World Civilizations

Why This Class

As your student approaches adulthood, you want them to understand what makes human communities flourish—and what makes them fall apart. Studying world history is one of the best ways for your student to gain that perspective. This advanced course for mature students takes them on a whirlwind trip through the story of human civilization.*

With the guidance of a mentor, students in this course investigate the driving forces behind the Agrarian, Industrial, and Information Ages. Along the way, they learn to examine competing worldviews, question assumptions, and see the world from new angles. They explore the origins of civilization by studying creation stories from various cultures, as well as scientific models including the Big Bang and evolution. Throughout the course, students identify patterns of human behavior that play out in their own daily lives.

Students emerge from this course with a new level of awareness of the human condition. They identify the ingredients needed for civilization and life to thrive and think more critically about their responsibilities in society.

Overarching Questions

What circumstances led to the creation of our planet, humanity and the first civilizations?

What is entropy and how is it overcome in the universe?

How did collective learning create the conditions for civilization to begin?

What conditions caused humanity to move from the social groupings of tribes to cities and then to empires?

What circumstances led to the creation of our contemporary world?

Reading List

Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History by David Christian

Course Details

Recommended Grade: 12th (Senior)

Prerequisites: None

Estimated Weekly Hours: 5 (Classic), 7 (Honors)

Format: Live, self-paced

Credits: 0.5

*This material can be challenging for some students, and we encourage parents to discuss syllabus questions with students throughout the semester.

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Please note that program and course descriptions, as well as reading and materials lists, are subject to change as we continuously improve our curriculum throughout the year. Book and materials lists for the upcoming school year are published in SIS mid to late June. Some courses require subscriptions e.g., Adobe software or online magazines that may not be covered by partner schools.