Upper School

Social Studies

Seventh Grade Social Studies

This course will provide students with knowledge and skills essential to understanding and thinking critically about world history.  Students will examine ancient civilizations and compare the geographic forces, economies, political systems, cultural achievements, technological advancements, and social relations evident in civilizations representing diverse geographic locations and a range of eras.  The evolution of early civilizations to the Middle Ages leads to a more concentrated focus on the events occurring in Europe, which cause global expansion into other parts of the world.


Title:                     World History: Ancient Civilizations through the Renaissance

Author:               S. Burstein & R. Shek

Publisher:          Holt McDougal, 2012

Units of Study:

Unit 1

  • Prehistory
  • Ancient Egypt
  • Ancient Mesopotamia
  • Ancient India
  • Ancient China
  • Ancient Hebrews

Unit 2

  • Ancient Greece
  • Ancient Rome
  • Ancient Africa
  • The Islamic World

Unit 3

  • East Asia
  • The Early Americas
  • The Middle Ages

Unit 4

  • Renaissance and Reformation
  • Exploration

Breakdown of Units:

Unit 1

  • Prehistory
    • General Terms
    • Stone Age and Ice Ages
    • Prehistoric Man – Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon
    • Four River Valleys and Fertile Crescent
  • Ancient Egypt
    • Pharaohs and Royal Women
    • Religion – Death and the Afterlife
    • Daily Life and Appearance
    • Nile River and Papyrus
    • Architecture and Ancient Cities
    • Kush and its ties to Egypt
  • Ancient Mesopotamia
    • Sumer
    • Babylonians – Hammurabi’s Code
    • Hittites and Assyrians
    • Chaldeans – Nebuchadnezzar
    • Phoenicians
  • Ancient India
    • Harappan and Indo-Aryan Civilizations
    • Hinduism
    • Buddhism
    • Mauryan and Gupta Dynasties
  • Ancient China
    • Geography and Natural Barriers
    • Xia Dynasty
    • Shang Dynasty
    • Zhou Dynasty
    • Three Philosophies – Confucianism, Daoism, Legalism
    • Qin Dynasty – Great Wall
    • Han Dynasty – Silk Road
    • Inventions
  • Ancient Hebrews
    • Historical overview
    • Beliefs – Ancient and Modern

Unit 2

  • Ancient Greece
    • Geography
    • Trojan War
    • Religion and Myths
    • Government and Literature
    • Athens and Sparta
    • Persian and Peloponnesian Wars
    • Golden Age
    • Great Greeks – Leaders, Thinkers, Writers
  • Ancient Rome
    • Geography and the Founding of Rome
    • Early Rome and Government
    • Punic Wars
    • Religion and Myths
    • Emperors and Empire
    • Society and Culture
    • Rise of Christianity
    • The Fall of Rome
  • Ancient Africa
    • Geography
    • Empires – Ghana, Mali, Songhai, Great Zimbabwe
    • Kush and Aksum
    • Culture – Folk Tales and Ashanti Proverbs
  • The Islamic World
    • Geography
    • Islamic Beliefs and Practices
    • Empires and Rulers


Unit 3

  • East Asia
    • China – Isolationism, Yuan, and Ming Dynasties
    • Mongols – Genghis Khan and Kublai Kahn
    • Marco Polo
    • Japan – Government and Culture
    • Japanese Religions – Shinto and Zen



  • The Early Americas
    • Geography
    • South American Civilizations – Maya, Aztec, Inca
    • North American Mound Builders
    • North American Tribes by Region
  • The Middle Ages
    • Geography
    • The Franks and Charlemagne
    • Wars and the Growth of Nations
    • Power Struggle in England and France
    • Church Problems – Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition
    • King John and the Magna Carta
    • Feudalism and Knights
    • Culture and Daily Life

Unit 4

  • Renaissance and Reformation
    • Italian Renaissance
    • Humanism and Art
    • Reformation and Protestantism
    • Henry VIII
    • Scientific Revolution
  • Exploration
    • Voyages of the Explorers
    • The New World
Eighth Grade Social Studies

The historical focus continues in the eighth grade with the study of European exploration and the early years of the United States. This study incorporates all four social studies strands into a chronologic view of the development of the United States. Students examine how historic events are shaped by geographic, social, cultural, economic and political factors.

Textbook with student online access:

Title: United States History, Beginnings to 1877

Publisher: Holt McDougal

Units of Study:

  1. History:  Students will explore the narrative history of the development of the United States from Pre-Columbian to the Reconstruction of the Civil War
  2. Geography: Students will study how physical characteristics of the environment that influenced population distribution, settlement patterns, and economic activities in the United States.
  3. Economics: Students will analyze the economic structures that shaped the United States, including, colonialism, mercantilism, and industrialization.
  4. Government: Students will study the events and ideas that shaped the continuing development of the United States Constitution.
  5. Citizenship and Responsibility: Through an ongoing exploration of the relationship between participating in civic and political life and the attainment of individual and public goals, students will study the obligations and rights of the citizen in a free market society.
American History

This course examines the history of the United States of America from 1877 to the present. The federal republic has withstood challenges to its national security and expanded the rights and roles of its citizens. The episodes of its past have shaped the nature of the country today and prepared it to attend to the challenges of tomorrow. Understanding how these events came to pass and their meaning for today’s citizens is the purpose of this course. The concepts of historical thinking introduced in earlier grades continue to build with students locating and analyzing primary and secondary sources from multiple perspectives to draw conclusions.

