This year, Dr Rebecca Raynor and I have had the privilege of rolling out a brand new history course at St Stephen’s. ‘City of Rome 2’ is conceived as the second part in a two-year sequence, from grades 9 to 10, covering the Ancient and Early Modern periods. It has replaced the old ‘Roman Topography’ and ‘Med-Ren’ classes familiar to St. Stephen’s students for decades. This course, the fruit of years of planning by the Classics and History departments, gives St Stephen's students the unique opportunity of exploring their native or adopted city up close, first hand, and in a fresh perspective.
Through four units, each a single marking period long, we approach Ancient and Early Modern Rome in context, using the methods and concepts of Geography, Economics, History, and Art History. The units correspond to the four subjects students will select among for group 3 of the IB (note: we do not offer IB Geography at SSS, but Environmental Systems and Society). Students are assessed using standards-based criteria modeled on those used by the IB. Students engage in individual and collaborative learning activities, such as mapping, material culture analysis, source criticism, mock trials, and essay writing. Each marking period has one summative project, which students undertake in steps through formative work and feedback. The aim is to develop research skills, critical analysis, and argumentation from evidence, all invaluable to success in the IB.