Social Studies/History

Middle School students working together in class

At Blake, students come to think of themselves as citizens of the world. They develop global competence through social studies courses. These courses also reinforce core academic skills and moral values:

  • research, creativity, critical thinking, effective communication and problem-solving; and
  • openness to experience, empathy and awareness of the value of multiple perspectives.

Students gain knowledge of the world and of others' experiences. They also learn ways they can contribute to being change agents in their communities.

Understanding Your Place In The World:
Grades Pre-K Through 5

Lower School students study cultural universals including community, shelter, transportation, family, equality and fairness. They learn to draw connections between social studies and their own experiences. Course projects –such as inquiry and research on declining bee populations, study of diverse families, social action research on water supply in our local region– enrich students' understanding of local-to-global and global-to-local connections.

Topic Areas

Broadening Horizons: Grades 6 Through 8

The Middle School social studies curriculum centers on three primary objectives:

  • developing the skills, knowledge and attitudes needed to be an independent thinker and global citizen;
  • understanding the relevance of history to modern life; and
  • helping students develop a sense of self-worth and social responsibility

Sixth grade students draw connections between social studies and literature in their coursework. They go on to study the foundations of democracy and early American History in seventh grade before modern American history in eighth grade. Throughout Middle School, coursework helps children learn to empathize with others through challenge-based learning and project-based learning.

Global Citizens: Grades 9 Through 12

Our Upper School social studies curriculum continues the broad objectives set forth in earlier grades. It helps students become global citizens who think critically and act with a sense of social responsibility.

All students take World Cultures in grade nine and U.S. History in grade ten, then go on to complete at least two more semesters of social studies electives. These electives, covering topics ranging from constitutional studies to comparative religion, deepen students' understanding of the world in which we live and how they can make a difference. Course activities and projects vary greatly including moot court, student-driven social action projects, and deep analyses of contemporary issues in American society. Students graduate with solid skills in research and analysis, having written multiple research papers and engaged in inquiry projects – and with a great deal of savvy about the social systems that make up their world.