Course Syllabus

Grade 7 - World History - “A Dividing World”

Course Syllabus

What are the major topics and units covered in this class?

Unit 1: Human Geography - Renaissance

Overview: This unit lays the groundwork for the study of world history by exploring the relationship between physical geography and human geography. This will start with an exploration of the factors which define the environment of a place, along with an examination of the ways that geographic data is communicated (maps, charts, graphs, etc.). Students will then study systems of human organization, specifically culture and civilization, and the ways that these systems are influenced by environmental factors.  The second component of this unit focuses on the period known as the Renaissance – an era that saw much of the world move away from the “Dark Ages” of feudalism and into a new reliance on logic and scientific understandings.

Unit 2: The Reformation and Global Exchange

Overview: The points of focus in this unit include the drastic changes in attitudes toward major religions, a shift to understanding the world using logic and reason, and finally, a concerted effort among powerful nations to explore the western hemisphere prompting the sharing of ideas, goods, and services around the globe.  Additionally, the widespread use of mercantilism and a colonial system employed by European powers is examined.

Unit 3: The Enlightenment – The Industrial Revolution

Overview: This unit focuses specifically on the increasing pace of global changes economically, socially, and politically.  During this period of time, the forces of monarchical governments that were colonizing large chunks of the globe are at odds with revolutionary forces and the ideas of the Enlightenment. Additionally, attitudes about what people are able to achieve and what rights humans should have are in question while the overall wealth generated by colonial powers increases dramatically.  The interplay between these forces is the central focus of this unit.

Unit 4:  The World at War

Overview: The points of focus in this unit include both the First and Second World Wars.  Central themes in this unit will include the causes of each of the world wars, their impact on nations around the globe, the emergence of the United States as a superpower from these wars, and the creation of a “developed world” versus a “developing world.”

What kinds of things will I be doing in this class?

The following is a list of activities that you can expect to be asked to do in class during the year (but we will probably do more than what is on this list!):


  • Discuss ideas in a group or with a partner

  • Make decisions and express your opinions about different topics

  • READ about important parts of World history and understand them

  • WRITE about important parts of World history to show that you understand them

  • Research different kinds of resources to find out details about World history

  • Understand how things that happened in the past affect you now

  • Use different kinds of technology to express ideas, make arguments, or prove points

What kind of student am I expected to be?

You have been, and will continue to be, a part of a community.  That means you will respect everyone that you come into contact with every day.  Each one of you deserves respect, courtesy, and attention.  Showing respect for yourself and others can take many different forms.  Some important things you will be expected to do include:


  • Listen when others are talking

  • Respond when you are asked questions

  • Be in class on time

  • Complete your work on time

  • Give everything your best effort

  • Take risks

  • Take care of your belongings and others

  • Help those in need

  • Believe in yourself and your classmates


If all of us (including me) make an effort to do these things every day, we will have a great school year and I promise – you will enjoy being in a community of historians!


So…what about homework?

Most of the homework will be to review for 15 minutes the notes and discussions we had in class. Then, the next day you should receive a “Check for Understanding” question(s), which will be graded according the the Check For Understanding rubric. 


And, will there be tests?

First, let’s get away from the word “test” and use the word “assessment” instead.  All year long, you will be asked to do things in class and out of class that show what you know.  Any time you are given a chance to show off your skills and smarts, I’ll be watching to see how you are doing – that’s an assessment.  Assessments will take all different kinds of forms. FORMATIVE: such as Check for Understandings, Classwork, Participation and Exit Slips. SUMMATIVE: such as Topic Assessment, Essays, Presentations, and Projects.  When a Summative Assessment is given, you will know a days in advance to prepare.  Remember, however, that you should be studying and reviewing your notes and work every night.

What films and other media will we view?

Throughout this course the class will occasionally be viewing various films, video clips and documentaries as well as examining primary and secondary sources.  Throughout these videos and documents, students may see depictions of battles and the aftermath of war (ex: History Channel’s ‘The World Wars’), as well as great works of art including statues and paintings in which the nude human body is shown (ex: ‘David’ by Michelangelo ). Additionally, at times students will read or view primary or secondary source material that may contains phrases and terms which are dated and anachronistic.  When this occurs these terms will be discussed and their historical significance explained.  


What kinds of things should I bring to class every day?

In order to do well in this class, you will need to be prepared to learn, think, and work every day.  In order to help you do this and to get the most out of the class, there are a few supplies you should come to class with every day.


  • A three-ring binder (no bigger than 1 ½ inches)

  • Supply of loose leaf paper

  • Two (2) writing utensils (in case your pencil breaks or the pen runs out of ink)

  • Your classwork/homework (if any is due)

  • Assignment Pad