It is said that history is to the human race what memory is to each person. It sheds the light of the past upon the present, thus helping one to understand oneself, by making one acquainted with other peoples. History is, as Allen Nerins states, “a bridge connecting the past with the present and pointing the road to the future.” St. George’s endeavors to make the lives of our students richer by broadening their outlook on the cultures, traditions, and forces of a global world as well as creating experienced analytical thinkers and writers. Ultimately, our personal stories create who we are and who we are becoming.
History does the same for the identities of nations, ideas, races, and ethnic groups. Learning these stories and how they connect with the daily lives of students forms the foundation for understanding historical thinking and analysis at St. George’s. To that end, students continue to focus on thinking critically about information, sources, and conclusions. The clear expression of new ideas and critiques through writing and reading finds reinforcement in the history and social science curriculum at St. George’s. To have a greater respect for the changing world and the differing perspectives brought to it by those of various faith traditions, St. George’s has a deep commitment to the non-doctrinal study of religions. As future global citizens and leaders, we believe strongly that our students must have a firm understanding of the world’s religions. At the same time, religion courses allow students to reaffirm their own faith traditions as they study those of people from around the world.
History is a series of stories about the past. It explicates real people who had unique ideas and beliefs, worked and struggled to put them into action, and shaped the present. Throughout the course students engage in problem-solving simulations of historical quandaries, robust debates and discussions, and activities incorporating technology to enhance student learning. This curriculum includes a study of world geography and covers topics such as ancient Mesopotamia, early African Kingdoms, pre-Columbian Americas, and ancient Greece. An extracurricular opportunity to participate in a United Nations simulation is offered for the 6th grade students.
Through this class, sixth grade students examine the world’s major religions. This course provides an introduction to the major aspects of Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam. Students learn to recognize and appreciate the commonalities and differences inherent within each belief system. This course is also designed to help sixth grade students in their study of world history.
In this course, students engage in a study of U.S. government, including its core tenets, how it is organized, and how to be an active, engaged citizen. Students examine the history of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and then delve into the inner workings of each branch of the federal government. The course incorporates a variety of readings which help students explore the concept of citizenship. Throughout the year, students work on developing critical thinking skills by answering essential questions derived from the various aspects of civics. Students have many opportunities to collaborate with peers. Students develop a National History Day (NHD) project based on their own interest in accordance with an annual NHD theme. Students also create their own laws and debate other students in a mock state government simulation affiliated with the Youth in Government (YIG) program.
Thirty classes per year
In this course, students investigate the historical and practical components of the Hebrew scriptures in the Old Testament. In seeking to understand the primary themes of scripture students identify and locate key biblical events and figures, note passages for further study in context, and apply basic principles of discernment. The course explores how the eras of creation, patriarch, exodus, conquest, judges, kingdom, exile, and return paint a picture of God’s redemptive providence and plan and students explore the impact of the Old Testament on today’s thought, practice, character development, and culture.
"A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history. " – Mahatma Gandhi
It is the individual who is the primary influence on historical change, and, because of that, the eighth grade American History student explores the growth of the United States through the eyes of individuals and examines a variety of unique perspectives that have come to shape the nation we live in today. Students begin with the study of the settlement of North America, and the development of diverse, regional colonial economies. Students also explore the political process of protest and resistance leading to the American Revolution; the development of the American political system and culture; the impact of the commercial, agricultural, and industrial revolutions on American life; the cultural and political impact of urban reform in the North and the impact of slavery in the South and our nation. The causes of the Civil War are examined, as well as its role in shaping the social and political framework of modern America. An emphasis is placed on the students’ skill development including organization skills, study skills, collaborative learning skills, public speaking and learning how to prepare for a variety of types of assessments including projects and presentations. One such project that promotes student choice and that provides avenues for the guided practice of key skill sets is the National History Day project. The project begins in the fall with students tackling the research process on specific theme-based topics and culminates early in the second semester with the presentation of a variety of project categories demonstrating the historical analysis and interpretation of their chosen topic.
In this course, students investigate the historical and practical components of the New Testament. In seeking to understand the primary themes of scripture they identify and locate key biblical events and figures, note passages for further study in context, and apply basic principles of discernment. They explore how the life of Jesus is represented in the gospels, acts of the apostles, early epistles, and the book of Revelation and how these together paint a picture of God’s providence and redemptive plan. The class will consider the impact of the New Testament on today’s thought, practice, character development, and culture.
