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Social Studies

Our social studies and English classes work in tandem to support a variety of learning. The alignment of the curriculum allows students to develop a deeper understanding of both disciplines.


Middle school social studies classes help students:

  • Think critically and to analyze one’s own thoughts and actions.
  • Function effectively as members of a variety of political, economic and social groups.
  • Garner a respect and knowledge of diverse cultures while developing intercultural competencies.

Social Studies Units

Grade 5

Decisions, Actions and Consequences: Exploration and Colonization

Students explore the questions, “Why did the Europeans explore the world and what impact did this exploration have on New World resources and scientific advancement?” Students learn about the consequence these exploration decisions and actions had on the indigenous peoples of the Americas. Students also learn about the early colonization of the United States.

Decisions, Actions and Consequences: The American Revolution

Students explore the question, “What ideas were behind the revolutionary movement in the American colonies?” Students examine how these decisions and actions led to the consequences of the American Revolution. Students study persons on both sides of the conflict and examine the factors that led to the American victory.

Decisions, Actions and Consequences: Westward Expansion

Students explore the question, “What factors caused people to move west into the North American continent?” Students examine the Americans’ decisions, actions and consequences during the Westward Expansion of the 1800s. Students engage in a simulation activity in which they travel the Oregon Trail and make the kinds of decisions that the early pioneers were forced to make.

Grade 6


Students explore the question, “What brings people together to form groups?” Beginning with the hunter/gatherers, students examine the reasons why settlements and cities formed. Students understand how this led to the formation of early civilizations in Mesopotamia, China, India and Greece.


Students explore the question, “In what ways do groups of people define themselves?” Focusing on Mesopotamia, China, India and Greece, students compare and contrast elements of civilization like religion, justice, arts, literature, language and government. Students develop an understanding of what keeps people together.


Students explore the question, “In what ways does the past inform the present?” Focusing on Mesopotamia, China, India and Greece, students study the people, events, monuments and ideas that influence modern thought. Students seek to understand why some things endure while others are lost to history.

Grade 7

Choices, Changes and Consequences: The Path to Modern China

Students explore the question, “How has China’s 20th and 21st century history affected its current status in the world?” Students study the changes China has undergone since the end of the last dynasty in the early 1900s. Students explore both the positive consequences and the challenges that China faces because of the choices it has made.

Leadership Beyond Borders

Students explore the questions, “What does leadership mean and why does it matter?” Students study the lives of influential world leaders from a variety of arenas and determine what lessons can be learned from them. Through simulations and other exercises, students apply these lessons to their own growth as leaders.


Students explore the questions, “What is fairness? Who decides what criteria are used to determine justice? How can justice in a society be maintained?” Students seek to understand the ways in which injustice is manifest in the world. Students explore ways that governments, organizations and individuals attempt to create a more just world.

Grade 8

Movement and Survival

Students explore the question, “Why did immigrants come to America in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries?” Students seek to understand the immigrants’ experience upon arriving in the United States and explore the contributions that immigrants made. Students will look specifically at the struggles and contributions of Chinese immigrants.

Life and Death Struggles

Students explore the question, “Why?” Students understand the conditions that led to the two World Wars. Students explain how dictators and militarist regimes arose in several countries during both World War I and World War II, as well as the time between the two conflicts. Students describe the course and character of both wars.

Feast and Famine

Students explore the question, “What caused the disparate conditions in the eras known as The Roaring Twenties and The Great Depression?” Students compare the different effects of the economic boom on urban and rural America and explain the weaknesses in the economy of the 1920s. Students engage in simulations to understand the conditions of the time.

Rights and Responsibilities

Students explore the question, “What was the tipping point that led to the drive to end segregation in the United States?” Students describe those efforts and compare them to global human rights initiatives going on today. Students have to opportunity to delve deeply in a human rights topic that interests them and highlight that topic for their peers.

 Concordia International School Shanghai - middle school social studies

By understanding the past and present, students are prepared to participate productively and responsibly in a dynamic global society.