Social Studies

Middle School Social Studies - Part III

The primary purpose of MSSS is to prepare students to be active, responsible, and reflective members of society so join me as we study fundamental concepts of culture, economics, history and politics through a journey on the Silk Road!
834 total reviews for this teacher
13 reviews for this class
Completed by 68 learners
  There are no upcoming classes.

55 minutes

per class

Once per week

over 10 weeks


year olds


learners per class

per learner - per class

How does aMulti-Daycourse work?

Meets multiple times at scheduled times
Live video chats, recorded and monitored for safety and quality
Discussions via classroom forum and private messages with the teacher
Great for engaging projects and interacting with diverse classmates from other states and countries

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Class Experience

The goal of this Middle School Social Studies series is to build upon the curiosity and enthusiasm that characterizes middle school students as learners. In doing so it is my goal to provide classes that will promote their ability to think critically and creatively, including their ability to intellectually wrestle with authentic, complex, non-standard, cross- disciplinary problems. My specific aim is to provide opportunities for students to develop the intellectual (most importantly - critical thinking), technological, social and participatory skills needed to excel in society so that they may become effective global citizens in an interdependent world.  

I have children in the traditional school system and homeschool my daughter, so I have a good idea of how education is crafted (at least in America!).  I truly believe that this approach, assisting in building student's curiosity, enthusiasm and critical thinking skills, is the best education we can give our children.
I am honored to have spent 15 years working for the FBI and truly believe in its mission to protect the American people and uphold the Constitution of the United States.  Through this employment I developed a deep understanding of ancient history and love to teach it in conjunction with Growth Mindset.  I have lived in Egypt, traveled extensively throughout Central and East Asia and I always love taking students on a journey through the Ancient World.
I understand that students thrive differently - some love homework and some do not.  Since my goal in teaching this course to build enthusiasm and curiosity - I do not assign mandatory homework. I do post 'Optional Homework' assignments every week after class which the students can choose to do or not.  If a student would like the challenge of graded weekly assignments I am happy to grade and give feedback.  Also, I am happy if students want to think up their own assignments!  Below is an example of a post of the Optional Homework:

Week 1:

Optional Homework:

Writing: Write an expository essay explaining the factors that influenced the movement of people, goods and ideas and the effects of that movement on societies and regions over time (e.g., scarcity of resources, conquests, desire for wealth, disease and trade).

Geography: Use maps, charts and graphs to draw a topographic map of an area we talked about today.

Geography #2: Using the bank maps provided place the following cities: Xian, Bursa, Merv, Samarkand, Khotan, Aleppo, Constantinople, Dunhuang, Baghdad, Quanzhou, Isfahan, Nara, Alexandria.

Art: Camels were crucial to success on the Silk Road.  We all know what a camel (kind of) looks like so challenge yourself to research exactly what they look like and draw a detailed rendering.

Research:  Research what items were exchanged on the Silk Road. Where did they come from? Where were they headed? What items were most valuable? 

Reflection: Is trade a good thing?  What can go wrong?  What can go right?

Media: Please watch a BBC documentary on the Silk Road.

Social Emotional Learning: Traders were away from their families for long periods of time with no communication.  Sit and try to think of what it would feel like to not be able to get in contact with your family.  If you know someone in a situation like this try and intentionally support them this week - but talk to your adult person first before doing this!
Learners will not need to use any apps or websites beyond the standard Outschool tools.
This course is not graded and students are not 'assessed', unless a parent would like it to be so.  I would like to give students an opportunity to assess their own learning and reflect on the progress they are making periodically. They can identify their own gaps in skills or knowledge, revise their work, and set realistic goals. This process also helps students stay motivated and interested in their own learning.  ALSO - I want kids to LOVE this class and this topic, so I will be asking for ways in which they would like to alter the format (or keep it the same) to be responsive to their interests.
55 minutes per week in class, and an estimated 0 - 1 hours per week outside of class.
The history of the Ancients is an amazing adventure but does include some sensitive subjects.  These would include assassination, murder, incest (ie: Ancient Egyptian Pharaohs typically married, and produced children, with their daughters and or granddaughters), polytheism and war.  I do not dwell on these topics, of course, but they are critical parts of our Ancient history and so are talked about in class.  I have set the age range from 9-14 and feel comfortable teaching this topic to that age range.  Please take these sensitive topics into account when deciding to take this class.


Kristen J. HendersonCriminology, National Security and Ancient World Studies
834 total reviews
423 completed classes

About Me

Fall 2021 Update: I will be unable to teach on Outschool during Fall 2021 but anticipate being back in January 2022.  It might take some time to response to messages so please bear with me - my family is moving to Japan!

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