Social Studies Course Sequence & Descriptions

US History

(Fulfills freshmen social studies requirement)

U. S. History provides a vehicle to explore what it means to be an American by studying the people and events that shaped U.S. history, from the Colonial Period to the end of the nineteenth century with the emergence of the U.S. as a world power. Students will learn specific concepts and skills, and form a fundamental understanding of United States history and how that history connects with the rest of the world.

The course will integrate approaches from the other social sciences such as economics, geography, political science, anthropology, psychology and sociology. It teaches students how to ask critical questions about the past and it helps them seek their own answers. It also develops students’ literacy, analytical thinking and communication skills through the study of primary and secondary sources and the sharing of interpretations with peers and teachers.

Honors (or Pre-AP) United States History

(Fulfills freshmen social studies requirement)

Honors U.S. History course provides a vehicle to explore what it means to be an American by studying the people and events that shaped U. S. history, from the Colonial Period to the end of the nineteenth century with the emergence of the U.S. as a world power. Students will become adept at expressing and interpreting information and ideas, recognizing and investigating problems, formulating and proposing solutions that supported by reason and evidence, learning and contributing productively as individuals and members of groups, and recognizing and applying connections of important information and ideas. Students will learn specific concepts and skills, and form a fundamental understanding of United States history and how that history connects with the rest of the world.

The course will integrate approaches from the other social sciences such as economics, geography, political science, anthropology, psychology and sociology. It teaches students how to ask critical questions about the past and it helps them seek their own answers. It also develops students’ literacy, analytical thinking and communication skills through the study of primary and secondary sources and the sharing of interpretations with peers and teachers.

World Studies

(Fulfills sophomore social studies requirement)

The World Studies course is a thematic class that allows students to better comprehend the peoples, ideas, and forces that have shaped world history and analyze the elements of culture that influence the global society in which they live. They will look back at the achievements, shortcomings, significant events, and conflicts in various cultures. By looking back, students will develop a greater appreciation for all elements of all cultures, but will also understand how cultures and individuals have interacted to shape history. The class also acts as a vehicle to explore various belief systems, historical events, geographical regions, societies, and civilizations. Students will develop the ability to interpret and express ideas, recognize and investigate problems, formulate solutions, and learn to work independently and as a group member. Students will also be expected to learn current world geography in order to help them understand current as well as historical events and the role that proximity in the interaction of various peoples.

Students will practice their reading comprehension and note-taking skills, aligned with the AVID Cornell notes format. In preparation for Documents-Based Question Essays, students will be introduced to primary source analysis as well as lessons that address critical thinking skills. Students will also be introduced to primary & secondary source analysis using primary documents, artifacts, historical maps, political cartoons, & photographs. Additionally, students will learn how to format an essay and develop a strong argument. All student writing samples will be assessed with the College Board Essay Rubric relating to the Comparative Essay.

Honors (or Pre-AP) World Studies

(Fulfills sophomore social studies requirement)

The World Studies course is a thematic class that allows students to better comprehend the peoples, ideas, and forces that have shaped world history and analyze the elements of culture that influence the global society in which they live. They will look back at the achievements, shortcomings, significant events, and conflicts in various cultures. By looking back, students will develop a greater appreciation for all elements of all cultures, but will also understand how cultures and individuals have interacted to shape history. The class also acts as a vehicle to explore various belief systems, historical events, geographical regions, societies, and civilizations. Students will develop the ability to interpret and express ideas, recognize and investigate problems, formulate solutions, and learn to work independently and as a group member. Students will also be expected to learn current world geography in order to help them understand current as well as historical events and the role that proximity in the interaction of various peoples.

Students will practice their reading comprehension and note-taking skills, aligned with the AVID Cornell notes format. Students will be introduced to primary source analysis as well as lessons that address critical thinking skills. Students will also be introduced to primary & secondary source analysis using primary documents, artifacts, historical maps, political cartoons, & photographs. Additionally, students will learn how to format an essay and develop a strong argument. All student writing samples will be assessed with the College Board Essay Rubrics relating to three essay types: Comparative, Document-based Inquiry, and Change and Continuity over Time.

