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Social Studies

The Social Studies Department endeavours to provide a coherent, meaningful, articulated progression in the study of History, Geography and Economics from grade 6 through to grade 12. This is achieved by close co-ordination within the department; the utilisation of excellent resources and the employment of a wide variety of teaching methods. The study of current events is integrated into class teaching on a regular basis.

Students will develop a good grasp of major historical events and figures in context. They will be confident in the usage of appropriate terminology for Geography, History and Economics and able to construct a logical and informed viewpoint, orally and in writing, on social study issues of the past and present.

Social Studies in Middle School is taught on a themed basis along with English classes wherever possible. The teaching of Geography and History are integrated. Current events are regularly featured in class and students learn by means of oral, graphic, group, individual, research, written and audio-visual assignments using a wide variety of materials.


The heading of social studies embraces a number of subjects, including but not limited to: History, Geography, Current Events, and Educational Trips. The Lower School programme is often integrated with other curriculum areas such as reading and science. An emphasis is placed on the development of critical thinking, writing and research skills. In addition, students develop self-awareness and socialisation skills through varied activities, and discussion graduating through their study of themselves as individuals in Kindergarten; their place in the family in Grade 1; their place in the community in Grade 2; their place in relationship to world communities as well as the development of towns and cities in Grade 3; their present European environment in Grade 4; and their study of the Americas past and present in Grade 5. In their studies of new and familiar societies students are encouraged to recognise that each place has its own history, values, traditions and living patterns, which should be considered in the context of that society. By fostering a respect for and interest in cultural values in addition to their own, we hope our students will be better prepared to live in a multicultural world.

Middle School

Social Studies 6

Focus: The Past and Present of the Middle East and Africa

Sixth Grade Social Studies is an exploration of the geography, history and cultures of the Middle East and Africa. During this course, students will focus on increasing their knowledge of these regions of the world, focusing on ancient times, with a comparative study of Africa and the Middle East in modern times.  Sixth grade students will explain how changes have affected people and communities.  They will identify major landforms, water features and resources, and explain how they have influenced development.  They will also describe the basic structure of governments and their purposes, and demonstrate responsible citizenship in the classroom and community.

Students will have opportunities to actively explore and appreciate the diverse cultures which have contributed to the heritage of Africa and the Middle East.  Current affairs of the world today will be researched and discussed to help students keep abreast of contemporary issues, especially those that relate to our course of study.  Studies will focus on the improvement of reading, researching, writing, and presenting effectively.  At times, work done in this class will be connected to the Sixth Grade English Course.  By the end of this course, students will be able to identify and discuss the complex relationships between humans and their physical, social, and political environment.  Links will be made, whenever possible, to Scotland and the local community to make meaningful connections for the students within the Middle School Social Studies curriculum.

Social Studies 7

Focus: Europe, Asia, and Oceania

This Social Studies course will investigate geography, history, culture, and current events. We will be researching Ancient Greece and Rome, Medieval Europe, and Scotland, as well researching countries in Asia and working with KIVA, a microloan organisation. The course’s approach to Social Studies will have less to do with specific dates and places and more to do with understanding the complex relationships between humans and their physical, social, and political environments of our past, present, and future. Students will learn to think critically about a variety of issues and debate with each other in an informed and respectful way. The course will have a number of projects that will give students opportunities to work collaboratively as well as individual tests and quizzes to accurately assess comprehension of course material. 

Social Studies 8

Focus: The Americas

In the Eighth Grade Social Studies course, students will explore the people, places, and history of the American continents.  They will develop their analytical and geographical skills within the context of these two vast and varied continents.  They will further appreciate the diversity of culture and geography that exists within North and South America.  The students will identify the key people, places, and events of history and understand how countries within these continents have been shaped by past events.  Research skills, critical thinking skills, and co-operative learning are emphasised throughout these studies.  Students will also widen their knowledge of the world through discussions of current events.  Projects will help to further hone their writing, presentation and debating skills.  Whenever possible, links with the English curriculum will be made through such activities as research and essay writing, in addition to appropriate literature studies.  Due to the extensive amount of material available, specific topics may, at times, be selected for more in-depth study and analysis.  Links will be made, whenever possible, to Scotland and the local community to make meaningful connections for the students within the Middle School Social Studies curriculum.

High School

Global Perspectives 9 

Global Perspectives 9 is a skills-based course that examines important issues in the world today through various perspectives. Students will develop their research, analytical, argument, reflection, communication and collaboration skills in this course.  It requires students to bring an open mind and be willing to look at global topics from a point of view that may differ from their own. Students will learn to gather information from a variety of sources and to evaluate and create arguments based upon those sources. An individual written report and a team project, both chosen from a selection of topics, will comprise two of the major long-range assessments of the course.  Students will come away with a balanced view of relevant topics facing today’s society.  The course will continue into Grade 10, at the conclusion of which students will be prepared to take the IGCSE exam in Global Perspectives.

World History & Geography 2

(2017-18 Final Year of this course)

Focus: Europe & Asia 

The development of modern civilisation, post-Renaissance, is traced chronologically, geographically and culturally from the Age of Absolutism in Europe to the early twentieth century, including World War I.  Emphasis is placed on the interdependence of human groups and the contributions made by different nationalities and cultures to the ongoing evolution of human society.  Students are expected to develop extended writing and analytical skills using primary and secondary sources.  The theme of change, progress and revolution in ideas, politics, economics and society is developed, with particular focus on Europe and Asia.  Geography skills and topics will be embedded throughout the course.

IB History 1,2

Students in this course will be introduced to the major forces in 20th century modern world history.  The emphasis is on an international perspective.  Through studying primary and secondary source material and through analytical writing, students will develop an understanding of several twentieth century wars and many political leaders and their policies.  Students are further expected to identify, understand and make judgements about different approaches to, and interpretations of, the past.  The evaluation of historical documents is a central focus of the course.  All students sit two exam papers at the end of course.  Each student submits an investigation, which forms a component worth 20%-25% of the final IB grade.  Higher-level students sit one additional exam paper on extension material.  Essay writing, critical thinking and analysis of sources are continuously practised and developed throughout the course.

IB Economics 1,2

IB Economics is a two-year course which can be studied at standard or higher level.  The study of economics is essentially about dealing with scarcity, resource allocation and the methods and processes by which choices are made in the satisfaction of human wants.  As a social science, economics uses scientific methodologies that include quantitative and qualitative elements.

This IB Economics course emphasises the economic theories of microeconomics, which deal with economic variables affecting individuals, firms and markets, and the economic theories of macroeconomics, which deal with economic variables affecting countries, governments and societies.  These economic theories are not to be studied in a vacuum—rather, they are to be applied to real-world issues.

The Economics course encourages students to develop international perspectives, fosters a concern for global issues, and raises students’ awareness of their own responsibilities at a local, national and international level.  The course also seeks to develop values and attitudes that will enable students to achieve a degree of personal commitment in trying to understand and resolve these issues, appreciating our shared responsibility as citizens of an increasingly interdependent world.

IB Environmental Systems and Societies 1,2 (ESS)

This two-year standard-level IB course will provide students with a coherent understanding of the relationships between environmental systems and human social systems; one that enables them to adopt an informed personal response to the wide range of pressing environmental issues that they will inevitably come to face as adults.  Students will evaluate the scientific, ethical, and socio-political aspects of issues.  During the course, students will study eight different topics; however, the most important aspect of the ES&S course is hands-on work in the laboratory and/or out in the field.  This course can be taken to fulfill either social studies or science ISA and IB requirements.

Accredited by

International Baccalaureate Council of International Schools Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Cambridge International Examinations CNED