Menlo School Faculty & Staff


Social Sciences 8

Students develop historical thinking skills as well as historical understanding of the individual and collective experiences of people who make up our diverse nation. The course is designed to challenge and motivate active, confident learners through a variety of experiential, skill-building exercises. Students gain the ability to analyze historical events and grapple with the complexities of past and current events.

Eighth grade Social Sciences covers major social, political, cultural, and intellectual developments throughout United States history beginning from the 1800s. We begin with the Colonial Settlement, and continue to the Civil War and Reconstruction Era. The latter half of the year brings us into modern times; the Great Depression, World War II, and the Civil Rights Movement. Year-long current event reports enhance the focus of historical themes as students learn to connect their studies to present-day events. Primary and secondary source materials (political cartoons, music, documents, images) are added to assist in critical analysis: formulating opinions, drawing conclusions, role-playing, and writing with authority. Using corroborated evidence, students strengthen their writing and research skills by developing historical essays and research-based reports. Collaboration is an essential component of the year, enhancing students’ soft skills and self-awareness. Students present their work individually and in cooperative groups. Technology is utilized as a supplemental tool to create and share ideas, students also practice traditional note-taking skills from occasional lectures. The curriculum is supplemented with a trip to Washington D.C. in the fall and a final culminating Impact Project in the spring.