Juniors are required to choose one of the following social studies electives:

Advanced Placement Psychology

(Sophomores, Juniors, & Seniors)

Advanced Placement Psychology is a year-long course meant to introduce students to the systematic and scientific study of the behavior and mental processes of human beings and animals. The course is aligned with the College Board Standards, APA standards, and the College Readiness Standards provided by ACT. Students will be responsible for learning terms and concepts associated with the field of psychology. Students will stay abreast of current research in the field. Furthermore, students will gain the skill of introspection where they will learn to look within themselves and identify various thoughts and emotions with the goal of becoming a well-balanced, healthy individual. Finally, students will learn to analyze, interpret, and evaluate human behavior. Students are expected to take the AP Psychology exam.

Advanced Placement United States History

(Fulfills freshmen social studies requirement; can be taken by sophomores, juniors, & seniors as an elective as well)

The Advanced Placement United States History course prepares students for the College Board Advanced Placed United States History exam in May. The AP U.S. History course is designed to provide students with the analytic skills and factual knowledge necessary to deal critically with the problems and materials in U.S. History. The program prepares students for intermediate and advanced college courses by making demands upon them equivalent to those made by full-year introductory college courses. Students should learn to assess historical materials—their relevance to a given interpretive problem, reliability, and importance—and to weigh the evidence and interpretations presented in historical scholarship. An AP U.S. History course should thus develop the skills necessary to arrive at conclusions on the basis of an informed judgment and to present reasons and evidence clearly and persuasively in essay format.

Advanced Placement World History

(Fulfills sophomore social studies requirement; can be taken by juniors & seniors as an elective as well)

Advanced Placement World History is a challenging 1 year course that is structured around the investigation of selected themes woven into key concepts covering distinct chronological periods. The purpose of the AP World History course is to develop greater understanding of the evolution of global processes and contacts, in interaction with different types of human societies. This understanding is advanced through a combination of selective factual knowledge and appropriate analytical skills. The course highlights the nature of changes in international frameworks and their causes and consequences, as well as comparisons among major societies. AP World History is equivalent to an introductory college survey course. The course has a three-fold purpose. First it is designed to prepare students for successful placement into higher-level college and university history courses. Second, it is designed to develop skills of analysis and thinking in order to prepare students for success in the twenty-first century. Finally, it is the intent of this class to make the learning of world history and enjoyable experience. Students will be able to show their mastery of the course goals by taking part in the College Board AP World History Exam in May.

Honors Economics

(Elective for juniors, & seniors)

The elective social science course of economics examines the allocation of scarce resources and the economic reasoning used by people as consumers, producers, savers, investors, workers, voters, and as government agencies. Key elements include the study of scarcity, supply and demand, market structures, the role of government, national income determination, money and the role of financial institutions, economic stabilization and trade. An emphasis will be made on decision making skills, analyzing visuals (graphs, tables, charts, maps), and analyzing financial information (interest rates & financial pages). Students will realize that economics has a direct impact on our lives and it has a role to play in government. They will also realize that the study of economics is too important to leave only to the experts. It should be available to all. Students will develop the ability to interpret and express ideas, recognize and investigate problems, formulate solutions, and learn to work independently and as a group member. In addition, this course is meant to foster organizational and study skills in all students.

Civics

(Elective for juniors, & seniors)

Political Science is a survey course focusing on American government, politics, and citizenship. Students will have the opportunity to experience politics and government through the Mikva Challenge and other various workshops. Students will develop the ability to interpret and express ideas, recognize and investigate problems, formulate solutions, and learn to work independently and as a group member. Various films, novels, and supplemental text are used in the course as emphasis is taken off the traditional classroom structure and placed on more experiential style learning.

Psychology

(Elective for juniors, & seniors)

Psychology is aligned with the academic standards put forth by the APA (American Psychological Association)and the College Readiness Standards provided by ACT. The course is structured similar to an introductory psychology course which would be offered at the university level. Students will be responsible for learning terms and concepts associated with the field of psychology. Students will stay abreast of current research in the field. Furthermore, students will gain the skill of introspection where they will learn to look within themselves and identify various thoughts and emotions with the goal of becoming a well-balanced, healthy individual. Finally, students will learn to analyze, interpret, and evaluate human behavior. A sample of concepts that will be studied areas follows…the human brain, sleep and dreams, emotions, stages of development, behavior, stress management, conflict resolution, disorders and therapy.