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Social Studies

Welcome to Middle School Social Studies

2013-14 MS Social Studies Pacing Guide

Social Studies Letter to Parents 2013

What we did in class and assignments can be found in the Recent Assignment button on the left, under Social Studies.

Recent Assignments

  • Social Studies Week 36: June 2-6


    We watched most of the rest of Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee, except the last 10 minutes. 7th graders were absent. If they want to watch the part they missed, they can find it on Youtube. We discussed the film and students received a copy of James’ notes on the film to compare with the notes they have been taking. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee Notes

    HW: No HW


    Tues = 1st and 2nd Hr, Thurs. = 3rd & 4th

    We finished the keynote presentation on Native Americans til 1900 from 2 weeks ago, especially focusing on the events of the film BMHAWK and some events before Little Bighorn (where the movie begins) which are relevant to the film. We also clarified the details of the Dawes Act and the concept of assimilation.

    We then discussed more of the film and finished the last 10 minutes, which focuses on the main character Charles Eastman struggling with his dual identity as a Sioux and an American Doctor educated in elite schools.

    We wrapped up this topic with a 10 question informal notebook quiz, and discussed the answers.  BMHAWK Quiz

    We then started a review activity in which students identify, in writing, 111 terms, events, and concepts we have studied over the course of the year. Students worked in groups on this, and James checked semester 2 warm-ups in class. 111 U.S. History Terms to know

    HW: 20 minutes working on Review 111 (above)


    We continued with the review 111 identification. James provided additional facts and assistance, and students had a chance to look up missing terms/events on the internet.

    HW: Review the 111 terms/events for a day of review games and discussions next Mon./Tues.

  • Social Studies Week 35: May 27-30

    Mon No School – Memorial Day

    Tues.: No Academic Rotations


    Students started watching Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee. Students took notes during the film.

    HW: Draw a scene from the film.


    Students continued watching Bury My Heart At Wounded KNee.

    HW: Inventory Semester 2 Warm-ups

  • Social Studies Week 34: May 19-23


    We spent the 1st half of class visiting our own Civil War Museum and taking 2-column notes.

    We then did an online Jim Crow Mapping Lab using this PBS website:


    This allowed students, in teams of 2, to better understand the specific regional geography of Jim Crow, and to analyze some statistics.

    HW: Study/Catch-up Homework Day



    We spent the 1st half of class finishing a Jim Crow Law analysis activity which we started last Friday (see last week’s post). Students then shared some of the laws they wrote about, and we had a general discussion about Jim Crow.

    The second half of class was a combination of lecture and discussion using this 11 slide KeyNote presentation: Native Americans thru 1900

    HW: Use this blank us map: Blank U.S. Map to create your own map of Native American locations using slide 2 of the above KeyNote presentation. Include the names (of tribes) and shaded areas of the tribes AS OF 1890 on the map.



    We discussed the Dawes Act, and examined the language of the law. We discussed the shrinking lands of Native Peoples, and the concept of assimilation, and how it was implemented.

    HW: Add the locations of key Battles involving Native Peoples and add shading which shows the former lands before they were reduced/stolen to the map from the last HW. Include a key/legend which reveals what the different shades mean. Use the maps from the Keynote Pres slides 2 & 3 for your information.

  • Social Studies Week 33: May 12-16


    Students wrote about The Freedmen’s Bureau – what it was and what challenges it faced. We discussed this in detail, with an emphasis on how the failure of reconstruction contributed to an additional century in which Black Americans would be subject to legalized discrimination, despite the north’s victory in the Civil War. President Andrew Johnson and white resistance to black equality, it was discussed, both were key factors in the failure of Reconstruction.

    The second part of class was devoted to formatting, printing, and mounting the Civil War Projects in preparation for the curriculum celebration this Friday. Students also composed captions to go with their project artifacts.

    HW: Review the Freedmen’s Bureau reading from Friday, as well as Friday’s notes, especially the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments. Freedmen’s Bureau Reading



    We continued an activity from last week in which students analyzed and discussed a primary source document reflecting Black perspectives on Reconstruction. After answering questions, students listed problems and brainstormed potential solutions, then shared their thoughts with the class.

    We then started an activity examining some specific “Jim Crow” laws from a variety of southern states. Students selected 10 laws from the list and wrote about each using a list of guiding questions:

    Was the law cruel
    and/or excessive? Was it strange or bizarre? Would the law be hard to
    enforce? What do you think was the rationale behind the law?

    The laws can be found at this website: http://people.sju.edu/~brokes/jimcrow.htm

    HW: Plessy v. Ferguson Notes. Find 2 different sources (that you can understand) on the internet that explain what this Supreme Court ruling was and what it meant. Use any note form you’d like but make the notes good and thorough. Write down the names and/or URLs of the websites. Do in notebook.


    We continued our examination of the Jim Crow Laws, and groups shared their findings.

    HW: Dawes Act Notes. Find 2 different sources (that you can understand) on the internet that explain what this Law was and what it meant. Use any note form you’d like but make the notes good and thorough. Write down the names and/or URLs of the websites. Do in notebook.

  • Social Studies Week 32: May 5-9



    The Civil War Museum Project is due this Friday. We discussed some details: Written portions shared in drive by Friday. The artifact must be brought in Friday or before. We will format and print these the followng week n class. I will provide the black construction paper. Late projects will be penalized.

