In addition to their work in Central Study, 6th through 8th graders participate in one class per week that, regardless of the year’s theme, focuses on U.S. history and current events. Over the course of three years, students gain a familiarity with basic United States geography, history, and government. Each year contains a major trip: sixth graders spend three days in Williamsburg and Jamestown; seventh graders spend a day in Philadelphia at the Constitution Center; and eighth graders visit the United Nations.
Through readings and discussions, 6th-8th grade students engage in the big ideas, dynamics, relationships, and ethics surrounding the following major topics:
- the driving forces that led people to North America during the 17th and 18th centuries, the causes of the American Revolution, and the framing of the U.S. Constitution;
- the Bill of Rights and its application to contemporary Supreme Court cases;
- the history and impact of the institution of slavery on U.S. History;
- the historical events leading up to the Civil War and through Reconstruction;
- major events in 20th-century U.S. history, including World War I, World War II, the Great Depression, the Cold War, the Women’s Movement, and the Civil Rights Movement;
- the structure and operation of our federal, state, and local governments.