The course is constructed of three primary units:

Unit 1 – The Making of America (1607 – 1865 CE)

Unit 2 – Transition to the Global Stage (1866 – 1945 CE)

Unit 3 – The Making of Modern America (1945 CE – Present Day)

Class delivery mediums will include:

  • material sourced from course texts. Depending on the subject matter, can / will be explored through independent reading, group and/or class discussion, or formal lecture.
  • lessons on development of a particular learning skill necessary for both studying History and future cross-curricular academic success
  • assignments to summatively assess learning around investigated topics. 
  • viewing and analysis of films relevant to the learning goals of the course. 
  • field trips relevant to the learning goals of the course.

This course will utilize Google Classroom as the virtual learning platform. All course resources, assignments, deadlines and submissions will be housed on Google Classroom. 

Course Text: History Alive! Pursuing American Ideals (TCI, 2013)

Modern World History

This course examines key world events and developments from the beginning of the Common Era to the present day , with an emphasis on the past 500 years. In addition to providing an overview of prior necessary contextual history, it explores the impact of the democratic and industrial revolutions, the forces that led to world domination by European powers, the wars that changed empires, the ideas that led to independence movements and the effects of global interdependence. The concepts of historical thinking introduced in earlier grades continue to build with students locating and analyzing primary and secondary sources from multiple perspectives to draw conclusions.

The course is constructed of 9 units:

  • Unit 1 – Ancient Empires: The Persian Empire (1300 B.C.E. – 651 C.E.) and Greek Civilization (2200 B.C.E. – 200 C.E.)
  • Unit 2 – Foundations of Western Society: The Roman Empire & the Rise of Christianity (1000 B.C.E. – 476 C.E.)
  • Unit 3 – The Birth of Arab Civilization: The Early Byzantine Empire (330 C.E. – 1081 C.E.), Arab Empires & Islamic Expansion (550 C.E. – 1258 C.E.)
  • Unit 4 – The Dark Ages and Transformation: Europe’s Medieval Era (481 C.E. – 1492 C.E.) vs. Renaissance and Reformation (1296 C.E. – 1622 C.E.)
  • Unit 5 – Global Expansion: Land Based Empires of Eurasia (1453 C.E. – 1850 C.E.)
  • Unit 6 – Explorations and Exploitations: Age of Maritime Expansions (1300 C.E. – 1750 C.E.) and Africans in the Atlantic World (1400 C.E. – 1800 C.E.)
  • Unit 7 – ‘Thought’ as a Catalyst : Europe in the Age of Scientific Revolution (1543 C.E. – 1848 C.E.) and the European Enlightenment (1650 C.E. – 1800 C.E.)
  • Unit 8 – More Revolutions : Political Revolution (1750 C.E. – 1830 C.E.) and Industrial Revolution (1615 C.E. – 1928 C.E.)
  • Unit 9 – The Spiral of Globalization: Imperialism (1850 C.E. – 1914 C.E.), World Wars I, II, and other 20th Century Revolutions (1870 C.E. – 1945 C.E.)

This course will utilize both Google Classroom and National Geographic’s Cengage as virtual learning platforms. All course resources, assignments, deadlines and submissions will be housed on either of these platforms, if not both. 

Course Text: World History – Voyages of Exploration (National Geographic, 2021)

Financial Literacy

This course is an opportune chance to learn how to properly “adult” financially. In guided discussions, we’ll be covering a slate of financial need-to-know-hows that you can put into practice as soon as you learn them. It will also explore the fundamentals that guide individuals and nations as they make choices about how to use limited resources to satisfy their wants. Lastly,  it examines the ability of individuals to use knowledge and skills to manage limited financial resources effectively for a lifetime of financial security.

Assessment will be discussion, participation and project-based, and reflect successful application of fundamental skills.  Topics will include: 

  • Assessing YOUR personal financial situation
  • Budgeting and how to do
  • Credit cards vs. Debit vs. alternate forms of payment
  • Building credit and why it’s important
  • Insurance (Car, property, life and other)
  • Psychology of spending
  • Investing and financial institution fundamentals
  • Taxes
  • Current national and global financial happenings (e.g. analyzing the current American economy)
  • Investigating how you’d like to spend your adult working life, and how to get there. 
  • Appropriate student-selected topics.

This course will utilize Google Classroom as the virtual learning platform. All course resources, assignments, deadlines and submissions will be housed on Google Classroom. 

