The History department’s goals for Middle School students include the introduction of problem-solving techniques, research skills, and critical thinking skills. Map reading, statistics, and graph and chart interpretation are also introduced. Students are taught to distinguish between primary and secondary sources and are exposed to a variety of assessment methods. They develop time-management skills and effective study methods and learn the proper form for research papers. Sixth graders spend much of their time studying geography, which is carried over into seventh grade. During the first semester of the seventh grade, local issues (Washington State history) are emphasized, while the second semester looks at global issues such as borders and immigration. In eighth grade students explore the development of belief systems and ethics by looking at world religions - in the past and today.

Courses in this department:

Geography (Sixth Grade)

Geography surveys the world from the perspectives of physical, cultural, and economic geography, providing a foundation for further regional studies and Washington State history in seventh grade. Physical geography is the focus of first semester and human geography the focus of second. Particular attention is given to human interaction with the planet, forces shaping landforms (weather, climate zones, and ecosystems), demography, and resource distribution and utilization. Students learn about the influence of geography upon local and regional history as they improve their geographical literacy and apply concepts from the aforementioned areas of study. Students learn to create and interpret maps and charts to express data.

Washington State and American Studies (Seventh Grade)

How can we better understand our roles as citizens and leaders? This course provides students with the analytic skills and factual knowledge necessary to deal critically with the problems and concepts of the past and present in both Washington State and in the United States as a whole. Close attention is paid to the roles individuals play in the political, social, and economic systems of Washington State and the U.S. Students develop skills for historical analysis and responsible citizenship by identifying, analyzing, and interpreting primary and secondary source documents, records, and data. Through a number of hands-on inquiry-based research projects, students formulate historical questions and defend their findings. Students develop skills in discussion, debate, and persuasive writing with respect to enduring issues and determine how divergent viewpoints are addressed and reconciled. The overarching goal of the class is to prepare students to be actively engaged in the local, state, national, and global communities of which they are a part.

World Religions (Eighth Grade)

The course focuses on the religious and ethical traditions of ancient and pre-industrial cultures around the world. Our goals are to understand the key concepts and values that underlie these traditions and to consider the importance of religious and ethical thinking to the human experience. We examine the continued influence of these traditions on the modern world and where possible meet practitioners of contemporary forms of these traditions. Traditions considered include Mesopotamia and Egypt, Classical Antiquity, The Abrahamic Traditions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam), West African, Mesoamerican, and East and South Asian traditions.

Current Events and Media Literacy

Second semester

With the development of social, online and other media as sources of news and information, now more than ever it is important for students to be aware of how the medium shapes the message. Students increasingly consume news via social networks, online content providers, blogs, and humorous or satirical programs and sites that blur traditional lines between news, entertainment and education. Consistent with our mission to foster socially responsible global citizenship, this course aims to increase student awareness of the issues (both technological and social) involved in contemporary news production and consumption and to empower students to become informed, critical consumers and producers of information.

Courses Not Offered 2017-2018

The Election: From Convention to Inauguration

The Historical Detective