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  • Overview

    At its heart, social studies explores the relationship between individuals and society, from friends and family to global networks. In a school setting, the disciplines of civics, economics, geography, and history are central to our students’ preparation for college, career, and civic life.


    AHSD25 provides students with social studies instruction beginning in Kindergarten and continuing through their 8th grade year. Elementary students experience social studies through thematic units and a combination of teacher created units and various textbooks, nonfiction readers, primary sources, and maps. In middle school, students work individually and collaboratively, using nonfiction and fiction, to engage in inquiry within the disciplines about important public issues, trends, and events. Middle school students cover World History in sixth grade and American History in seventh and eighth grade.



    In January 2016, Illinois adopted Illinois Learning Standards for Social Science, based on the College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies. The purpose of these new, more rigorous standards is to better prepare students to be college and career ready. These standards are designed to ensure that students across Illinois focus on a common set of standards and have the opportunity to develop the knowledge, dispositions, and skills necessary for success in college, career, and civic life in the 21st century. The vision supporting this design is to produce students who are civically engaged, socially responsible, culturally aware, and financially literate (National Council for the Social Studies, 2016)


    The Illinois Social Science Standards fall into two complementary categories: inquiry skills and disciplinary concepts. Inquiry skills involve questioning, investigating, reasoning, and responsible action while disciplinary concepts make use of social science ideas, principles, and content to pursue answers to the questions generated by student inquiries.



    In social studies, disciplinary concepts are divided among the major disciplines of social science: civics, history, economics, and geography. These standards are taught in conjunction with inquiry skills.  Standards on themes are aligned to the disciplinary concepts for our K-5 learners. The themes are:

    • Kindergarten: My Social World
    • First Grade: Living, Learning, and Working Together
    • Second Grade: Families, Neighborhoods, and Communities
    • Third Grade: Communities Near and Far
    • Fourth Grade: Our State, Our Nation
    • Fifth Grade: Our Nation, Our World


    The middle grades provide a bridge between the elementary and high school experiences. Reflecting the unique nature of our students and the schools in which they learn, the structure of the middle grade social science standards is unique. Unlike the elementary and high school standards, the middle grade standards do not assign particular content to each grade level. Rather, these standards focus on the developmental need of middle grade students: to cultivate the critical thinking skills used by social scientists through the inquiry process. The disciplinary concepts of civics, economics, geography, and history are integrated within the curriculum (Illinois State Board of Education, 2016).


    Students should be able to utilize the inquiry process to analyze foundational knowledge, develop questions (about the past, present, and future), apply tools to research, weigh evidence, and develop conclusions.  Below are the topics and chapters that are covered each year in middle school.


    6th grade History Alive!- The Ancient World

    Unit 1: Early Humans and the Rise of Civilization

    • Detectives who Study the Past
    • Cave Art
    • Development of man (Hominins, Homo Sapiens, Neanderthals)
    • Hunter-gatherers to farmers
    • Sumerian City-States
    • Characteristics of a Civilization
    • Code of Hammurabi
    • Nebuchadnezzar

    Unit 2: Ancient Egypt and The Middle East

    • The Nile River
    • Pharaohs
    • Mummification
    • Social Pyramid
    • Hieroglyphics, papyrus, scribes
    • Judaism

    Unit 3: Ancient India

    • Indus River
    • Ganges River
    • Hinduism
    • Buddhism

    Unit 4: Ancient China

    • Shang Dynasty
    • Zhou Dynasty
    • Confucianism
    • Daoism
    • Legalism
    • Emperor Qin
    • Great Wall
    • Han Dynasty
    • Silk Road

    Unit 5: Ancient Greece

    • Democracy and other types of governments
    • Sparta
    • Athens
    • Greek Legacies
    • Alexander the Great

    Unit 6: Ancient Rome

    • Roman Republic
    • Roman Empire
    • Punic Wars
    • Christianity
    • Roman Legacies
    • Pompeii

    Unit 7: Europe During Medieval Times

    • Feudalism
    • Charlemagne
    • Natural Law
    • Pilgrimage
    • Guilds
    • Bubonic Plague (Black Death)
    • 100 years War
    • Magna Carta
    • Byzantine Empire
    • Orthodox Church

     Unit 8: Islam in Medieval Times

    • Islam
    • Muhammad
    • Muslim
    • Mosque
    • Crusades
    • Holy Land
    • Segregation

     Unit 9: Europe’s Renaissance and Reformation

    • Humanism
    • Humanities - The Arts
    • Renaissance
    • New Word
    • Johannes Gutenberg
    • Martin Luther
    • Protestant Reformation


    7th grade History Alive!- The United States through Industrialism


    Unit 1: America’s beginning

    • American Indians
    • European Exploration and Settlement
    • The Colonies

    Unit 2: Road to Revolution

    • Declaration of Independence
    • American Revolution

    Unit 3: Constitution

    • The Constitution
    • The Bill of Rights

    Unit 4: The First Five Presidents

    • Washington’ Presidency
    • Louisiana Purchase
    • War of 1812

    Unit 5: Jacksonian Democracy & Expansion

    • Jackson’s Presidency
    • Westward expansion

    Unit 6: Reform & Division Pre Civil War

    • Reform movements
    • Divisions between the North and the South

    Unit 7: Civil War

    • Path to war
    • Civil War
    • Election of 1860


    8th grade History Alive!- The United States through Modern Times

    Quarter 1: Westward Expansion and the Rise of Industry

    • Elections (every other year)
    • Constitution Day
    • Reconstruction - Homegrown terrorism
    • Westward Expansion
    • Rise of Industry

    Quarter 2: WWI and beyond

    • Progressive Era and Imperialism
    • WWI (propaganda) - War Intervention
    • Roaring 20s
    • Great Depression

    Quarter 3: WWII, the Cold War and more

    • WWII - Labor rights, War Intervention, May 9th VE Day
    • Holocaust
    • The Cold War
    • US in the Global Economy  

    Quarter 4: Civil Rights and Contemporary America

    • Civil Rights - Modern Civil Rights
    • American Today - Conflict in the Middle East
    • Genocide - War Intervention



    (*NOTE* Aligning social studies to the Illinois Learning Standards for Social Science is a multistep process. Elementary school has selected a new resource and is working on a scope and sequence for the 2020-2021 school year.)