Noble and Greenough School Course Catalog

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History of Ancient Greece: Wisdom, Drama, and War

This course begins with a study of Homer and the archaeology of the Minoan and Mycenaean civilizations. From there, the focus turns to two fifth century BCE city-states that emerged as forces in their world of the Mediterranean, developing unique innovations and influencing our world today. Athens was an intellectual hotbed, fostering history, philosophy, drama, new art forms, and democracy. Sparta was its conservative, pragmatic opposite, forming an egalitarian state with a war-machine like no other. Starting with the heroic stands against the Persians and continuing through the tragedy that was the Peloponnesian War, students will investigate how the Athenians and Spartans defined themselves, first against the “other,” then against one another. Examining the art and architecture of this period and reading authors such as Herodotus, Thucydides, and Sophocles in translation, students will wrestle with the questions of their day as well as our own: What is true happiness? What is the best form of government? What happens when religion and state come into conflict? What are the tensions between the individual and the “polis”, and how do we “know” the past?”

  • Credits: Full Credit
  • Open To: I, II
  • School Level: Upper School
  • Term Offered: Fall Only


History of Ancient Rome: City to Empire

This course begins by examining the history and legends of early Rome and then charts the growth of this city-state into a Mediterranean empire. At its height, the Roman Empire mixed sophistication with brutality and had the uncanny capacity to lurch abruptly from civilization and progress to terror, tyranny, and greed. Through close readings of the historians, Livy and Tacitus, and other poets and playwrights, as well as an examination of the archaeological evidence from Pompeii, students will uncover the stories of Romans, from powerful emperors and decadent aristocrats to fierce gladiators, ambitious freedmen, and everyday citizens. Questions of imperialism, dictatorship, class, private and public life, and the concept of being "Roman" in an increasingly multicultural population will guide the study of this endlessly fascinating and enduring city.

  • Credits: Full Credit
  • Open To: I, II
  • School Level: Upper School
  • Term Offered: Spring Only


World Geography

All Class VI students are required to take World Geography. Class VI World Geography explores the world in two phases. The first examines global issues and develops course-specific skills that will help students as they explore regions of the world in the second phase. These skills include building an adequate geographic vocabulary, developing accurate map reading and design skills, briefly surveying the earth's geologic history, covering the earth's climate and vegetation regions, examining world population and environmental concerns, and explaining governmental and economic concepts. In the second part of the course, the focus turns to the culture, history, and physical features of various regions. During this time, students will also plan their own extensive around-the-world trip from February to May. The course finishes with a three-week interdisciplinary (Geography/Science) unit in May that culminates with an Alternative Energy Project that includes the active participation of all Class VI students.

  • Credits: Full Credit
  • Open To: VI
  • School Level: Middle School
  • Term Offered: Full Year


Civics

All Class V students are required to take Civics. Class V Civics introduces students to the study of citizenship as well as the political and economic systems of the United States. Centered on reading assignments from a variety of sources, the course also uses computer simulations, debate, mock trials, video, individual and group projects, Web sites and position papers to enrich and enliven the learning experience. It is a highly interactive class. Skill development includes active reading, note taking and writing, critical and evaluative thinking, thesis articulation and public speaking. The students also write a major paper in the spring, in which they are asked to examine and evaluate a series of Supreme Court decisions concerning specific and often controversial topics from U.S. society. The course also makes connections with United States History, current events and geography.

  • Credits: Full Credit
  • Open To: V
  • School Level: Middle School
  • Term Offered: Full Year


History of the Human Community

All Class IV students are required to take History of the Human Community. History of the Human Community seeks to develop in students an understanding of the complex roots (ancient, economic, political, social, religious, and cultural) of contemporary civilizations and global society. Students develop the skills of research, reading comprehension, note taking, public speaking, collaboration, problem solving, and analytical writing. Experiential learning serves as a cornerstone of HHC, as the curriculum includes multiple hands-on activities and simulations. World religions comprise the content of the first quarter. An examination of empire building, imperialism, nationalism in South Asia, the Middle East, and China round out the year's content.

  • Credits: Full Credit
  • Open To: III, IV
  • School Level: Upper School
  • Term Offered: Full Year


U.S. History: Themes in Modern America

All Class III students are required to take U.S. History. This course integrates five major topical themes in American History: sectional conflict and the Civil War; social mobility and the Gilded Age; the growth of federal power and the New Deal; race relations and the Civil Rights Movement; the world wars and the rise of American globalism. The first semester stresses the essential skills of critical reading, note taking and analytical writing. Students write frequent short primary and secondary source-based essays. The second semester emphasizes independent inquiry and the skills of research, information literacy and oral presentation. Students complete research essays on topics of their own design, and conclude the year with group research and debate projects examining the historical roots of contemporary American economic, social, political and diplomatic affairs.

