Social Studies

GRADE 6: Human Geography and Global Politics
“I Think...”

Traveling down raging rivers, scaling buildings made by ancient civilizations, and negotiating peaceful interactions among different groups are just a few of the highlights of sixth grade social studies. Students at our private middle school study the development of culture in ancient lands focusing on universal elements that are typically part of each culture but are approached in unique ways. Study units include investigations of the geography, government, religion, and trade of various early civilizations across the continents. As historians in training, students develop the skills that allow them to think, read, write, and speak like historians. Work focuses on gathering information and beginning to analyze it in new ways. The course utilizes resources in our area through City as Our Campus projects such as a partnership with local religious studies majors and a culminating sixth grade research project – a Model UN activity presenting a challenge faced between individual cultures.

GRADE 7: Colonization, Revolution, Rebellion, and Reaction
“I Wonder...”

So you want to start a revolution? Why are you willing to fight against the people in power? Who will be your leader and are you confident that this person will lead you in a positive direction? Seventh grade students attempt to answer these questions as they study famous revolutions from around the world. The year is based on the themes of colonization, revolution, and establishing a new government. Using information gathered from historical examples, students participate in a variety of hands-on simulations and projects which stimulate wonder about the balance of power between the people and the rulers who lead them. City as Our Campus projects highlight Pittsburgh connections to revolutions of the past such as the American Revolutionary War and the Civil War. Organizations that work with local and state agencies also help to facilitate a culminating activity in which students act as UN agents who are faced with the possibility of creating a new nation.

GRADE 8- Human Rights and Global Citizens
“I Can…”

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” These words from Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. are the inspiration for the eighth grade social studies course. It is no secret that injustices are occurring each day in different places and different ways, but what can be done about it? Through this course, members of the class have the opportunity to investigate cases where rights have been denied in the past and in modern times, while developing ideas and action steps for addressing these problems now and in the future. Class activities allow students to gather both historical information and inspiration from groups and individuals who have fought to secure and protect rights around the world and across the years. Throughout the course, students engage in debates, discussions, and hands on projects, thinking, reading, writing, and speaking like the historian they have become throughout their social studies classes. The eighth grade research project provides a special connection to Pittsburgh as students work with an individual, organization, or government body who is currently working to help end injustices here and around the world.