- Scotch Plains-Fanwood Public Schools
- Middle School Social Studies Course Descriptions
Middle School Social Studies Courses
6th Grade: World Geography
This course is designed to build on students’ prior knowledge and skill sets in the application of geographic information and tools to understand complex relations between the physical environment and human existence. While focusing on each part of the world, students are able to recognize characteristics distinguishing regions in the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa. Each regional study encompasses an in-depth study of the physical geography, culture, economy, government, and social dynamics defining the land and people. An historical element is intertwined into the regional studies, as an investigation of the earliest civilizations demonstrates how and why people migrated to different locations, and how the people in these places survived and advanced with available resources.
7th grade: U.S. Studies
The seventh grade social studies program includes a study of the United States from the Colonial period through the Civil War Era. In addition to the study of historical events within this timeframe, the course encompasses an in-depth study of the United States Constitution and its past and present implementation at the federal, state, and local levels. While history and civics are the core disciplines, the program also incorporates economics, sociology, geography, and humanities to give students an understanding of and appreciation for the major movements and concepts that have characterized the United States. Related to these other disciplines, students explore specialized, integrated units on the subjects of: civil rights, genocide, the electoral process, and workings of our financial institutions. In reflecting on the nation’s foundational visions, the course emphasizes student-constructed knowledge, informed decision-making in connection to the development of one’s roles and responsibilities as a citizen in a fluid, participatory republic, and active self-awareness of one’s place in a multicultural and increasingly interdependent global society. A significant social participation experience serves as a capstone for meeting course goals and objectives, where students are actively engaged in researching, analyzing, and promoting a school or community issue.
8th grade: World History and Cultures
This course is designed to provide students with knowledge, skills, and values essential to understand world history. Divided into three major themes – civilization, global connections, and religion – this course targets global systems and processes, sources of conflict and cooperation, and major movements influencing the modern world. While civilizations vary significantly throughout history, it is important to apply parallel studies by comparing 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 and phenomena occurring in Europe, which cause global expansion into other parts of the world. Europe’s connections with Asia, Africa, the Americas, and Middle East and the resulting political, economic, ideological, and scientific transformations are demonstrated at this stage of the course. A final element of the course introduces students to a comparative study of world religions by highlighting core beliefs and key practices of six major religions.