8th Grade Social Studies Curriculum


In Grade 8, students study the history of the United States from the early colonial period through Reconstruction.  The content in Grade 8 builds upon that from Grade 5 but provides more depth and breadth.  Historical content focuses on the political, economic, religious, and social events and issues related to the colonial and revolutionary eras, the creation and ratification of the U.S. Constitution, challenges of the early republic, the Age of Jackson, westward expansion, sectionalism, Civil War, and Reconstruction.

  • Students describe the physical characteristics of the United States and their impact on population distribution and settlement patterns in the past and present.
  • Students analyze the various economic factors that influenced the development of colonial America and the early years of the Republic and identify the origins of the free enterprise system.
  • Students examine the American beliefs and principles, including limited government, checks and balances, federalism, separation of powers, and individual rights, reflected in the U.S. Constitution and other historical documents.
  • Students evaluate the impact of Supreme Court cases and major reform movements of the 19th century and examine the rights and responsibilities of citizens of the United States as well as the importance of effective leadership in a constitutional democratic republic.
  • Students evaluate the impact of scientific discoveries and technological innovations on the development of the United States.
  • Students use critical-thinking skills, including the identification of bias in written, oral, and visual material.
  • Students understand that a constitutional republic is a representative form of government whose representatives derive their authority from the consent of the governed, serve for an established tenure, and are sworn to uphold the constitution. 

To support the teaching of the essential knowledge and skills, the use of a variety of rich primary and secondary source material such as biographies, autobiographies, novels, speeches, letters, diaries, poetry, songs, and images is encouraged. Motivating resources are available from museums, historical sites, presidential libraries, and local and state preservation societies.

Throughout social studies in Kindergarten-Grade 12, students build a foundation in history, geography, economics, government, citizenship, culture, science, technology and society and social studies skills The content, as appropriate for the grade level or course, enables students to understand the important of patriotism, function in a free enterprise society, and appreciate the basic democratic values of our state and nation.

19 TAC, Title 19, Part II
Texas Essential Knowledge & Skills for Social Studies
Chapter ยง113.20 (8th Grade)
Subchapter A. Elementary

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