Social Studies Topics


  • American Stories: Teens and Immigration

    In this blended lesson supporting literacy skills, students watch documentary video about four teens who immigrated to the United States. Students develop their literacy skills as they explore a social studies focus on the factors that drive immigration and the challenges immigrants face in the United States, particularly in learning English. During this process, they read informational text, learn and practice vocabulary words, and explore content through videos and interactive activities. This resource is part of the Inspiring Middle School Literacy Collection.

    Students need to be signed in to complete this lesson. Go to "About This Activity" in "Support Materials" below or click here.

    Grades: 5-8
  • Baseball and Social Change: The Story of Roberto Clemente

    In this blended lesson supporting literacy skills, students learn about baseball legend Roberto Clemente, his early years in the United States during segregation, and changes in the 1960s that made the U.S. culture more open to Clemente’s Latino culture. Students develop their literacy skills through a social studies focus on how culture shapes individual identity and how a culture changes when new groups of people enter it. During this process, they read informational text, learn and practice vocabulary words, and explore content through videos and interactive activities. This resource is part of the Inspiring Middle School Literacy Collection.

    Students need to be signed in to complete this lesson. Go to "About This Activity" in "Support Materials" below or click here.

    Grades: 5-8
  • Building the Erie Canal

    In this blended lesson supporting literacy skills, students learn how the Erie Canal changed the U.S. economy and influenced settlement patterns in the west. Students develop their literacy skills as they explore a social studies focus on how the effects of the Erie Canal on New York City, New York State, and the entire United States. During this process, they read informational text, learn and practice vocabulary words, and explore content through videos and interactive activities. This resource is part of the Inspiring Middle School Literacy Collection.

    Students need to be signed in to complete this lesson. Go to "About This Activity" in "Support Materials" below or click here.

    Grades: 5-8
  • Building the Pyramids of Ancient Egypt

    In this blended lesson supporting literacy skills, students learn how historians think the pyramids were built and why they were built—as doorways to the afterlife for the pharaohs. Students develop their literacy skills as they explore a social studies focus on ancient Egyptian society and how those at the top organized the rest of the population in order to build these amazing structures. During this process, they read informational text, learn and practice vocabulary words, and explore content through videos and interactive activities. This resource is part of the Inspiring Middle School Literacy Collection.

    Students need to be signed in to complete this lesson. Go to "About This Activity" in "Support Materials" below or click here.

    Grades: 5-8
  • The Columbian Exchange

    In this blended lesson supporting literacy skills, students watch video dramatizations that tell the story of the Spanish explorers who arrived in the Americas with Columbus and introduced European, African, and Asian plants and animals to the Western Hemisphere. Students develop their literacy skills through a social studies focus on how the the Columbian Exchange impacted life on both sides of the Atlantic. During this process, they read informational text, learn and practice vocabulary words, and explore content through videos and interactive activities. This resource is part of the Inspiring Middle School Literacy Collection.

    Students need to be signed in to complete this lesson. Go to "About This Activity" in "Support Materials" below or click here.

    Grades: 5-8
  • Conflict Over Western Lands

    In this blended lesson supporting literacy skills, students learn about the differences between the way white settlers and Native Americans thought about land and land ownership in the mid-1800s. Students develop their literacy skills as they explore a social studies focus on the concept of Manifest Destiny and how it created conflict in the Great Plains. During this process, they read informational text, learn and practice vocabulary words, and explore content through videos and interactive activities. This resource is part of the Inspiring Middle School Literacy Collection.

    Students need to be signed in to complete this lesson. Go to "About This Activity" in "Support Materials" below or click here.

    Grades: 5-8
  • From Slavery to Freedom in Colonial Times

    In this blended lesson supporing literacy skills, students learn the story of Venture Smith, an African boy who was enslaved and brought to America in 1737. Students develop their literacy skills as they explore a social studies focus on differences between slavery in the North and South as they learn about Smith’s journey from slavery to freedom.During this process, they read informational text, learn and practice vocabulary words, and explore content through videos and interactive activities. This resource is part of the Inspiring Middle School Literacy Collection.

    Students need to be signed in to complete this lesson. Go to "About This Activity" in "Support Materials" below or click here.

    Grades: 5-8
  • The Powers of Government

    In this blended lesson supporting literacy skills, students learn about the three branches of the United States government. Students develop their literacy skills as they explore a social studies focus on the powers that the Constitution assigns to each branch—legislative, executive, and judicial—and how the three branches work together. During this process, they read informational text, learn and practice vocabulary words, and explore content through videos and interactive activities. This resource is part of the Inspiring Middle School Literacy Collection.

