Eighth Grade West Virginia Studies engages students in the comprehensive study of West Virginia, from the Pre-Columbian period to the present day. Special emphasis is placed on the interdependence of geographic, cultural, political, environmental and economic factors affecting the development and future of the state. Students develop empathy for citizens worldwide as they demonstrate connections and loyalty to homeland. Students are actively engaged citizens of their school and community and develop national and global civic perspective and responsibility. Students become economically literate to understand West Virginia’s global connectivity in the marketplace both as a producer and a consumer of international goods and services. Students synthesize their information to predict the future development and evolution of their state.


Demonstrate patriotism through the planning, participation and observance of important anniversaries and remembrances (e.g., Pearl Harbor, Veterans’ Day, Constitution Day and Patriots Day).


Evaluate how citizens can influence and participate in government at the local, state and national levels and assume the role of an active citizen participating in the democratic process (e.g., lobbying, voting, community service, letter writing and school elections).


Identify, analyze and evaluate the responsibilities, privileges and rights of citizens of the state of West Virginia found in the state and national constitutions.


Differentiate between the division of powers and responsibilities for each of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the United States and West Virginia governments, describe the system of checks and balances, and explore local forms of government.

  • Analyze the functions and jurisdictions of the federal, state, local and special courts (e.g., United States Supreme Court, state supreme court, circuit courts, magistrate courts and family courts).
  • Cite the elected officials at the national, state and local levels, the constitutional requirements for election and responsibilities of each office.
  • Explain the amendment process of the West Virginia Constitution, give examples of amendments, and explain their purpose.
  • Explain the process of how a bill becomes a law in West Virginia.
  • Identify and explain the various types of elections in West Virginia (e.g., primary/general, state/local and partisan/non-partisan).
  • Compare and contrast the relationship and function of local, county, state and national governments.


Predict the outcome of selected proposed bills in a current legislative session and assume the role of a lawmaker in a mock legislature to pass a bill into law.


Evaluate West Virginia’s role in the global economy as it relates to natural resources and national/ international business and trade.


Correlate West Virginia economic conditions with the effects on its citizens (e.g., employment, population, migration and health).


Analyze the impact of absentee ownership, renewable and nonrenewable natural resources, labor unionization and the development of infrastructure on the economic growth of West Virginia (e.g., railroad, major highways, internet and cellular service).


Research and cite industries and products that are vital to the economy of the four regions of West Virginia both past and present, and categorize the related occupations (e.g., tourism, coal, glass, timber, chemical, oil, natural gas, agriculture service industries and gaming).


Identify major sources of revenue and their use by West Virginia state and local governments (e.g., property tax, income tax, licenses, excise tax, severance tax, levies/bonds, gaming and lottery).


Compare and contrast the effects of technological/industrial advances as they relate to economy vs. environment and their effects on the demographic profile of West Virginia (e.g., entrepreneurial businesses, agriculture, tourism, education, interstate commuters, mining and natural gas).


Examine financial aid planning opportunities and programs to help students and families make sound college savings decisions.

  • Differentiate between the categories of financial aid (merit-based assistance, need-based assistance, grants, scholarships, work study, loans, self-help aid).
  • Explore West Virginia’s SMART 529 program and other college saving plans.
  • Create a Financial Aid and College Savings Plan utilizing free resources such as CFWV’s Financial Aid Calculators, Scholarship Finder, and Financial Aid Wizard.
  • Construct a personal budget that includes college savings.


Label the four major physical geographic regions, major rivers, landforms, natural/manmade borders, points of interest and bordering states on selected maps.


Identify the 55 counties and major cities of West Virginia on a map and explain the reason for the development of the major cities in their respective locations.


Investigate climate, landforms, natural resources and population density in West Virginia’s geographical regions using special purpose maps and evaluate the impact of people’s lives and settlement patterns using Geographical Information Systems, topographical maps, climate and census maps.


Illustrate how technological advances have affected the cultural isolation of West Virginia (e.g., worldwide web, satellite communications, electronic devices and social media).


Analyze the geographic factors that led to development of agricultural, coal, glass, chemical, metallurgic and tourism industries in West Virginia (e.g., floods and coal mining disasters).


Identify West Virginia’s exact and relative location on a variety of maps and globes by using correct geographic vocabulary and graphic displays (e.g., neighboring states, Tropic of Capricorn, time zones and Equator).


