Social Studies

Experiencing history.

We seek to develop each student’s ability to think critically, form and defend individual opinions, and express personal thoughts clearly, concisely and powerfully through the written word.

“Graduates from our Middle School have examined, explored and critically thought about how human history has impacted the way our world works creating a base understanding that will allow for more learning and revelation to occur.” Josh Oberfield, Social Studies teacher

Key Characteristics

In each course, students make connections and work with themes of how ideas lead to change, and how shifts in systems and place impact the way people live, work, resolve problems and grow as a society. Some of the essential questions revisited throughout the year are: What is a just society? What is change? What causes social change in the world and our country?

The curriculum guides students on a journey of learning about history that gives them a better understanding of the past and also orients their perspective on the present and future. Having students "do history" through critical thinking, inquiry and analysis will be more important than the memorization of facts.

Curricular Highlights


Food Insecurity Project. This sixth grade capstone project is a hallmark of interdisciplinary and project-based learning. In this capstone project, students form bonds with neighborhoods and local organizations to create a deeper, real-life learning experience.

Real-world exploration. The eighth grade trip to Washington, D.C. supports the work of the Civics curriculum, promoting a better understanding of the three branches of government and federalism. Students use observation skills, make meaningful connections with place and history, and are exposed to various forms of art and architecture as a way of understanding historical events.

Inspiring speakers. The Middle School Social Studies curriculum is complemented by an exciting program of cultural and political lecturers throughout the year.


“I was immediately introduced to the innovative, creative and engaging way students are taught Social Studies at Penn Charter. Not only have I learned much about our country's history and about the varying cultures across our world, but I also have learned valuable lessons that have helped me and will continue to guide me as I enter the Upper School.” Darcy Felter, Class of 2022