Grades six through eight are a natural crossroads already existing between lower school and upper school education, between childhood and adolescence, and between an understanding of the concrete and an ability to tackle the abstract. Therefore, Middle School History lessons and activities are written to develop upper-level thinking skills and also inspire a love of history. Students in middle school are called upon to analyze events and defend their analyses. Several lessons focus on what life was like during a certain period of time or how historical events affect them as individuals. The curriculum provides activities that students of various levels of ability and interest can find both challenging and rewarding. While many of the activities culminate in some form of written work, other assignments include working on multimedia presentations, maps, and debates. Students are called upon to gather information from many resources and write clearly about what they have learned. No skill is taught in a vacuum. Perhaps most importantly, students are given the opportunity to act as historians. Throughout the curriculum many primary sources are presented, such as speeches, personal accounts of events, and political cartoons. Teachers may have to help students figure out the more difficult passages, but it is important that every student participates in viewing the past through primary source materials as well as his or her own eyes.
History 6 | Digging the Past: Foundations of History
How do we know what we know about history? The past is often difficult to read and understand, so a good historian must interpret the events of the past to help accurately retell what happened. Historians often need to look at multiple perspectives, analyze primary sources, create a claim supported by evidence, and piece together the historical context of a situation in order to understand the past. What better place to start than understanding the human foundations of our world? In History 6, we begin by honing our analytical talents through historical skill-building, enhance our understanding of world geography and how it intersects with human development, and explore the development of civilization and governments over time, focusing on both Mediterranean and Mesoamerican civilizations in the ancient world. The course will finish with an examination of European contact and early American colonization. At the end of this year, students will become increasingly comfortable with the critical skills and conceptual foundations necessary to study history successfully at MPH.
History 7 | Pivotal Points in United States History
Why did American colonists fight a revolution against the British Empire? How did the new American citizens decide that their government was failing and write, in one summer, a Constitution that is still in use over 220 years later? How did that government almost fall apart during the Civil War? By forgoing the usual “survey” approach to history and examining just a few periods – the “pivotal points” – we find out what makes history both exciting and crucial. Primary sources are stressed throughout the year, and students write, edit and revise analytical, narrative and creative assignments. Give me liberty or give me death!
History 8 | Current Events Literacy
Too often, reading a news article or watching the news on TV is like arriving late to a movie that happens to be in another language. You may catch a few good action scenes, but will probably leave the theater unsure of what just happened. To effectively comprehend world events today, it is necessary to critically examine their historical roots and grapple with a variety of viewpoints. In this course, we will focus on themes of identity, conflict, and social responsibility. The course spans the 20th century to present, from politics to social reform, allowing students to identify similar events and issues throughout history. This course will be grounded in the concrete experiences and situations of people of color in the United States, Latin America, Asia, and Africa. We will cover events such as the Civil Rights movement, the Cuban Revolution, the Iranian Revolution and South African apartheid. The major purpose of this course is to educate students to be politically, socially, and economically conscious about their connections to local, national, and global history. By the end of the year, students will have analyzed an assortment of primary and secondary source documents, become curators of creative projects, and completed a variety of written works.