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Summit History 3 (Independent Study)

Summit History 3 (Independent Study)

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Quick Overview

This 3rd Grade History course traverses history from the Stone Age to the Space Age. Throughout this course, third grade students will explore the Renaissance, journey through the Age of Exploration, get to know the Maya, Aztecs, and Incas, visit civilizations in India, Africa, China, and Japan, and learn about the American Revolution and Colonial America.

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Course Overview

Continuing their investigation (spanning grades 1–4) into history from the Stone Age to the Space Age, third grade students will:

  • Explore the Renaissance, and meet Petrarch, da Vinci, Michelangelo, Gutenberg, Galileo, and more
  • Journey through the Age of Exploration with Dias, da Gama, Magellan, and more
  • Get to know the Maya, Aztecs, and Incas
  • Visit civilizations in India, Africa, China, and Japan
  • During England's Golden Age, meet Elizabeth I, Sir Walter Raleigh, and William Shakespeare
  • Explore Jamestown, Plymouth, and the thirteen colonies in Colonial America
  • Learn about the American Revolution

Course Outline

Where Do We Go from Here?

  • Learn how to use maps and other geographic representations, tools, and technologies to acquire, process, and report information from a spatial perspective
  • Learn how to analyze the spatial organization of people, places, and environments on the earth's surface
  • Understand that people create regions to interpret the earth's complexity

Background to the Renaissance

  • Define "Renaissance" as rebirth, referring to a rebirth of interest in the classical civilizations of Greece and Rome
  • Describe Greece and Rome as civilizations that valued learning, reason, and human striving and potential
  • Characterize the Middle Ages as a dangerous time and an Age of Faith
  • Identify Christianity as Europe's dominant faith
  • Describe the late Middle Ages as a time when writers, thinkers, and artists rediscovered classical models

The Italian Renaissance

  • Identify Italy (with its numerous competing city-states) as the place where the Renaissance began
  • Identify Florence, Venice, and Rome as centers of Renaissance learning
  • Recognize that artists and scholars were inspired by ancient Greece and Rome
  • Describe the Renaissance ideal of a well-rounded individual (Renaissance man)
  • Identify key figures, characteristics, and accomplishments of the Italian Renaissance

The Renaissance Elsewhere and the Reformation

  • Identify the invention of the printing press as key to the spread of Renaissance ideas and ideals
  • Recognize Italy's role in spreading Renaissance ideas to northern Europe
  • State that strong monarchs emerged in England, France, and Spain
  • Identify key artistic and scientific advances in northern Europe
  • Define the Reformation as a split within Christianity
  • Identify Martin Luther as a German monk who led the Reformation
  • Know that the Reformation created political and religious splits in Europe

Moving from One World to Another

  • Locate and identify mountain ranges around the world
  • Identify selected mountain peaks on several continents
  • Explain the purpose of the scale on a map
  • Use the scale on a map to measure the distance between places
  • Name agricultural product maps as maps that show where crops are grown and animals are raised
  • Use an agricultural product map to get information
  • Understand how to use maps and other geographic representations, tools, and technologies to acquire, process, and report information from a spatial perspective
  • Recognize the patterns and networks of economic interdependence on Earth's surface
  • Identify how physical systems affect human systems

The Age of Exploration

  • Describe the Renaissance as an age of exploration and discovery
  • List key advances in navigation that made voyages of discovery possible (for example, caravel, compass, and astrolabe)
  • Identify European motivations for voyages of discovery
  • Recognize Portugal and Spain as the leading powers of this time
  • Identify key individuals and their important voyages

The World They Found

  • Recognize that different civilizations and cultures inhabited the Americas before the arrival of Europeans
  • List the Maya, Aztecs, and Incas as three major pre-Columbian civilizations, and describe some of their skills and abilities
  • Describe the motivations of the Spanish in the New World
  • Characterize the conflict of Spanish and Native American civilizations as a clash of civilizations in which the Spanish conquered the Aztec and Inca empires
  • Identify key figures in the conflict: Moctezuma, Cortés, Atahualpa, Pizarro, and las Casas

Looking East: Ottomans and Mughals

  • Describe the Ottoman and Mughal empires as large and expanding Muslim empires during the Renaissance
  • Locate the Ottoman and Mughal empires on a map
  • Describe the Ottomans as rivals for trade and territory with European countries such as Spain and Portugal
  • Recognize Hinduism and Islam as two faiths present in India
  • Identify key places and people in the Ottoman and Mughal empires: Istanbul, Agra, the Süleymaniye mosque, the Taj Mahal, Akbar, and Shah Jahan

