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Beech: Social Studies

Woodbury Grade 7 Team Site

Social Studies Mission Statement

Welcome to Team Beech Social Studies!!

Hello, and welcome to 7th Grade Team Beech Social Studies with Mr. Garland. The purpose of this LibGuide is to provide you with some insight to the class, as well as break down the curriculum that will be covered during the year. I will also post important notices about events happening throughout the year. I'm looking forward to a great year in Social Studies class with this year's group. And away we go...


*If you're looking for homework, it is posted daily and can be found under the Homework tab, along with every core class.


General Information

Contact Information:

Seth Garland

Phone - 893 - 7055

Email - 

Team website -


Grading Policy:

Woodbury’s grading policy has shifted to a competency based report card system – well, sort of. Instead of receiving scores like 92% or 76% on assessments, you will receive a letter indicating your academic performance level [Don’t worry, I’ll explain this more…]. The idea is to gage whether or not you met the standards for a particular skill or content knowledge. For report cards, your performance level will still translate to a letter grade. Again, we’ll talk more about this.


Assessment Corrections: 

Within the allocated time [usually one week from receiving the test/quiz]:

1. Have your original assessment signed by a parental figure.

2. On a separate sheet of paper, number only the incorrect questions. 

3. Write the correct response for each incorrect  answer. All responses need to be written out in sentence form - whether it be a multiple choice or open response question.

4. Staple the correction sheet to your original test/quiz and hand in.


Extra Help:

If you are ever in need of extra help with an assignment*, need some study pointers, or just plain need to talk, I'll be in room 154 [or somewhere close by]. You can stop by before or after school, during DS, or before or after class. I'm always here to help, so let me know.

*For a homework assignment, you can  try emailing me your question, and If I check my mail, I'll get back to you that night. I can't promise anything though, as I don't always get to my mail during the evening.



  • Pencil or blue/black ink pen [no other colors, please]
  • Three ring binder with a designated SS section OR  a folder exclusively for SS class
  • Notebook exclusively for SS class

* I provide just about every other school supply imaginable  

NO textbook will be issued, as we will use classroom sets when necessary



Grade 7: World Religions and European History Through 1600

In Grade 7, students focus on the development of Western Culture and history beginning with an overview of the Abrahamic Religions, the growth and development of the Islamic World, a study of Europe after the Fall of Rome and into the Middle Ages, and culminating with a study of the Cultural, Political, and Religious shifts of the Renaissance and Protestant Reformation.  Students contend with questions such as the following: “How do belief systems influence the behavior of individuals?”, “What happens when Empires collapse or collide?”, “What causes the establishment and destruction of social/political systems?”, and “How does material culture demonstrate the values/understandings of a culture or society?”.


7th Grade Curriculum

  • Topic 1: World Religions

    • Why is Jerusalem the center of so much global conflict?

      • “Whaaat’s the deal with Jerusalem…? And also airplane food.”


    • What is Jerusalem?

      • Describe the city of Jerusalem in terms of geography [G]

      • Explain how the geography of Jerusalem impacts the lifestyle of the people who live there. [G]

    • Who lives in Jerusalem today?

      • Describe the various religious groups living in Jerusalem [H]

      • Compare and contrast the beliefs and practices of the groups living in Jerusalem [H]

    • What factors have driven conflict and inspired cooperation throughout the history of Jerusalem?

      • Explain how differences in beliefs and practices can drive conflict and inspire cooperation [H]

      • Explain the connection between various events in Jerusalem’s history in terms of causing or preventing conflict. [H]


  • Topic 2: Growth of the Islamic World    

    • Why was Islam so successful in terms of expansion and empire building?


    • Why was Islam attractive to the people of Western Asia and Northern Africa?

      • Describe the factors that led to the rapid rise and growth of Islam. [H, E, , G]

      • Explain the lasting contributions and developments made possible by the spread of Islam [H, C]

        • (Science, Math, Literature, Art, Bathing, Writing, Reading, Knowing Stuff, Not burning witches)

    • How does Islam go from a small fringe group to a major world power in less than 100 years?

