Social Studies

Social studies broaden student perspectives by providing a foundation in basic historical themes across a diverse range of civilizations, cultures, and countries. The social studies curriculum covers Global History and Geography, United States History and Government, 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 individual opinions. They develop the skills to understand geography, timelines, and dates; recognize cause-and-effect relationships; summarize readings; compare and contrast; and interpret primary source materials.

Introduction to Global History and Geography

Introduction to Global History and Geography examines ancient civilizations, including China, Egypt, India, 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, sciences, 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.

Introduction to U.S. History and Government

The Introduction to U.S. History and Government 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.

Introduction to Chinese History

The Introduction to Chinese History curriculum is designed for students with little or no knowledge of the Chinese language, Chinese culture, and Chinese history. It covers foundational topics in Chinese history with a focus on early Chinese history from Pan Gu to the Qing Dynasty. It uses a thematic approach to teach Chinese history, with the major themes including: the fall and decline of each dynasty, inventions and technological advancements, contributions to civilization, and the impact of historical figures on the evolution of Chinese culture. Emphasis is placed on understanding key concepts along with the ability to retell important historical events.