MS Social Studies

Geography and World Cultures (Grade 6)

Students will explore various regions of the world through the lens of the five themes of geography: location, physical and cultural characteristics of place, movement, human-environmental interaction and region. The goal is to examine the connections between places, and the complex relationships between people and their environments. This course aims to provide students with information and perspectives with which to understand themselves, their relationship to the earth, and their interdependence with people from diverse cultures and places.

Ancient History (Grade 7)

Covering world history from the Prehistoric Age through the fall of Rome, this year-long survey course is designed to give students a better grounding in the origins, archetypes and development of ancient cultures. The course emphasizes the scientific, political, philosophical and technological achievements specific to each era. Reading, research, organization and presentation skills are highlighted.

American Studies (Grade 8)

American Studies breaks from a traditional text and chronologically driven course to explore the American experience through themes. The course utilizes a variety of resources ranging from literature to primary documents. The first theme revolves around the concept of government and explores the question "Why do governments exist?" through historical examples and applications. The second theme examines the founding of American government through a more historical lens and primary documents, focusing on the issues faced by the founding generations. Finally, students explore case studies reflecting the struggle and contradictions of providing for equality, individual freedom and general welfare throughout American history with an eye to our constitutional rights and responsibilities. This course is intended to both build on and complete the middle school experience and to stretch toward what lies ahead in upper school. The course emphasizes the development of multiple skills including time management, critical reading and writing, public speaking and expression, and research.

American Studies Seminar (Grade 8)

This course extends the existing American Studies curriculum. While respecting and building on the strengths of the current American Studies course, this pilot program will accommodate the interests of especially-committed students who have the ambition to deepen their 8th grade social studies experience.

This course will be distinguished by the level of analysis, problem solving, critical thinking, and writing and speaking skills. Using both the regular American Studies course's textbook and advanced supplemental readings, this course assumes participants can work above grade level using an expanded vocabulary and strong reading comprehension, allowing a more accelerated pace and concentrated focus.

Assignments and activities will include more open-ended inquiry requiring the ability to conduct independent research, weigh opposing viewpoints, think critically at a deep level, and to take intellectual risks. All activities occur in the context of a more rigorous and reflective academic setting.

Impact (Grade 8)

Impact is a course for students interested in extending the curriculum. Designed as an 8th grade minor, the curriculum for this year-long course is divided into two semesters. The first trimester of the course will be guided by the instructor. Students will complete a research-based project that involves the design thinking approach. The project will focus on solving a complex, real-world topic that impacts a large population. Students will learn strategic planning, project management, the importance of journal writing, and collaboration as they discover solutions.

During the remainder of the course, students will generate topics of impact based on personal research and design thinking. From this list, the class will decide on the issue of greatest impact they would like to solve. Students will complete a project proposal, and engage in the design thinking process to resolve the issue. The class will culminate in an end-of-year capstone project where students present their findings. The presentation will take place in front of an authentic audience.



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