History & Social Sciences
The social studies curriculum at HMS allows students to acquire knowledge of human endeavors and relationships, both past and present, to encourage informed participation in society. A central goal of the social studies program is to encourage effective thinking and reasoning. It is important that students learn to connect ideas and knowledge with the skills necessary for civic participation. Literacy skills are woven into the social studies curriculum to help students develop their ability to argue or explain conclusions using valid reasoning and evidence. The curriculum challenges students to develop the skills necessary to analyze the purpose and point of view of sources, distinguish opinion from fact, and evaluate the credibility of sources. Throughout the units of study, current events, social issues, and civic responsibility are incorporated in the curriculum. The curriculum enables students to experience the diversity that exists within our world and understand their greater role in society.
The Social Studies Department at HMS is in the process of developing and implementing curriculum to align with the recently adopted 2018 History and Social Science Framework. The new framework calls for a major shift in the curriculum offered at the middle school level. That shift includes a new Civics course in 8th grade and a World Geography and Ancient Civilizations course that will span 6th and 7th grades. In order to minimize gaps in student learning, we will roll out the new courses in 6th and 8th grade this year and the new 7th grade course will be introduced in the 2020-2021 school year.
World Geography and Ancient Civilizations I
In 6th grade, students examine how the perspectives of political science, economics, geography, history, and archaeology apply to the study of regions and countries. They study the development of prehistoric societies and then focus on area studies of Western Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Central America, the Caribbean Islands, and South America.
Curriculum Units and Learning Outcomes:
World Geography explores Europe, Asia, Oceania, and Africa. Through the Five Themes of Geography, which include location, place, region, movement, and human-environmental interactions, students will address the physical and political characteristics of each region. For each geographic area, students should expect to examine regional economies, cultural practices, religious beliefs, and current/historical and current events to better understand how geography shapes the development of the society.
United States and Massachusetts Government and Civic Life
Students study the roots and foundations of democratic government through primary documents, such as the United States and Massachusetts Constitutions; how and why government institutions developed; how government evolves through legislation and court decisions; and how individuals exercise their rights and civic responsibilities to maintain a healthy democracy in the nation and the Commonwealth.