An Independent School • Grades 5-12


History, geography, religion, psychology, philosophy, economics, culture, politics – they’re all on the table in Lakeside’s history and social sciences classes. Our teachers bring a diversity of styles, methods, and perspectives to the classroom that help build students’ abilities to think critically about the past and understand how the past created the world we live in today.

Teachers use a wide range of materials in the classroom, including historical documents, films, literature, current news and media, and guest speakers from around the world. Students learn how to acquire, evaluate, and interpret historical information and to communicate their knowledge and ideas effectively. Working individually and in teams, students produce research projects, present to peers, write analyses, lead class discussions, and engage in simulations.

Middle School: Learning what unites us

The primary goal of the Middle School history and social studies department is to prepare students to live in a global world by developing their understanding of the past and its relationship to the world today.

The Middle School history program focuses on three themes: humans and the environment; humans interacting with other humans; and humans and ideas.

The 5th-grade course explores the history of Washington State and the Pacific Northwest and how the physical and political geography of the region influenced its economic and cultural history. Students in the 6th grade learn about the geography of Eurasia and the cultures and religions that flourished along the ancient trade routes of the Silk Road, both in the past and today. Seventh graders study the American Dream: what it has meant to various segments of American society throughout the nation’s history, and how different groups sought to achieve their visions of the American Dream. In 8th grade, students learn how humans’ collective learning over time led to our interconnected and interdependent global world, and how our human-dominated world increasingly impinges upon the natural world in ways that threaten the future of human societies.

Read more about Lakeside’s Middle School history and social studies program in the Middle School curriculum guide.


Upper School: Igniting the spark that leads to understanding

Upper School history and social science teachers aim to spark students’ interests in the world’s past with the goal of increasing their understanding of present trends and issues. Students work closely with teachers to learn to think critically, analyze various sources, develop ideas collaboratively, and write with insight and clarity.

Three years of world and American history are required for graduation. Throughout the project-based curriculum, students learn by doing, engaging in simulations, team projects and presentations, as well as rigorous, self-directed research. Classes delve deeply into specific historical events, with students researching multiple perspectives through original source documents, historical analyses, and multidisciplinary sources.

Unlike a historical reenactment, a simulation requires students to understand and accurately represent historical perspectives, then take ownership in determining a path of events. For example, students studying the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 debate post-WWI issues in an imagined Paris salon, representing ‘great powers’ as well as colonial advocates and revolutionaries. Students exploring the conflict around oil in the Niger Delta in the 1990s take on the roles of Nigeria’s ethnic groups, oil company executives, terrorists, Amnesty International, United Nations officials, and the Nigerian military in an effort to determine workable solutions for environmental justice.

Starting in their sophomore year, students can choose from electives in history, the social sciences, and humanities. Nine electives are offered each semester, covering topics like micro- and macroeconomics, psychology, religious studies, history of capitalism, philosophy, sexuality and the law, the modern Middle East, and entrepreneurship. The department also offers interdisciplinary courses such as Geopolitics and Game Theory and the Mathematics of Democracy: Election 2016.

Read more about Lakeside’s Upper School history and social science program in the Upper School curriculum guide.

Learn more about history at Lakeside

Upper School History: Voice and choice

Students become “experts” on topics of their choice.

Middle School History: Imperfect heroes

What does it mean to stand up for what is right?

Meet the history faculty