This course does not utilize a singular course text.

American Government

This course is required for graduation and is aligned closely with the State Standards for the American Government end-of-course exam. We examine how the American people govern themselves at national, state, and local levels of government. Students can understand and begin to influence issues addressed by federal, state, and, local governments through personal service, and research projects.



Title: American Government 10th edition author: Wilson & DilulioPublisher: Houghton Mifflin Company

Units of Study:

Unit 1 – Civic InvolvementUnit 2 – Civic Participation and SkillsUnit 3 – Basic Principles of the U.S. ConstitutionUnit 4 – Structure and Functions of the Federal GovernmentUnit 5 – Role of the PeopleUnit 6 – Ohio’s State and Local GovernmentsUnit 7 – Public PolicyUnit 8 – Government and the Economy

Breakdown of Units:

Unit 1 – Civic Involvement

Students can engage in societal problems and participate in opportunities to contribute to the common good through governmental and non-governmental channels.


Content Statements:

  1. Opportunities for civic engagement with the structures of government are made possible through political and public policy processes.
  2. Political parties, interest groups, and the media provide opportunities for civic involvement through various means.


Unit 2 – Civic Participation and Skills

Democratic government is enhanced when individuals exercise the skills to effectively participate in civic affairs.


Content Statements:

  1. Issues can be analyzed through the critical use of information from public records, surveys, research data, and policy positions of advocacy groups.
  2. The processes of persuasion, compromise, consensus-building, and negotiation contribute to the resolution of conflicts and differences.

Unit 3 – Basic Principles of the U.S. Constitution

Principles related to representative democracy are reflected in the articles and amendments of the U.S. Constitution and provide structure for the government of the United States.

Content Statements:

  1. As the supreme law of the land, the U.S. Constitution incorporates basic principles which help define the government of the United States as a federal republic including its structure, powers and relationship with the governed.
  2. The Federalist Papers and the Anti-Federalist Papers framed the national debate over the basic principles of government encompassed by the Constitution of the United States.
  3. The constitutional government in the United States has changed over time as a result of amendments to the U.S. Constitution, Supreme Court decisions, legislation, and informal practices.
  4. The Bill of Rights was drafted in response to the national debate over the ratification of the Constitution of the United States.
  5. The Reconstruction Era prompted Amendments 13 through 15 to address the aftermath of slavery and the Civil War.
  6. Amendments 16 through 19 responded to calls for reform during the Progressive Era.
  7. Four amendments have provided for extensions of suffrage to disenfranchised groups.
  8. Five amendments have altered provisions for the presidential election, terms, and succession to address changing historical circumstances.
  9. Amendments 11, 21, and 27 have addressed unique historical circumstances.

Unit 4 – Structure and Functions of the Federal Government

Three branches compose the basic structure of the federal government. Public policy is created through the making of laws, the execution of the laws, and the adjudication of disputes under the laws.

Content Statements:

  1. Law and public policy are created and implemented by three branches of government; each functions with its own set of powers and responsibilities.
  2. The political process creates a dynamic interaction among the three branches of government in addressing current issues.

Unit 5 – Role of the People

The government of the United States protects the freedoms of its people and provides opportunities for citizens to participate in the political process.

Content Statements:

  1. In the United States, people have rights that protect them from undue governmental interference. Rights carry responsibilities that help define how people use their rights and which require respect for the rights of others.
  2. Historically, the United States has struggled with majority rule and the extension of minority rights. As a result of this struggle, the government has increasingly extended civil rights to marginalized groups and broadened opportunities for participation.


Unit 6 – Ohio’s State and Local Governments

The State of Ohio acts within the framework of the U.S. Constitution and extends powers and functions to local governments.

Content Statements:

  1. The Ohio Constitution was drafted in 1851 to address difficulties in governing the state of Ohio.
  2. As a framework for the state, the Ohio Constitution complements the federal structure of government in the United States.
  3. Individuals in Ohio have a responsibility to assist state and local governments as they address relevant and often controversial problems that directly affect their communities.

Unit 7 – Public Policy

Federal, state, and local governments address problems and issues by making decisions, creating laws, enforcing regulations, and taking action.

Content Statements:

  1. A variety of entities within the three branches of government, at all levels, address public policy issues that arise in domestic and international affairs.
  2. Individuals and organizations play a role within federal, state, and local governments in helping to determine public (domestic and foreign) policy.

Unit 8 – Government and the Economy

The actions of the government play a major role in the flow of economic activity. Governments consume and produce goods and services. Fiscal and monetary policies, as well as economic regulations, provide the means for government intervention in the economy.

Content Statements:

  1. The federal government uses spending and tax policy to maintain economic stability and foster economic growth. Regulatory actions carry economic costs and benefits.
  2. The Federal Reserve System uses monetary tools to regulate the nation’s money supply and moderate the effects of expansion and contraction in the economy.


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