Kindergarten students show %22snap words%22 in Humanities class

The humanities program at MTS gives students an opportunity to discover the cultural richness of our world while promoting values of personal and social responsibility. By celebrating differences and recognizing similarities, students learn to look beyond themselves and value the contributions and perspectives of others.

Lower School girl smiles at another student across the table in class.

In the younger grades, we focus on the individual, familial, and local community, and gradually expand to the study of California, America, world history and geography. As students mature, the curriculum evolves into a broader view of global culture and more nuanced historical perspective. Critical thinking and study skills are emphasized to better understand the past, present, and future.

Across all grade levels, we use a variety of methods to introduce, explore, enhance, and reinforce content. These include discussion, role-play, reading source material and related literature, debate, lecture, art and music activities, and field trips. Through individual and small-group work, students are encouraged to take initiative and responsibility for their own learning. 

Scroll down to read about our humanities program by grade, and explore project highlights from Lower School and Middle School.


Humanities by Grade

Humanities Project Highlights

Every year students engage in project based learning and field trips connected to their interests and that year’s school-wide theme, providing students opportunities to infuse the curriculum with their own voice and choice, as well as demonstrate learning in ways that are creative, connected, and meaningful to them. In the past, experiences have included a third grade Water Cycle Play, Green Screen projects, a 4th grade overnight on one of California’s historic ships, a 5th grade science and nature trip to the Marin Headlands, 6th grade's "Big Dig" archeology project and "Greek Festival," 7th grade's “Race to Damascus,” and the great “Geography Bee” contest, for all sixth through eighth grade students. 

Bringing Words to Life

During the second grade vocabulary project based learning unit, Whitney O’Keefe and Anastassia Radeva joined forces and asked students the driving question: “How can you use everyday materials to bring words to life in an extraordinary way?”

  • Lower School Projects
Read More about Bringing Words to Life
Community Market

As part of the first grade social studies unit on communities and as a way to explore what it is like to be a member of a town/city community, first graders are given the opportunity to open their own “stores.”

  • Lower School Projects
Read More about Community Market
4th grader showing a kindergartner his Native American Project

As part of the fourth grade humanities Native American cultures unit, Megan Kukendall and Rachael Olmanson asked fourth grade students the driving question: “What would a modern museum of California and Native Amercians history look like and why?”

  • Lower School Projects
Read More about Cultural Museum
Middle School Students compete to move on to the National Geographic Bee

Every year our 6th-8th graders participate in our Geography Bee, competing against one another to earn the chance to represent the school at the California National Geographic State Bee.

  • Middle School Projects
Read More about Geography Bee

Animal Farm introduces 8th grade students to the concept of propaganda, how the farm’s rulers, the pigs, use misleading and manipulative information to support their rule. After reading and discussing the novel, students explore the difference between propaganda and advertising. 

  • Middle School Projects
Read More about Propaganda
6th Graders working on a group project for social studies

In this time-honored 6th grade social studies ancient world history project, students develop an understanding of different cultures and the way that humans construct history from incomplete data by creating and deciphering their own invented civilizations.

  • Middle School Projects
Read More about The Big Dig
3rd Graders performing in the Water Cycle Play

Suzanne Beard, Lower School Science Teacher, led students in a PBL initiative wherein students wrestled with the driving question, “How can we improve our understanding of the Water Cycle?”

  • Lower School Projects
Read More about Water Cycle Play