8th Grade Social Studies

Current Assignment:

Click here to take the 8th Grade Course Survey!!!  Please Complete thoroughly and thoughtfully, as I use this to improve my teaching!

Directions: Explore the following sites below.  Then, create a product (paragraph, drawing/cartoon, PowerPoint, illustrated diagram) that answers the response questions.

Site 1: Battles and Casualties of the Civil War map
You should also view the other timelines on this.

Site 2: Civil War 150 (you will be able to locate info to answer #3-6 on this site.)
  1. Where were most of the battles fought?
  2. What is a casualty?
  3. What were the 5 deadliest battles?
  4. Describe a typical soldier.
  5. What weapons were used?
  6. How did life as a Union soldier compare to that of a Confederate Soldier?
  7. Why do you think the North won?


Monday, January 27th
Can you Strike it Rich?  Play the game with at least two different characters.  Make sure to follow these steps:
  • Read the background information.
  • Click on the right-hand side of the page to access the game.
  • Click here to answer the game response questions on this page. 
  • If you finish early, see if you can "strike it rich" with ALL of the characters.  It has been done!

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day:
Essential Question Inquiry: Why was King successful in achieving change?
Step 1: Go to this Civil Rights Timeline and record 3 events that you think were most important to making the Civil Rights movement work.

Step 2: Complete the Selma to Montgomery March Interactive
Print your results.

Unit 5: Political Parties and Westward Expansion

Warm-Up 1/9/13: How to draw a political cartoon
Click here to complete an activity that will help you and your group members create a political cartoon for your research assignment.

Wednesday, January 8th
Political Party Resear
ch Project: Due Monday, January 12th
Step 1:
Look at this site with the various political parties. 

Step 2: Choose 1-2 group members to work with you.

Step 3: Follow directions below.
In a group of 3 people, investigate a political party in the United States that is unknown or unfamiliar to you.  To do this, you will create a digital brochure OR paper poster.  Include the following items in your poster so it can be used as a guide in an oral presentation.

Task 1:Find and copy a current campaign slogan used by your political party.  Explain what you think the slogan means in your own words.  If the party does not have a slogan, create your own that you think fits.

Task 2
: Create a song or rap with at least 15 different lines that reflect your political party's platform and/or history.  Include details such as when and why the party was founded, and where they fit on the political spectrum.

Task 3: 
Hand draw the mascot/logo for your political party. Include a brief description of how the mascot/logo represents the ideals of the party. If a mascot/logo doesn't exist, create one and explain how it represents the party.

Task 4: 
Find a photo of, draw or trace an important person from your party.  Include a significant quote from that person, and write an explanation of why that person is important to the party.

Tasks 5 and 6 Create TWO original political cartoons that reflect your party's position on a political issue (immigration, the economy, education, military spending, health care, gun control, energy, etc.)

Make your poster colorful and pleasing to the eye.


Groups should divide the work of the posters up evenly, meaning each person is responsible for two tasks.  Each person will also need to participate in the oral presentation.  Groups will be able to choose the party that they would like to research.

 Unit 4: Constitution Past and Present

Monday, December 9th: Three Branches Web Quest
1. Log in or Join iCivics by clicking on the link in the upper right-hand corner.  Make sure to enter our class code: Ellsworth78400
2. Once logged in, go to "My Icivics"
3. Click on the "Classes" tab and then select "assignments."
4. Click on "Three Branches Web Quest" and complete the responses by visiting all of the links.

Essential Questions: At the end of the unit, students should be able to explain...
  1. How did the supporters of the Constitution convince the states to accept a stronger central government? 
  2.   How does the Constitution organize government?
  3. Has the American experiment in democracy been successful?
  4. What is the best relationship between a government and the people it governs?
  5. How can individuals influence government?
  6. What is a political party, and why did political parties develop?
  7. What should be the role of the U.S. government be on personal, local, national, and international levels?
Unit Enrichment Resources:
#1. I-civics Games: The following games will help you apply several skills that we will be learning in this unit.  Students will need to complete a game assessment in order to earn extra credit from their game play. 
Branches of Power

Skill: identify and analyze the three branches of government by evaluating the system of checks and balances.

Assessment: Answer the following post-game questions on your own sheet of paper in complete sentences:

    1. If you were going to be a member of a branch of government, which one would you want to be part of? Why?
    2. Why do you think you have to pick three issues at the beginning of the game for the executive to focus on? How is that like real life?
    3. What would be the advantage of having one branch that does everything? What would be the disadvantage?
    4. How is the lawmaking process affected if the president and Congress have different values?
    5. The legislators in the game held town halls to find out what people think. Why do legislators care what people think? The Supreme Court member did not hold any town halls to find out what people think. Why not?
Do I Have a Right? Bill of Rights Edition

Skill: apply the Bill of Rights to current and historical issues.

Assessment:  Print your detailed score report and show it to Ms. Knaub.

Supreme Decision
Skill: Experience the process of a Supreme Court case and choose a side on an issue related to the First Amendment.
Assessment: Complete this worksheet during and after play.

#2.Mystery in History:  Was John Hanson really the first president? 
Task:  Conduct research on this question.  Then, write a well-developed paragraph that uses evidence from both primary and secondary sources to make your claim on whether or not John Hanson really was the first president of the United States.

Unit 3: Rebels with a Cause: The American Revolution

Review Tools:
1. Watch the episode Rebels, from America, Story of Us
2. Purpose and Structure of the Declaration of Independence (We the People Lesson 8)
    Watch this music video that uses lyrics related to the Declaration
3. Visualize the major battles in the Revolutionary War using this interactive map.

Extra Credit Alert!  Needing to boost up your grade?  Here are a few options that can earn you extra points towards your process grade in my class:

1. Guest Speaker Topic: Kennedy Assassination

Thank you to Mr. Steve Johnson for coming into our classroom to inform us and explore the mysteries behind the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy.  Students are encouraged to do their own research to formulate their own historical claims about the event!
Option B: Watch the Nova PBS Special: Cold Case JFK
*Write a one-page response to the information by making connections to what you already know, asking questions that arise, and describing the impacts that this information has on your understanding of the event.