Sixth-eighth Grade SOCIAL STUDIES - S.T.E.A.M.

Although most initiatives are centered around the hard sciences, the social studies classroom should not be excluded, for every subject falls under history.  From addressing real world problems to the lack of fresh water in many regions across the world; all require innovative thinking and solutions.  From encroaching development and pollution affecting animal habitats, students can address issues such as deforestation and development in the Amazon Rain Forest to natural disasters that are changing dramatically our planet's landscape as they discuss civilizations of the past and their technological advancements.  

The curriculum is designed to build on student questions and the lessons are project based, authentic and experiential in nature, requiring students to spend time asking, investigating, organizing, analyzing, and creating.  


GOOGLE Virtual reality GOGGLES

Imagine this: a small group of middle school students are learning about ancient Egypt, so they strap on a virtual reality headset and, with the assistance of an artificial intelligence tour guide, begin to explore the Pyramids of Giza.  The teacher, also journeying to one of the oldest known civilizations via a VR headset, has assigned students to gather information to write short essays. During the tour, the AI guide fields questions from students and points them to specific artifacts and discuss what they see.  This is the expected scenario we will have once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted and we can utilize our new Google VR Goggles & Backpack Experience.   


Project Based Learning (PBL) is a constructivist instructional approach where students are engaged in meaningful inquiry of personal interest to them and where collaboration and personalized learning are emphasized. Research confirms that PBL is an effective and enjoyable way to learn and develop deeper learning competencies required for success in college, career and civic life.

~"The Silk Road" Activity:  Creating a "Silk Road Camel" out of cinnamon sticks and aniseed, spices traded along the ancient trade route!

Today, with modern technology, a global exchange of goods and ideas can happen at the click of a button...but it wasn't always that way...History's First World Wide Web, The Silk Road!

In the study of the Chinese Empires like the Song, Yuan, and the Ming, we find a growing population which needs access to a reliable, growing food supply and the advances to harvest food more quickly (better rice, steel plough, terracing, etc.). Advances in paper, printing, and travel. make trade easier, which makes Chinese people, and especially merchants and dynasties more wealth (printing press, paper $). Advances in weapons technology and other areas allow the Chinese to better defend themselves against the growing threat of the Mongols, among others (gunpowder, steel for armor/weapons, etc.)

An escape experience from the classroom in which students will roleplay West African people that journey on a Trans-Saharan Caravan from Timbuktu to Mecca in order to fulfill King Mansa Musa’s pilgrimage.




The seventh grade study the Middle Ages and these projects all help bring this historical period to life.  Students were first required to research castle construction and the purposes of each of the castle’s features then were assigned to construct a replica of a middle ages castle using every day materials.


Cleveland Middle School

S.T.E.A.M. Team

© 2020-2021 by G.M. Dyrek

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