Students embark on a grand journey through the Americas as they study the geography of Central, and South America. Lessons take them back in time to the emergence and movement of the islands that formed in the Caribbeans, as well as the Mayan, Aztec, and Incan civilizations. From the heights of the Andes to depths of the Amazon River Basin, sixth graders revel in the majesty, diversity and challenges of this continent. Students also explore the basics of climatology, such as the relationship between latitude/altitude and temperature, atmospheric and oceanic currents and their role in precipitation.
Our northern neighbor provides a sharp contrast to Latin America. Students learn of the rising of the western mountains and the effect of glaciers, leading to a type of terrain that proved to be a challenge for human life. Immigration, spanning from the legendary land trail leading from Asia to North America that guided early movements to the European colonization following 17th Century exploration, is examined.
The story of the Aeneid bridges the ancient Greek unit in fifth grade to the Roman history course in the sixth grade. Students hear tales of the Romulus' and Remus' brutal beginnings followed by the tumultuous times of the legendary early kings to the founding of the Republic. Biographies of Hannibal of Carthage, the Graachi, Scipio Africanus, Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, and Caesar Augustus illustrate to students both the glories and tragedies of this mighty empire. The reading list also contains contemporary works such as The Shadow of Vesuvius by Eilís Dillon and The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare.
Topics include the fall of the Roman Empire and the impact of the German and Asian invasions on its former territory, such as the creation of feudal societies. Students also study the spread of Islam, along with the Crusades. Many of these topics are presented through the biographies of historic personalities like Pope Gregory, King Richard the Lion Heart, and Mohammed or through archetypes like monks or peasants. The students supplement their understanding of medieval history by reading poems in both Old and Middle English.