Grade 6 Learning Expectations — Ancient World Cultures

The Ancient World Cultures course consists of a survey of ancient history from Prehistory to the fall of Rome.  Students investigate the history, culture, and geography of various civilizations including those in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Mesoamerica, Africa, China, India, and the Mediterranean.  They continue to develop their understanding of historical and geographical concepts.  Throughout the year, an emphasis is placed upon the ability to read, write, research, and think using the methodology of the historian.

By the end of Sixth Grade, students are expected to learn:

Geography
  • Geography influences the history, culture, and wealth of the ancient and modern world.
  • Historical people, events, and places affect the present and future.
  • The movement of people, goods, and ideas affect the cultures of the world.
  • Geography influences the cultures of the world.
  • Humans and the environment impact each other.
The Eleven Terms of History
  • Historians use various tools and analytical concepts to help us examine and understand the past.
  • Artifacts and primary and secondary sources help us learn about the past.
Prehistoric Humans
  • Celestial observation led to the development of Stonehenge and the beginnings of religion.
  • Fire was essential to early humans.
  • Herding and harvesting contributed to the development of civilization.
Ancient Mesopotamia
  • People lived in communities to help each other in difficult physical circumstances.
  • The achievements of early cultures contributed to the development of modern society.
  • Early civilizations created and maintained civic order.
  • A writing system was developed that helped people communicate.
  • In ancient Mesopotamia, the need to control flooding resulted in the development of community and government.
  • The existence of a code of law was evidence of a sophisticated civilization.
Ancient Egypt
  • Geography influenced ancient Egyptian civilization.
  • Ancient Egyptians developed an amazingly complex and advanced civilization.
  • Climate and geography influenced Egyptian art and architecture.
  • Modern archeology both inflamed and informed the world about this amazing culture.
Ancient Africa
  • Geography influenced the development of African civilizations and cultures.
  • Rich and varied cultures developed throughout Africa.
  • The institution of slavery and the Triangular Trade transformed Africa and resulted in much human suffering.
Ancient Maya
  • Writing played an important role in Mayan culture.
  • The natural world influenced the culture of ancient Maya, especially in the areas of religion and art.
  • Mayans developed a political organization characterized by the city-state.
Ancient Inca
  • The Nasca and Moche cultures formed the engineering and aesthetic base for the advanced civilization of the Inca.
  • Geography, communication, and political organization combined to allow the development of an advanced Incan civilization in a harsh climate.
  • Job specialization and individual responsibility played essential roles in the structure and maintenance of the Incan empire.
Ancient China
  • Geographic isolation allowed Chinese culture to flourish and endure through thousands of years.
  • Technological advances developed by the ancient Chinese changed human history.
  • Cultural unification followed political reorganization in China.
Ancient India
  • Indian culture is unique and varied.
  • Geographically, India constitutes a subcontinent.
  • Geography influenced the development of the Indus Valley Civilization.
Ancient Greece
  • Geography influenced the development of ancient Greek culture.
  • A common language, metal coinage, a commonwealth of city-states, and defeat of a common enemy allowed for the development of democracy in Greece.
  • The American system of government derived many principles and institutions from ancient Greece.
Ancient Rome
  • Modern republics, including the United States, borrowed ideas from ancient Rome.
  • Technological advances allowed for the development of Rome
  • Urbanization changed human culture and the physical landscape.
  • Military conquest and empire building by the Romans were followed by empire assimilation.
Grade 7 Learning Expectations—World Cultures and Geography

This course continues the study of world cultures and geography begun in sixth grade.  The students deepen their understanding of world history and trace the development of various cultures into the modern day.  The influence of geography on culture and the interaction of cultures are themes that run throughout the year.

