Social studies

The ASL middle school experience is designed to create global citizens who think critically, communicate clearly and act responsibly. The middle school social studies curriculum builds a conceptual understanding using inquiry-based learning where students are given increasing voice. 

The AERO Social Studies Standards that are used present students with the themes of: 

  • Time, continuity and change
  • Connections and conflict
  • Geography
  • Culture
  • Society and identity
  • Government
  • Production, distribution and consumption
  • Science, technology and society

These standards are presented in a developmentally appropriate way using different content they experience across Grades 5 to 8. 

Students begin their study of social studies in Grade 5 learning about ancient cultures, including Mesopotamia and Ancient Greece. Grade 6 furthers the story by studying Ancient China and Rome as well as the Silk Road. In Grade 7, the story continues by analyzing perspective and the deeper meanings of power and change in society through a study of the British Empire. The middle school social studies experience culminates in Grade 8 with a study of governance, rights and conflict through content including the creation of the US Bill of Rights and historical and modern day rights around the world including World Wars I and II. 

At ASL, we believe in standards-based learning, where students’ work in social studies is evaluated through three key standards: inquiry and research, knowledge and understanding, and communication. In each standard, there is a focus on the analytical elements of understanding sources and information. Throughout middle school, students work on key social studies reading and writing skills. As they progress through the grades they hone their reading skills, such as non-fiction note taking, analyzing both primary and secondary historical sources, and analyzing sources for reliability and bias. As writers, students develop their writing skills for the content area of social studies, the art of the argument, and the communication of their learning in multiple formats. Another component of learning is inquiry learning. Inquiry provides students with an opportunity to research key questions, often developing those questions and choosing topics themselves. Student voice and choice allow our students to feel they are valued as partners in their education.