Social studies activities help children develop an understanding of themselves in the context of family, school, and nation. Students examine the geographic, economic, and socio-political characteristics that define local and world communities. Themes of study include: classroom democracy, my role in the community, introduction to geography tools, our country, Arctic communities, and Mexico. This integrated curriculum nurtures an appreciation for the diversity of talents and cultures that comprise a community as students study artifacts, read folk tales, and engage in real life experiences during field trips and demonstrations.
Students investigate rules and laws that help maintain order in the community as a part of Political Science. History is explored through the study of Native American culture. Students learn how geographic features guide our decisions about food, clothing, and shelter. In exploring people of the nation and world, Japanese and American cultures are studied.
Maryland history is the focus of social studies, including the geography, climate, government, and economy of Maryland. The text used is The Maryland Adventure by Gibbs Smith Publisher (2010). Besides Maryland’s geography, the regions of the United States are also explored. Through the study of Maryland and the United States, the four strands of geography are included: location, place, movement, and region.
Grade five students investigate the United States and its development, history, geography, and diverse cultures beginning with the pre-Revolutionary War era through the early twentieth century. Students engage in a variety of activities to bring history alive. Students use the textbook Social Studies Alive! (2012) as their primary point of reference. Historical fiction, maps, timelines, guest speakers, field trips, primary source documents, photographs, non-fiction texts, songs and poems are also used to provide students with opportunities to deepen their understanding of the history and development of the United States. Current events are discussed on a weekly basis through an examination of Weekly Reader.
Sixth grade students begin with an examination of the prehistoric age. They analyze what characterizes a civilization and explore the ancient empires of Mesopotamia. Throughout the year, sixth graders study Egypt, Kush, India, China, Greece, and Rome to learn how these civilizations were formed, how people lived their daily lives, what religious beliefs they held (including Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Judaism), and what artistic and scientific legacies were left behind.
Seventh grade students begin the year examining the fall of Rome and Europe in the Middle Ages, focusing on feudalism, medieval towns, the plague, changes to social structure, and the role of the Roman Catholic Church. Students also learn about other areas of the world during The Middle Ages, such as Imperial China, Medieval Japan, and the Americas (the Aztecs, Mayans, and Incas). The school year concludes with a study of European Renaissance and the Reformation.
Eighth graders examine the historical events and documents that shaped our nation from the time the Founding Fathers first declared independence from Great Britain to more modern events such as World War II and the Civil Rights movement. Students learn not just the facts and the events, but they also analyze why the events happened, and then are further challenged to identify the lasting effects these events had on our nation and on our world. Additional topics include the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, political cartoons, Manifest Destiny, Civil War, Reconstruction, Industrial Revolution, immigration, World War I, Great Depression, World War II, and the Civil Rights Movement.