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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

The American Revolution

In this unit, students will learn about exploration, conquest, and the impact of European colonization on both the New World and the Old World. They will understand how the colonies were established and their different characteristics. Students will also explore the events, decisions, and actions leading up to the American Revolution as well as the costs and consequences that resulted. During class discussions, students will discover the big ideas, lessons, and themes that emerged from this time period.

Westward Expansion

This unit examines the Americans' decisions and actions during Westward Expansion in the 1800s and the consequences of those choices. Students will understand that the American people were hungry for new land and resources as reflected by the spirit of Manifest Destiny and that geography played a huge role in this Expansion. They will also understand that the government created policies encouraging the American people to move westward, and these policies were enforced at the expense of Native Peoples. To reinforce their understanding and create deeper empathy, students will read and write historical fiction set during Westward Expansion and participate in simulations.

Grade 6


In this unit, we will explore how people have formed themselves into groups for a variety of reasons by studying the ancient civilizations. Students will seek to understand the ways in which humans have chosen to come together and coexist. They will study push and pull factors in human migration, how geographic factors play a role in decision making, gender roles, and the different circumstances under which alliances are formed.


For as long as people have come together, they have sought to define what they have in common. In this unit, students will seek to understand factors that keeps groups together, what a culture finds important, and how a culture passes on their heritage. They will also study cultural interactions and its benefits to the culture.


“What’s past is prologue.” – William Shakespeare

We study history because it influences and sets the context for the present. In this unit, students will research different ideas, inventions, individuals, and institutions that changed society, look at how they are remembered by future generations, and recognize the impact on their own lives.

Grade 7

Influential Leaders

Countless influential leaders have risen throughout the course of history. We believe our students are among those who will become the influential leaders in their generation. This unit studies how leaders are born and the qualities and characteristics of influential leaders. We will also look at how events impact relationships between groups of people and future decisions.


The government unit will expose students to different types of government. They will analyze the benefits and disadvantages to each system before creating their own utopian government and society.

Global Issues

When we think about civics and citizens, we think about being global citizens. Global citizens participate in human rights and making the world a better place. Throughout this unit, students will identify authors’ perspectives and themes behind international social justice issues as well as research reading and argumentation writing skills in order to orally present solution opportunities.

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.