Social Studies

Social Studies


Students in all grade levels will improve processing skills through continued reading, writing, inquiry, and collaboration.  We incorporate technology, hands-on activities and interactive notebooks/binders for enhanced learning.  Project based learning will be promoted for Advanced Courses.

6th Grade World Cultures

The Vale Middle School Social Studies Department will research and study several topics throughout time and place.  Course instruction is based on the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) which include the following concepts as they relate to United States history: geography, economies, government, citizenship, culture, science, technology, and society.The most crucial part of our content at each level is processing skills, where students will learn to apply critical-thinking skills from a variety of sources.  These include the skills to: differentiate, analyze, organize, interpret, identify, evaluate, summarize, generalize, and compare and contrast.

6th grade Social Studies (World Cultures) will focus on people, places, and societies of the contemporary world. This includes geography, economics, history, government, citizenship, religion, culture, technology, science, and society.  This year serves as a background to future 7th grade and 8th grade concepts.

  • Topics include:
    • Unit 1 – Introduction to Geography – Physical and Human Geography 
    • Unit 2 – Understanding Culture and the Basic Institutions of Society 
    • Unit 3 – U.S. & Canada: Discovery, Democracy, and Diversity 
    • Unit 4 – Latin America: Conquest, Colonialism, and Converging Cultures 
    • Unit 5 – Europe: Lasting Legacies and Current Challenges 
    • Unit 6 – Southwest Asia and North Africa: Religion and Rivalries 
    • Unit 7 – Sub-Saharan Africa: Natural Resources and Nationalism 
    • Unit 8 – Asia (South, East, Southeast): Past, Progress, and Population Patterns 
    • Unit 9 – Oceania and The Pacific Realm 

7th Grade Texas History

7th grade Social Studies (Texas History) will study from early times to the present.  This includes a full scope of Texas History. The focus in each era is on key individuals, events, and issues and their impact. Students will use primary and secondary sources to examine the rich and diverse cultural background of Texas as they identify the different racial and ethnic groups that settled in Texas to build a republic and then a state. Course instruction is based on the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) which include the following concepts as they relate to United States history: geography, economies, government, citizenship, culture, science, technology, and society. Advanced classes are offered for 7th grade Texas History to prepare students for Advanced 8th grade coursework.

This year serves as a background to future 8th grade concepts. 8th grade Social Studies is a STAAR tested content.

  • Topics include:
    • Unit 1 – Geography sand Native Texas 
    • Unit 2 – Exploration and Early Colonization 
    • Unit 3 – Mexican National Era
    • Unit 4 – Texas Revolution
    • Unit 5 – Government
    • Unit 6 – Republic and Statehood
    • Unit 7 – Civil War & Reconstruction
    • Unit 8 – Age of Oil though WWI
    • Unit 9 – Great Depression- WWII
    • Unit 10 – Contemporary America

8th Grade U.S. History

In grade 8, students study the history of the United States from the age of Exploration and Colonization to the end of Reconstruction in 1877. This course allows students to take a closer look at a particular segment of history and gives them a different perspective than other social studies courses. Students will examine the full scope of Early American history including the American Revolution and writing of the Constitution, the early Republic and the Age of Jackson, Westward Expansion, and the rise of sectionalism before the course culminates with the Civil War and Reconstruction. We will also examine the Rights and Responsibilities as Citizens as laid out by the U.S. Constitution at the end of the school year. Course instruction is based on the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) which include the following concepts as they relate to United States history: geography, economies, government, citizenship, culture, science, technology, and society. Advanced classes are offered for 8th grade U.S. History to prepare students for rigorous Pre-Advanced Placement and Advanced Placement high school courses.

This course will focus on teaching students reading comprehension, critical thinking, problem solving, and analytical skills. 8th Grade Social Studies will have a STAAR exam on Friday MAY 6, 2022


  • Colonial America – Life in the New Land (1587-1763)
  • American Independence – Restlessness to Rebellion (1763-1783)
  • Writing the Constitution – (1783-1791)
  • Early Republic – Addressing Challenges (1789-1828)
  • Age of Jackson – Democracy Expands (1820s – 1830s)
  • Westward Expansion – From Sea to Shining Sea (1780s – 1850s)
  • Industrialization and Reform – (1800s – 1850s)
  • Sectionalism Growing Divisions (1820s – 1850s)
  • Civil War -The Endangered Union (1860-1865)
  • Reconstruction – Rebuilding the Union (1865-1877)
  • Right and Responsibilities – Life in a Democracy


Please follow us on Twitter @NISDMSSS to see all the amazing things happening in social studies in middle school!


Academic Social Studies Grades 6 - 8

In 6th grade World Cultures, students will study people, places, and societies of the contemporary world.  In addition they will study the influence of individuals and groups on historical and contemporary events in those societies and identify the locations and geographic characteristics of various societies.  Students will learn the different ways of organizing economic and governmental systems. They will study the concepts of limited and unlimited government and describe the nature of citizenship in various societies. Students will compare institutions common to all societies such as government, education, and religious institutions. Students will also learn how the level of technology affects the development of various societies. 


In 7th grade Texas History, students study the history of Texas from early times to the present. Students will learn about the regions of Texas and the distribution of population within and among the regions. They will also study the factors that caused Texas to change from an agrarian to an urban society. Students will learn about the structure and functions of municipal, county, and state governments, explain the influence of the U.S. Constitution on the Texas Constitution, and examine the rights and responsibilities of Texas citizens. 


The 8th grade course studies U.S. History from the early colonial period through Reconstruction. Students will learn about the physical characteristics of the U.S. and their impact on population distribution and settlement patterns in the past and present, analyze economic factors that influenced the development of colonial America and the early years of the republic, examine American beliefs and principles, including limited government, checks and balances, federalism, separation of powers, and individual rights, and evaluate the impact of Supreme Court cases and major reform movements of the 19th century. 


Advanced Social Studies Grades 7 and 8

Students in advanced social studies classes will cover the same content as an academic social studies class, however, they should expect a more rigorous class, faster pace, more in-depth classroom discussions, intensified vocabulary, an increased amount of reading and writing assignments and the need for effective time management. Advanced social studies students will not earn high school credit, but they will be exposed to practices such as FRQs (Free Response Questions)  and research and project opportunities that they will experience in Advanced Placement Courses in high school. 


Grading Policy

Teachers offer multiple opportunities, including reteach and retest, for students to demonstrate mastery of the TEKS. The following is the district grading policy for MS Social Studies:

50% Formative

50% Summative


Grade 8 Social Studies STAAR

Middle school students participate in a Social Studies STAAR test at the end of their 8th grade year.  Students prepare all three years for this test focusing on the mastery of TEKS considered to be foundational as well as TEKS directly assessed on STAAR.  The STAAR Blueprint identifies those areas directly assessed on the 8th grade STAAR test. 


Parents and students can access the Texas Assessment Family Portal at to view and print released STAAR tests as well as login to access the online practice tests. 


Middle School Social Studies District Calendars

The suggested pacing for all grades can be found below and outlines the suggested pacing for the units in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade social studies by the approximate number of weeks:

6th Grade Social Studies

7th Grade TX History

8th Grade US History


All 6th, 7th, and 8th grade middle school social studies students also participate in two social studies Curriculum Diagnostic Benchmarks (CDB) each year. Please contact your child’s teacher for information as to when those exams will be administered.

Cafeteria Info & Menus
Health Services Information
Buses & Boundaries
District Programs
School Safety