Fifth Social Studies
Eighth Modern United States History
In the eighth grade history program, Modern United States and World History, students build upon the skills introduced in the seventh grade to examine the twentieth century. During the eighth grade students investigate the domestic and international issues that have shaped the world, giving the class a perspective from which to better understand the present day U.S. and its place in the world. Supplementing the course are map studies, documentary videos, first-hand accounts and related current event articles. This course also emphasizes the development of research and writing techniques through note taking, tests, essays, and a term paper.
The year will be divided into three main sections of study. The first section is entitled War and Conflict. In many ways, war has been the defining characteristic of the 20th century, and we will spend the fall term analyzing many of these conflicts, starting with the Spanish-American War, moving through the two World Wars, and concluding with the Cold War. Rather than focusing solely on the United States, we will use these conflicts as a lens to view the larger world.
The second section of study is entitled Social Movements. In this unit we will look at how people are able to affect great changes in society. We will study the likes of Mohandas Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, and Martin Luther King, Jr., but also many anonymous individuals who fought to make the world a more just place. Among the social movements we will study this year are the Women’s Suffrage movement, de-colonization in India and Africa, and the American Civil Rights movement.
After taking the final exam, the year concludes with the eighth grade research paper. Students, choose the topic they wish to explore in greater depth, and by the end of the year, will have completed a high-quality, high school level paper.
Ninth Ancient Civilizations
9th grade history is a survey of political philosophy, ethics, sociology, and economics, and how these fields of study each inform human solutions for the modern world. The syllabus is designed to provide a historical foundation on which to build a contemporary and empathetic understanding of sustainability (specifically, as outlined by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals) in political, socioeconomic, and environmental contexts. Using pre-civilization, antiquity, and the current geopolitical landscape as vehicles for these conversations, the course seeks to develop individual and collaborative compassion, a capacity for analysis and persuasion, and a solutions-driven mindset to serve students both in their ninth grade and in future studies of history and human interaction.
The first trimester investigates early man and the Neolithic Revolution, exploring the economic and sociological factors that led to the first permanent settlements and civilizations, as well as the effects of permanent human settlement. Greece and Rome provide the underpinnings of the second trimester; students will use extensive primary source material and comparative analytics to learn how and why people are governed. The Harkness-style discussion model will be used extensively in each term, and students will write persuasive essays and complete summative group projects in debate and summit formats to assess skill development and understanding of material. In the final term, students will incorporate what they have learned throughout the year and in other disciplines to create a morally defensible and practical solution to a global sustainability challenge.