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Grade 8 Social Science

Eighth grade students in the Cambridge Public Schools explore World History and Civics. At the end of the eighth grade, students will be able to:

  • Describe the development of government and the meaning of citizenship in Japan, Europe, Meso-America and the United States.
  • Understand the effects of cross-cultural contact by analyzing the Crusades and by exploring the impact the “Age of Exploration” on the Americas, Africa and Europe.
  • Investigate the power of individual citizens in creating change in society.
  • Analyze primary and secondary sources to evaluate the author’s bias.
  • Write formal, coherent arguments with clear thesis statements and well-supported claims.
  • Research and write well-crafted historical essays using evidence from multiple sources.
Units of Study Year-long Essential Questions
Japan to 1800 What is a just society?

How do societies change?

How can individuals and groups make a difference in the world?
Europe to 1500 and the Crusades
An Age of Ideas in Europe: Renaissance, Reformation and Scientific Revolution
Meso-American Civilizations: Maya, Aztec and Inca
Encounters in the Atlantic World: Exploration and Resistance
Civics and Power: The Individual and Society
(This unit includes an exploration of the foundations of American government, as well as Facing History and Ourselves’ “Choices in Little Rock” unit.)

All eighth grade students complete a range of Common Core-aligned writing assessments, including at least two Document Based Questions (DBQs) and a three to five page research paper with multiple sources and MLA citations.