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Learner.Org 15. A Standards Overview, 6-8

Lessons from grade 6–8 classrooms illustrate how the NCSS standards and themes can be integrated into the middle school curriculum. Middle school teachers explore a number of expectations and outcomes in their lessons and build on the fundamentals established in the elementary grades. Themes of civics, political science, and history begin to take on more meaning as the content in these lessons connects to students’ lives.

Learner.org 12. Using Primary Sources

Kathleen Waffle teaches fifth grade at John Muir Elementary School in San Bruno, California, a working–class suburb of San Francisco. In a unit on Colonial America, students examine an eighteenth–century business through a case study of a successful silversmith who lived in Colonial Williamsburg. In small groups, students use primary source documents (advertisements) and artifacts to identify the business strategies used by the silversmith. They then translate a historic contract between a master and an apprentice and examine how colonial apprenticeships compare with present–day job pursuits.

Learner.Org 9. Explorers in North America

Rob Cuddi, a fifth–grade teacher at Winthrop Middle School in Winthrop, Massachusetts, has been teaching for almost 30 years and has recently taken an active role in restructuring the social studies curriculum to accommodate both state and national standards. Mr. Cuddi’s lesson introduces the theme of exploration in North America, posing three essential questions: How have people in history affected our lives today?; How do the human and physical systems of the Earth interact?; and What role do economies play in the foundation of our history?

Learner.org 18 The Amistad Case

Gary Fisher is a teacher at Timilty Middle School in the urban community of Roxbury, Massachusetts, part of the greater Boston area. In his eighth–grade U.S. history class, Mr. Fisher examines the history of African American slavery through a dramatic mock trial based on the Amistad case in 1839. Serving as the defense, prosecution, judges, and other historical characters in the trial, students develop their cases and present them in a formal court setting created in their classroom. In his class, Mr. Fisher collaborates with the Spanish teacher who provides special support for second–language learners

Learner.org 16. Explorations in Archeology and History

Gwen Larsen teaches sixth–grade social studies at Harbor School in Boston, Massachusetts. In her introductory lesson, Ms. Larsen guides students through an exploration of their family histories, leading to their place in the larger human family and the development of civilizations. Ms. Larsen’s students work in groups to differentiate between fossils and artifacts. The lesson concludes with student presentations of their own family heirlooms.

 

Geography

Learner.org 19 Population and Resource Distribution

Becky Forristal teaches seventh–grade economics at Rockwood Valley Middle School, 20 miles outside St. Louis, Missouri. Her lesson focuses on a population simulation that explores world economics, demonstrating the inequalities in land, food, energy, and wealth distribution in the world today. Using a global map on the classroom floor, students are able to visualize how resources are distributed in both wealthy and under–developed nations of the world

Learner.org 21. The Middle East Conflict

Justin Zimmerman is a sixth-grade teacher at Magnolia School in Joppa, Maryland, about 30 miles north of Baltimore. Mr. Zimmerman explores the claims to land in the Middle East from three major religions — Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. After learning about the geography of the area, the students begin to explore the region’s political unrest and discuss the controversy over control of the land of Israel. Through this lesson, the students begin to make connections that relate their own lives to the political and religious struggle.

Learner.org 4: China Through Mapping

Mimi Norton teaches second grade at Solano Elementary School in Phoenix, Arizona. In this lesson, students learn about China’s position on the globe and the location of important landmarks within the country. As a class, students create a giant map of China on the floor. Working in teams, students complete mapping tasks at classroom stations, focusing on the five themes of geography. As a culminating activity, students solve an interactive detective mystery created by Ms. Norton and work in small groups to solve problems based on their mastery of the map of China.

Learner.org 9. Explorers in North America

Rob Cuddi, a fifth–grade teacher at Winthrop Middle School in Winthrop, Massachusetts, has been teaching for almost 30 years and has recently taken an active role in restructuring the social studies curriculum to accommodate both state and national standards. Mr. Cuddi’s lesson introduces the theme of exploration in North America, posing three essential questions: How have people in history affected our lives today?; How do the human and physical systems of the Earth interact?; and What role do economies play in the foundation of our history?

Learner.org 10. California Missions Osvaldo Rubio is a bilingual fourth–grade social studies teacher at Sherman Oaks Community Charter School in San Jose, California. Mr. Rubio’s geography lesson focuses on the location and movement of California missions. In groups, students create artistic, oral, written, and other more sophisticated audio–visual presentations. Some students use the Internet to download images, while others use a digital camera and editing software to create their own presentations in the form of an I–Movie.

Learner.org 17. Exploring Geography Through African History

Lisa Farrow is a seventh–grade world cultures teacher at Shiloh Middle School in a suburb of Baltimore, Maryland. Ms. Farrow's lesson provides her students with an understanding of African history and geography. After creating a personal timeline, the students create a historical timeline of Africa, focusing on the Bantu migrations, the rise of Islam, the West African trading empires, the Turkish empire, the slave trade, and European colonialism. Students take an active role in group work as they create maps and captions that define each period. Ms. Farrow concentrates on the importance of the trading empires and their connection to Africa's history as a whole.

 

 

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