    Students need to be signed in to complete this lesson. Go to "About This Activity" in "Support Materials" below or click here.

    Grades: 5-8
  • Slavery and the U.S. Constitution

    In this blended lesson supporting literacy skills, students learn about the debate over slavery at the Constitutional Convention in 1787. Students develop their literacy skills as they explore a social studies focus on the changing perception of slavery in the new United States and the ways in which the debate over slavery affected the content of the Constitution. During this process, they read informational text, learn and practice vocabulary words, and explore content through videos and interactive activities. This resource is part of the Inspiring Middle School Literacy Collection.

    Students need to be signed in to complete this lesson. Go to "About This Activity" in "Support Materials" below or click here.

    Grades: 5-8
  • The Story of Pocahontas

    In this blended lesson supporting literacy skills, students learn that there are multiple versions of the story of Pocahontas and John Smith. Students develop their literacy skills as they explore a social studies focus on the two different versions of this story that Smith wrote, and what historians believe really happened when Smith met Pocahontas. During this process, they read informational text, learn and practice vocabulary words, and explore content through videos and interactive activities. This resource is part of the Inspiring Middle School Literacy Collection.

    Students need to be signed in to complete this lesson. Go to "About This Activity" in "Support Materials" below or click here.

    Grades: 5-8
  • Trail of Tears: The Cherokee Fight Against Removal

    In this blended lesson supporting literacy skills, students are introduced to the Cherokees' struggle to remain on their land in the early 1800s. Students develop their literacy skills as they explore a social studies focus on the assimilation strategy of the Cherokee Nation and its eventual impact on their fate. During this process, they read informational text, learn and practice vocabulary words, and explore content through videos and interactive activities. This resource is part of the Inspiring Middle School Literacy Collection.

    Students need to be signed in to complete this lesson. Go to "About This Activity" in "Support Materials" below or click here.

    Grades: 5-8
  • Who Owns a Sound?

    In this blended lesson supporting literacy skills, students learn about the debate over electronic sampling in music and look at how copyright law affects people on both sides of the issue. Students develop their literacy skills as they explore a social studies focus on gathering information to form an opinion. During this process, they read informational text, learn and practice vocabulary words, and explore content through videos and interactive activities.This resource is part of the Inspiring Middle School Literacy Collection.

    Students need to be signed in to complete this lesson. Go to "About This Activity" in "Support Materials" below or click here.

    Grades: 5-8
  • Who Was Alexander Hamilton?

    In this blended lesson supporting literacy skills, students learn about the early life of Alexander Hamilton and his achievements as an adult during the Revolutionary War and in the Washington administration. Students develop their literacy skills as they explore a social studies focus on how Hamilton’s role as an outsider shaped his beliefs about the powers of the federal government. During this process, they read informational text, learn and practice vocabulary words, and explore content through videos and interactive activities. This resource is part of the Inspiring Middle School Literacy Collection.

    Students need to be signed in to complete this lesson. Go to "About This Activity" in "Support Materials" below or click here.

    Grades: 5-8
  • Bullying

    In this self-paced literacy lesson, students watch documentary videos about bullying and read informational text about how bullying may affect the function of a democratic society. Students develop their literacy skills as they explore a social studies focus on the role of personal freedom, particularly freedom of speech, and how bullying limits such personal freedom. During this process, they read informational text, learn and practice vocabulary words, and explore content through videos and interactive activities. When they are finished, students select and complete a writing assignment offline. This resource is part of the Inspiring Middle School Literacy Collection.

    Students need to be signed in to complete this lesson. Go to "About This Activity" in "Support Materials" below to find out more.

    Grades: 5-12
  • Writings of the Ancient Maya

    In this blended lesson supporting literacy skills, students are introduced to the ancient Mayan civilization through their writings. Students develop their literacy skills as they explore a social studies focus on the destruction of many Mayan writings by the Spanish and what archaeologists have learned from the writings that remain. During this process, they read informational text, learn and practice vocabulary words, and explore content through a video and interactive activities. This resource is part of the Inspiring Middle School Literacy Collection.

    Students need to be signed in to complete this lesson. Go to "About This Activity" in "Support Materials" below or click here.

    Grades: 5-8

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