      • Construct a map to show the patterns of the growth of Islam from the early days of Muhammad to the establishment of the Umayyad and Abbasid Caliphates. [G, E]

        • Trade routes = new converts

    • How did economics and trade promote the spread of the Islamic Empires?

      • Describe the barriers to trade in the region and how the Islamic Empires over came those barriers [E]

        • “Hey, wanna buy our stuff?  Better also worship our God while you’re at it!”

          • Mansa Musa, Persians, etc.

        • “Hey, see all that not being very rich and successful you have?  If you follow *our* God, you can have some being super rich and ultra-successful!”

      • Explain the costs and benefits of trading with the Muslims for non-Muslim groups in North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula [E]


The introductory unit to this time period will begin with an examination of what a stereotype is, and how / why the groups known as the Barbarians fit into this description [justifiably or not]. We will examine different Barbarian tribes such as the Huns, Goths, Vandals, and Vikings. Different cultural characteristics, as well as migration patterns will be explored, and ultimately their influence on the fall of Rome and ensuing Dark Ages that followed. The unit ends with the rise of a new power - the Franks [Charlemagne] and the beginnings of a new world order across Europe - "Feudalism".   


    • Barbarians & The Fall of Rome

      • How ‘barbaric’ were the ‘Barbarians’?

        • What is the history and meaning of ‘barbarian’? [H]

        • Who were the ‘barbarians’? [H]

        • How did the barbarians impact Europe? [H,

This unit focuses on the initial reorganization of European society after the fall of Rome - the stratification of society into different classes based upon power, wealth, and social rankings. Society is stratified into a pyramid of sorts, looking something like this:

  • Monarchs
  • Nobles
  • Knights
  • Clergy
  • Peasants

Individual sub groupings, cultural characteristics, as well as societal roles will be examined.The unit culminates with the creation of a children's book entitled, My very First Book of Feudalism

    • Was Feudalism fair?

      • What was the Feudal system? [C, E, H]

      • What were the benefits and drawbacks of the Feudal system? [E, C]

      • What were the roles and responsibilities of the different social classes? [C]





The Crusades unit takes us into the Upper to late Middle Ages and focuses on the conflict between the Christians of Europe and the Muslim Turks of Asia. We will examine the geography involved, the causes of these series of Holy wars, and of course, the outcome and lasting effects they had on Europe. Students will revisit the earlier Religions unit to gain a fundamental understanding of the origin of this conflict - which continues to this very day.

    • Were the Crusades *really* about Religion?

      • What were the Crusades? [H]

      • What motivated the call to the Crusades? What motivated the Crusaders? [H, E]

      • Did the actions of the Crusaders really align with their causes? Which groups benefited from the Crusades? Which groups suffered? [H, E] 

This unit brings the Middle Ages to an end with the conclusion of the outbreak of the Bubonic Plague. We will look at the origin and cause of the epidemic, the symptoms involved [and "cures"] as well as the toll the disease took on society. The unit concludes with a re-shaping of European society, and a new outlook and renewed sense of spirit that will drive the Renaissance in Europe.

    • Did the Black Death kill the Middle Ages?

      • What was the disease known as the Black Death?  [H]

      • What was the social, political, and religious response to the plague? [C, H]

      • How did the course of the Black Death affect medieval society? [H, E] 

The Renaissance unit sees the darkness of the Black Death turn into the light of a cultural and spiritual rebirth. In a sink or swim situation, Europe pulled up it's boot straps and chose to move forward and begin to finally modernize. Bringing the Middle Ages to an end [finally] Europe experiences a rebirth of ideas in all cultural aspects - from language, literature, and the arts, to math, science, and the technical world. Religion even receives an overhaul, with the formation of a new branch of Christianity - Protestantism. 


    • How does material culture demonstrate the values, understandings, and perspectives of the Renaissance? 

      • What is material culture? [E]

      • How do authors, artists, and scientists show their perspectives in their work? [H]

        • Explain how beliefs, experiences perspectives, and/or values influence the way people approach issues in society. 

        • Analyze how people’s perspectives influenced what information is available in the historical sources they created. [H]

      • How are the values, understandings, and perspectives of the Renaissance the same and different from the Middle Ages?

        • Explain how and why the perspectives of people have changed over time. [H]