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Skills available for Massachusetts seventh-grade social studies standards

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Human Origins in Africa through the Neolithic Age

  • 7.1 Describe the great climatic and environmental changes that shaped the earth and eventually permitted the growth of human life.

  • 7.2 Identify sites in Africa where archaeologists have found evidence of the origins of modern human beings and describe what the archaeologists found.

  • 7.3 Describe the characteristics of the hunter-gatherer societies of the Paleolithic Age (their use of tools and fire, basic hunting weapons, beads and other jewelry).

  • 7.4 Explain the importance of the invention of metallurgy and agriculture (the growing of crops and the domestication of animals).

  • 7.5 Describe how the invention of agriculture related to settlement, population growth, and the emergence of civilization.

  • 7.6 Identify the characteristics of civilizations.

    • A the presence of geographic boundaries and political institutions

    • B an economy that produces food surpluses

    • C a concentration of population in distinct areas or cities

    • D the existence of social classes

    • E developed systems of religion, learning, art, and architecture

    • F a system of record keeping

Mesopotamia: Site of Several Ancient River Civilizations, c. 3500-1200 BC/BCE

  • 7.7 On a historical map, locate the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers and identify Sumer, Babylon, and Assyria as successive civilizations and empires in this region, and explain why the region is sometimes called "the Fertile Crescent." On a modern map of western Asia, identify the modern countries in the region (Iraq, Iran, and Turkey).

  • 7.8 Identify polytheism (the belief that there are many gods) as the religious belief of the people in Mesopotamian civilizations.

  • 7.9 Describe how irrigation, metalsmithing, slavery, the domestication of animals, and inventions such as the wheel, the sail, and the plow contributed to the growth of Mesopotamian civilizations.

  • 7.10 Describe the important achievements of Mesopotamian civilization.

  • 7.11 Describe who Hammurabi was and explain the basic principle of justice in Hammurabi's Code ("an eye for an eye").

Egypt: An Ancient River Civilization, c. 3000-1200 BC/BCE

  • 7.12 On a historical map of the Mediterranean region, locate the Mediterranean and Red Seas, the Nile River and Delta, and the areas of ancient Nubia and Egypt. Identify the locations of ancient Upper and Lower Egypt and explain what the terms mean. On a modern map, identify the modern countries of Egypt and Sudan.

  • 7.13 Describe the kinds of evidence that have been used by archeologists and historians to draw conclusions about the social and economic characteristics of Ancient Nubia (the Kingdom of Kush) and their relationship to the social and economic characteristics of Ancient Egypt.

  • 7.14 Describe the role of the pharaoh as god/king, the concept of dynasties, the importance of at least one Egyptian ruler, the relationship of pharaohs to peasants, and the role of slaves in ancient Egypt.

  • 7.15 Describe the polytheistic religion of ancient Egypt with respect to beliefs about death, the afterlife, mummification, and the roles of different deities.

  • 7.16 Summarize important achievements of Egyptian civilization.

Phoenicia, c. 1000-300 BC/BCE

  • 7.17 On a map of the ancient Mediterranean world, locate Greece, Asia Minor, Crete, Phoenicia, the Aegean, and the Red Sea. On a modern map, locate Greece, Crete, Turkey, Lebanon, and Syria.

  • 7.18 Identify the Phoenicians as the successors to the Minoans in dominating maritime trade in the Mediterranean from c. 1000-300 BC/BCE. Describe how the Phoenician writing system was the first alphabet (with 22 symbols for consonants) and the precursor of the first complete alphabet developed by the ancient Greeks (with symbols representing both consonants and vowels).

The Roots of Western Civilization: Ancient Israel, c. 2000 BC/BCE-70 AD/CE

  • 7.19 On a historical map of the Mediterranean, locate Asia Minor, Greece and Mesopotamia, the kingdoms of the Hittites and ancient Israel, and Egypt. On a modern map, locate Egypt, Greece, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, the area governed by the Palestinian Authority, Syria, and Turkey.

