Whitman Middle School

Middle School

Social Studies

Social Studies at Whitman MS

Why History

Similar to Science, less of a focus on specific facts, more of a focus on thinking like a historian

  • History is an account of the past.
  • Accounts differ depending on one’s perspective.
  • We rely on evidence to construct accounts of the past.
  • We must question the reliability of each piece of evidence.
  • Any single piece of evidence is insufficient to build a plausible account.

Historical Thinking

  • Sourcing: Identify who created the document
  • Contextualization: When was it written? What was different then? The same?
  • Corroboration: What do other documents say? Do documents agree? Disagree? What documents are most reliable?
  • Close reading: What are the author’s claims? What evidence does the author use? What kind of persuasive language does the author use? How does that show the author’s perspectives?

General History Skills (Reading/Writing/Analysis)

  • Non-fiction reading: especially identifying central ideas and supporting details
  • Note taking strategies
  • Claim (thesis) and evidence writing (up to full essay writing)
  • Analysis (explaining our thinking/reasoning)
  • Corroboration (looking at multiple sources)

* We try to use similar language/templates/strategies as ELA *

Inquiry Based Learning (2-3 Per Year)

  • A central question is posed about a historical topic
  • Students are given a text set (could be a mix of primary source, secondary source, video, image, etc.)
  • Students read and analyze a text set and compare the version of the events
  • Students answer the essential question using specific evidence from the text set

6th Grade: Ancient Civilizations

  • Mesopotamia
  • Ancient Egypt
  • Ancient China
  • Ancient Greece
  • Ancient Rome

7th Grade: WA State History *High School Graduation Requirement*

  • Geography of Washington
  • Native American tribes of Washington
  • Colonial period (American/British joint occupation)
  • Territorial Government
  • Statehood/State Gov.
  • Tribal rights/treaties
  • Modern Issues

8th Grade: US History

  • Pre-Columbian period
  • Colonial Rivalries
  • Jamestown (why’d so many colonist die?)
  • Puritans (Salem Witch Trials)
  • Revolutionary War
  • Constitution (connect with modern Civil Rights issues)
  • Slavery (linked with pervious unit)
  • Civil War/Reconstruction
  • Civil Rights Movement
  • Modern Civil Rights issues


  • How does our government work?
  • How do elections work?
  • What are our basic Civil Rights?
  • How do we balance competing civil rights in a democracy?
  • What is the significance of the 1st Amendment to a free society?

Projects (Based on Historical Inquiry)

  • 6th Grade: a day in the life of an ancient Egyptian
  • 7th Grade: Lewis and Clark, explorers or invaders?
  • 8th Grade: Salem Witch Trials documentary. Constitution/Modern Civil Rights Independent Research Project.