Social Studies Curriculum Links
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Middle School Social Studies Curriculum
Social Studies is probably the most mentally stimulating subject of middle school. Middle school students are usually mature enough, and their reading skills are sufficient to read books well beyond their grade level. They should be encouraged to read college texts and books intended for adults on this subject. They should also be encouraged to do extensive online research, and create term papers similar to college term papers. Urge students to go beyond their current thinking and explore all aspects of a topic. Approach controversial topics and encourage students to research both sides, to gain an understanding of multifaceted issues.
Unfortunately public school Social Studies curriculum has moved into a direction which many feel compromises academic standards. This is forcing interested parents to teach at home as a supplement to modern curriculum. There is a debate raging about what should be taught in Social Studies and many feel academic interests are being compromised. Parents and students must compensate as necessary in order to attain a full education in this subject.
American History, Geography and Government
American schools teach American History at least half as much as any other social studies subject matter. Emphasis is very heavy on understanding every aspect of America’s relatively short history. It is important for middle school students to explore the Constitution and fully understand the Bill of Rights, as well as the Declaration of Independence. It is also important to ensure students understand the geography of the U.S.A and be aware of the locations of all the states. They should have at least an overview of all important historical periods and events not only in isolation, but also in the context of world history. A good American History
World Studies and Global Studies
Middle School Students should be students of world history, culture and current events, as well as American history and culture. They should be aware of all major cultures and societies, including but not limited to China, Japan, India, Africa, South America, France, Italy, Spain, and the UK.
Understanding ancient history and culture is vital to understanding history. Ignoring ancient history is like reading only the last one hundred pages of a long book. Current events and American history make no sense without this important preface. A large part of ancient history is learning how and why different cultures developed in different ways, and yet all had certain common elements. Discussing such topics as the development of currency, the evolution of government, and the elements a society needed to grow and flourish are vital to understanding how modern society came to exist, and continues to thrive. Students should also be introduced to the art and architecture of ancient cultures such as Mesopotamia, Egypt, China, and India. They should be well versed in Greek and Roman culture and history.
European history is vastly ignored by the American public school system, yet only in light of European history does American history even make sense. Students should understand the religious persecution that drove their ancestors out of Europe, the connections between France and our Revolutionary and Civil War and Westward Expansion. They should also be aware of how UK colonialism has impacted more recent world events including India’s recent rise to power, Ireland’s troubled history, and the situation in South Africa. Students should also be made aware of the evolution of art, architecture and culture in western society.
Contemporary Studies 1930 to Present
Students should have a firm understanding of the background of current events. They should always be able to research the reasons why things occur, going back as many years as necessary to determine the cause and effect of world events and conditions. The art of online research is a powerful tool, and one that should be taught as early as possible. Teach children to reason out the various aspects of every issue and to be able to take an objective look at all sides of an issue.
Social Studies is a powerful tool in teaching thinking skills, logic, and human behavior. It can also aid in proficiency of other subjects, especially different writing styles, including objective journalism, creative writing, editorials, and especially research papers. The following resources will provide many online text books, and helpful information, however students should be encouraged to explore the web, and do online research in order to gain understanding on specific issues that concern them.
- National Council for the Social Studies: Outlines the public school goals and agenda for middle school education. This is long but every parent should read it, and compensate accordingly at home if they choose. Parents should at least skim this entire site.
Free Online Textbooks and Resources
- Online Schools: A complete resource for online middle school educational resources
- OER Commons: All levels of textbooks and resources in many different subjects free online.
US History Textbook Links
- U.S. History.org: A complete, objective and accurate history of the United States is offered online and could easily be used as a US history textbook.
- Digital History: Digital History brings a complete US History Text book, which is objective informative and interactive. It would be suitable for middle school aged children, and is available free to read online.
- Holt Social Studies Books Online: Holt offers a great selection of interactive U.S. History books, which can be read online for free.
- Online Books about US History: A long list of History related books and textbooks online. There are also activist books about the right to learn. These make for great additional reading and resources.
- Free Books Online: Great for enrichment of any US History or World Studies class, these books offer history from many different countries, as well as other subjects.
- Links to Middle School Appropriate Social Studies Resources: Articles, activities and information about many social studies related topics. This is a great research resource for term papers.
Information on U.S. Historical Documents
- U.S. Historical Documents: The National Archives presents, the Constitution, Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence and many other documents which framed and changed our nation. The site features a transcript, photo of the original, and background information on all documents.
- The Federalist Papers: Library of Congress offers the complete book online. Definitely a good read for interested students.
World History Resources
- History Sourcebooks: History Sourcebooks to cover ancient to current issues, topics, and all areas of the world. Great resource but parents should be aware that gender issue topics are also covered.
- Hanover Historical Texts Project: Historic texts from around the world, both ancient and modern.
- Country Studies: The Library of Congress offers studies of each country in the world completely free and online.
- F.R.E.E. Federal Resources for Educational Excellence: An exhaustive resource of world history, world studies and global information.
- International World History Project: A long list of essays covering a vast array of world history topics. Great as reading material and example pieces for class assignment essays.
- 17 th Century Europe: A college level course with a great overview, and many links to great sites on all topics covered. Most of this material is easy to understand, and fun.
- University of Indiana: Teaching materials and resources for Western European studies for middle school students.
- African Timelines: A great overview for African History, with links to more information. Be sure to keep clicking links
- Issues in African History: A scholarly paper from University of Iowa, on the topic of
- Ancient China from the British Museum: Beautiful pictorial site about Ancient Chinese artifacts.
- Timeline of Chinese Dynasties: Timeline with links to articles about each of the dynasties
- Discovering Ancient Egypt by Mark Millmore: A kid friendly site about ancient Egypt with beautiful illustrations and a wealth of information
- BBC Ancient Egyptians: In depth articles about ancient Egypt.
- Ancient Mesopotamia by University of Chicago: A comprehensive and artistic site about Ancient Mesopotamia.
- Ancient Mesopotamia: This educational site for young students and their teachers is an extensive overview.
- Ancient India by Minnesota State University: A great resource for illustrated information on ancient India
- Monuments of India: Pictorial guide to art and architecture in India, with links.
- DOGO News for Kids: Children’s news. Not too educational, but a fun site
- Kids.gov: Real life current events aimed at kids
Modern Social Studies Curriculum
- Academy Curricular Exchange Social Studies Intermediate School: The Organization for Community Networks supplies this teacher’s project recommendation for modern style middle school curriculum social studies.
- Used History, Social Studies & Geography Books: Hardcopy social studies books for low prices.