  • 7.20 Identify the ancient Israelites, or Hebrews, trace their migrations from Mesopotamia to the land called Canaan, and explain the role of Abraham and Moses in their history.

  • 7.21 Describe the monotheistic religion of the Israelites.

  • 7.22 Describe the unification of the tribes of Israel under Kings Saul, David, and Solomon, including David's founding of Jerusalem as his capital city in 1000 BC/BCE and the building of the first temple by Solomon.

  • 7.23 Explain the expulsion/dispersion of the Jews to other lands (referred to as the Diaspora) after the destruction of the second temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD/CE, and the renaming of the country by the Romans.

The Roots of Western Civilization: Ancient Greece, C. 800–300 BC/BCE

  • 7.24 On a historical map of the Mediterranean area, locate Greece and trace the extent of its influence to 300 BC/BCE. On a modern map of the Mediterranean area, Europe, England, the Middle East, and the Indian subcontinent, locate England, France, Greece, Italy, Spain, and other countries in the Balkan peninsula, Crete, Egypt, India, the Middle East, Pakistan, and Turkey.

  • 7.25 Explain how the geographical location of ancient Athens and other city-states contributed to their role in maritime trade, their colonies in the Mediterranean, and the expansion of their cultural influence.

  • 7.26 Explain why the government of ancient Athens is considered the beginning of democracy and explain the democratic political concepts developed in ancient Greece.

  • 7.27 Compare and contrast life in Athens and Sparta.

  • 7.28 Describe the status of women and the functions of slaves in ancient Athens.

  • 7.29 Analyze the causes, course, and consequences of the Persian Wars, including the origins of marathons.

  • 7.30 Analyze the causes, course, and consequences of the Peloponnesian Wars between Athens and Sparta.

  • 7.31 Describe the rise of Alexander the Great and the spread of Greek culture.

  • 7.32 Describe the myths and stories of classical Greece; give examples of Greek gods and goddesses, heroes, and events, and where and how we see their names used today.

  • 7.33 Explain why the city-states of Greece instituted a tradition of athletic competitions and describe the kinds of sports they featured.

  • 7.34 Describe the purposes and functions of development of Greek institutions such as the lyceum, the gymnasium, and the Library of Alexandria, and identify the major accomplishments of the ancient Greeks.

The Roots of Western Civilization: Ancient Rome, c. 500 BC/BCE-500 AD

  • 7.35 On a historical map, identify ancient Rome and trace the extent of the Roman Empire to 500 AD/CE.

  • 7.36 Explain how the geographical location of ancient Rome contributed to the shaping of Roman society and the expansion of its political power in the Mediterranean region and beyond.

  • 7.37 Explain the rise of the Roman Republic and the role of mythical and historical figures in Roman history.

  • 7.38 Describe the government of the Roman Republic and its contribution to the development of democratic principles, including separation of powers, rule of law, representative government, and the notion of civic duty.

  • 7.39 Describe the influence of Julius Caesar and Augustus in Rome's transition from a republic to an empire and explain the reasons for the growth and long life of the Roman Empire.

    • A Military organization, tactics, and conquests; and decentralized administration

    • B the purpose and functions of taxes

    • C the promotion of economic growth through the use of a standard currency, road construction, and the protection of trade routes

    • D the benefits of a Pax Romana

  • 7.40 Describe the characteristics of slavery under the Romans.

  • 7.41 Describe the origins of Christianity and its central features.

  • 7.42 Explain how inner forces (including the rise of autonomous military powers, political corruption, and economic and political instability) and external forces (shrinking trade, attacks, and invasions) led to the disintegration of the Roman Empire.

  • 7.43 Describe the contribution of Roman civilization to law, literature, poetry, architecture, engineering, and technology (e.g., roads, bridges, arenas, baths, aqueducts, central heating, plumbing, and sanitation).

  • 7.44 Explain the spread and influence of the Roman alphabet and the Latin language, the use of Latin as the language of education for more than 1,000 years, and the role of Latin and Greek in scientific and academic vocabulary.