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Social Studies

In the middle school, students study history to learn about the triumphs and tragedies of the past while making authentic connections to the present. These historical explorations are designed to help our middle school students better understand their own place in the world so that they may become compassionate, ethical leaders in their communities and engaged, empathetic citizens of the world. Our students study select historical topics deeply, focusing on developing research and study skills as well as the critical reading and writing skills needed for academic success. By continually challenging students to consider the “what if” scenarios of historical events, the classroom becomes a dynamic, student-centered forum of dialogue and debate, where critical thinking is developed and where a passion for the study of history is fostered. Through collaborative, project-based learning, independent research, and informed discussion, students will build upon the foundational skills of the lower school while preparing for the scholastic rigors and increased independence of the upper school.  

Class 6

In Class 6, students study the early development of American democracy. Focusing on Native American history and culture, the slave trade, European colonization, the Revolutionary era, and the construction of a new democratic government, students consider several geographic, political, and social themes as they develop a sense of the conflicting roots of our American society and examine how these roots still impact us today. Class 6 American History is meant to engage, to challenge, and to ignite the students’ passion for the study of history, while laying a firm foundation of skills and habits needed for further success as a history student.

Class 7: American History

In Class 7, students are challenged to understand United States history from the Civil War era through the Civil Rights Movement. By studying several topics of modern America, students analyze how the principles of American democracy have been continually challenged in an effort to create, in President Lincoln’s words, “a more perfect Union.” By considering thematic topics of civil rights and responsibilities, industrialization, social change, and America’s global role, students think critically, work collaboratively, and write persuasively about the complex issues of the past that continue to influence the United States today.

Class 8

In Class 8, students study various world cultures through the lens of geography. Using a “case study” approach to learning, this student-centered course engages the student to understand and interact with the cultures of the world through a series of stimulating, thought-provoking activities and projects. Focusing on contemporary Latin America, Africa, Asia, Europe, Oceania, and North America, students conduct and present research, both individually and collaboratively, on specific cultures as well as on the current events impacting our world today. Continually striving to make critical connections among geography, culture, and events, students are provided with the necessary research tools and study skills to succeed in the upper school history program while building a deeper understanding of, and a greater respect for, the richly diverse traditions and cultures of our world.


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