Outdoor School – Global Studies

Monmouth County Private School – Global Studies

Global Studies

Bringing the Learning Outside

From the age of the American Empire, through the class struggle, and up to the war on terror, this class will begin where last year’s Human Nature class left off supported by A Young People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn, as a general outline of American History. Zinn will give our students the progressive and insightful perspective of history that is typically not found in traditional textbooks. We will use each chapter in the book to study where we have come from, where we are and where we are going as a culture and as a nation. Howard Zinn’s book will be supplemented in our class with outdoor lessons, culture study, global comparisons, related literature and writing assignments.


The students will:

  • study American History while comparing events that have happened in America to current events both within the U.S. and around the globe.
  • use the outdoors to study history through nature by playing games, reading, journaling, writing and role playing.
  • view American history through a progressive and interesting lense.
  • finish reading A Young People’s History of the United States, Vol. 1 by Howard Zinn.
    • Analyze the age of imperialism and the American Empire.
      • understand the idea of value and the different types of value
      • investigate what it means to trade and be a part of a market
      • define their own values
  • begin reading A Young People’s History of the United States, Vol. 2 by Howard Zinn.
    • interpret the idea of classes and the struggles of the classes that have shaped our culture and country.
      • learn about the progressive movement and socialism.
    • learn about WWI and what caused the first great war.
      • study the idea of alliances
      • create their own countries and use them to interact with each other, bringing up topics of trade, alliances, treaties and globalization
    • study the hard times of the great depression and the roaring twenties.
      • use jazz and music to enlighten their views of an earlier time.
      • take a field trip to the Tenement Museum in New York City
    • summarize WWII and the events leading up to the second great war.
      • summarize the war as a global conflict that had an effect on many nations
      • study the history of Japanese-Americans and the treatment they received during the war
      • investigate the dropping of the atomic bombs by the U.S. on Japan
        • write from the perspective of the U.S. President and add their personal views of the decision to drop the atomic bomb
      • understand the political science spectrum and use historical figures to study different governments and the differences between communism and fascism.
      • learn about the Cold War and the feeling of fear it generated among Americans.
        • use the tactic of Di-Hydrogen Mon-Oxide (DHMO.org) as a way to understand the idea of created fear.
      • study one significant person (per student) during the Cold War
    • investigate the Civil Rights movement and look at how it has inspired others to stand up for equality.
    • Investigate the Vietnam War and the opposition to it
      • Focus on popular protest songs written during the time
      • Simulate the leaking of the Pentagon Papers, which exposed the truth about the war


Up to Project Weeks, we have covered four chapters of A Young People’s History of the United States and will begin with World War II after winter break. Using role plays, videos, art, outside readings, research assignments, games, and a November trip to the Tenement Museum in New York City, we have broken down such complex themes as socialism, capitalism, war, immigration and international relations.

Major projects have included independent research on a ‘muckraker,’ which could be modern or historical, a simulation where students ‘worked’ for wages in the early 20th century American industrial context, and the creation of an original country, which was then used to study the concepts of trade and diplomacy, leading to official treaties being developed and signed in a simulation. Students also developed their own theory on how the USS Maine sank in the late 19th century based on independent research.

History of the United States outdoor school Global studies voyagers community school

History Discussions

Discussions have covered everything from workers’ rights and capitalism to the causes of World War I and other major historical events.  Students created their own original piece of propaganda to promote a cause of their choosing after studying real propaganda from World War I. They also engaged in an outdoor simulation of the 1929 stock market crash.

Upon returning to school after the holiday break, students began with the study of WWII, where the focus was more on the United States’s war with Japan than the typical focus on the Nazis. Students discussed the momentous and fateful decision to drop the atomic bomb on Japan.

Moving on to the Cold War, students completed a major research project. They chose an individual (Truman, Stalin, etc.) involved in the Cold War, wrote a paper, or otherwise explained his significance in detail, and produced a visual representation to be hung up on the wall from left to right depending on the individual’s political ideology, from Communism to Fascism.

Then, students read about the Civil Rights Movement and saw illustrations of the sit-ins and other examples of nonviolent action in John Lewis’s March. Students then applied MLK’s principles of nonviolence to historical examples and simulated what it would be like to be a nonviolent protester.

Finally, students learned the significance of the Vietnam War, which led to an outpouring of anti-war sentiment and suspicion of government. They listened to famous protest songs and simulated the 1969 release of the Pentagon Papers, which exposed the truth about the war.

*Also see blog entries

A Young People’s History of the United States, Vol. 1 by Howard Zinn
A Young People’s History of the United States, Vol. 2 by Howard Zinn

Trade and Value Lesson

Oliver Stone Documentary

World War II Summary Video

Howard Zinn Interview

Civil Rights Timeline

Teaching the “n-word”


Civil Rights


TEACHER: Lucas Kelly