At Pierce Middle School, the Social Studies program is focused on citizenship - the rights and responsibilities of individuals as part of various communities. The role of citizen is examined under various forms of government in different countries around the world and in America. Students engage in World Geography and Cultures in grades 6 and 7, and Civics in grade 8. Students engage in inquiry-based learning to determine what life was like for people of the Ancient world and throughout history - under various forms of government and as part of different nations and/or regions of the world.
Pierce Social Studies teachers follow the Massachusetts History and Social science Curriculum Frameworks (still to be finalized). To better understand events in the world and to participate in a democratic society, students at Pierce engage in lessons to build their knowledge of public policy and the complex interactions of individuals, governments, and nations. We aspire to equip students with a knowledge of history so that they can begin to understand the multiple reasons why events unfold as they do and how events of today and tomorrow are a result of the past. Emphasis is placed on taking a stand and the way individual citizens have shaped history.
Knowledge of governments, past and present, help students understand how people organize themselves in different ways. There are civic themes present at all three levels and the eighth-grade course investigates the many influences on the rights and responsibilities of citizens in Massachusetts and in the United States of America. In the sixth and seventh grade courses, students learn about diverse cultures, different forms of government and geographic challenges. Students examine different experiences, opinions, and approaches to living.
At all three grade levels, students use primary and secondary sources to act as historian and investigate periods of history, reliability of sources, biases in various sources and to recognize how often history is told from the perspective of the powerful (to consider what might be missing from various stories). Students engage in historical thinking skills and document-based questions as well as engage in reading, writing and geography to research and better understand the past. We place emphasis on providing students with experiences in group discussions and debates, public speaking and teamwork to explore issues facing societies past and present. In addition, we explore themes of social justice and respect for human rights as individuals in society.