Since we are all citizens of the world, one of the many goals of this course
is to increase students' cultural awareness. Openess to new ideas,
sensitivity and respect will lead to more tolerance and acceptance of
people's differences as a result of having a better
understanding about one another.
Units of Study
Period of study: September-October
We begin the year learnining about geography. Students learn about absolute and relative location, calculating distance and the effects of geography on culture. In addition, we study the various elements of culture. We also explore economic systems and forms of govenment. Finally, we learn about the Industrial Revolution and the Age of Imperialism, the rise of nationalism, and the impact of World War II and the Cold War. These are themes that we study in each region of the world we visit. Finally, we investigate how changing economic patterns contribute to growing interdependence in the modern world.
Period of Study: November
We spend the week learning about the causes and effects of the Russian Revolution. We conclude the week learning about the Cold War. This is our first interdisiplinary connection with English as the students will be reading the novel Animal Farm.
Period of study: November-December
We start the unit studying the major geographic and cultural features of Africa. Students gain insight into how the landforms and climates of Africa have contributed to the development of cultural diversity on the continent. In addition, they read about the distribution of natural resources. Next we examin the social, political, and economic organization of traditional African societies. Students will read about traditional African religions and works of art, as well as the effects that Christianity and Islam have had on the continent. In addition, students will learn about the effects of the slave trade and European imperialism on Africa. We move on to the development of African nationalism and independence movements after World War II. Students learn how African nations are working toward the integration of modern and traditional values to create stable societies. They also learn about the political, economic, and social challenges facing African nations today.
World War II and The Holocaust
Period of study: January
This is an interdisiplinary unit with English. Prior to reading the book Parallel Journeys, students learn the about the causes of WWII, the rise of Hitler and actions taken by Hitler that led to the Holocaust in World Cultures class. We also follow the story of a Holocaust survivor through the use of primary sources and a video.
Period of study: January-February
First we examine the geography of South Asia. Students learn how geographic features have caused the subcontinent to develop as a separate region. They also learn how climate, especially monsoons, has affected life in South Asia. Students read about the great cultural diversity of its people, as well as the impact of the invading Aryans. Next, we study the development of the Indian subcontinent through British colonialism. Students read about the development and the spread of Hinduism and explore daily life in India. Then we focus on South Asia's economic, political, and social development from the early 1900s to the present. Students learn how Mohandas Gandhi led India in its struggle for independence and how conflicts between Hindus and Muslims lead to the creation of two separate nations. In light of recent current events, students will examine other resources to better understand the war in Afghanistan, the potential for nuclear conflict between Pakistan and India, and the growing conflict in Kashmir.
Period of study: March
We begin by learning about the geography of the Middle East. Students learn how the area's geographic regions, climates, and natural resources have affected the history and character of the Middle East. Students also learn about the ethnic and religious diversity found in the region. In addition, they examine the origins and influence of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. We move on to exploring developments in the Middle East after World War II. Students read about pan-Arabism and the effects of Islamic fundamentalism, particularly in Iran. The main focus of study in this region is the conflict in the Middle East between the Arabs and the Israelis as a result of the creation of Israel. Students are shown a power point presentation on the background of the conflict as well as the present issues of settlements, refugees, and the status of Jerusalem in World Cultures. They will also be shown a video called Promises in English which highlights the effects of this conflict on teenagers.
It is during our study of the Middle East that students will write a research paper.
Period of study: March-April
We explore China from ancient times to the time of World War II. Students learn how geography has affected China's population distribution, economy, and culture. They read about Chinese philosophy and religion as well as the aspects of traditional society in China, including works of art and calligraphy . In addition, they learn about European intervention in China and the rise of nationalism and communism. We look at the effects of the Communist Revolution on China. Students learn about Mao Tse Tung's efforts to modernize China through the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution and how Deng Xiaoping had tried to open China to foreign investment and technology. They learn how Chinese culture has been affected by communism and efforts to make China a democratic country. Students also read about China's foreign policy. Many supplemental materials are used in this unit including videos and articles. Time is also dedicated to studying Japan and the Koreas.
Period of study: May-June
We begin by studying the geographic features and climates of Southeast Asia. Students learn about the effects of geography on the cultural diversity of the region. They read how Chinese and Indian cultures have influenced Southeast Asia. Also, they find out about the lifestyles of the people and the influence of Buddhism and Christianity. Next we examine European and American colonization of Southeast Asia from the 16th to the 20th century. Students learn how imperialism affected the economies, politics, and cultures of Southeast Asia. They read about the growth of nationalism and the struggle for independence in this region. In addition they find out how nationalism and the Cold War led to a prolonged war in Vietnam that spread to Laos and Cambodia.