Social Studies Department

We guide our students to become informed, responsible citizens of both their immediate communities and the world. Boys come to understand and embrace different perspectives through an immersive curriculum, which helps them cultivate a more nuanced awareness of issues we face today and the demands of a rapidly evolving future. Students explore how and why cultures flourish, especially when confronted with great adversity. They research key cultural conflicts that have shaped American society, learn about the geopolitical structure of the modern Middle East through immersive case studies of citizen accounts, and hone digital news literacy skills such as verifying online sources and dissecting media bias. In each grade, they embark on engaging experiential learning trips with their teachers and classmates to further bring to life the concepts, problem-solving opportunities, and interpersonal dispositions they will need in order to be informed citizens and effective agents of change as they move through their lives.

Fifth grade social studies investigates the cultures of ancient Greece, ancient Mexico, and the events surrounding our American Revolution through the study of history and geography, as well as the use of historical novels, non-fiction books, mythology, research projects, and field trips. Our students seek to understand how these cultures are both different and similar, while discovering what can be learned from the past and understood in the context of the modern world. 

Sixth graders develop the overall skills required to establish a framework for future verbal, reading, writing, and research challenges. The class travels through the history of the United States from the birth of a nation to contemporary times. Sixth grade provides students with a thematic based approach to America’s past, understanding the rationales, histories, and perspectives of America, what makes it different, and what role it plays in the world at large. Students will understand their own personal relationship within the context of American history. Our spring trip to Dearborn, MI centers on the themes of ingenuity and invention which echoes the US Industrial Revolution. Boys participate in a culminating project in which they create a new product or improve an existing one, construct prototypes, and pitch them Shark Tank style.
In World Geography, seventh graders develop an understanding of the world in which we live by exploring the physical and human characteristics of peoples, places, and environments. The design of this course focuses on themes such as geographical regions, resources, political and economic systems, population, and religion. Each theme begins with addressing basic concepts and skills, progressively advances to more complex topics within the theme, and culminates with age-appropriate case studies. Students examine the themes through a geographic lens and how those themes impact daily lives and influence certain types of systems. Students are exposed to the geographer’s toolbox, including geographic information systems, maps, and data expressed through graphs and charts, and the identification of countries, capitals, and major physical features of six continents. In the spring, the boys apply concepts and main ideas from the year to complete a culminating project on place and identity.

In eighth grade, the global citizenship course challenges students to consider their own identity and their universe of obligation. Students learn to think critically about the complex forces that shape our world and discover what they can do to understand and resolve important global issues. Through case studies in contemporary issues of justice, media, and environment, students develop a more nuanced understanding of controversial topics and hone their skills in digital news literacy and media bias detection. Course units are built around a sequence of investigating the world around us, recognizing and appreciating the perspectives of others, communicating with diverse audiences, and taking action in a meaningful way. Most importantly, this course is about students listening generously, speaking truthfully, and choosing wisely.

Social Studies Chair

List of 1 members.

  • Photo of Bridgette Nadzam-Kasubick

    Mrs. Bridgette Nadzam-Kasubick 

    Director of Global Citizenship, Middle School Social Studies Chair, World Geography Teacher
    216-321-8260 x8281

Shaker Heights Campus

20701 Brantley Road
Shaker Heights, Ohio 44122
Phone: 216-321-8260

Hunting Valley Campus

2785 SOM Center Road
Hunting Valley, Ohio 44022
GRADES 9 – 12
Phone: 216-831-2200
University School serves over 850 boys in Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12 on two campuses in suburban Cleveland, Ohio. The School’s mission is to inspire boys of promise to become young men of character who lead and serve. Dedicated faculty, rigorous curriculum, and experiential programs foster intellectual, physical, creative, and moral excellence. University School is a diverse and inclusive community where each boy is known and loved. 
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