The three-year social studies course sequence at Explorer West spans human existence, from early humans and ancient civilizations, through world and U.S. history, ending with a full year of contemporary global studies. This sequence was developed to:

  • Enrich students’ historical understanding and establish connections between their own lives, the past, and the future
  • Explore the intersection of human and physical geography, asking, how did societies meet their own needs and provide for future generations?
  • Value cultural diversity
  • Help students grasp their own emerging United States citizenship and begin to understand the opportunities and challenges of global citizenship
  • Provide carefully scaffolded skills in primary source work: reading for understanding, Internet research,
    formal and creative writing, geography and map work,
    discussion, and group work

The curriculum has been fashioned with these three themes and associated essential questions running throughout the three year sequence:

History class focuses on the themes of cultural literacy, sustainability and service learning/citizenship.

History class focuses on three main themes.

I. Cultural Literacy
What are the essential “must knows” in a world that is awash in information?

II. Sustainability
What – in our democracy, culture, economy, and relationship with the land – is sustainable for present and future generations?

III. Service Learning and Citizenship
How can young people experience the power of knowledge in action?

History - Main program elements by grade:

6th Grade7th Grade8th Grade
Geography and Ancient Civilizations: geographical literacy, archeology, early humans, world religions, celebrating multiculturalism, sustainability vs. collapse in societies. Skills focus areas – organization, planning, reading for content (descriptive, narrative, persuasive), writing expository paragraphs, and note-taking.American and Washington State History: art history; human geography; sustainability in democracy, culture, and environment. Skills focus areas - identifying describing, interpreting primary source; note taking; close reading for content and meaning; expository thesis essays.Global Studies: develop an annual “zine” on global issues: environment, population, food, water, energy, health, education, media governance, economics, peace and conflict, sustainable solutions, service learning leadership. Skills focus areas – investigative journalism.