In the eighth grade history program, Modern United States and World History, students build upon the skills introduced in the seventh grade to examine the twentieth century. During the eighth grade students investigate the domestic and international issues that have shaped the world, giving the class a perspective from which to better understand the present day U.S. and its place in the world. Supplementing the course are map studies, documentary videos, first-hand accounts and related current event articles. This course also emphasizes the development of research and writing techniques through note taking, tests, essays, and a term paper.

The year will be divided into three main sections of study. The first section is entitled War and Conflict. In many ways, war has been the defining characteristic of the 20th century, and we will spend the fall term analyzing many of these conflicts, starting with the Spanish-American War, moving through the two World Wars, and concluding with the Cold War. Rather than focusing solely on the United States, we will use these conflicts as a lens to view the larger world.

The second section of study is entitled Social Movements. In this unit we will look at how people are able to affect great changes in society. We will study the likes of Mohandas Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, and Martin Luther King, Jr., but also many anonymous individuals who fought to make the world a more just place. Among the social movements we will study this year are the Women’s Suffrage movement, de-colonization in India and Africa, and the American Civil Rights movement.

After taking the final exam, the year concludes with the eighth grade research paper. Students, choose the topic they wish to explore in greater depth, and by the end of the year, will have completed a high-quality, high school level paper.