Identify the nine distinct tourist regions in the state of West Virginia and analyze which geographic factors influence each region.


Demonstrate an understanding of the settlement of Western Virginia and the United States by Native Americans and Europeans.

  • Differentiate between the cultures and daily life of the Native Americans.
  • Summarize the history of European exploration and settlement in western Virginia from the first endeavor of John Lederer through the settlement period including Morgan and other important explorers and settlers.
  • Explain the role of western Virginia in the French and Indian War.


Demonstrate an understanding of the American Revolution, including western Virginia’s part in the development of the nation.

  • Compare and contrast the perspectives and roles of different western Virginians during the American Revolution including those of political leaders, soldiers, patriots, Tories/Loyalists, women and Native Americans.
  • Identify the key conflicts, battles and people of the American Revolution in western Virginia and their effects on the area (e.g., Battle of Point Pleasant, Siege of Fort Henry, Attacks at Fort Randolph and Fort Donnally).
  • Summarize events related to the adoption of Virginia’s constitutional conventions, the role of western Virginia and its leaders in the Continental Congress, and the ratification of the U.S. Constitution.
  • Explain the economic and political tensions between the people of western and eastern Virginia including the economic struggles of both groups following the American Revolution and their disagreement over representation.


Demonstrate an understanding of the American Civil War including its causes, effects and the major events that led to West Virginia statehood.

  • Explain the effect of key events leading to western Virginia’s separation from Virginia after secession (e.g., First and Second Wheeling Conventions and John Brown’s Raid).
  • Describe the moral, ethical and legal tensions that led to the creation of the new state of West Virginia and how these tensions were resolved (e.g., Virginia vs. West Virginia 1871).
  • Compare and contrast the military strategies of the North and South with regard to specific events and geographic locations in West Virginia (e.g., the Battle of Philippi, Rich Mountain, Droop Mountain, Battle of Scary Creek and Battle of Carnifex Ferry).
  • Identify significant contributions of men and women of West Virginia during the Civil War and identify the roles of ethnic and racial minorities.


Demonstrate an understanding of major social, political and economic developments that took place in West Virginia during the second half of the nineteenth century.

  • Identify the types of transportation that facilitated the growth of West Virginia.
  • Compare and contrast the West Virginia Constitutions of 1862 and 1872.
  • Summarize the changes that occurred in West Virginia agriculture and industry during the late nineteenth century, including changes in family life in various regions and the growth of industry.
  • Explain the significance of increased immigration into the United States in the late nineteenth century to West Virginia, including cultural and economic contributions of immigrants, opportunities and struggles experienced by immigrants, increased racial hostility and the effect of racial and ethnic diversity on national identity.


Demonstrate an understanding of West Virginia’s development during the early twentieth century.

  • Analyze the evolution of the labor movement in West Virginia.
  • Summarize the progressive reform movement in West Virginia (e.g., child labor laws, Prohibition, improvements to roads, hospitals, libraries, tax reforms, changes to local government systems and the roles of significant individuals and groups).
  • Summarize the political, social and economic situation in West Virginia following World War I, including progress in suffrage for women, improvements in daily life in urban/rural areas, Roaring 20’s and developments in industry.
  • Explain the effects of the Great Depression and the lasting impact of New Deal programs on West Virginia, including the Homestead Projects.


Demonstrate an understanding of West Virginia’s development during the mid-twentieth century.

  • Summarize the significant aspects of the economic and industrial growth experienced by West Virginia during World War II (e.g., chemical industry, steel industry and coal industry).
  • Evaluate the sequence and analyze the impact of contemporary social, economic and technological developments on people and culture in West Virginia.
  • Identify the labor/management strategies that have affected West Virginia’s economy (e.g., strikes, boycotts, yellow-dog contracts, injunctions and lock-outs).
  • Explain the economic, social, and political impact of twentieth century events on West Virginia (e.g., school integration, Civil Rights Movement, Cold War and Vietnam).


Demonstrate an understanding of West Virginia in the modern era.

  • Compile lists of fairs and festivals in West Virginia that can be attributed to the influence of various cultural groups who have settled in the state, explaining the heritage of the fair or festival and its significance to the preservation of West Virginia history.
  • Analyze the economic, social and political impact of the late twentieth century and twenty-first century events on West Virginia (e.g., terrorism, Gulf War, Iraq War and War in Afghanistan).