Social Studies

Social Studies classes at McAuliffe International School challenge students to look beyond their understanding of their immediate time, place and culture. Our lens is the four key subjects within the social studies strand: geography, history, government, and economics, including personal financial literacy. Within this lens, our objectives are grouped into four primary categories: knowledge and understanding, investigation, thinking critically, and communicating.

Review the IB MYP Individuals and Societies brief here.

In 6th grade, we explore the complex history, geography, economics, civics, and cultural interaction of the Western Hemisphere (except the United States). Students will gain an understanding of the importance of maps and other geographic tools and the connections that can be made by both physical and human geography. Students will also investigate the interaction of unique cultures like the Maya, Inca and Aztec and look at historic and modern conflicts over land, resources and governmental control. Students will become historians and critical thinkers, including the ability to utilize historical documents while writing argumentative historical essays.

In 7th grade, we build on students’ knowledge gained in 6th grade, continuing to focus on history, geography, civics and economics, and move into the Eastern Hemisphere. Topics covered range from the origins of civilization in Mesopotamia, China and India, to the great empires of Egypt, Greece, and Rome. We will investigate modern issues such as the Middle East Conflict, and continue to use historical documents to write argumentative essays. We also take part in the “History Day in Colorado” event, which invites students to research and present one of a wide-range of historical topics.

In 8th grade, we again focus on history, geography, civics and economics, this time through the lens of United States history from the Revolutionary time period through Reconstruction. Students will engage in debates and other real life learning experiences (mock congressional hearings, public policy portfolios, etc.) to show their mastery of the standards. Students will continually develop their own questions, research possible answers, and share their learning through both argumentative and informational/explanatory writing.

We base our instruction on the Colorado Department of Education’s academic standards for social studies, which can be found here, and Denver Public Schools’ social studies scope and sequence, which can be found here. We also place great emphasis on International Baccalaureate’s Humanities Framework for the Middle Years Program.


Denver Public Schools