Humanities -
Peoples of the World

Year 1 Theme:
South Asia
Sub-Saharan Africa
Year 2 Theme:
The Americas
Year 3 Theme:
Year 1 Theme:
Pattern & Diversity
Year 2 Theme:
Energy & Motion
Year 3 Theme:
Systems & Structures
Our three-year program in Humanities seeks to help students discover the myriad ways in which all people are similar and to celebrate the ways in which we are different. We do this by examining each major area of the world through six lenses: geographic, historic, religious, cultural, social, and economic.

We seek to accomplish the above through a wide selection of fiction and non-fiction readings, by the peoples we are studying, if possible, through guest lectures and slide shows by natives or guest of these countries, through video and film presentations, through magazines and newspapers. The students study the foods and prepare them for each other, enjoy music, dance, and the arts by going out into the community to public performances. Each year we mount a significant production which acts as a vehicle for the integration of the program and for cooperative growth.

In Year 1, our theme is pattern and diversity in nature and in human civilization. In Science, students study the rock cycle, plate tectonics, paleontology and the fossil record, evolution, and genetics. In Humanities, our focus is the geography and culture of South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and China. Throughout we ask questions such as "What causes change?" "Why do things sometimes stay the same?" "Can creatures, cultures, and landscapes be said to be making progress?"

Our theme for Year 2 is energy and motion. In Science, this means studying Newtonian Mechanics, electricity, waves (light, sound, water), and renewable energy. In Humanities, our focus is on the Americas, with special attention to U.S. history and the indigenous people of the Northwest Coast. Throughout, we ask questions such as, "Why do humans divide, classify, and sort?" "When is revolution justified?" "How has energy been a catalyst for change?"

During Year 3, Seniors repeatedly encounter systems and structures. Along with the Humanities focus on Eurasia they study the world's first cities and consider what makes cities "work" today; they explore the structure of ecosystems, biology, chemistry, the human nervous and endocrine systems, and the strength of materials; they examine the content and consequences of different systems of belief; they use metal, clay, and glass to explore writing and architecture.

SENIOR SEMINAR: Small, mixed-age groups, meeting 3 times per week, are dedicated to the understanding of human nature through the study of meaningful text and of the world around us.