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Curricular Integration

We teach the way we live - creating impact and relevance.

The world doesn’t come divided into subjects or content areas, and young people need to understand its interconnected nature in order to succeed. At Pacific Ridge, our academic and co-curricular programs promote connections between and beyond traditional disciplines in a way that adds depth, breadth and purpose to learning. Subject-based courses are carefully designed so they align and intersect with other disciplines throughout the year. Students reflect on big ideas while seated at the Harkness table, then expand their learning and put it into practice through our service learning and global education programs.

Examples of Integration in Action

List of 4 items.

  • Middle School Integration: Reaching Across Disciplines

    Example: 8th-grade students in American Studies and the arts program Photography class create Civil War hybrid portraits, using Photoshop to seamlessly blend their faces into period portraits from the mid-1800’s. Each student researches the era and writes a fictional biography or diary entry for their invented historical subject.
  • Upper School Integration: Multi-faceted Inquiries

    Example: Students in AP Environmental Science and Post-Colonial African History participate in a study of big game hunting, game conservation and environmental ethics. In this co-taught unit, students examine these issues from several angles, including the effects of human displacement from large reservations, tourism and other economic influences, subsistence living and environmental impact.
  • Service Learning: Community Context

    Two examples of the many service learning groups that apply academic learning out in the world are Alternative Energy Sources and Lingo Online:

    • Alternative Energy Sources uses chemistry to seek green solutions, including synthesizing biodiesel to help power school events, such as the Spring Arts Festival.
    • Students in Lingo Online develop relationships with other cultures by teaching English via video chat to students in Korea.
  • Global Travel: Worldly Perspectives

    During year-end global travel students learn by immersing themselves in an unfamiliar culture or location. Integrated by nature, the travel programs are also thematically designed to incorporate concepts from multiple courses in the curriculum.

    Examples include:

    • Overcoming Entrenched Political Conflict in Northern Ireland: Students travel to Northern Ireland to study the area’s long-lasting conflict and the challenges of developing an enduring peace. This trip addresses issues studied in Middle East Diplomacy, the Model United Nations Club, the Hands of Peace service learning group, and others.
    • South Africa & Post-Colonialism: Students travel to Cape Town and other areas of South Africa to meet with residents, explore a game preserve and work at a township homeless shelter This class addresses issues studied in Post-Colonial African History, AP Environmental Science, Ethical Thinking in Society, Policy and Law, and the New Haven Night Shelter service learning group, among others.

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STEAM

STEAM combines the disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics to promote innovative thinking and problem-solving skills. Pacific Ridge offers both year-long and trimester-long STEAM electives, giving students the opportunity to explore the convergence of these fields, often in a project-based, problem-solving format. (examples: Middle School: Photoscience, Making Music; Upper School: The Tiny House, Nanotechnology and Video Game Design)