Seventh grade historians at Moses Brown trace the course of American history from the arrival of Europeans through the Civil War. Drawing extensively on primary sources, videos, a digital textbook, and database sources, students put their best research, writing, critical thinking, and civil debate skills to the test to wrestle with complex questions in our nation’s history. Along the way, they are constantly reminded to look beyond the reductive conclusions that come from hearing only a single story.
They are pressed to address challenging questions like–was Christopher Columbus a hero, a villain, neither, or both? They research life in colonial Rhode Island, the social and religious reformers of the 19th century, and consider the experiences of those whose voices are often left out of history textbooks.
In the spring semester, students are challenged to devise a one-day walking tour of the city of Boston that tells the story of colonial America. Students research sites, calculate itineraries, factor in essential logistics, and then negotiate a consensus about which path tells the most fair and complete story. Upon completion of this task, they board a bus for Beantown and educate one another about the sites they’ve chosen to tell the story of our country’s founding.Inquire