Ancient Civilizations

This 30 week class will introduce Middle School students to the rich history of the world. Students will study the history of mankind from ancient Egypt through the Renaissance. Topics include ancient Egypt, ancient China, Mesopotamia, Babylonia, the Maya, the Indus Valley, the Greeks, the Romans, the Vikings, the Middle Ages, feudal Japan, the Mongols, the Renaissance, the Reformation, and early explorers. Students will produce visual, written and oral projects to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the subjects. Geography and current events will regularly be incorporated into the lessons.

Studying history helps us to think strategically. In the case of the Roman Empire, for example, it provides a case study of how large, diverse states work. We learn how Rome achieved a measure of peace and prosperity, but not without exacting a bloody price from peoples who wanted their independence. We learn how the empire survived by changing, with an ethnic and cultural diversity that would have shocked its founders. We discover why and how Rome eventually fell in the West while surviving in the East. And all the while we look at ourselves in the light of events gone by, asking who we are and where we are going.

History well told is beautiful. Many of the historians who most appeal to the general reading public know the importance of dramatic and skillful writing—as well as of accuracy. Biography and military history appeal in part because of the tales they contain. History as art and entertainment serves a real purpose, on aesthetic grounds but also on the level of human understanding. Stories well done are stories that reveal how people and societies have actually functioned, and they prompt thoughts about the human experience in other times and places. The same aesthetic and humanistic goals inspire people to immerse themselves in efforts to reconstruct quite remote pasts, far removed from immediate, present-day utility. Exploring what historians sometimes call the “pastness of the past”—the ways people in distant ages constructed their lives—involves a sense of beauty and excitement, and ultimately another perspective on human life and society.

Class Homework Assignments: Class Activities, on-line quizzes, Reading at home, class presentations


Time:  12:55 – 2:25
Grades: 4 – 6
Class Fee: $340
Books and Supply Fee: $65
Tutor: Laura Pickett