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Level: 6th grade
Description: Sixth-grade students learn about the Eastern Hemisphere and how its ancient civilizations emerged, grew, and changed with time. The legacy of each of those civilizations is presented in a unit approach, which develops skills students need to comprehend both social studies and other subjects. Units focus on geography, time, critical thinking, reading, writing, and research. History units parallel literature studies in order to give students a “big picture” perspective to enhance comprehension and understanding of a work. The course as a whole pursues the underlying theme that our basic needs (food, clothing, and shelter) determine many of the characteristics of a society. Purposeful reading, note-taking, outlining, and study skills are emphasized throughout the year. Students also engage in self-directed research projects, culminating in oral presentations which may be enhanced by visual aids, creative writing, poetry, and music.
Level: 7th grade
Description: Geographic literacy is vital for an understanding of our global community and is reflected in the focus of this course. Students begin the year studying map literacy, climate, vegetation, human perspectives of population and culture, and the uses of land and resources. During the remainder of the year, they apply these concepts as they “journey” through the world’s ten cultural regions. Students gain a global perspective on how people depend on, adapt to, are affected by, and change the natural environment, today and in history.
Level: 8th grade
Description: The course emphasizes the revolutionary founding of the United States, the advent of the constitutional system, and the Civil War period. Primary document analysis is the core skill developed in this course. Students practice sourcing, contextualization, close reading, and corroboration of various historical documents. Students develop an understanding of cause and effect relationships, and they analyze the various sides of conflicts and the resolution of those conflicts. Students practice and are assessed on the skill of making well- evidenced arguments in oral and written forms, which includes both the presentation of factual material and the explanation and analysis of those facts.