INTRODUCTION MIDDLE SCHOOL SOCIAL STUDIES (6-8)
Students in the middle-level social studies program continue the geographic study of world regions as they examine South America in the Western Hemisphere and Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia in the Eastern Hemisphere. They also engage in an historical study of the creation and development of the state of North Carolina. In the process, students continue the development of basic concepts taken from history, geography, and the other social science disciplines.
The middle-level studies of South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia complete the study of the state, nation, and world begun in grade four. These studies are designed to allow students to examine societies dissimilar to their own in such a way as to broaden their understanding of people and places in an increasingly interdependent world. Students examine areas of the world having the longest record of human habitation and the richest diversity of human experience. These are regions within which the vast majority of the world's people live and regions that possess some of the world's most valuable resources. Students build on the concepts and generalizations developed in earlier grades as they learn about the peoples of South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia and the physical environments in which they live. They examine the social, economic, and political institutions in societies on these continents, as well as their interactions over time.
The study of history in grades six and seven provides a context for understanding how societies have changed over time and the contributions each has made. In grade eight, the formal study of history builds on geographic understandings as North Carolina's development is placed in an historical perspective, concentrating on the Revolutionary Period through modern times. Students examine the role of people, events, and issues in North Carolina history that have contributed to the unique character of the state today.
Recognizing that an "effective social studies program must be appropriate to the social-emotional needs as well as intellectual characteristics of adolescents," the middle level social studies program enables students to investigate and respond thoughtfully to questions about their world today. It reflects their emerging curiosity about the world, its peoples and life in general and encourages the transition from concrete to abstract thinking. It includes the familiar in its close examination of the historical development of the state of North Carolina as well as opportunities to "explore, experience and develop a purposeful sense of the world."1
1 Tedd Levy. Social Studies in the Middle School. 1991.