Middle School Social Studies

Social Studies

The CREC 6-8 Social Studies curriculum prepares students to be informed citizens that are members of a 21st Century global community, by introducing them to the regions of the world and key concepts in early U.S. History. The curriculum follows the CT Social Studies Frameworks, based on the C3, which seeks to prepare students for Career, College and Civic Life. Through a variety of classroom experiences, students develop critical thinking skills, creativity, curiosity and open-mindedness. Classroom instruction balances learning about new content and concepts with an inquiry-based learning approach. Inquiry-based learning allows students to ask questions and have the opportunity to engage in the research process to further address their questions. Additionally, students are introduced to key concepts in history, civics, economics, and geography, in preparation for their high school experience. Literacy in the content area is emphasized to continue to develop students’ reading, writing, and speaking/listening skills. 


Key Concepts Addressed

Grade 6

World Regional Studies:

World Regional Studies is a two-year course for Grades 6 and 7. Over the period of two years, students will study eight world regions, and through the lens of geography, they explore and learn about economies, history, and civics throughout the world. Relevant global issues provide opportunities for addressing multiple standards through focused investigations, inviting students to generate and research important questions. Teachers take a case study approach that supports in-depth inquiry and allows classes to explore regional themes through localized topics or issues, topics of interest to students, and current events.

5 Themes of Geography:

Movement, Place, Human-Environment Interaction, Place, & Region

6th grade Case studies:

  • Division and Unification: Europe

  • The importance of resources: South America

  • Changing economies and government: Africa

  • Place: South Asia, India

7th grade Case studies:

  • Immigration: U.S., Mexico, and Middle America

  • Change over time: Comparing Past and Present in Eastern Europe & Russia

  • Foreign Involvement: the Middle East

  • Region: Post-Cold War China, Japan, and North Korea

Grade 7

Grade 8

American History:

8th Grade Social Studies has a focus on Early American History; from the Revolutionary Era through Reconstruction. Students explore the ideas, issues, and events from the mid- 1700s through the late 19th century. After review of United States foundations, students will explore the development of politics, society, culture, and economy in the United States to deepen understandings in history, civics, geography, and economics. Studying the causes and consequences of events throughout early American history will assist students’ to understand the rights and responsibilities of citizens in a culturally diverse democracy. This course will also help to prepare them for learning Social Studies in high school.

Key Concepts in Early American History

  • Cause and Effect: The American Revolution

  • Key Government Concepts: U.S. COnstitution

  • Growth of a Nation: Westward Expansion and Industrialization

  • Conflict and War: The Civil War and Reconstruction

In CREC classrooms, students will learn Social Studies within an inquiry-based approach. This approach allows for teacher-created, standards-based curriculum to come to life while allowing room for student voice and interest. Students are encouraged to think, read, write, and speak like historians, geographers, and citizens, engaging in authentic, real-world tasks to bring learning to life. Additionally, the classroom instruction will foster the CREC Essential Skills/21st Century Skills of Collaboration and Communication, Critical-Thinking and Problem-Solving, and Creativity and Innovation. 

Some tasks students will be asked to engage in include: 

  • Choosing topics for and completing independent and group research projects (with age appropriate support and requirements)

  • Collaborate with peers and provide feedback to each other

  • Present for different audiences

  • Choose and evaluate appropriate sources for their projects and tasks

  • Write for a range of audience 

  • Develop an argument and support it with evidence, including both writing and speaking and listening activities

  • Utilize technology to demonstrate their learning 

Classroom Materials:   

What You Can to Do at Home

Provide time and space for your child to read independently for an extended period of time. This reading time should be free from distractions such as television.

  • Make your child aware of current events. Discuss current events and encourage your child to watch the news and/or read the newspaper. 

  • Look at Maps and globes together and ask them to show you the regions of the world and places they are studying. 

  • Visit museums, zoos, theaters, historical sites, aquariums, and other educational places to help increase your child’s exposure to new knowledge and vocabulary.

    • Local sites of interest include: The Wadsworth Atheneum, CT Old State House, CT Historical Society, Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, Hartford Public Library and Hartford History Center.  Visit your local library for free or discounted passes for these sites. 

  • Encourage your child to read stories, books, or biographies based on your native culture or others. Read the same book as your child and discuss it.

  • Share family traditions, stories, and culture with your child.  Encourage your child to interview family members, such as grandparents, to learn family history.

  • Ask your child to discuss his/her school day. Have your child explain to you or write in an academic journal what he/she learned that day in class. 

  • Have your child verbally explain his/her project to you or practice the presentation the night before it is due.

  • Use real-life opportunities to develop understanding of geography concepts and map skills.

  • Encourage service and responsibility. Either through school or as a family, your child can experience providing service to others and/or being a responsible citizen through community giving. 


Non-Fiction Magazines

  • Junior Scholastic – Provides coverage of current news issues and investigative journalism 

  • Upfront –Focuses on investigative journalism for teens

  • Cobblestone – Highlights a distinct period in US history and explores what it means to be American

  • Dig – Explores archaeology with photos and stories from on-site archaeologists

  • National Geographic for Kids – Encourages readers to protect the planet's resources and to learn more about geography, adventure, wildlife, science, and their peers around the world

  • Connecticut Explored- provides history specific to CT. 

Contact Information: Sara Slogesky, Supervisor for Social Studies, [email protected]
For access to the full version of the CREC Grades 6-8 Curriculum Guide, click here.
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