The Social Studies department at Sinai Akiba Academy uses a variety of investigative tools to promote independent
thinking. The program is designed to promote the growth of research and study skills. Students collaborate on a variety of
group projects and activities, write historical evidence-based essays, read a wide variety of primary sources and develop analytical and critical thinking skills. In addition to standard classroom skills, students also participate in a number of creative assignments such as performing at our annual Egypt Day, Innovation Day, and the 20% Time Project. The goal of the department is to foster academic achievement and encourage
individual creative expression.
6th Grade - Ancient Civilizations
The first year of Middle School Social Studies focuses on the origins of human civilization and the primary social, religious, economic and political features of those societies. The course begins with an overview of historiography and the historian’s toolkit; students then apply those skills to a comparative study of human origins. Next, students learn about the shift from nomadic societies to the first human civilizations in Mesopotamia and prepare persuasive essays around the topic of contemporary artifact repatriation. In the second part of the year, students engage in small-group research on topics of their choice relating to Ancient Egypt and then present their findings through the medium of their choice. The class ends with a broad study of Classical Greece and the rise of the Roman Empire with special attention to cultural and artistic trends, as well as the evolution of political thinking.
7th Grade - US History
In their second year of Middle School Social Studies, students primarily focus on American history. The course begins with a
study of Native Americans and their early interactions with European settlers and moves on to cover the English colonies
and the various tensions that led up to the American Revolution. Students also learn about American government: the creation
of the Constitution, the formulation of the first political parties, and how many of the ideas that divided the first political parties play a role in politics today. Their government studies culminate in an experiential spring trip to Washington D.C. In the second part of the year, students learn about American Expansion, the
Trail of Tears, and the Mexican-American War. The class concludes by exploring the factors that led to the American Civil War. In addition to practicing analyzing primary and secondary sources, and writing evidencebased essays, students also work on a research project where they investigate a piece of technology and explain its impact on American history by creating a museum
exhibit to exemplify their learning.
8th Grade - Modern World History
In their final year of Middle School Social Studies, 8th grade students primarily focus on Modern World History. Students
begin by studying Ancient Rome, the civilization’s various stages of government, and how the Roman Republic influenced our government today. We also investigate the multitude of factors that led to the demise of the Roman Empire. From there, students review a variety of primary and secondary source documents to learn more about the Byzantine Empire and the impact the Silk Road had on the global economy and the spread of Islam. Students also read excerpts from various works in Chinese philosophy and learn to distinguish the differences between Buddhist, Daoist, and Confucian texts. The year concludes with an examination of the Renaissance, where students research different innovators in art, philosophy, and science and teach what they’ve learned to their peers. In addition
to exploring various civilizations across world history, 8th graders work on their capstone 20% Time Project, where they research a topic they are passionate about and then design and implement solutions to these issues. Students then present their research and findings in a Ted-style talk exhibition at the end of the year.