Introduction to the Renaissance and the Early Modern World

Grades 6-8

"It is better to be feared than to be loved." - Nicolo Machiavelli, in his description of the perfect Prince

"It is more honorable to be raised to a throne than to be born to one. Fortune bestows the one, merit obtains the other." - Petrarch, in his description of the ideal leader

"Here I stand, I can do no other." - Martin Luther, choosing his conscience over the Catholic Church

"In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humbler reasoning of a single individual." - Galileo

"Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God." - Benjamin Franklin

"To punish the oppressors of humanity is clemency, to forgive them is cruelty." - Robespierre

"I can no longer obey. I have tasted command, and I can not give it up." - Napoleon Bonaparte

Come and ponder important questions about service, sacrifice, power, authority, dignity, and rebellion alongside the greatest thinkers, authors, artists, and conquerors of the Renaissance and Early Modern World. This class will focus on discussion of primary texts (provided by the teacher) from poets, philosophers, theologians, and generals, as well as the study of great artwork and architecture.
Students will examine the beauty and great human achievements of the Renaissance through looking closely at paintings, sculptures, architecture, and writings of the time; the iconoclasm and creativity of the Reformation through figures such as Luther and Erasmus; revolutions in scientific thought through the likes of Galileo and Isaac Newton; and how ultimately these changes manifest themselves in political revolutions all of which reshape fundamental assumptions about how the world ought to be viewed and the place of humanity within it.
The goal of this course is to provide students with a solid foundation for understanding the Renaissance and Early Modern World, thereby giving them a framework for future studies. The ideas and themes touched upon in this course will assist students in gaining a broader appreciation and understanding of the cultures that laid the foundation for the modern world. An emphasis will be placed on developing critical thinking and writing skills as well as learning the basic geography of the regions covered in the course. Mapwork and excerpts from primary source material will be used frequently! (Primary source materials will be provided by the instructor.)
Assignments will include
·      reading and annotation of primary texts (20-30 minutes per day).  Homework may sometimes include short-answer reading questions, essay drafting, map-work, study of images and diagrams, or quizzes to check for comprehension
·      2 papers, between 1-3 pages in length depending on the age and level of the student. The instructor will provide coaching and scaffolding throughout the drafting and editing process. Each draft will receive personalized feedback. 
·      a short midterm and final exam