Social Studies

Welcome to Middle School Social Studies


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 21: Jan. 26-30


    We did two introductory activities related to China.

    1) Students got to examine a 17-foot replica of the famous QingMing Scroll Painting from the Song Dynasty. Pairs of students recorded observations of the various scenes of daily life and tried to come up with interpretations of what they meant/can teach us. (there will be a follow up research piece in the next class). We then had an all-class discussion about our findings.

    qingming record sheet

    2) Students, in pairs, read their news articles and used a reading strategy which prompts them to consider how the text connects to themselves, other texts, and to the larger world. We then had an all-class discussion about our findings.

    news reading connections handout

    news reading record sheet

    HW: Read this brief introduction to the Song Dynasty and take notes in your notebook – any style notes you’d like.


    We did the follow up research for our previous QingMing Scroll activity. Students used several websites to read what scholars have said about the scenes and characters on the scroll, and recorded notes in column 3 of the QingMing Record Sheet (see above). We then had a follow up discussion

    We then did a China Mapping Stations activity. Students built maps of China from 5 different stations.

    HW: Color the maps you built in class at the stations. The five maps (Agriculture, rivers, bordering nations, mountains and deserts, Grand Canal & Great Wall) can be found at this site; review your other China handouts from in class work.


    We created key facts cards about China. We started making some detailed Chinese Dynasty Timelines.

    HW: Students were given a chart on Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. They should read over and annotate it. This is to start familiarizing themselves with next week’s topics. Students should only spend about 10 focused minutes on this. They dod not need to know all the material yet.

  • Social Studies Week 20: June 21-23


    We spent the bulk of class looking at one another’s completed city tours, and answering questions which directed us to look for patterns across the cities.

    HW: Due next Mon/Tues (Jan. 26/27) : Find and print a news article related to China.

  • Social Studies Week 19: Jan. 12-16


    Each class worked on creating the content for a different station at this Friday’s MLK Assembly. The elementary students will be rotationg through the stations, where the middle schoolers will share/teach their topic.

    HW: Finish Tour Project (Due Friday)


    We reflected on the project, and took care of a few loose ends.



  • Social Studies Week 17: Jan. 5-9

    All Week: In class & Homework – we are working on the City Tours.

    They are due next Friday and will be on view at curriculum celebration

    Warm-ups were checked in class.

    A progress report was sent out over the break. Students should check them to ensure the records are accurate.

  • Social Studies Week 16: Dec. 15-19


    Students counted up their warm-ups. Any missing warmups were recorded and need to be made up at home.

    We spent the rest of the class on the Tour Project.

    HW: Add an element & Study for the Islam Quiz which will be Weds/Thurs.


    Islam Quiz

    Project Work

    HW: Add an Element

    OVER BREAK: Add 2 elements per team

  • Social Studies Week 15: Dec. 8-12


    After discussing plagiarism and some of the many useful resources in the CIA Worldfactbook, students worked on their GoogleEarth Tour Projects.

    HW: Do another element (by Friday), or more if you can (it will save you work time over the break).


    After a bit of Islam review from last week’s lesson, we watched Crash Course World History Islam and discussed it.

    Students then worked in teams on a paired reading comprehension activity on the Spread of Islam. This is the storyboard paper they used for the exercise. Spread of Islam Storyboard

    HW: See above + finish storyboard if unfinished in class; Review all Islam stuff so far, especially the 5 pillars.


    Project work

    HW: Additional Element. Find locations for each element.

  • Social Studies Week 14: Dec. 1-5


    We discussed how to best use Google search – don’t keep trying the same search terms if they don’t work.

    James shared a tutorial on Google Advanced Search.

    James demonstrated how to create hyperlinks in the TourBuilder and in Google Drive, and wants students to use them in their Tour Projects. He will even allow these to substitute for a Bibliography, although real books like the lonely planet will still need a biblio citation.

    Students worked on element 2 and beyond – they had a full hour of work time.

    HW (Due Friday): Complete an entire additional element. It doesn’t need to be in Tour builder, but all the information should be in Drive or somewhere checkable. This assignment is IN ADDITION to whatever was completed during class time.


    Introduction to Islam and SW Asia:

    We used a World Map showing Islamic Population to discuss the geography of the religion, and to discuss the terms: Muslim, Islam, Arab, SW Asia,  and Middle East

    Students also added key cities to their cumulative maps: Mecca, Medina, Damascus, Baghdad, Cordoba, Cairo, Istanbul, Jerusalem

    We read this story of Mohammad and the founding story of the religion: Muhammad and the Rise of Islam

    Students, in teams, turned this detailed description of the 5 Pillars of Islam into Quick Review Cards for memorizing.

    We discussed the terms Muslim, Islam, Arab, and Middle East

    HW : See Mon/Tues


    Tour Project work time

    NOTE: Students who haven’t gathered all their info for at least 3 elements by the beginning of this class period are BEHIND and should work to get caught up.

    HW: Complete one additional element (beyond what you did in class) (Due Mon/Tues)

  • Social Studies Week 13: Nov. 24-26


    After a discussion of TFR, Replacement Rate, and Dependency Ratio, students got into their groups based on which homework reading they did: Dilemma 1, 2 or 3. They created posters on their dilemma and shared them with the class.

    We took a quiz. Questions were drawn from the quiz/answer sheet students were given in class last Wednesday.

    We started going over the big semester project CityTourProjectDetailedHandout

    HW: Read over/Mark up the Project Document (15 min) due Weds. Also pick your top 3 cities from EACH continent from the lists in the doc.


    Students chose partners (or not), drew numbers, and chose their city. Absent students will need to email me their top 3 from each category.

    I did a demo on using the tourbuilder tool, and students created their tour files and shared them.

    HW: Do one element of the tour; order your lonely planet from MEL