Social Studies

Social Studies Course Offerings:

Course Sequence:

Grade 7:                   World Geography
Grade 8:                   Civics
Grade 9:                   United States and World History I
Grade 10:                 United States and World History II

Grade 11:                 United States and World History III or

Advanced Placement United States History

Grades 11 & 12:     Electives (seniors given priority)

Required Courses:

237     World Geography

Students will study the physical geography of the world outside of the United States and North America and its impact on the lives of people throughout the world. Students will acquire the skills and utilize the tools of geographers as they learn how to conduct geographic inquiry.  In doing so, they will learn how to ask geographic questions, acquire geographic information, organize geographic information, analyze geographic information…and then answer the geographic questions they have posed, always supporting their answers with substantial geographic evidence.

The following concepts are at the heart of each section of the World Geography course:

.         The World in Spatial Terms

·         Places and Regions

·         Physical Systems

·         Human Systems

·         Environment and Society

·         The Uses of Geography

238     Civics in Action

The focus of the course is on:

  • building students’ mastery of challenging subject matter in civics and government
  • preparing students for responsible citizenship; and
  • involving students in civic action projects that promote and demonstrate good citizenship, community service, and personal responsibility. 

The content is focused on developing and practicing essential citizenship skills (e.g., critical reading, discussion, debate, writing, collaboration, and decision-making) through the active exploration of a range of issues and ideas that are important to our local and national community and interesting to students.  Major topics of study will include: Citizenship, Voting, The Constitution, The Bill of Rights, Civil Rights, Foreign Policy and Criminology

251     United States and World History I

United States and World History I is a study of major world events between the 15th and the 19th Century, with special emphasis on the creation of the United States. During the first semester, students will understand the causes and impacts of European colonization of the Americas.  Topics will include the global economy before 1492, encounters between Europeans and Native Americans, the growth of slavery and the slave trade, and the Protestant Reformation and the settling of the thirteen British colonies in North America.  The second semester will focus on the theme of government and revolution.  Major topics of study will include the Enlightenment and the American Revolution, the creation of the U.S. Constitution and the slavery contradiction, and the comparison of revolutions in France, Latin America, and Haiti.

252     United States and World History II

United States and World History II investigates key aspects of 19th century industrialization and imperialism, the creation of the United States, its similarities and differences with other nation-states, and the role of the United States in the world by the turn of the 20th century. The course uses central themes in United States and world history as organizing principles: creation of communities, development of states and/or empires, evolution of belief systems, expansion of technology, extension of constitutional theories, and globalization of exchange and contact. Case studies from different regions of the world will be used to illustrate a particular theme in different historical periods and demonstrate connections, comparisons, and conflicts in the world. Examples will be used to understand events from multiple perspectives by using primary and secondary source materials.

Major topics of study will include: Brief review of early 19th century US, 1stIndustrial Revolution, Growth of Western Democracies, US Westward Expansion, Social Reforms in the Antebellum Period           1848 Revolutions in Europe, US Sectionalism & Civil War, European Nationalism, US Reconstruction, The Gilded Age,  Immigration, 2nd Industrial Revolution, US and European Imperialism

253     United States and World History III

U.S. and World History III focuses on the development of the United States in the 20th century and its similarities and differences with other nation-states in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas. Major topics of study will include, but are not limited to: the World Wars and the Cold War, the Russian and Chinese Revolutions, the 1920’s and the Great Depression, post WWII social and economic trends, civil rights and student movements, the technological revolution, globalization and the world since the fall of communism and 9/11. In each case students will examine and understand events from multiple perspectives using both primary and secondary source materials.

Electives:

271     Advanced Placement United States History
Prerequisite:  See AP Protocol Sheet

Advanced Placement U.S. History is a college level survey of United States History from European colonization to the present.  The course uses both a chronological and thematic approach to the study of United States history with emphasis on political, social and economic history.  Goals of the class include familiarizing students with all aspects of United States history, developing their analytical, organizational and writing skills and preparing the class for the Advanced Placement exam which is administered in May

A variety of instructional strategies will be employed throughout the year.  Teaching and learning will be both teacher and student centered.  Class assignments will include discussion and note taking, maps, graphic organizers, timelines, readings with discussion and/or questions, individual and group projects, student presentations, art observation and analysis, videos, music and guest presentations.  In addition, field trips to sites directly related to the curriculum will highlight and support student understanding.  Community resources will be employed to take the learning experience outside the classroom.  In addition, technology is infused throughout the curriculum through use of software prepared specifically for the course, www.turnitin.com and the College Board web site.

Due to the large amount of content covered throughout the year, a great deal of independent work is required for success in this course.  It is virtually impossible to cover all of the content in depth during class time.  As a result, students will require a great deal of self-discipline to make sure they stay on top of reading assignments, outlines and projects.   This will help students prepare for the AP exam, and also expose them to the type of learning they will experience at the university or college level.  Students are encouraged to seek extra help on a regular basis and to supplement required readings on their own.

All students enrolled in this course are required to take the Advanced Placement Exam in May.