    Students briefly wrote about and discussed their own ideas for how to reconstruct the country after the Civil War.

    We wrapped up a discussion of how America changed after the Civil War (and discussed the points on this made in Crash Course U.S. #21, which we watched on Friday).

    We briefly went over the Unit Test’s from last week.

    After briefly reviewing the 3 plans for Reconstruction which students read about and took Cornell Notes on over the weekend, students applied this knowledge in an activity in which they created 4 modified still poses based off a work of art from Reconstruction. This is from a Smithsonian Art Museum Lesson Plan: Reconstruction Art The sheet students filled out in planning the poses is here: Acting Out Reconstruction Plans


    After wrapping up our final poses from Mon/Tues and clarifying the 3 plans for reconstruction, students did a brief, informal quiz on the 3 plans and how America changed after the Civil War.

    We then started an activity which examined African American Perspectives on Reconstruction. 6 student groups were each assigned a different primary source, each of which is from a Black eyewitness to Reconstruction. After answering questions on their document, groups came up with a list of proposals, then sent one representative to a delegation to come up with a plan for Reconstruction that would reflect the interests of African Americans. Students not in the delegation made notes on and consulted on the proceedings of the delegation. The materials are located on pages 19-31 of this pdf, which comes from the National Endowment for the Humanities website: Reconst Black Voices


    Project Inventory, storage, labels, rubrics, etc.

    Wrap up the week’s lessons


    HW: NONE

  • Social Studies Week 31: 4/28-5/2


    We finished our battle stations rotations activity in which we learned about 12 key Civil War battles. Students who missed this activity should see me  - the materials will not be posted on the website.

    We then went over a timeline of the battles, discussed key aspects, turning points, and how certain battles relate to the Anaconda and Offensive=Defensive Strategies. Specific battles we discussed further included: Ft. Sumter, Gettysburg, Shiloh, Antietam, Vicksburg, Sherman’s March, and Appomattox. In some classes we also discussed ways in which the American Civil War was a War of firsts – iron ships, submarine, hot air balloon, machine guns, photography showing the stark brutality of war, etc.

    We spent the rest of class reviewing for the unit test.

    We reviewed:

    1) Economics concepts and the industrial Revolution

    2) Causes of the Civil War (Politics leading to sectional tension)

    3) Lincoln’s Policies

    4) Black Soldiers

    5) The slavery Paragraph prompts

    HOMEWORK: Review for the Test (held on Weds/Thurs.)




    HW: None/or catch up on Civil War Project if behind. You should be finishing up part one of the writing and starting part two. If you are not that far, you are behind and should get caught up.



    We discussed the final phases of the project and students created a plan for completing the project by May 9.

    We finally watched Crash Course U.S. #21, the second Civil War episode. We then discussed his key points about the lasting impacts of the Civil War, especially a stronger federal government, a strengthened executive (President), the path toward the modern, industrial America we would become, etc.

    We finished class by beginning a discussion of what needed to happen next after the war was over. What issues, problems, would need to be settled?

    HW: Reading on 3 different plans for Reconstruction, take Cornell Notes in Notebook. Reconstruction Reading

  • Social Studies Week 30: April 21-25


    After a brief review/discussion of Friday’s Civil War Music Lesson, students conducted research for their Civil War projects. James checked the Army Recruitment Poster Comparison Reflection and discussed this with individuals and table groups. The take home quiz was also collected.

    HW:Project Research and/or Writing



    We examined 12 Battle stations as students continue to consider why the north won. Students completed a chart as they visited each station, which focus on key battles of the war. This resource cannot be posted to the website. Students who miss this activity should schedule to come in and use the materials during study hall or lunch.

    HW: Review Battles from activity


    Finish up Battle Stations. If time, Crash Course U.S. #21

    HW: Work on Project

  • Social Studies Week 29: April 14-18


    After reviewing tips for conducting good research, students began research for the new Civil War Project (see last week’s post for handouts and details). James discussed the topics proposed by individual students with each student, and made suggestions if necessary. Students started a research document and shared it with James. The title must include the words Civil War, the hour the student is in, and their first name.

    HW: Add research notes on 1-2 additional sources. (HW will be checked by timestamp on the research doc).


    We used some of the slides in this image-rich powerpoint timeline africanamericans_civilwar Revisedto review the beginning of the war, and especially focused on:

    -Lincoln’s changing policies on slavery

    -Black involvement in the Civil War

    We then did a partnered primary source analysis activity using a Recruitment Poster recruitment-broadside and set of analysis questions Black Recruitment Poster Questions.

    With the little extra time some pairs of students had, they were able to use our classroom civil war books to continue research on their project.

    HW (Due Mon/Tues): 1) Do the last question in the Poster analysis activity – to answer this question, you need to find a modern army recruitment poster to compare with the Civil War poster you analyzed in class. 2) Continue research on your project – add notes to research Doc (to be checked by time-stamp).


    We reviewed Lincoln’s public justification for the war – how and why it changed.

    We did a short lesson on Music in the Civil War. James played the 4 songs on this document. We discussed the significance of the songs.

    Civil War Songs

    HW: Complete the take home quiz on Civil War Causes. You may use internet resources and your notes, but may not copy from or ask other students for answers. Do this by yourself. This assignment WILL NOT be accepted late for credit. Students not turning it in on time (unless you have an excused absence) will receive a score of zero. Civil War Causes Quiz