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8th Grade Social Studies- American History Syllabus




Office Location & Hours

Ms. Treuer


My Classroom, Room 101, 10:30am- 11:45am, Mon. - Fri.

*Always available for before/after school help!*


This class is designed for 8th graders to take what they have previously learned in 7th grade American History and continue with that timeline from Pre WWI all the way to present day. Our major topics—Westward Migration, Immigration, Imperialism, World War I, The Roaring Twenties, The Great Depression, World War II, and The Cold War, Civil Right Movement, Climate Change as well as major events in recent history and current events. Some essential questions throughout the course we will try to answer are-- What responsibilities come with being a world power? How has the world technologically shifted in the last century? Why were the changes and reforms made in the 20th century significant?

Expectations and Goals

Students in this class will continue to develop their writing skills they practice in ELA. Students are expected to challenge themselves to think conceptually when gathering and interpreting evidence. We will work together to exercise chronological and geographical reasoning. My goal for this class is to bring ourselves back in time and imagine exploring the inner-workings of history! Students are always expected to be active participants and be prepared for class each and every day with class materials and any homework that is due.

Required Materials

Students will need the following supplies every day:

  • Single 1” three ring binder & loose leaf lined paper
  • Three dividers
  • Planner
  • Writing utensil (pen & pencil are both acceptable.)


America: History of Our Nation Each student will receive a book that will be kept at home/with the student for homework assignments. Student will be informed if textbook is needed during class.

Classroom Rules- Questions students should ask themselves

  • Students should always treat the teacher and other students with respect at all times. Offensive language and rude behavior is not acceptable in this class.
    • Am I making kind decisions?
  • Students are expected prepared for class when the bell rings.
    • Do I have my writing utensil, completed homework assignment and class materials?
    • Am I sitting in my assigned seat?
  • Pay attention. Talking while the teacher is instructing or while other students are speaking will not be tolerated.
    • Am I Listening to directions the first time they are given?
    • Am I sitting straight ahead with my head up actively engaged in what I should be?
  • A link to our standards: http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/RH/6-8/

Course Schedule

Unit 1: A Changing Society

Big Ideas: Specific events directly led to WWI; Industrialization collaborated with Immigration to urbanize society.

Essential Questions: How can an Individual or group evoke change in society? How did industry change the lives for people in America?

  • Growth of Industry
  • Immigration
  • The Progressive Movement

Unit 2: Expansion & Imperialism

Big Ideas: Continued Westward Expansion led to more concentrated conflicts with Native Americans; The Spanish- American War put attention on America being a strong imperial power.

Essential Questions: What responsibilities come with being a world power? What rules should exist for larger countries’ involvement with smaller ones?

  • Transcontinental Railroad
  • Imperialism
  • Open Door Policy

Unit 3: World War I & the Roaring 20s

Big Ideas: The advancement of military technology changed the strategy of WWI and resulted in an unparalleled amount of casualties; American entered an era of prosperity and reform after WWI.

Essential Questions: To what extent were modern military technologies detrimental? How was the decade of the 1920s an era of fundamental change?

  • Militarism
  • The Roaring 20s
  • Prohibition

Unit 4: The Great Depression

Big Ideas: The Great Depression made an impact on everyone in America; The New Deal sought to recover the American economy & improve the lives of millions of American people.

Essential Questions: How was the 1920s both a time of prosperity and economic inequality? In what way has the governmental reforms during the Great Depression lasted through modern day America?

  • Stock Exchange
  • The Dust Bowl
  • The New Deal

Unit 5: World War II

Big Ideas: The League of Nations was unsuccessful in its efforts to preserve peace, the impact of WWII on American economy and day-to-day life; International organization after the war was the most substantial way to begin restoring the violations of human rights during WWII.

Essential Questions: Are civil liberties and freedoms always threatened during war times? How did the events that took place during WWII lead to the need for more resilient protection to human rights?

  • Totalitarianism
  • Holocaust
  • Hiroshima

Unit 6: Post WWII- Foreign Policy

Big Ideas: The Cold War shaped the reconstruction of national boundaries and world alliances; increased globalization resulted in increased economic competition.

Essential Questions: What makes a nation a “super power”? Why are economic symbiotic relationships necessary today?

  • The Cold War
  • Communism
  • The Marshall Plan

Unit 7: Domestic Politics & Reform

Big Ideas: The civil rights movement provoked improved efforts for equality among minority groups; issues with the constitution involving civil liberties and the role of the central government are a major cause of debate in America.

 Essential Questions: Can separate ever mean equal? How do leaders respond to social conflict?

  • Jim Crow Laws
  • Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Counterculture

Unit 8: Demographic Change

Big Ideas: The United States experienced shifts in population and demographics that resulted in social, political, and economic variances after WWII; population growth has put more stress on the deteriorating state of the global environment.

Essential Questions: How does war continue to affect society after it is over? What makes an American?

  • Baby Boom
  • Population shifts
  • Immigration Policy

Grading System

Homework, class work, projects, quizzes and tests will be assigned a point value. At end of each quarter, a percentage will be calculated based on total points earned. Grades will be regularly posted and can always contact me with any questions or concerns you may have regarding grades.


Homework will be posted on my website and on the board in my classroom every week. Each student will receive a homework calendar every month. If a calendar is misplaced I will always have extras in the handout folder in my room and also a copy on my website. If students do not have their homework complete by the time class starts, they can hand a completed copy to me before lunch for partial credit.


If you know you are going to miss class, please let me know as soon as you can. You are responsible for collecting and completing missed work in a timely manner. For every day you are absent you have one day to make up the work.

Extra Help

If you need help, please feel free to come to me at any point throughout the year. I always try to be available before and after school and during lunch periods.

There is never a bad time to ask a question!

Now let's fasten our seatbelts & start our time machine’s engine to jet off!