Class Syllabus - Units

During class we will learn about people, places, events and religions that impact our lives and world  from the European Continent in history from the Fall of the Roman Empire up to the Age of Exploration and Discovery. 

The following is a general overview of the 7th grade curriculum or syllabus. 


Each year we refocus and explore the following ideas and curriculum.
As we look at these various time periods and people we will examine some essential questions.
Why study history?                                                                                                             Who are these people?

How are we alike and different?                                                                                         What if an event or outcome was different; how would it impact our world today?

What can we learn from these people, the lifestyle, and the events of that time?               How does this relate to our world and life today?


Introduction to the course

Students will develop a working knowledge of history and culture. Students will examine how geography establishes a setting for history, the people and events are like characters creating a story and learn how our lives are related or connect to these people, places and events. While learning about various time periods and cultures, students will explore the relationships between the people, the important events of the times and the 5 themes of geography. Students also develop a skill of making and using timelines and maps.


The Fall of Rome and The Byzantine Empire

The first unit will be related to the Fall of Rome, and the split of the Roman Empire.

Students will learn about the factors that led to the fall of Rome. They will describe the impact of the Germanic tribes on Roman and European history. Students will compare the differences between the Roman and  Byzantine Empires and be able to explain why trade economy was so prosperous. Some differences between the Roman and Byzantine views' of Christianity will be taught and students will explain reasons that led to the decline of Byzantine power..


Religion: The Rise of Christianity

The second unit will cover the two religions of Christianity and Islam which played major roles in the Middle Ages. Students will be able to explain the major tenets of Christianity. They examine Christianity's role in the fall of  Rome and Christianity's appeal and how Christianity spread and became a major force in Western civilization.


Students will explain the major tenets of Islam, become familiar with some of the Muslim vocabulary. They will be taught an overview of Muslim history and learn the impact of the Islam on the Byzantine culture. Some questions students may explore include: What are the contributions of the Arab culture to society? What is the impact of religion on current issues? What was the beginning of Islam and who was involved? How did Muslims and Islam impact the world during the Middle Ages? 


The Middle Ages

The third unit will focus on the Feudal period. Students will define why the term "Dark Ages" is inaccurate. They will identify Charlemagne and his accomplishments and explain Feudalism and it's importance. They will identify roles of the people at each level of the Feudal Pyramid, identify some features of a medieval manor and castle. They will explain the training, obligations and responsibilities of a knight. Students will know the causes and results of the Crusades and explain the importance of the Church during the Middle Ages. They will list some of the contributions of the Church to learning and life, discuss the reasons and results of the change from a manorial to town lifestyle. Students will explore and explain the importance of art, literature, and architecture of the time. Some questions might include: What was the importance of feudalism in the Middle  Ages? What were the roles of guilds? What was the role of the church during the Middle Ages? How is the world today similar and different to the Middle Ages? 


The Renaissance and the Reformation

The final unit will examine how the Renaissance impacted the European society, world and future. Students will learn about the changes in the church known as the Reformation. Students will explain the meaning and significance of the term Renaissance, explain how the Renaissance brought social, political, economic and cultural changes to Europe. They will be able to identify some artists and writers who contributed to society during this time period, explain what it means to be a "Renaissance Man."

Some essential questions may include: What is the importance of the Renaissance in Western culture/Society?
What was the role of the Roman Catholic Church in the Renaissance? How did the invention of the printing press impact Western culture? What are the scientific discoveries of the Renaissance? How did the view of the world change?

The Reformation

The changes which impacted society and life were known as the Reformation. Students will list some of the problems of the late medieval Church and the demands for reform.  They will identify some of the Protestant reformers, recognize the spread of Protestantism and its effect on Europe. Some essential questions may include: What issues tend to invite / demand reform? What are  the problems connected to reform?


The Age of Exploration and Discovery

The final unit covered will include discussing areas colonized by the European powers and state the impact such colonization had on the conquered and conquering lands. Students will recognize some of the motives that led to European exploration, list some of the early explorers from European countries and identify the technological changes that were brought about during this time period. Some essential questions may include: What drives mankind to continuously explore? What was the importance of the New World?



Components of the page are from SAU #41 - Hollis/Brookline Coop

7th Grade Social Studies Curriculum.
Please understand that this is an outline of the units that will be studied.  If you would like to reference the state curriculum frameworks, click here:

SAU 41 Social Studies Curriculum can be found here:


'Stained Glass,' and Byzantine Psalms. © 2000–2011 The Metropolitan Museum of Art. All rights reserved. 1000 Fifth Avenue. New York, New York 10028. Accessed August 14, 2011.


"Viturvian Man.' Wikimedia Commons, Org. Accessed August 14, 2011.


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