Washington State K-12 Social Studies Learning Standards — Grade 8

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Understands key ideals and principles outlined in the Declaration of Independence, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, the U.S. Constitution, including the rule of law, separation of powers, representative government, and popular sovereignty, and the Bill of Rights, including due process and freedom of expression.

Evaluates efforts to reduce discrepancies between key ideals and reality in the United States, including:

Understands and analyzes the structure and powers of government at the national level.

Evaluates the effectiveness of the system of checks and balances in the United States based on an event.

Understands that the U.S. government includes concepts of both a democracy and a republic.

Analyzes how the United States has interacted with other countries in the past or present.

Analyzes how a position on an issue attempts to balance individual rights and the common good.

Analyzes examples of how groups and individuals have considered profit and personal values in making economic choices in the past or present.

Analyzes how the forces of supply and demand have affected the production, distribution, and consumption of goods, services, and resources in the United States in the past or present.

Understands and analyzes how the forces of supply and demand have affected international trade in the United States in the past or present.

Understands and analyzes the influence of the U.S. governments taxation, creation of currency, and tariffs in the past or present.

Understands and analyzes the distribution of wealth and sustainability of resources in the United States in the past or present.

Understands and analyzes physical and cultural characteristics of places and regions in the United States from the past or in the present. Examples: Explains information gained from physical and political maps of the United States. Examines how the railroad led to the development of Chicago as a leader in the meatpacking industry. Suggested Unit: U.S.Development and Struggles in the West, Industrialization, Immigration, and Urbanization (18701900)

Analyzes how the environment has affected people and how people have affected the environment in the United States in the past or present.

Understands cultural diffusion in the United States from the past or in the present.

Understands and analyzes migration as a catalyst for the growth of the United States in the past or present.

Understands that learning about the geography of the United States helps us understand the global issue of diversity.

Understands how the following themes and developments help to define eras in U.S. history from 1776 to 1900: Fighting for independence and framing the Constitution (17761815). Slavery, expansion, removal, and reform (18011850). Civil War and Reconstruction (18501877). Development and struggles in the West, industrialization, immigration, and urbanization (18701900). Page 83 Examples: Explains how the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 help to define early U.S. history as a time of struggle for independence. Explains how the Monroe Doctrine helps to define U.S. history from 1801 to 1850 as a period of expansion. Explains how Reconstruction and the emergence of Jim Crow laws help to define U.S. history following the Civil War. Explains how the rise of prominent American Indian leaders in resistance movements against U.S. encroachment helps to define U.S. history at the end of the 19th century.

Understands and analyzes how individuals and movements have shaped U.S. history (1776 1900).

Understands and analyzes how cultures and cultural groups have contributed to U.S. history (17761900).

Understands and analyzes how technology and ideas have impacted U.S. history (17761900).

Analyzes and interprets historical materials from a variety of perspectives in U.S. history (17761900).

Analyzes multiple causal factors to create positions on major events in U.S. history (1776 1900).

Analyzes how a historical event in United States history helps us to understand a current issue.

Understands reasons based on evidence for a position on an issue or event.

Evaluates the logic of reasons for a position on an issue or event.

Creates and uses research questions that are tied to an essential question to focus inquiry on an issue.

Evaluates the logic of positions in primary and secondary sources to interpret an issue or event.

Applies key ideals outlined in fundamental documents to clarify and address public issues in the context of a discussion.

Uses sources within the body of the work to support positions in a paper or presentation.

Uses appropriate format to cite sources within an essay or presentation.


Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.


By the end of grade 8, read and comprehend history/social studies texts in the grades 6-8 text complexity band independently and proficiently.


Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.


Identify key steps in a text's description of a process related to history/social studies (e.g., how a bill becomes law, how interest rates are raised or lowered).


Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary specific to domains related to history/social studies.


Describe how a text presents information (e.g., sequentially, comparatively, causally).


Identify aspects of a text that reveal an author's point of view or purpose (e.g., loaded language, inclusion or avoidance of particular facts).


Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.


Distinguish among fact, opinion, and reasoned judgment in a text.


Analyze the relationship between a primary and secondary source on the same topic.


Write arguments focused on discipline-specific content.


Write routinely over extended time frames (time for reflection and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.


Introduce claim(s) about a topic or issue, acknowledge and distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and organize the reasons and evidence logically.


Support claim(s) with logical reasoning and relevant, accurate data and evidence that demonstrate an understanding of the topic or text, using credible sources.


Use words, phrases, and clauses to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.


Establish and maintain a formal style.


Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.


Write informative/explanatory texts, including the narration of historical events, scientific procedures/ experiments, or technical processes.


Introduce a topic clearly, previewing what is to follow; organize ideas, concepts, and information into broader categories as appropriate to achieving purpose; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., charts, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.


Develop the topic with relevant, well-chosen facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples.


Use appropriate and varied transitions to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among ideas and concepts.


Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic.


Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone.


Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation presented.


(See note; not applicable as a separate requirement)


Note: Students' narrative skills continue to grow in these grades. The Standards require that students be able to incorporate narrative elements effectively into arguments and informative/explanatory texts. In history/social studies, students must be able to incorporate narrative accounts into their analyses of individuals or events of historical import.


Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.


With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on how well purpose and audience have been addressed.


Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and present the relationships between information and ideas clearly and efficiently.


Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question), drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions that allow for multiple avenues of exploration.


Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.


Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis reflection, and research.