Middle School Courses

Academic Departments

History and Social Sciences

In Middle School, students are introduced to the study of history and the social sciences. One of the primary missions of the department is to expose students to the diverse world in which they live. Promoting the understanding of humankind’s connections with place, environment and one another is emphasized throughout the curriculum.
Through a variety of challenging, age-appropriate texts, students learn how to read critically and identify an author’s bias. Students learn how to develop an arguable assertion and defend it with relevant evidence.
  • History 6

    Global Connections - Focusing on troubled spots in our world, students go on a journey in Global Connections. Through the eyes of young people in struggling countries, students explore causes of famine and examine the importance of water and education. Next, they study the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, grapple with child labor in Pakistan, and conclude by studying solutions offered by Gandhi and Mandela. Current events play a significant role in the curriculum during class discussions with attention to identifying perspective and bias through assignments in “The New York Times’ Upfront,” a magazine for students. While reading the varied texts, students focus on note-taking skills and literary analysis. A major focus of the course is teaching students to develop a thesis and defend it with well-chosen evidence. Each student completes an individual research project on a selected country, produces a monument with a hands-on and digital component, and celebrates at Nations Day.
  • History 7

    Citizens of the Americas - Our year begins with the importance of watching/listening/reading the news as an essential element of being a responsible citizen, and we examine maps because of their importance to spatial reasoning and understanding history.  Students then research their family histories with a focus on their stories of immigration.  Our course broadly explores the question: What does it mean to be an American?  We analyze the approximate 15,000-year history of the Americas, focusing on North America, the Southwest, and Texas.  Students explore, research, and analyze the history of the continent’s first peoples, the United States Constitution, elements of civics, and present-day issues we face in society.  The Citizens of the Americas course seeks to ignite each student’s sense of their own history, key elements of understanding the Southwest as part of the Americas, and how citizens engage with issues and policies influenced by their different histories.
  • History 8

    Cultures and Governance - Students explore the impact of social structures and political governance. Through readings, discussions and expository essay writing, students have daily opportunities to gain historical context and to apply fact-based analysis to contemporary global affairs. Units focus on issues such as urbanism, immigration, social mobility, rule of law and protection of individual rights. The course strives to deepen students’ appreciation for perspectives, nuance, and critical thinking when interpreting events in our increasingly interconnected world.

Middle School Faculty

  • Photo of Anna Armentrout
    Anna Armentrout
    History Instructor
    University of California, Berkeley - Ph.D.
    University of California, Berkeley - M.A.
    University of California, Berkeley - B.A.
  • Photo of Jin Chung
    Jin Chung
    History Instructor, Director of Educational Travel Programs
    University of Texas School of Law - J.D.
    University of Texas at Austin - B.A.
  • Photo of Octavia Sadler
    Octavia Sadler
    History Instructor
    University of Texas at Austin - B.A.
  • Photo of Drew Smith
    Drew Smith
    History Instructor
    Rutgers University - M.P.A.
    University of San Francisco - M.A.T.
    University of North Carolina at Wilmington - B.A.
Address: 6500 St. Stephen's Dr., Austin, TX 78746
Phone: (512) 327-1213