The Social Studies Corner: 8th Grade

The 8th grade class continue their studies of the place of America as a world power during the early 20th century.  At present, they are completing a study of the 1920s and 1930s with a focus on the concepts of isolationism, consumerism, economics, religion and politics as the United States entered into the Great Depression.  Throughout the chapter, students have participated in role playing exercises, including a reinactment of the Scopes trial and a stock simulation in which they acted as traders in conditions mirroring the Stock Market Crash of 1929.

In order to allow students to fully explore the place of the stock market in the American economy, all students opened virtual accounts as part of a four-month stock market challenge in which they will buy and sell securities using the real time conditions of the American markets.  Each student was provided with $50,000 virtual money with the goal of amassing the largest portfolio at the conclusion of the competition.   Over the past few weeks, students have seen the value of their portfolios rise and fall as the stock market experiences somewhat historic fluctuations, an outstanding platform on which to discuss the manner in which events such as the Stock Market Crash of 1929 were possible.  At present, student portfolios range from $50,053 to $40,797.

At the completion of the unit test, students will begin exploration of the conditions leading to the outbreak of facism in Europe and the conflicts that begot World War II.  They will connect their understanding of the Treaty of Versailles and the reaction of American foreign economic policy as depression settled in to the rise of the Nazi party.  The chapter will include a discussion of the role of genocide and the horrors that were played upon European populations.   The chapter will include an analysis of the role of genocide in more modern times.

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