The focus of teaching and learning in the social studies, history, and geography curriculum is on the development of essential knowledge and skills. Students must develop a thorough knowledge of basic concepts that they can apply in a wide range of situations. They must also develop the broad-based skills that are vital to success in the world of work: they must learn to evaluate different points of view and examine information critically to solve problems and make decisions on a variety of issues.
Social Studies seek to examine and understand communities, from the local to the global, their various heritages, and the nature of citizenship within them. Students acquire knowledge of key social science concepts, including change, culture, environment, power, and the dynamics of the marketplace. They learn about Canada and the role of citizens in a democratic society within a culturally diverse and interdependent world. They also acquire skills of inquiry and communication through field studies and other research projects; the use of maps, globes, and models; and the consideration of various forms of historical evidence. Students apply these skills to develop an understanding of Canadian identity and democratic values, to evaluate different points of view, and to examine information critically in order to solve problems and make decisions on issues that are relevant to their lives.
History involves the examination of individuals and unique events, as well as of groups, movements, institutions, nations, and eras. The Grade 7 and 8 history program focuses on Canada and provides students with a comprehensive overview of the development of their country and its role in the world. Students learn how lessons from the past can be used to make wise decisions for the future, and by exploring various points of view and evaluating a variety of historical evidence, they practice achieving a balanced perspective. In these ways, the study of history helps prepare students to be contributing and responsible citizens in a complex society characterized by rapid technological economic, political, and social change. The study of history in Grades 7 and 8 builds on the skills, attitudes, and knowledge developed in social studies in Grades 1 to 6.
Geography is the study of place. It examines the earth’s physical systems and the people in them. It also investigates how people and environments affect each other. Geography students learn to gather, organize, analyze, and present information obtained from fieldwork, models, simulations, aerial photographs, satellite imaging, maps, and computers. They learn to apply a conceptual framework of location/place, environment, region, interaction, and movement. By integrating various aspects of place, the study of geography provides students with a unique opportunity to learn about the world around them.
For a detailed outline of the knowledge, skills and levels of achievement, you are referred to “The Ontario Curriculum: Social Studies, Grades 1 to 6; History and Geography, Grades 7 and 8, 1998.