Department Chair: Rolf Lokke, (505) 828-3253
How do we begin to make sense of our world? Sixth graders at Albuquerque Academy start studying history by physically exploring their world. They design and make maps of places that interest them, deciding what to include and what materials to use; they imagine and build models of monuments of great people and events, explaining to their classmates what makes them worthy. They travel through eras in American history, guided by teachers who help them decode and connect the evidence that will help them understand what it was like to be alive during the time of Washington, Lincoln, or Martin Luther King Jr.
As Academy students engage in the seven-year history sequence, those kinds of hands-on, active learning experiences are interwoven with regular practice in critical reading, reflective and analytical writing, and sharing of ideas with their classmates. Along the way, they might conduct a trial of a historical figure and participate in an archaeological dig where one class creates and buries artifacts for another class of fellow eighth graders to carefully unearth and analyze. They will occasionally take on roles, such as a delegate in our sophomore Model UN conference. Our program culminates in the Senior Humanities seminar that paves the way for students to thrive in the most challenging college setting. Its four core units – on politics, ethics, race and gender studies, and theory of mind – are designed to help students develop and clarify their ideas in those fundamental areas.
Academy seniors will have addressed fundamental questions about the history of New Mexico, the United States, and the world that prepare them for the next stage in their lives. What have been societies’ dominant organizational structures and underlying values? Which elements have helped sustain people, and which ones might have undermined societies? What changes and choices have brought us to where we are today? How are we similar to or different from people in other times, and what can we learn about ourselves from that comparison? How can they use the information and the skills they have learned to make informed decisions, participate in their community, and act wisely in the world?