History Department

The study of history at Canterbury is a creative endeavor that asks students of all Forms to think like historians in order to make sense of the past. Students draw connections between Neolithic villages and modern cities to discover the foundations of civilization; they hold class debates to render judgment on turning points in modern European civilization; they even travel west on the Oregon Trail during the 1840s and invest in the stock market during the 1920s to experience the frame of reference of another time period through classroom simulations.

Teachers use databases, newspapers, field trips, and blogs to bring the present into the history classroom. They integrate content material with classroom activities centered on intellectual skills described below. It is these habits of mind which, when fueled by creative imagination, spark us to become active citizens prepared to participate in a democratic society. Course offerings include three AP courses, several Sixth Form electives, and core under-form courses including Foundations of Civilization, Modern European History, and U.S. History.


  • Ask relevant questions about past events through the SQ3R (survey, question, read, recite, review) reading method.
  • Interview Martin Luther, Patrick Henry, and other authors of important primary source documents to gain deeper insights into the informing events.
  • Critique your own writing by questioning the strength of your thesis, the structure of your paragraph, the support of your idea, or the conviction in your voice.


  • Access credible resources through the Copley Library to defend your argument that Columbus should not be viewed as a hero.
  • Conduct substantive historical research to find information to represent Galileo in his trial by the Church.
  • Find counter information and arguments to strengthen your persuasive essay about the South's position on slavery.


  • Assess the biases that could distort the account of a primary source journal by scrutinizing the word choice.
  • Consider the weight of the evidence presented by both sides in mock trials to determine the fate of Charles I or Louis XVI.
  • "Think 360" about a topic in order to arrive at an informed opinion necessary to interpret the past.