  • Credits: Full Credit
  • Open To: III
  • School Level: Upper School
  • Term Offered: Full Year


We The People: History of American Government and Politics

We The People: History of American Government is an intensive study of the formal and informal structures of government and the processes of the American political system. This course includes both the study of general concepts used to interpret U.S. government and politics and the analysis of specific examples. The course will also explore the various institutions, groups, beliefs and ideas that constitute U.S. government and politics. Students will become acquainted with the variety of theoretical perspectives and explanations for various behaviors and outcomes in government and politics. Additionally, students will be able to analyze and interpret basic data relevant to understanding course topics. For example, topics will include: Constitutional underpinnings of U.S. Government; political beliefs and behaviors; political parties, interest groups/factions and mass media; institutional impact on the government (Congress; Presidency; Judiciary).

  • Credits: Full Credit
  • Open To: I, II
  • Prerequisites: U.S. History: Themes in Modern America
  • School Level: Upper School
  • Term Offered: Fall or Spring


Art History: The Birth of the Modern

This course challenges students to understand the notion of modernism from the emergence of the avant-garde in the 19th century through its full flowering in the late 20th. After defining "Modern" art and "Modernism," the course will examine major modern artists, artworks, concepts and the social, political, and intellectual contexts that shaped them. The course will focus on the relationship between development of intellectual and political ideas and the development of significant urban cultural centers in both Europe and America. Students will learn a vocabulary of terms that will enable them to articulate how a specific piece of art reflects the concerns of a given culture in its material, subject matter and iconography. This course does not fulfill the Visual Arts requirement.

  • Credits: Full Credit
  • Open To: I, II
  • School Level: Upper School
  • Term Offered: Spring Only


AP European History

This course provides an overview of the major events, important figures, and leading trends in European history from c. 1400 to the present. We will seek to understand how and why European countries became powerful empires over the course of three centuries, and the influence that Europe has had on the rest of the world. Students in this course will sharpen their ability to analyze and weigh historical evidence from conflicting sources, to discern broader historical trends, to generalize and interpret, and to master relevant details. The development of these skills, along with regular practice on multiple-choice questions and document-based questions (DBQs), will prepare students to take the AP exam in May.

  • Credits: Full Credit
  • Open To: I, II
  • Prerequisites: U.S. History: Themes in Modern America and permission of the Department
  • School Level: Upper School
  • Term Offered: Full Year


America and Genocide

This course uses A Problem from Hell (Samantha Powers) and a series of readings, memoirs, class visitors and films to compare and contrast the genocides in Armenia, Cambodia, Rwanda and the Holocaust. Students will study the steps towards, causes of and impact of genocide, the psychology of perpetrators, memoirs of survivors, and examine the international response (or lack thereof) to each crisis. The course will also examine similar crises in the world today such as Myanmar and Syria as well as various human rights topics such as human trafficking and the white nationalist movement in the United States. Some students may have the opportunity to travel to Cambodia and Vietnam with the Nobles group in March, 2019.

  • Credits: Full Credit
  • Open To: I, I, II, II
  • Prerequisites: U.S. History: Themes in Modern America
  • School Level: Upper School
  • Term Offered: Spring Only


Entrepreneurship and Innovation

In this course, students will learn how to take entrepreneurial ideas or innovations from the idea stage into reality. Areas of focus will include customer and market research, writing, public speaking, working within a team, and gathering and using data to inform decision-making. In the first half of the course, students will engage in the process of learning how to use the Business Model Canvas and Lean Launchpad methodology to develop their ideas. They will learn techniques for innovation, analytical approaches to research, and evidence-based systems for decision-making. Students will learn skills such as observing, interviewing, discovering problems and forming solutions using rapid prototyping.This process will include a series of readings and discussions about entrepreneurship. Students will also work with local entrepreneurs to develop real solutions to existing problems. In the fourth quarter, students will work in teams to develop their own innovations and entrepreneurial ideas using the methodologies learned during the first half of the course.

