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8th Grade History: Topics on World History B

8th Grade History: Topics on World History B

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Quick Overview

This 8th Grade history course surveys World History from prehistoric to modern times. This course focuses on the story of the past from the fourteenth century to 1917 and the beginning of World War I. The course is organized chronologically and, within broad eras, regionally. Lessons explore developments in religion, philosophy, the arts, and science and technology, as well as introduce geography concepts and skills as they appear in the context of the historical narrative.

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Course Overview

This 8th Grade history course surveys World History from prehistoric to modern times. This course focuses on the story of the past from the fourteenth century to 1917 and the beginning of World War I. The course is organized chronologically and, within broad eras, regionally. Lessons explore developments in religion, philosophy, the arts, and science and technology.

The course introduces geography concepts and skills as they appear in the context of the historical narrative. Major topics of study include:

  • The cultural rebirth of Europe in the Renaissance
  • The Reformation and Counter-Reformation
  • The rise of Islamic empires
  • Changing civilizations in China, Japan, and Russia
  • The Age of Exploration, and the civilizations that had been flourishing in the Americas for hundreds of years prior to encounters with Europeans
  • The changes that came with the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment
  • Democratic revolutions of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries
  • The Industrial Revolution and its consequences
  • Nineteenth century nationalism and imperialism
  • The remarkable transformations in communications and society at the turn of the twentieth century

Course Outline

Beginning

History is the study of the human past, the story of change over time. It's a story based on evidence. Our physical world is the setting that helps shape the story, and real people are its heroes. Historians ask questions about all of these elements. Why did Europeans of the Middle Ages build cathedrals? How did the shoguns of Japan maintain their power? What inspired explorers to set sail across the seas? Join our odyssey through history. The questions are endless; the answers, amazing.

  • Getting Started

A Renaissance Begins in Europe

Most Europeans lost touch with classical Greece and Rome in the centuries after the fall of the Roman empire. They lost touch with each other and with Asia when trade declined. But in Italy, there were constant reminders of what had been. People used stones from the Colosseum to build their homes. They walked beneath great aqueducts, and scholars still read classical works. When the plague subsided and trade picked up in the fourteenth century, Italian artists, scholars, and authors were ready to try out new ideas, and there were merchants who could afford to help them. We know this period of enormous achievement as the Renaissance.

  • Europe Reborn: Discovering Greece and Rome
  • Cities Spur Change
  • Genius in Florence
  • Rome Revived

The Spread of New Ideas

The Renaissance wasn't limited to Italy, and it wasn't limited to new styles of art and literature. Ideas spread north from Italy and artists and thinkers across Northern Europe used those ideas to create their own distinct styles. Renaissance ideas spread into other fields as well. Ideas that we take for granted today in politics and religion came about during the Renaissance. Machiavelli questioned the political world, while Luther and Calvin questioned the practices and beliefs of the Christian Church and the Church examined itself. Europe and the world would never be the same.

  • The Renaissance Beyond Italy
  • The Reformation Splits Christendom
  • The Counter-Reformation and Beyond

New Powers in Asia

While European culture grew and redefined itself, political and cultural changes occurred in Asia, too. Almost every part of Asia had suffered hardship during Mongol rule. Now, each region developed its own political and cultural identity. Great Muslim empires rose in Western and Southern Asia, and the religious differences within Islam led to political conflict in some places. Farther east in China, the Ming dynasty achieved greatness and supported tremendous cultural accomplishment. In Japan, a feudal system maintained control. And in Russia, rulers borrowed cultural ideas that would become distinctly Russian.

  • Three Islamic Empires
  • Ming China and Feudal Japan
  • Russia Rising

Europe Seeks Asia and Meets the Americas

Asia had much to offer and Europeans knew it. But how could they get the spices, silks, porcelain, and all the rest? The Ottomans controlled the ancient Silk Road, and it was terribly dangerous to travel through mountains and deserts anyway. But what if ships could sail to Asia and back again? New ship design and new navigation aids might make such trips possible. The race was on. The explorers and those who sent them knew what they were after. They had no idea that they would actually find whole worlds unknown to them. At the same time, the people of the powerful empires across the seas knew nothing of Europe or Asia or Africa. They had no idea what was about to happen.

  • Portugal and Spain Explore, and the Age of Exploration
  • Filling in the Map
  • Old Civilizations

Exploration Changes the World

Gold, glory, and God. The Spanish and Portuguese conquistadors and their sponsors knew what their goals were, and they were willing to go to great lengths to achieve them. Guns and germs helped them defeat two great empires. But the conquistadors could not have predicted the long-term and often unintended consequences of their actions. Farming changed on three continents. Diets changed. Thousands of people willingly crossed the oceans to start new lives. Millions were kidnapped and forced to cross the oceans as slaves. And millions more died of disease and abuse. We still feel the consequences today.

  • Clash of Civilizations
  • The Spanish and Portuguese Empires
  • The Columbian Exchange
  • Songhai, Benin, and the New Slave Trade

Changing Empires, Changing Ideas

Elizabeth I was quite a woman and quite a ruler. One of England's most powerful monarchs, she had an entire age named for her, and the explorations she sponsored led to the colonies that became the United States. But England faced difficult times after Elizabeth, and a political revolution there meant that no English monarch would ever again have so much power. At the same time, a revolution in science changed the way people think and started modern times.

Additional Information

Course Length 12 Months
Prerequisites N/A
Course Materials No
Course Start Date

Independent Study Courses

Courses can be started any day for independent study courses without a teacher. Full-year courses last 12 months and semester courses last 6 months.

 

Courses Taught by a K12 Teacher

Courses with a teacher have designated start dates throughout Fall and Spring. Full-year courses last 10 months and semester courses last 5 months. Courses are taught by teachers in K12 International Academy. For details on start dates, click here.

Teacher Assisted This course is available in two forms: taught by a teacher or designed for independent use. This teacher-supported course is taught through K12 International Academy. It is also available as independent study, where a parent will guide the course.
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To use this course, you'll need a computer with an Internet connection.  Some courses require additional free software programs, which you can download from the Internet.

Hardware and Browsers (Minimum Recommendations)

Windows OS

  • CPU: 1.8 GHz or faster processor (or equivalent)

  • RAM: 1GB of RAM

  • Browser: Microsoft Internet Explorer 9.0 or higher, Mozilla Firefox 10.0 versions or higher, Chrome 17.0 or higher

  • At this time our users are encouraged not to upgrade to Windows 10 or Edge (the new browser)

 

Mac OS

  • CPU: PowerPC G4 1 GHz or faster processor; Intel Core Duo 1.83 GHz or faster processor

  • RAM: 1GB of RAM

  • Browser: Firefox 10.0 versions or higher, Chrome 17.0 or higher (Safari is not supported!)

Using  Mobile Devices with the Online School

Unfortunately, many portable devices do not support the software products required to run the Online School. These devices may include (but not limited to): Chromebooks, iPads, iPhones, iPods, Kindles, eReaders, and Andriod phones.

Internet Connections

It is highly recommended that a broadband connection be used instead of dial up.