U.S. History/Geography Grade 8

U.S. History/Geography
Age of Exploration up to Civil War
THEME: United States Studies: Tracing Origins of American Democracy

This list may be customized for individual lesson plans and records.  Alaska Content Standards (in history, geography, and government) should be recorded as they are addressed throughout the year.  For your convenience, each item in the Mastery and Developmental lists on the following pages is matched to the Content Standard (in history, geography, and government) that it supports.   Items that meet the Alaska Cultural Standards are marked with an asterisk (* ).  

CONTENT LISTHistoryGeographyGovernmentCultural
Age of Exploration: Americas/Native American cultures     
American colonization     
French and Indian War, War of 1812     
American Revolution     
Development of American democracy, including foundations in Ancient Greek and Roman democracy, Mayflower Compact, Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, Constitution, Bill of Rights, rights and responsibilities of American Citizens    
Western Expansion, including Manifest Destiny, Louisiana Purchase, Lewis and Clark, Oregon Trail, Texas/Mexico relations, Mexican – American War (1846 – 1848)    
United States map and capitals     
Native American issues and government policies/treaties: Iroquois Federation, Tecumseh Federation, Trail of Tears/Native removal, Western movement.    

 The eighth grade program explores the historical events, experiences, and processes that produced the United States and the unique rights and responsibilities of American citizenship.  The course should examine the concepts of citizenship and governance developed by the Greeks and Romans and how these and other concepts have evolved into the “Western European tradition.”  The course should stress the rights and responsibilities of American citizens as outlined in the founding documents.  The study of rights and responsibilities should be presented thematically in ways that are perceived by adolescents as meaningful.  Such approaches should help them develop confidence in exercising their rights and fulfilling their responsibilities as citizens.


• Know how to sort events of the nation into broadly defined eras, such as Age of Discovery, Colonial, Revolutionary, and Federalist. (A1)
• Understand the differing political, economic, geographic, and religious factors that influenced colonization in the Americas (e.g., Quakers, Puritans, “economic sectionalism” – plantation South vs. business North). (B1 c, e, A6, B2, C2, C3)
• Understand the events and tensions that contributed to the American Revolution from 1763 – 1783, including the French and Indian War, British legislative acts/colonial policy, the Declaration of Independence, the Revolutionary War, and the Articles of Confederation. (B4, C2, C3, C4, A3, A5, A6)
• Understand events that led up to and shaped the Constitutional Convention and the Bill of Rights. (C2, C4, A3)
• Apply critical thinking to examine history. (C3)
• Demonstrate understanding that history is composed of key turning points (e.g., French and Indian War, Great Awakening, Louisiana Purchase, Mexican/American War, Treaty of Paris -1783). (A7)
• Identify cause and effect relationships throughout history. (A4, A7)
• Classify the changing patterns of society, such as slavery, gender roles, migration, American Indians, social class, immigration. (A8, B1 e)
• Demonstrate critical thinking: solve problems, make decisions, evaluate actions, and understand traditions. (C3, C4)
• Understand the development of the political parties: Federalists/Anti-Federalists.
• Know the issues involved with Westward Expansion: Louisiana Purchase, Texas annexation, Jacksonian Era, Indian removal, Trail of Tears, California Gold Rush, Oregon Territory, Lewis and Clark.
• Identify the causes and effects of the first wave of immigration (Germans and Irish).
• Identify the causes and effects of the War of 1812.

• Know the location of physical and human features on maps and globes. (A1)
• * Understand the patterns and processes of migration and diffusion. (D1-3, F4)
• * Understand criteria that gives a region identity. (B1, B4, B5, B7)
• Understand factors that influence the location of industries in the United States. ((E1-4, F3)
• Understand the various factors involved in the development of cities, states, and countries. (D1-3, D5)
• * Compare, contrast, and predict how places and regions change with time. (B8, F1, F4)
• * Know the ways in which human movement and migration influence the character of a place. (B2, B3, B5)
• Understand why different points of view exist regarding contemporary geographic issues. (E4)
• Memorize the map of the U.S. and the capitals.

• Understand the responsibilities of each branch of government in a system of shared powers. (A3, B1, B3)
• Explore the fundamental ideas of responsibilities and limits of rule by law. (A2, B3, B8)
• Analyze the rights, responsibilities, and roles of citizenship. (E1, E2)
• Examine persisting issues involving the rights, roles, and status of individuals and groups in relation to the general welfare. (B1, B5, B6, B9) 

* Meets Cultural Standards

• Analyze the influences of specific ideas and beliefs on a period of history (e.g., slavery). (A3-5)
• Demonstrate that history relies on interpretation of evidence, which is subject to change. (A2)
• Understand events that shaped African slavery in America (e.g., triangular trade). (A5, B1 a, e)
• Know how to construct and interpret multiple tier time lines. (A1)
• Compare and contrast how groups, societies, and cultures address similar needs and concerns (e.g., Western Movement, slavery, Cajuns, Native American cultures: Plains, West Coast, Southwest). (B1, B2) 


• Know the ways in which the environment affects decisions regarding locations for human activities. (E3)
• Know how physical and human geographic factors have influenced major historic events. F1)
• Understand the process of urban growth in the United States by mapping the locations of cities over time and noting differences in their site characteristics, situations, and functions. D1, D3)
• Make predictions for the future growth and development of own community. (F2)

• Explore concepts such as republican form of government, capitalism, limited government, free-enterprise system, national identity, family units, and individualism. (A2, B2)
• Understand major ideas about why government is necessary. (A1)
• Understand the function of “checks and balances.” (B3) 

• Explore persisting contemporary and emerging global issues from their historical contexts.

• Evaluate how geographic features influenced the development of cities and population throughout the history of the United States.
• Understand the primary geographic influence of world trade.
• Investigate diversity and the productivity of environments.

• Know how constitutions have been used to protect rights of citizens and even promote the interests of a particular group.
• Participate in community service.
• Analyze the causes, consequences, and possible solutions to current state, national, and international issues.
• Study, observe, and participate in government action. 

* Meets Cultural Standards

• Create timelines that increase in complexity in terms of volume and range of historical data displayed.
• Participate in class nomination, debate, and vote on the top ten events in a period of American history.
• Dramatize historic events and situations.
• Read and analyze primary source documents.
• Use visual images of historical conflicts; suggest a solution to a current conflict.
• Find events in American history which parallel current events.
• Pick a leader from American history and identify methods used to gain and maintain political power.
• Research traditions that have influenced or created our American cultures.
• Apply the Monroe Doctrine to modern issues.

• Create map overlays to show the growth and development of roads and population throughout the history of the United States.
• Graph population trends in the United States.
• Explain movements of two groups of people throughout history.
• Develop a rubric to determine the top ten most desirable cities.
• Analyze battlefield maps.
• Create simplified maps that display human distribution.


• Judge the accuracy, value, and relevance of information gathered from a variety of sources.
• Discuss the need for class rules.
• Define monarchies, dictatorships, democracies, and republics.
• Use a democratic process to plan and present a class project.
• Participate in a school or community service project.
• Create a class Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence.
• Compare class Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence to those of the United States.
• Participate in real and mock elections in class, school, and community.

• Essays
• Hand-drawn maps
• Interviews and conferences
• Multimedia projects
• Peer assessments
• Personal histories
• Personal maps and journals
• Portfolios
• Presentations
• Problem solving
• Projects
• Reports
• Rubric assessments
• Self-assessments
• Seminars
• Shared inquiry
• Teacher assessments
• Tests and quizzes
• Timelines
• Written and other work samples