  • Credits: Full Credit
  • Open To: I, II
  • School Level: Upper School
  • Term Offered: Spring Only


LGBTQ US History in the 20th Century

This course aims to explore the rich history of LGBTQ people, movements, events and more in the United States from the early 20th century until now. Using an interdisciplinary approach that will focus on oral histories, first-hand accounts, film, art, literature and more, this course will cover a history that, despite being one that includes people from all races, ethnicities, ages, abilities and religions, is often ignored or under-taught. To better foster empathy and understanding, as well as a more vibrant and fully realized picture of US history, this course will explore the way queer and trans identities, and a changing understanding and acceptance of them over time has helped to shape our social, cultural and political history. Additionally, this course will delve into the intersectionality (or lack thereof) among these identity movements and how that has affected their overall success or failure. Possible topics include: the experience of queer soldiers during WW2, The Lavendar Scare, The AIDS crisis and the formation of radical activist groups like ACTUP, Drag Ball Culture, The right to marry movement, and Queer and Trans representation in popular media.

  • Credits: Full Credit
  • Open To: I, II
  • School Level: Upper School
  • Term Offered: Fall


Macroeconomics

This course introduces students to the overriding economic issues that confront a nation: growth, inflation, and unemployment. To this end, the students examine national income, the components of aggregate demand, the Keynesian multiplier model, money and banking, the stock market, fiscal and monetary policy, the Federal Reserve system, aggregate supply, and the different macroeconomic schools of thought. An in-depth analysis of the normative questions of inflation vs. unemployment highlights the course. This course prepares students for the AP Macroeconomics Examination.

  • Credits: Full Credit
  • Open To: I, II
  • Prerequisites: U.S. History: Themes in Modern America
  • School Level: Upper School
  • Term Offered: Fall Only


Microeconomics

This course is designed to introduce students to the fundamental principles of economics. No mathematical ability is needed beyond rudimentary skills of multiplication. Students are first introduced to the basic economic concepts of scarcity, efficiency, production possibility frontiers and the laws of supply and demand. Students then investigate more advanced economic theory: elasticity, production theory and business organization, cost analysis, perfect and imperfect competition, game theory, and selected topics in labor economics. The course concludes with student-designed projects that apply microeconomic theory to the analysis of public policy.

  • Credits: Full Credit
  • Open To: I, II
  • Prerequisites: U.S. History: Themes in Modern America
  • School Level: Upper School
  • Term Offered: Spring Only


Politics and Ethics

Political philosophers have debated questions about justice, power, freedom, and community throughout history. Modern thinkers have added a concern with individualism, rights and equality. Our goals in this class will be both to appreciate the complexity of various classic texts and to use them to illuminate enduring political problems and contemporary ethical issues. The current political landscape will serve as a fitting backdrop by which to test long-held and debated theories about the state of nature, the nature of the state, the relationship between means and ends, and the role of ethics in politics.

  • Credits: Full Credit
  • Open To: I, II
  • Prerequisites: U.S. History: Themes in Modern America
  • School Level: Upper School
  • Term Offered: Fall Only


Power: Global Issues in the Modern World

Power, derived from the Latin "posse", or "be able," plays a role in all academic disciplines and in all aspects of both individual and communal life. While neither positive nor negative in a vacuum, power almost universally is exerted with value-laden goals and implications. This course will explore the psychological, sociological, philosophical, and practical meanings and functions of power in global politics, economics, and business. Our explorations will intersect with issues of gender, race, religion, wealth, human rights, and environmental resources. After learning from the work of Foucault, Nietzsche, Weber, and others, students will craft a class definition of power to be used for the remainder of the course; combine it with an understanding of inequality (definition provided); and ultimately apply this framework through a challenging culminating project. Each Power and Inequality Analysis will rely heavily on solid data and statistics, demonstrate original analysis, and propose actionable steps toward redressing the inequality in question.

  • Credits: Full Credit
  • Open To: I, II
  • School Level: Upper School
  • Term Offered: Spring Only


Leisure and Competition in American History and Culture

This course examines topics in American culture and history via the lens of sport. The course stems from three guiding questions: (1) How has the definition and role of sport in America changed over time? (2) How has sport shaped constructions of class, gender, race and sexual orientation? (3) How does sport influence American culture in the present day? After surveying the history of sport, students will design and complete individual projects on sport and contemporary culture. The course will conclude with student exhibitions of their findings.

  • Credits: Full Credit
  • Open To: I, II
  • School Level: Upper School
  • Term Offered: Spring Only


Who am I? Seminar in Family History

This course is a research seminar in family history. The course will begin with students researching and constructing family trees. Students will then design and complete projects based on the intersection of their family trees with specific historical events or developments. The course will conclude with student exhibitions of their findings.

  • Credits: Full Credit
  • Open To: I, II
  • School Level: Upper School
  • Term Offered: Fall Only