Africa, China, and Japan

  • Describe the growth of European trade with Africa, China, and Japan
  • Understand the impact of New World exploration on the development of a transatlantic slave trade
  • Locate the kingdoms of Benin, China, and Japan on a map
  • Recognize that both China and Japan closed themselves to the west in this period
  • Identify key places, dynasties, people, and products of the three areas: Benin, brasswork, the Niger River, Beijing, the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, the Ming Dynasty, silk and porcelain, the Tokugawa shogunate, and Francis Xavier

England's Golden Age and Beyond

  • Identify the reign of Elizabeth I as a golden age, or time of cultural and political flourishing
  • Describe England as an increasingly strong nation-state under Elizabeth I
  • Identify Spain as England's main rival
  • State that England began to explore and colonize North America
  • Identify Shakespeare as England's most famous bard
  • Recognize historic English concern for defense of liberties in quarrel with James I and the Glorious Revolution

The America They Found and Founded

  • Recognize that different cultures inhabited North America before the arrival of Europeans
  • List the Pacific Northwest, desert, Plains, and Eastern Woodland peoples as major cultures, and describe some of their skills and abilities
  • Describe various motivations of the English who came to the New World World (for example, gold, religious freedom, land, and freedom from imprisonment)
  • Explain that many people with maverick ideas came to the British colonies in North America
  • Identify key figures and events in early settlement: John Smith, Pilgrims, Puritans, William Penn, Quakers, James Calvert, Catholics, and James Oglethorpe
  • Identify the physical and human characteristics of places
  • Recognize the characteristics, distribution, and migration of human populations on the earth's surface
  • Observe the processes, patterns, and functions of human settlement
  • Understand how physical systems affect human systems
  • Learn how to apply geography to interpret the past

The American Revolution

  • Describe the North American colonies as proud of their English heritage of liberty
  • Explain that American colonists had made laws for the colonies in their own assemblies
  • Explain why American patriots believed that being taxed by Parliament was an attack on their liberty
  • Identify key events and figures in the American Revolution: Paul Revere's ride; the battle of Lexington, Concord, and Bunker Hill; the Declaration of Independence; winter at Valley Forge; French aid; Yorktown; George Washington; John Adams; and Thomas Jefferson
  • Describe the result of the American Revolution as independence from England and the formation of a modern republic

America: Present to Past

  • Discover the geography of the original thirteen colonies

Additional Information

Course Length 12 Months
Prerequisites N/A
Course Materials

Many K12 courses utilize physical materials in addition to the online content.  These materials may include the following.

Standard Kits

STANDARD kits contain K12 course materials that are required for completion of the course.  These kits include K12 authored materials and/or difficult to procure materials that a student needs to complete a course. Printed reference guides are not included in Standard kits.


CONSUMABLE kits contain only those materials from the standard kit that are intended for one time use. Families who purchase a Standard kit for Child A could later purchase a Consumable kit for Child B to complete the same course.


Offered for added convenience, ADDITIONAL kits contain easily obtained materials needed for the course which a family may already have in their home. 

Coach and/or Student Reference Guides are available for purchase with some courses.  Electronic versions of these reference guides are also available within digital courses.

Course Start Date

Independent Study Courses

Courses can be started any day for independent study courses without a teacher. Full-year courses last 12 months and semester courses last 6 months.


Courses Taught by a K12 Teacher

Courses with a teacher have designated start dates throughout Fall and Spring. Full-year courses last 10 months and semester courses last 5 months. Courses are taught by teachers in K12 International Academy. For details on start dates, click here.

Teacher Assisted This course is available in two forms: taught by a teacher or designed for independent use. This teacher-supported course is taught through K12 International Academy. It is also available as independent study, where a parent will guide the course.
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To use this course, you'll need a computer with an Internet connection.  Some courses require additional free software programs, which you can download from the Internet.

Hardware and Browsers (Minimum Recommendations)

Windows OS

  • CPU: 1.8 GHz or faster processor (or equivalent)

  • RAM: 1GB of RAM

  • Browser: Microsoft Internet Explorer 9.0 or higher, Mozilla Firefox 10.0 versions or higher, Chrome 17.0 or higher

  • At this time our users are encouraged not to upgrade to Windows 10 or Edge (the new browser)


Mac OS

  • CPU: PowerPC G4 1 GHz or faster processor; Intel Core Duo 1.83 GHz or faster processor

  • RAM: 1GB of RAM

  • Browser: Firefox 10.0 versions or higher, Chrome 17.0 or higher (Safari is not supported!)

Using  Mobile Devices with the Online School

Unfortunately, many portable devices do not support the software products required to run the Online School. These devices may include (but not limited to): Chromebooks, iPads, iPhones, iPods, Kindles, eReaders, and Andriod phones.

Internet Connections

It is highly recommended that a broadband connection be used instead of dial up.


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