Grade 8 Social Studies

American Revolution

What is a revolution and what causes people to revolt? This unit analyzes the key causes of the American Revolution and provides an opportunity for students to look at events from multiple perspectives. The study of the Revolution includes the roles of “Vermonters” at the time.

Government and Constitution

In this unit, students become familiar with the purposes and functions of government, how their government was created, and the differences between democratic and non-democratic political systems. Students also learn about the rights and responsibilities of citizens of a democracy and the importance of becoming informed in order to make positive civic contributions.


Essential Questions:

  1. How does technological change influence people's lives and society?
  2. What causes people to migrate, and what is the impact on individuals and
  3. society?
  4. What causes conflict between workers and owners, and among workers?

Basic Concepts:

  1. Technology changed the American way of life.
  2. The Industrial Revolution led to improvements in transportation and communication.
  3. Industrialization and political and economic strife encouraged mass immigration to and within the U.S.
  4. The changing economic situations led workers to organize and take political action.
  5. Conflict arose among groups competing for limited jobs and resources.

The Civil War

Essential Questions:

  1. What is a civil war, and what can cause a civil war?
  2. What are the costs of a civil war to a society?
  3. Why is it essential to look at events from multiple perspectives?
  4. When conducting research, which digital tools should I use, how do I know the information is reliable and relevant, and appropriate to the task?

Basic Concepts:

  1. The escalating differences in beliefs and the social and economic systems of the North and South led to the Civil War.
  2. The horrors of the institution of slavery polarized the U.S. (Living and working conditions, rebellion, human impact)
  3. Addition of western territory led to rising tension.
  4. Sectional polarization grew as a result of events after the compromise of 1850.
  5. Sectional resources affected the cause of the war.
  6. Civil War had tremendous impact on soldiers and civilians.
  7. Technology played a crucial role.
  8. Regional economics were changed by the war.

Public Issues and Current Events

Students learn why it is important to be informed about current events. Learners explore the immediate and fundamental causes and impacts of current events. Students examine how perspective shapes the way people view current situations and how connections we make to the past help us understand the future. Students will consider how information can be gathered from many different media sources and formats. Different media comes from a variety of perspectives and should be evaluated for reliability.

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