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8th grade social studies

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Eighth Grade U.S. History Curriculum—Course Outline

Mrs. Helmer

Email:           Plan: 12:27pm – 1:12pm

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United States History:  Constitutional Age to International Expansion


8th Grade Social Studies

The eighth-grade course of study begins with a review of the major ideas, issues, and events of the founding of the nation and the Constitutional Period. Students will then concentrate on the critical events, people, groups, ideas, and issues of the period from 1800 to 1900 - including Westward expansion, sectionalism, the Civil War, Reconstruction, Populism, and Imperialism. The course is rigorous and relevant with instruction that integrates thinking skills, historical processes, and content so students are able to apply the learning to their own lives. Instruction includes the integration of concepts and principles from history, economics, geography, civics, and the humanities.   An emphasis will be placed on the “doing” of history rather than the simple acquisition of content knowledge.

  1. Establishing America (1787—the 1830s)
  2. Regionalism and Expansion (the 1800s—1850s)
  3. March to War (the 1850s—1861)
  4. Toward a More Perfect Union (1861—1877)
  5. The Rise of America (the 1870s—1900)


Focus Areas of Study:

The Presidents:   Students will research the lives and times of the Presidents.  Student’s research will serve as both a review and a preview of things to come in their study of American History.  We will spend time each week evaluating these influential men.  Students will complete a Presidential Portfolio to show how effective each president has been.

Wars: Students will study the wars that the United States has been involved in.  We will look at the causes and effects that wars bring to society.  We will look at the heroes and villains that emerge from these conflicts. 

Supreme Court:  Students will examine landmark Supreme Court Cases that have shaped our society.


What does it mean to be an American?   In this culminating unit, students will have the opportunity to create a project to answer our essential question:  What does it mean to be an American? This could include creating a video, conducting interviews, artwork, poems. songs etc.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              




Videos:  Per the USD 385 school board’s guidelines any video presented in class that is rated above “G” will have parent permission thru google forms. Videos include  : Glory (Originally rated R, but we will view school version.), Lincoln (PG-13), ) Harriet (PG-13), America:  The Story of Us (PG), The Men Who Built America:  Frontiersmen (PG), The Ultimate Guide to the Presidents(PG), Taking Chance (PG), The Ernest Green Story (PG), Hamilton (PG-13) 42 (PG-13)


ZOOM IN!: This is a web-based platform that helps students build literacy skills and historical thinking skills through “deep dives” into primary and secondary sources. The document-based inquiry will lead students through significant moments in U.S. history.




Textbook:    History Alive!  The United States Through Industrialism 2017 by Teachers’ Curriculum Institute



Google Classroom:  This is will the platform for assignments, class announcements, resources, and general communications.  Parents, please join as a guardian for updates.


Classroom Policies:


Grading:   All grading on a total-point basis using the traditional scale.


Late Work:   One of the most important goals of education is to teach responsibility.  I will happily grade any assignment for full credit when submitted on the due date.  Major assignments will receive a 10 percent deduction for each day it is late.