By the end of Seventh Grade, students are expected to learn:

Geography and Culture
  • Interpreting maps, charts, and other data is important in analyzing the affects that topography and climate have on the cultures of the people living in different geographic regions.
  • All people have different perspectives based on their beliefs, values, traditions and experiences.
  • People learn about their cultures and other cultures in many different ways.
  • The interaction of cultures causes acculturation and diffusion to occur in a multitude of ways.
India
  • The religions of Hinduism and Buddhism have strong foundations and beliefs that affect the cultures of the people that live in the region.
  • India’s geography caused the development of a unique and thriving culture despite geographical challenges.
  • In modern times, India struggled to gain independence through a campaign that would lead to the founding of the modern nation of India.
China
  • Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism served as inspirations for the social, political and economic climate of China throughout history.
  • A series of political dynasties allowed China to advance in technology throughout the medieval period.
  • The political policies of communism and nationalism played important roles in the founding of modern China.
Japan
  • The religion of Shinto allows the Japanese to connect their experiences to both their land and their history.
  • The system of feudalism in Japan resulted in political unity and structure evolving out of an age of disunity and chaos.
  • In post-feudal Japan, a period of westernization occurred that allowed Japan to gain an economic advantage leading to modernization.
Africa
  • The geography of Africa has allowed for the development of unique cultures despite topography and climate.
  • Throughout the middle ages, African empires gained wealth and power through the Trans-Saharan Trade Route.
  • European colonialism impacted the social and political systems of Africa.
Europe
  • The teachings and organizations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam played an important role in allowing the maturation of modern Europe to occur.
  • The system of feudalism in Europe provided a structure for political and religious unity after the collapse of the Roman Empire.
Grade 8 Learning Expectations — Civics

This course takes an in-depth look at our nation’s government, its political system, and the foundations of American democracy.  Students study the branches of government, the Constitution, state and local governments, the American political system, the legal system, and the election process.  By the end of the year, students have a firm understanding of how the U.S. operates and an awareness of the important role we, as informed citizens, play in protecting the fundamental values and principles of American democracy.  Throughout the year, the students work on an Active Citizenship project in which they research Constitutional issues and investigate the various ways in which a citizen can have an influence upon that issue.  They also participate in debates, mock trials, and a mock congress.

By the end of Eighth Grade, students are expected to learn:

The Roots of American Government
  • Self-government developed in the American colonies.
  • The ideas expressed in the pre-Independence documents, such as the Mayflower Compact and the early colonial charters, influenced our system of government.
  • Values such as freedom of speech and freedom of religion have their roots in the colonial period.
  • Ideas from ancient Greece and Rome influenced the development of democratic thought in the colonies.
  • Various factors and events led to American independence.
  • The weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation eventually led to the establishment of the U.S. Constitution.
The Constitution
  • The concept of compromise played an important role at the Constitutional Convention.
  • Federalists and Anti-Federalists disagreed over the power of the national government.
  • The Constitution organizes American government into three branches.
  • Federalism, Checks and Balances, and Separation of Powers limit the power of the government.
The Bill of Rights
  • A list of rights was added to the Constitution to guarantee important rights.
  • The Bill of Rights provides for the protection of individual freedoms, protections against government abuse of power, and protections of the accused.
  • The specific meaning of the principles in the Constitution is often difficult to interpret.
  • The courts have the responsibility for interpreting the Bill of Rights.
Extending the Rights of Citizenship
  • The amendment process enables the Constitution to adapt to a changing society.
  • Various amendments have extended citizenship and voting rights to more Americans.
  • The Supreme Court plays an important role in ensuring that the Constitution is a flexible document.
The Legislative Branch
  • Members of Congress have specific requirements for office and a variety of responsibilities.
  • Congress is given the power to make laws.
  • The Constitution places specific limits on the power of Congress.
  • Citizens can influence the process of a bill becoming a law.
Laws and Our Society
  • Civil and criminal law serve important, yet different, functions in our society.
  • Many laws are based on morals.
  • The courts have the responsibility of interpreting our laws.
Political Parties
  • Political parties play an important role in the American democratic system.
  • Political parties encompass a spectrum of political thought.
Political Campaigns
  • Informed citizens are necessary for the operation of the American political system.
  • Interest groups are created by people who share a common interest and they play an influential role in our political system.
  • The Electoral College is the system used to elect the President.
The President and the Executive Branch
  • The President relies on an extensive Executive Branch to assist in the execution of our laws.
  • The power of the President has expanded over time, but is limited by the other two branches of government.