World History I is a survey course that ranges from the origins of human society up through the end of the Middle Ages, including an introduction to the Renaissance and Reformation periods in Europe. In addition to learning about the historical content, this class also continues to develop the students’ skills in analytical thinking, written communication, and historical research. As a result, students gain a greater understanding of the past, an increased appreciation of the global community in which we live today, and a sharpened ability to approach the world with a critical and informed mindset. Assignments are designed to develop skills in historical analysis, research methods, and the presentation of historical ideas, as well as honing skills in reading comprehension and written expression. This course consists of a mixture of lectures, discussions and activities, readings, and primary research, and is designed to complement English I, which is a study of classical literature from the same time periods under study.
World History I Honors is designed to complement a traditional survey of history with an especially heightened emphasis upon comprehension and analysis. The course focuses on identifying historical patterns and broader connections that span multiple regions and epochs ranging from the earliest human origins through the end of the Medieval Period. Classes are especially question-driven and incorporate a heavy examination of primary sources to not only gain a more intimate knowledge of human development across the globe but to also aid students in using this heightened knowledge to formulate concrete ideas making sense of this knowledge. To this end, there is a heavy reading and writing component. Honors World History I is not designed strictly as a precursor to Advanced Placement courses in history available later in the upper school experience, but the skills harnessed do mirror the expectations of such courses. The primary goal of the course is to make sense of difficult concepts in the formulation of strong academic arguments. Students leave with heightened abilities in writing and reading comprehension, as well as the skills necessary for informed young citizens in an increasingly interconnected global community.
This course examines the history of the world from approximately 1300 C.E. to the present. Students focus on the events, cultures, ideas, and personalities which shaped world development and subsequently laid the foundation for our contemporary world. It begins with the Later Middle Ages and covers topics such as absolutism, exploration, industrialism, nationalism, imperialism, and global conflict. Emphasis is placed on the knowledge of current events, as well as on skills such as reading comprehension, public speaking, and writing. Students learn to construct and evaluate historical arguments, analyze and interpret primary source documents, and recognize global patterns over time and space, while acquiring the ability to connect local developments to global ones. Finally, students leave this class having gained an appreciation not only for their own culture, ideas, and traditions but also for those which are different from their own.
See qualifications for advanced/AP courses.
The AP World History course is an exciting class in which students are actively engaged in the material through discussions, problem solving, critical thinking activities, and collaboration with peers. Students are asked to challenge themselves academically, think from a variety of perspectives, and employ their creativity. The curriculum highlights the nature of change and continuity, systems of social and gender structure, patterns and impacts of interaction among societies, the impact of technology and demography, changes in functions and structures of states, and cultural and intellectual developments. This course has as its chronological framework as set by the College Board. All students enrolled in this course must take the AP World History exam in May.
Satisfies graduation requirement for religion
Religious Studies endeavors to guide students to see the world as it is and to discover new insights through the world's religions. This year-long course in religious studies covers the historical origins, development, thought, and practices of the world’s major religions. Students begin with a discussion of what constitutes a religion examining characteristics, commonalities, and differences among them. Next, students focus on the earliest religions, working their way through Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Confucianism. In the first semester, students' study of religion extends off-campus and throughout Memphis with visits to a variety of religious communities where they encounter the content of their study in practice and in person. During the second half of the year, students begin with a study of Taoism, Zen, and Shinto then turn their focus to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In the second semester, students will endeavor to study new religious movements through small group research that culminates in the development of a hypothetical textbook chapter produced using Apple iBooks Author. Emphasis is also placed on current events by way of student-directed research, analytical writing, and in-class presentation as many of the stories in the news connect to the content of this course.
Semesters: one (Fall)
Introduction to Psychology provides a sampling of the study of behavior and the mind. By viewing concepts through the lens of scientific research, students will examine who we are and why we do what we do from three major perspectives: biological, psychological, and sociocultural. Through readings, videos, and activities, students will engage in the study of psychological concepts in real and relevant ways. Key topics that students will study are human development, consciousness, health, stress, personality, social influence, social behavior, abnormal behavior, and more. Students will find success in the class if they come with an open mind and willingness to work.
