To understand today’s world, we must learn about its past. Ancient civilizations laid strong foundations for modern cultures. The early ages of World History have added greatly to those cultures. Eighth graders learn how the ideas, events, and people of the past have shaped our lives. Therefore our guiding question for the year is, How does the past touch the present?
We approach our study of World History from a thematic perspective. Our historical and cultural study begins in ancient times up to the present. Eighth grade is divided into 9 themes: Ancient civilizations, American influences, Religions, Renaissance and reform, Israel and Zionism, Exploration and exploitation, Revolutions, Conflict and resolution, and Modern India, Australia, New Zealand, and the islands of the Pacific. We look at how geography makes history possible. We then transition into different types of governments, such as direct democracy, and different types of economic systems, such as a command economy. In our first theme, ancient civilizations, we ask the question, what makes up a civilization? As a part of this theme we will study ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, and other Mediterranean civilizations. We also explore how Judaism fits in with these ancient cultures.
Current events play a large role throughout eighth grade. It is important for students to understand domestic issues, U.S. foreign policy, and how issues in other countries impact the whole global community. Students see how these issues connect us to other nations and relate to what we study in class.
In our study of history, we use many different 21st Century methods to ensure learning takes place: Discussion, group work, technology, primary sources, role playing, art, and creative writing are just some of these. Traditional methods such as note taking, taking multiple choice tests, and essay writing will also be used as these are essential skills for high school.
- Students learn different note taking styles and methods.
- Students understand cause and effect relationships by analyzing historical events around the world.
- Students understand the importance of learning from the past.
- Students understand the importance of primary sources to historians and simulate written primary sources.
- Students write essays of varying lengths, including an 8th grade level research paper.
- Students understand the benefits and problems created by colonial powers around the world.
- Students experience assessments of varying formats.