272     Advanced Placement European History
Prerequisite:  See AP Protocol Sheet

Advanced Placement European History is a college level survey of European History from 1450 to the present.  The course uses both a chronological and thematic approach to the study of European history from the Renaissance to the European Union with emphasis on intellectual, cultural, political, social and economic history. Goals of the class include familiarizing students with all aspects of European history, developing their analytical, organizational, writing and technology. A variety of instruction is employed including lecture and discussion, primary source reading, observations and analysis, group work, projects and presentations.  In addition, art, media and technology are infused throughout the curriculum .Students interested in enrolling in the course should have a strong background in United States and world history, good reading and writing skills and an interest in art and using technology to support teaching and learning.

All students enrolled in this course are required to take the Advanced Placement Exam in May.

273     Advanced Placement United States Government and Politics
Prerequisite:  See AP Protocol Sheet

This course explores the political theory and practice that direct the daily operation of our government and shape our public policies. The course is taught on a college level and requires a substantial amount of reading and preparation for every class. The objectives of this course go beyond a basic analysis of how our government “works.” Students will develop a critical understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the United States’ political system, as well as their rights and responsibilities as citizens. In order to have a better understanding of the United States system, students will also gain insights into other governmental systems. In so doing students will have a deeper understanding of United States government by having the opportunity to compare the United States government to the governments of other nation-states. Since this course will be taught during an entire school year instead of a semester, as it suggested by the College Board, these comparative elements will allow students to understand the United States government and politics within a global framework.

Major topics will include:  The Role and Kind of Governments, the Expectations of Democracy, and the Potential for Human Rights, Constitutional Underpinnings of United States Government,      Political Beliefs and Behaviors, Political Parties, Interest Groups, and Mass Media, Institutions of National Government, Public Policy, Civil Liberties and Civil Rights, Inquiry Project: Simulation at Tufts University's Institute for Global Leadership. After the AP exam. students will have the opportunity to choose a topic in a civic engagement project: school, city, state, national, international level.

All students enrolled in this course are required to take the Advanced Placement Exam in May.

274     Advanced Placement Microeconomics
Prerequisite:  See AP Protocol Sheet

Advanced Placement Microeconomics is a college level survey course of the principal concepts and theories of microeconomics. At the beginning of the year, students will examine what economics is and what questions it attempts to answer.  Students will analyze the development of key economic systems and the role they have played historically and in the current world.  We will study the dawn of the modern market system and the ideas of key economic philosopher Adam Smith.  Students will learn to think like economists by understanding how decisions are made and how markets and the government can impact our lives.  Students will learn important foundational concepts such as scarcity, tradeoffs, and opportunity cost.  We will apply these concepts to learn about economic models related to trade.  From there, students will study the model of supply and demand and apply this model to additional concepts like price controls, elasticity, and taxes.  Students will then move to gain an understanding of how consumers make decisions that will maximize their happiness and how producers make decisions about how to maximize their profit using marginal analysis.  Students will learn about how a market’s structure impacts individual firm’s decision-making and how the role of other firms in a market affects price and quantity.  Later, students will examine how the impact of another person’s actions can inadvertently affect our own lives, the types of goods that are available in society, and how the government plays a role in the economy.  Finally, students will also review the benefits and costs of international trade.  Significant time will be spent on creating and analyzing graphical models.  Some basic math skills are necessary for this purpose; however, no calculators are permitted on the AP exam in May.  Students will demonstrate their learning through daily “Do Now’s,” class participation, homework assignments, quizzes, and end of unit exams.  Students will strengthen their analytical skills in order to prepare them for future learning at the collegiate level.

Major topics will  include: Scarcity, tradeoffs, and opportunity cost, Economic models: Circular flow and PPF,  Trade: comparative & absolute advantage    Product markets: supply and demand , Consumer choice theory, Production and costs of the firm,  Firm behavior and market structure, Factor markets, Market failure & the role of government, International trade

All students enrolled in this course are required to take the Advanced Placement Exam in May.

25A    World Cultures (a/k/a “We and They – Globalization and the Human           Condition via Service Learning & Critical Dialogue)

This course focuses on issues of class, race, gender, social inequalities and globalization in the world and how our choices as a nation (government, military, corporations, political parties, non-governmental agencies, social classes and individuals impact the lives of different social groups across the globe: past and present. Some of the major topics will include race relations and the connection between race and poverty in the United States, the Caribbean and Brazil, what and who causes terrorism and the connection between “Itoys” (IPhones, IPods, etc…) demand in the United States and the poor working conditions in China and whether demand or supply is a more powerful voice in terms of dictating our own morals.

This course attempts to break the imaginary lines (borders) that divide our globalized, but divided world into nation-sates and establish the “we” vs. “them” attitude and stereotypes which lead to great indifference, such as the lack of mobilization in the United States against the brutal chemical attacks that took place in Syria and the sad an unnecessary murder of young black men and the fact that the United States leads the world in prison population.

This course requires college-level writing and has a mandatory community service component.