Semesters: one (Spring)
Psychology and Personal Growth is an adjustment psychology course, focused on the application of psychological concepts to one’s personal life. The class will take students on a journey that includes self-assessment, identification of personal strengths and weaknesses, and practice of psychological strategies to enhance their lives and improve their relationships. Topics include personality, learning, emotional management, interpersonal communication, managing stress, and more. Students who are sincere in their desire for personal growth are encouraged to enroll.
This course spans American political, economic, social, intellectual, and cultural history from 1865 to 2000. To assure that students have a basic understanding of pre-1865 U.S. history, a brief review of the nation’s early history is conducted at the start of the school year. Students develop an understanding of American history by reading secondary source material on significant topics, interpreting primary historical documents, and practicing historical essay writing skills. Emphasis is placed on critical and evaluative thinking with a focus on developing an appreciation for the construction of the historical argument. Students have an opportunity to practice the craft of the historian by conducting primary research. Solid reading and writing skills, along with a willingness to devote significant time to homework and study are essential to success.
This course spans American political, economic, social, intellectual, and cultural history from the beginning of Native American civilizations until the present. The students read historical articles, analyze documents, and learn to write historical and document-based question essays. The course is designed to prepare the students to satisfy the requirements for college-level U.S. history courses (one year’s worth of credit). The texts are college level and the course itself is structured along the lines of a university-level course. Students strengthen their analytical thinking skill as they learn to develop persuasive historical arguments by synthesizing complex historical information. In the process, students improve their reading, writing, and testing-taking skills. Class instruction is a combination of lecture, discussion, collaborative and individual work. All students enrolled in this course must take the AP U.S. History exam in May.
The Citizenship course, for juniors accepted into the Institute for Citizenship, fosters entrepreneurial citizens who can actively pursue solutions to societal issues that exist in the local, national, and global spheres. Learning objectives include: 1) heightened awareness of a citizen’s responsibilities to others, to society, and to the environment; 2) practice with design thinking and entrepreneurialism as a means of solving social, public policy, and business challenges; 3) the establishment of a personal code of ethics for use in professional and public life; and 4) attainment of knowledge and skills necessary for active participation in local, national, and global affairs in the political and non-governmental realms. In addition, through the lens of citizenship students examine regional issues and current events from various areas of the world, placing emphasis on acquiring real-world skills, on developing each student’s approach to ethics, and on creating educated predictions about the future by interpreting and synthesizing world headlines.
In this year-long course, students will prepare to take Advanced Placement exams for both AP Microeconomics and AP Macroeconomics, devoting a semester of study to each topic. This is an introductory college-level course that focuses on the principles that apply to an economic system as a whole. Particular emphasis is placed on the study of national income and price-level determination. The course also develops students' familiarity with economic performance measures, the financial sector, stabilization policies, economic growth, and international economics. Students learn to use graphs, charts, and data to analyze, describe, and explain economic concepts.
See qualifications for advanced/AP courses
In AP European History, students trace Europe’s development from the Renaissance through the fall of Communism. Particular emphasis is placed on the political, economic, religious, social, intellectual, and artistic movements that shaped the continent. Students will hone their writing and analytical thinking skills. Using the textbook as a general reference and guide, students will be asked to read primary sources to formulate and defend their own opinions about European History. Students will be challenged to focus on the role of Europe as it interacted with the rest of the world historically. All students enrolled in this course must take the AP European History exam in May.
AP United States Government and Politics is a college-level introduction to key political concepts, ideas, institutions, policies, interactions, roles, and behaviors that characterize the constitutional system and political culture of the United States. Students will read and analyze U.S. foundational documents, Supreme Court decisions, and other texts and visuals to gain an understanding of the relationships and interactions between political institutions and behavior. They will read and interpret data, develop evidence-based arguments, and engage in an applied civics or politics researched-based project. All students enrolled in this course must take the AP United States Government and Politics exam in May.
Semesters: one (offered both Fall, Spring)
African American History begins with the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries by examining the triangular trade and the experience of slavery. The curriculum also includes an exploration of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in terms of slavery, the free societies, the post-Civil War south, and African American wartime contributions. Students also explore the changing African American experience in the twentieth century. Students read primary sources, engage in lectures, and create original research projects to better discover the unique history of the mid-south area and its importance to the Civil Rights Movement.
