Teaching Social Studies in the Middle School – EDUC 637

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 07/27/2021

Course Description

An analysis of trends and practices of teaching social studies in the middle school, and its contextual relationship to elementary and secondary instruction in social science. An emphasis will be made on how to transfer theory into practice through preparation of activities and materials appropriate for the elementary classroom and critical reflection on those very materials and approaches. Students will plan instruction considering student-based diversity, instructional demands of the field and the best integration of other tools and disciplines.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.


Cognitive skills evolved from the need to place a heavier emphasis on content being developed in the General Studies while the technique for communicating those skills to middle-grade children has been designated as the role of the School of Education. In the area of social sciences the focus must be upon the development of cognate skills as opposed to the mere retention of facts. Current teachers must stay abreast of the latest approaches to instructional practice in middle education social studies, to include general philosophical approaches and specific tools and techniques.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.

Discussions (6)

Discussions are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, there will be 6 Discussions in this course. The original thread in answer to the Discussion question posed must be 400–500 words. This parameter helps to promote writing that is both thorough and yet concise enough to permit other candidates to read all the posts. Appropriate references should be made in current APA format. First person voice is allowed in candidates’ posts. There are to be at least 2 replies to other candidates’ original threads. Each interaction reply must be between 200 and 250 words.

Technology Portfolio

For this assignment, the candidate will identify forms and applications of technology for use in a middle school social studies classroom and will describe the general applications of these technologies, specific applied activities in the general social studies arena, and provide an evaluation. A portfolio of 10 technologies (2 uses for each of the 5 categories) is to be developed. These technologies could be used in a middle school social studies classroom. Identify general uses, align appropriate national social studies standards, potential activities, and good and bad points to that technology’s use to receive full credit.

Literature Review

Literature Review: Topic Submission

The candidate will select a topic in the general area of social studies instruction in middle-grade education to research and analyze literature on the topic's latest trends and issues. 

Literature Review: Presentation

The candidate will examine accompanying literature related to their selected topic to identify its latest trends and issues. Results will be put into a PowerPoint presentation of 10–20 slides to identify these trends in elementary social studies education associated with a set of identified articles in the literature. 

Lesson Plan

Each candidate is expected to complete a standard lesson plan as part of this course. The standard lesson plan format provided must be used and all materials must be included as Appendices or Attachments in the final submission.

Civics Education Module

The candidate will complete VDOE’s Civics Education Module. The civics module serve as online training that is required for candidates seeking the elementary endorsement or the middle and/or secondary social science endorsement.  Upon completion of the module, the candidate will be granted a certificate of completion.

Unit Portfolio

Each candidate will produce a unit of instruction. The elements are provided. The plan will be given as a PowerPoint presentation with a maximum of 20 slides. The intent of this project is to help the candidate see the big picture for instructional design with regard to a specific topic.

Strategies Portfolio

Each candidate will select 5 chapters from the Obenchain textbook and write a strategy similar to what the text teaches.