Pacific Islands, and Latin America.
  • Understand the special role of the United States in world history as a nation of immigrants.
  • Realize that true patriotism celebrates the moral force of the American idea as a nation that unites as one people the descendants of many cultures, races, religions, and ethnic groups.

Constitutional Heritage   To understand the nation’s constitutional heritage, students must:

  • Understand the basic principles of democracy.
  • Understand the historical origins of basic constitutional concepts such as representative government, separation of powers, and trial by jury.

Civic Values, Rights and Responsibilities

  • Understand what is required of citizens in a participatory democracy.
  • Understand individual responsibility for th

Goal of Skills Attainment and Social Participation 

The curricular goal of skills attainment and social participation is pursued by developing students’ participation skills, critical thinking skills, and basic study skills.


Participation Skills  While the ability to work with others is an asset in any society, it is a requirement for citizenship in a democracy. Democratic government depends on citizens who are actively involved as well as informed. Civic competence requires the skills that make joint effort and effective cooperation possible. It also requires a willingness towork for the common good. As a major conduit by which the democratic heritage is passed to each new generation, the history–social science curriculum must promote the learning of skills that lead to civic competence.

To participate effectively in society, students need to:

  • Develop personal skills.
  • Develop group interaction skills.
  • Develop social and political participation skills

Critical Thinking Skills   The skills involved in critical thinking enable students to question the validity and meaning of what they read, hear, think, and believe. Critical thinking requires a questioning mind and a skeptical withholding of assent about the truth of a statement until it can be critically evaluated. While such skills are developed through everydayliving as well as by schooling, the history–social science classroom is an especially appropriate setting for developing such skills. The ability to think critically about public issues, evaluate candidates for office, and assess decisions of government officials is an essential attribute of good citizenship in a democratic society. Students learn critical thinking skills by confronting issues and writing analytical commentaries. In reading documents and other original materials, students have an opportunity to interpret the writer’s language and to extract meaning. When original texts such as the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, or the Seneca Falls Declaration are read to supplement or replace the textbook, critical discussion and thinking are promoted. Writing about the subject matter of history and social science gives students valuable experience in thinking through their ideas and articulating them.

The following critical thinking skills are to be developed in the context of the history–social science curriculum:

  • Define and clarify problems.
  • Judge information related to a problem.
  • Solve problems and draw conclusions.

Basic Study Skills    Basic study skills are the skills that students must have in order to acquire knowledge; they are skills that make formal education possible. Most basic skills are not learned primarily through the history–social science curriculum, but some are special to this area of study. The most basic skills of the history–social sciencefields involve obtaining information and judging its value, reaching reasoned conclusions based on evidence, and developing sound judgment. The skills also include the ability to discuss and debate and the ability to write a well-reasoned and well-organized essay. These skills are outcomes of a well-constructed program, and they take time and practice to develop. Examples of practice include sustained reading and sustained writing.

The basic skills of history–social science include the ability to:

1.  Acquire information by listening, observing, using community resources, and reading various forms of literature and primary and secondary source materials.

2. Locate, select, and organize information from written sources, such as books, periodicals, government documents, encyclopedias, and bibliographies.

3. Retrieve and analyze information by using computers, microfilm, and other electronic media.

4. Read and interpret maps, globes, models, diagrams, graphs, charts, tables, pictures, and political cartoons.

5. Understand the specialized language used in historical research and social science disciplines.

6. Organize and express ideas clearly in writing and in speaking.

Historical and SS Analysis Skills

The intellectual skills noted below are to be learned through, and applied to, the content standards for grades six through eight. They are to be assessed only in conjunction with the content standards in grades six through eight. In addition to the standards for grades six through eight, students demonstrate the following intellectual reasoning, reflection, and research skills:


Chronological and Spatial Thinking

1.  Students explain how major events are related to one another in time.

2.  Students construct various time lines of key events, people, and periods of the historical era they are studying.

3.  Students use a variety of maps and documents to identify physical and cultural features of neighborhoods, cities, states, and countries and to explain the historical migration of people, expansion and disintegration of empires, and the growth of economic systems.


Research, Evidence, and Point of View

1.  Students frame questions that can be answered by historical study and research.

2.  Students distinguish fact from opinion in historical narratives and stories.

3.  Students distinguish relevant from irrelevant information, essential from incidental information, and verifiable from unverifiable information in historical narratives and stories.

4.  Students assess the credibility of primary and secondary sources and draw sound conclusions from them.

5.  Students detect the different historical points of view on historical events and determine the context in which the historical statements were made (the questions asked, sources used, author’s perspectives).


Historical Interpretation

1.  Students explain the central issues and problems from the past, placing people and events in a matrix of time and place.

2.  Students understand and distinguish cause, effect, sequence, and correlation in historical events, including the long- and short-term causal relations.

3.  Students explain the sources of historical continuity and how the combination of ideas and events explains the emergence of new patterns. 

4.  Students recognize the role of chance, oversight, and error in history.

5.  Students recognize that interpretations of history are subject to change as

new information is uncovered.

6.  Students interpret basic indicators of economic performance and conduct cost-benefit analyses of economic and political issues.

Contact Teri Lusk  Teri Lusk ex: 1405 HIST 8
Contact Victoria Shegoian  Victoria Shegoian ex: 1407 HIST 8/Leadership
Contact Jennifer Sutherland  Jennifer Sutherland ex: 1402 Core 7/History 8

Departmental Award Criteria

The History Dept. recognizes the hard work of ALL of OUR students. Student creativity and joy in learning inspire us every day.  We honor certain students with Departmental Awards for thoughtful written analysis, engaging projects, class leadership,and a commitment to making their community a better place. 

National Geographic Geography Bee
National Geographic Geography Bee

Prepare for the Nat Geo Bee at



Stanley Bee is held in January.


Email Ms Lusk with questions.



Grade Eight United States History and Geography: Growth and Conflict

8.1 Students understand the major events preceding the founding of the nation and relate their significance to the development of American constitutional democracy.



8.2 Students analyze the political principles underlying the U.S. Constitution and compare the enumerated and implied powers of the federal government.



8.3 Students understand the foundation of the American political system and the ways in which citizens participate in it.



8.4 Students analyze the aspirations and ideals of the people of the new nation.



8.5 Students analyze U.S. foreign policy in the early Republic.



8.6 Students analyze the divergent paths of the American people from 1800 to the mid-1800s and the challenges they faced, with emphasis on the Northeast.



8.7 Students analyze the divergent paths of the American people in the South from 1800 to the mid-1800s and the challenges they faced.



8.8 Students analyze the divergent paths of the American people in the West from 1800 to the mid-1800s and the challenges they faced.



8.9 Students analyze the early and steady attempts to abolish slavery and to realize the ideals of the Declaration of Independence.



8.10 Students analyze the multiple causes, key events, and complex consequences of the Civil War.



8.11 Students analyze the character and lasting consequences of Reconstruction.



8.12 Students analyze the transformation of the American economy and the changing social and political conditions in the United States in response to the Industrial Revolution.

How We Differentiate

  • Cover text sequentially.
  • Use PowerPoint™ presentations / overhead transparencies and notes / graphic organizers for visual learners when lecturing.
  • Teach key concepts and generalizations unique to each topic or period.
  • Examine various points of view.
  • Use a variety of text, video, and taped material of varying degrees of difficulty.
  • Contrast historical or abstract facts with current events to bring relevancy to students.
  • Offer several options for projects so that each student can express his or her understanding in individual ways.