The Humanities course challenges 7th graders to become better listeners, speakers, readers, thinkers, and writers through their study of the major cultures of the Middle East, China, India, and ancient Greece.
The course emphasizes geography, religion, and philosophy. Students learn basic geographic vocabulary and explore the Asian continent. By working with various kinds of maps, they learn the relationship between topography, land use, and population. Research projects are structured through the geography curriculum. The course begins in ancient China where students explore the hierarchy of the Confucian family and the dualism of yin and yang through Taoist thought. Moving to India, they compare the Hindu caste system with the American class system and struggle to understand the asceticism of Hinduism. Students enjoy learning to meditate and thinking about the Middle Way of Buddhism as they attempt to find balance in their own lives. As we continue on to the Middle East, students learn the origin of the monotheistic religions of Islam and Christianity and how they are connected to Judaism. The course ends with an introduction to the philosophers of ancient Greece and emphasis is placed on students' active engagement in developing values for themselves. Classes incorporate Arts Across the Curriculum projects in art and music and course content is coordinated with the literature read in English 7.