Social Studies broaden student perspectives by providing a firm foundation in the basic themes across a diverse range of civilizations, cultures, and countries. The social studies curriculum co-vers Global History, United States History, and Chinese History. Teachers approach the study of history through the use of essential questions that encourage students to think critically about issues of importance in their own lives. Students are encouraged to formulate and express indi-vidual opinions. They develop skills to understand geography, time lines, and dates; recognize cause-and-effect relationships; summarize readings; compare and contrast; and discuss and syn-thesize information from various sources.
The middle school Global History component examines ancient civilizations, including China, Egypt, and Greece. Students learn how these early societies adapted to and learned to control their physical environments; how their religious ideas, forms of government, understanding of natural events, arts, and literature reveal their values and beliefs as a people; and how each civilization developed new ideas in technology, science, architecture, and government.
Students also study the development and spread of civilizations throughout the world. Students will follow societies as they pass from more segmented village life into modern societies. Major figures and events from each period are illuminated. Students are encouraged to reflect on their own cultures and find similarities and differences between societies, both ancient and contemporary.
The middle school U.S. History curriculum focuses on the history of the Americas beginning with a study of two indigenous populations: the Mayans and the Iroquois. Students then study the impact of European exploration and colonization, focusing on the founding of the United States. They also study the United States’ process of growth and eventual emergence as a world power and the tensions this later period brought to people at home and abroad. Students study United States government in practice as the country responds to world wars, the civil rights movement, and globalization.
This course is for students with only a basic knowledge of Chinese language, culture, and history. The course covers foundational topics in Chinese history with a focus on early Chinese history from Pan Gu to the Qing Dynasty. The course uses a thematic approach to Chinese History. Major themes include the fall and decline of each dynasty, inventions and technological advances, contributions to civilization, and the impact of historical figures on the evolution of Chinese culture. While emphasis will be placed on conceptual understanding, students must be able to retell important historical events.