55B    Big History

Big History is an interdisciplinary course that looks at 13.8 billion years of history – from the Big Bang to modernity – with a goal of revealing common themes and patterns that help students better understand people, civilizations, and our place in the Universe. The course is a way for us to collaborate beyond typical history and science courses that present content separately, as well as to connect with a movement of Big Historians – scholars and teachers -- who have been developing this course at numerous other schools in the world over the last six years. It works to weave evidence and insights from many different disciplines into a single, cohesive science-based origin story. In so doing it encourages students to use different lenses to understand the past and the present, including artistic, environmental, ethical, historical, philosophical, scientific, and technological perspectives. It provides a foundation for thinking about the future and the changes that are reshaping our world. It challenges students to think critically and broadly and tries to ignite a passion for inquiry. Access to a wide variety of learning resources encourages exploration. Students practice critical reading and writing skills through investigations, projects, and activities, and gain a strong interdisciplinary foundation, which provides a useful context for understanding world events in the past and present.

Elective Course Offered in Past Years

25B    Introduction to Law
Full Year Course

The primary objective of this course is to expose students to a broad range of legal issues, including those that are applicable to their everyday lives. At the conclusion of this course, students should have an understanding of their legal rights and responsibilities, a working knowledge of common legal issues and concepts, and have the ability to analyze, evaluate, and, in some situations, resolve legal disputes.

Major topics include: 1) Introduction to Law and the Legal System; 2) Criminal Law and Juvenile Justice; 3) Torts (Civil Law); 4) Consumer, Corporate and Housing Law; 5) Family Law; 6) Constitutional Law (individual rights and liberties)

25D    Law II / Mock Trial
Full Year Course

The primary objective of this course is to develop the reading, writing, critical thinking and oral advocacy skills of students through case/issue analysis (with an emphasis on Constitutional Law) and their participation in various debates, discussions and mock trials, including the Massachusetts Bar Association’s annual interscholastic mock trial competition.

Major topics include: 1) Kinds of Laws; 2) Trial Techniques 3) Mock Trials (Historical and MBA Trials); 4) Constitutional Law/Rights in the Community (Freedom of Speech/Press/Religion, Due Process, Right to Privacy, Discrimination, Rights/Responsibilities in the workplace); 5) Moot Court/Debates.

25K     Economics
Full Year Course and Semester/Half Year Course

Economics is designed to allow students to gain an understanding and working knowledge of the U.S. market society and how it functions. The students construct a model of a market society.  They study consumers and business, and their interaction.  Government is added to the model to examine its function in a market system.  The students learn how to graph economic information.  Each Federal Reserve board meeting is evaluated to determine how the federal policies affect the market.  The class participates in a 10-week stock market competition sponsored by the Boston Globe.  Students invest competition dollars based on their economic evaluation of the existing market conditions.  Investment knowledge is applied to the real estate market.

25N    Sociology
Full Year Course and Semester/Half Year Course

Sociology is the scientific study of social structure (human social behavior). In this course, students will examine the principles concepts and methods that comprise the scientific study of sociology.  Major topics will include the various forms of social structure, the role of cultural diversity in a society; the role of the economy and politics in society; the role of education and religion in society; the changing family structure, and the importance of how the individual works within societal groupings.

25P     Contemporary Global Issues, 1968-Present
Semester/Half Year Course

This course will investigate contemporary issues by looking at cases in Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe and focus on peoples’ attempts to have control in their communities.  We will consider changing definition of communities as people see to solve problems relating to access to adequate food, health care, and other life’s necessities and to overcome unfair systems that have led to injustice, overpopulations, and political corruption.  Major topics include:  the revolutions of 1968 and the creation of both local and global communities, the globalization of the economy, revolutions of 1989, a comparison of life in capitalist and post-communist societies, the mal distribution of resources at the beginning of the 21stcentury, and the relationship between Christian and Islamic societies.  Students will participate in a Model United Nations simulation as a culminating activity.

257     African American History
Full Year Course and Semester/Half Year Course

In this course, students will examine the history of African-Americans from the earliest beginnings in Africa to the current status of African Americans in the United States.  Emphasis will be placed on the political, economic and cultural contributions of African-Americans in America.  Topics will include Africa’s history, geography and culture, tribalism, the slave trade, slave revolts and abolitionism, the Civil War and its aftermath, Reconstruction, segregation, the struggle for a “dream”, and the legacies of African-American leaders politics, society, and culture.

259     Latin American History
Semester/Half Year Course

This course will investigate Latin American history, from ancient civilizations to the present.  Students will decide on topics to be studied in a global context, with a strong focus on research, analysis and writing skills.  Discussions, debates, and simulations will be major learning methods in this class.  Major topics:  the growth, evolution and collapse of indigenous civilizations; the arrival of European explorers and the notion of “discovery”; European conquest and colonization; slavery; world economics; revolutions, independence and nation building; imperialism; the “Banana” Republics, Latin American culture and society, and contemporary issues and challenges in the 21st century.