“Big Ideas” in Social Science and History
The focus of the Mt. Helix Academy social studies and history curriculum is to teach students the “big ideas” that have shaped society from generation to generation and that continue to influence current events so that the relevant facts and concepts are more readily understood and appreciated. The scope and sequence of the curriculum is carefully designed to ensure that students meet and exceed the California State Standards.
“Big ideas” permit critical thinking
In the Primary and Elementary Module, students use the Houghton Mifflin Social Studies, California History and U.S. History to expand their knowledge of these critical “big ideas.” In Middle School, students study Ancient History and World History using the Houghton Mifflin History programs. Eighth graders are challenged by Understanding U. S. History, which not only emphasizes the acquisition of facts about the history of our country, but also encourages the students to respond in a variety of ways to challenging critical thinking questions about the important events in U.S. History.
Important topics to think about and to write about
Language arts and computer technology are integrated with the social studies/history curricula. Beginning in the Primary Module, a major emphasis is placed on the growth of students’ research and writing abilities. By the time students reach Middle School, their history courses challenge them to continually develop and extend their critical thinking and analytical skills through essays, research reports, projects and class discussion.
Enrichment opportunities make it all real
Mt. Helix Academy students have the opportunity to participate in a variety of living history experiences to enrich their understanding of important events in history. Fourth graders travel to Mission San Juan Capistrano and recreate a night in the life of an immigrant to the United States during their overnight experience on the Star of India. Fifth graders travel to Boston, Massachusetts for a week to walk the Freedom Trail and experience first-hand the birth of our nation. Seventh graders travel to Los Angeles to participate in the Medieval Times living history event and our eighth graders participate in a trip to Washington, D. C. to culminate their study of United States history.