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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 Social Studies: Ancient Civilizations- Through the Renaissance

    Chapter 1 - Uncovering the Past

    Chapter 2 - The Stone Ages and Early Cultures

    Chapter 3 - Mesopotamia and the Fertile Crescent

    Chapter 4 - Ancient Egypt and the Kush

    Chapter 5 - Ancient India

    Chapter 6 - Ancient China

    Chapter 7 - The Hebrews and Judaism

    Chapter 8 - Ancient Greece

    Chapter 9 - The Greek World

    Chapter 10 - The Roman Republic

    Chapter 11 - Rome and Christianity

    Chapter 12 - The Islamic World

    Chapter 17 - The Early Middle Ages

    Chapter 18 - The Later Middle Ages

    Chapter 19 - The Renaissance and Reformation


    7th grade Social Studies: United States History – Beginnings to 1877

    Chapter 1 - The World before the Opening of the Atlantic

    Chapter 2 - New Empires in the Americas

    Chapter 3 - The English Colonies

    Chapter 4 - The American Revolution

    Chapter 5 - Forming a Government

    Chapter 6 - Citizenship and the Constitution

    Chapter 7 - Launching the Nation

    Chapter 8 - The Jefferson Era

    Chapter 9 - A New National Identity

    Chapter 10 - The Age of Jackson

    Chapter 11 - Expanding West

    Chapter 12 - The North

    Chapter 13 - The South

    Chapter 14 - New Movements in America

    Chapter 15 - A Divided Nation

    Chapter 16 - The Civil War


    8th grade Social Studies: United States History - Civil War to the Present

    Chapter 16 - Civil War

    Chapter 17 - Reconstruction

    Chapter 18 - Americans Move West

    Chapter 19 - The Industrial Age

    Chapter 20 - Immigrants and Urban Life

    Chapter 21 - The Progressive Spirit of Reform

    Chapter 22 - America as a World Power

    Chapter 23 - World War I

    Chapter 24 - The Roaring 20s

    Chapter 25 - The Great Depression

    Chapter 26 - World War II

    Chapter 27 - Early Year of the Cold War

    Chapter 28 – Civil Rights Era



    (*NOTE* Aligning social studies to the Illinois Learning Standards for Social Science is a multistep process. Elementary school will begin this shift in 2017-2018. Middle school is in the middle of a new resources adoption cycle. As such, teachers are currently using the above mentioined textbook, Holt McDougal, as their main resource. However, beginning in 2017-2018, middle school teachers will be using a brand new resource.)