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.
Seventh Early United States History
In the seventh grade history course, Early United States History, students begin their study of the principles and guidelines on which this nation was founded and built. A main goal is for the students to view American history as not just a series of events, but also to understand their causes and consequences in the development of the United States. Through outlines, quizzes, tests and a term paper, this course also emphasizes the development of reading, note-taking, writing, research and other organizational skills.
The text for this course is America: Pathways to the Present. The class begins with an introductory review of several important skills: map use, note-taking, outlining and how to read a text. This is followed by a brief look at the native peoples of North America and the Age of Exploration. The term concludes with a study of European colonization, with a particular focus on the English colonies.
In the winter the students examine life in the thirteen English colonies, the breakdown of British/colonial relations, and the American Revolution. Winter term concludes with the development of the independent American government, and in-depth study of the Constitution.
The spring term begins with a study of the growing young nation, the strengthening of the federal government, and the expansion of democracy during the Jacksonian period. Much of the middle part of this term is devoted to research and writing of a term paper as the class studies the westward expansion, the Mexican War, and the problems of maintaining the balance between the North and South. The year concludes with a study of the Civil War.