This class is a study of the economic, political, and social lives of women in American history. The course examines the experiences and perspectives of different groups of women in the United States from the colonial era to the present. It also provides deeper insight in the way gender has shaped American public policy, family life, race relations, social institutions, political movements, and work inside and outside of the home.
This course is designed to equip students with the financial literacy necessary to plan confident financial decisions. Students learn applicable measures for budgeting, taxes, banking, risk management, and investment. Additionally, students gain a deeper understanding for short, medium, and long term financial goals.
This course is designed to introduce students to the major concepts and ideas prevalent in the study of economics. Students learn the basic tools of microeconomic and macroeconomic analysis. Additionally, students explore the nature and function of markets and their relationship with government.
Semesters: one (offered Fall, Spring)
This course surveys the principles, philosophies, practices, and institutions that comprise the United States system of government and law. Students explore this system, analyze the foundations on which our government exists, and investigate the evolution of American ideology and the growth of the United States government. Contemporary issues frame conversations about the Constitution, the courts, legislative and executive branches, federalism, and a review of major political philosophies and governments around the world. Emphasis is also given to the dynamics of political decision-making and the degree to which citizens participate in political processes.
Prerequisite: Religious Studies
This course is an introduction to the study of philosophical morality. Approaching the subject with a spirit of humility, the class attempts to unravel differentiated theories of right and wrong behavior. By addressing ethics, the course considers topics including the norms of morality and the general process of moral decision-making, as well as the study of evil in specific historical contexts. We will endeavor to unravel the context and positions of a variety of social and cultural issues today through debate and discussion. Simultaneously, students will study how freedom, determinism, and choice play into moral and ethical decision-making. So that students are prepared to more deeply analyze the course material, Religious Studies is a prerequisite course. Many topics of Eastern and Western religion will serve as a foundation for understanding and exploring topics in Ethics.
With great passion and deep faith, students of philosophy dare to explore the diverse and varied topics that compose this curriculum. This course introduces the Western philosophical traditions through the work of major figures such as Plato, Rene Descartes, Immanuel Kant, Soren Kierkegaard, and C.S. Lewis. Students in this course explore responses to questions that have been significant to philosophy from its beginnings: the nature of the mind, soul, and self; the existence of God; the foundations of knowledge; and the meaning of life. The course culminates with a project examining philosophical themes in film. In form, this course is reading-intensive, writing-intensive, and discussion-based. In order to carefully analyze topics of philosophy, while maintaining an informed intellectual tradition, Religious Studies is a prerequisite course. Many topics of Eastern and Western religion will serve as a foundation for understanding and exploring topics in Philosophy.
AP Psychology introduces students to the scientific study of human behavior and mental processes. While considering the psychologists and studies that have shaped the field, students explore and apply psychological theories, key concepts, and phenomena associated with such topics as the biological bases of behavior, sensation and perception, learning and cognition, motivation, developmental psychology, testing and individual differences, treatment of abnormal behavior, and social psychology. Throughout the course, students are actively involved in experiments and activities, employ psychological research methods, discuss ethical considerations, evaluate claims and evidence, and effectively communicate ideas. The material covered in AP Psychology is equivalent to that of an introductory level psychology course at a college or university, and upon completion of this course, students will not only be prepared to take the AP exam but should be better able to understand, explain, and predict human behavior. All students enrolled in this course must take the AP Psychology exam in May.
This course examines the history of globalization through the complex political, economic, and cultural forces that shape our world. The course focuses on regions in the midst of major shifts, conflicts, and/or successes that relate to globalization. Emphasis is placed on current events to acquire awareness of how each region's local events impact the larger global construct. In addition, the course intertwines overarching concepts surrounding globalization such as global trade and markets, shifting patterns of global finance, globalized technology, environmental issues, changes and challenges in global gender roles, conflicts between traditional culture and globalization, and the effects of globalization on national security. Each unit places great emphasis on acquiring real-world skills requiring students to persuade their audience, lead discussions, engage in a multimedia business proposal, engage in a formal debate, and to develop their ability to create educated predictions about the future by interpreting global current events.
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