Humanities

Our humanities curriculum helps students develop the traditional skills of critical reading, persuasive writing, analytical thinking, and research, within the context of learning about the past. These skills help students analyze situations through a historical lens. Humanities classes in the Middle School are a combination of literacy and social studies based on the premise that students become more engaged readers and more prolific writers if they are deeply immersed in their curricular content. History and social studies continue to be at the core of the curriculum as students engage in in-depth investigations of cultures from around the world. One goal of the Middle School humanities curriculum is to tie together contemporaneously occurring events around the world. Overarching questions include: Whose story is being told? How does conflict shape history? How has technology changed history? Course topics may change from year to year based on teacher and student interest.

Field trips play an integral role in our curriculum as students take full advantage of all that New York City has to offer. Visits may include the Cloisters, The American Museum of Natural History, The Asia Society, and the New York Historical Society. The purpose of these excursions is not just to view art and artifacts related to their studies, but also to provide children with primary experiences to help answer questions such as: How can art provide us with insights into belief systems and ways of life?

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS

  • What are the roles, rights, and responsibilities of people in society?
  • What are the threads of continuity and change throughout history?
  • How do the beliefs and values of a diverse culture affect individuals and society?
  • What happens when cultures collide?
  • What impact does trade have on a culture?
  • Who has access to power?
  • How did major scientific, mathematical, and technological advances affect society?
  • What insights can historical narrative teach us about the current day?