Social Studies Department
Social Studies’ focus is on man and the values that man has developed in building his country, culture and society. The model most often used to illustrate cultural values and social organization is the United States. However, the values of other countries in regard to politics, economics, society and morality must be studied if understanding is to increase among the various cultures of the world.
The student of social studies must be given the opportunity to discuss and debate, rather than be led to all conclusions. Therefore, reading across a number of opinions and viewpoints, referring to original sources, discussing conflicting interpretations of the facts, and reaching conclusions which the student can support with evidence that has been classified and authenticated will be the academic discipline that the Social Studies Department seeks to impart.
- World Geography
- AP Human Geography
- World History
- United States History
- American Government
- Contemporary History
- Introduction to Philosophy
- AP American Government
- Human Relations
- Family Issues
- Academic Decathlon
Stories from Social Studies
During the language unit in psychology, students take a look at the underlying psychology of language learning by examining history, motivation, memory, and the mind.
To complete the unit on learning, Psychology students spent half of a class period playing with games and memory toys. Play is powerful for children,
Student teaches Vietnamese language basics to help Psych class Student Thiên Ân ‘Lavie’ Nguyễn recently visited Susan Kelly’s Psychology class to present and teach the
Academic Decathlon (aka AcaDeca) classes toured Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery as part of their year long study of the 1960s.
WORLD GEOGRAPHY – 9 – (Sem. – 5 credits)
AP HUMAN GEOGRAPHY – 10, 11, 12 -(Yr.-10credits)*
Course Number -Sem 1: 50090
Course Number -Sem 2: 50091
This full year course will introduce students to the systematic study of patterns and processes that have shaped human understanding, use, and alteration of Earth’s surface. Students employ spatial concepts and landscape analysis to examine human social organization and its environmental consequences. Methods and tools geographers use in their science and practice will be studied.This course will meet the Social Studies elective and the World Geography requirement.
WORLD HISTORY – 10 – (Yr. – 10 credits)
This full year course is required of every sophomore. World History is an in-depth study of our global community’s past, emphasizing the people and events that changed past societies, and how these changes affect our modern society. It includes events from the Middle Ages, Renaissance, Reformation, Exploration, Political and Industrial Revolutions, the World Wars, and the formation of contemporary society.
UNITED STATES HISTORY – 11 – (Yr. – 10 credits)
This course is a chronological study of U.S. History from its beginnings until present day. This survey course emphasizes the synthesis of historical concepts and how we might learn to relate present problems to the lessons experienced by past Americans. This course is required for all juniors.
AMERICAN GOVERNMENT – 12 – (Sem. – 5 credits)
Required of all seniors not enrolled in AP American Government, this course will explore the philosophical underpinnings of our Constitution as well as the structure and responsibilities of the legislative, executive and judicial branches of the United States government. Contemporary political and policy issues will also be studied with the goal of preparing the student to be an active, informed and responsible participant in our democracy.
PSYCHOLOGY – 12 – (Sem. – 5 credits)
Students will receive a broad introduction to the science of psychology, from the history of the field and its major advances, to the latest research on topics such as perception, memory, language, and personality. The class will also explore the tools and methods psychologists use to investigate the mind in a dynamic and exciting atmosphere. This course will meet the senior Social Studies elective.
CONTEMPORARY HISTORY – 12 – (Sem. – 5 credits)
This course provides an in-depth historical analysis of the modern era, relating the culture of the time periods to the events that are significant from this time of history. This will not be a survey course of history moving from 1945 to the present. Rather, this course will tend to break topics down into areas of study and spend more time exposing students to a variety of topics. This course will meet the senior Social Studies elective.
INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY – 10, 11, 12 – (Yr. – 5 credits)
This course will introduce students to the principles of philosophical thinking with a focus on humanity. Since philosophy and critical thinking occur in language, we will use the semester to grow in our ability to engage in real discussion. Through logic we will discover what constitutes a rational argument and how to avoid fallacies; through metaphysics we will explore first principles as a way to discuss both the nature of things and how change occurs; and through ethics we will apply what we have learned to the topics of virtue, friendship, and happiness. This course will meet the Social Studies elective.
AP AMERICAN GOVERNMENT – 12 – (Sem. 2 – 5 credits)
This course is designed to help students gain a critical perspective on government and politics in the United States. It involves both the study of general concepts used to interpret American politics and the analysis of specific case studies. It also requires familiarity with the various institutions, groups, beliefs and ideas that make up the American political system. This course will fulfill the senior social studies requirement and is designed as an Advanced Placement course.
ECONOMICS – 12 – (Sem. – 5 credits)
This course will give students a greater understanding of economics ranging from the viewpoint of the individual consumer to the global economy. Students will study the law of supply and demand, forms of business, and influences on the economy, prices and competition. Students will examine current economic issues and relate them to past events and current movements in politics. This course will meet the senior Social Studies elective.
HUMAN RELATIONS – 11, 12 – (Sem. – 5 credits)
This course prepares students to understand the nature, function, and significance of human relationships within the family/individual units. This includes instruction in the concepts and principles related to various family living conditions; the establishment and maintenance of relationships; and the preparation for marriage and family life. Instruction emphasizes the uniqueness of families and individuals, the development and socialization of the individual, and meeting the needs and interest of individuals and family members. This course will meet the senior Social Studies elective.
FAMILY ISSUES – 11, 12 – (Sem. – 5 credits)
The student will develop the communication, reasoning, and coping skills necessary to resolve recurrent issues within families. Students will gain an understanding of crisis within families and the best courses of action to deal with crisis situations in a healthy and productive manner as well as develop empathy for both the individual and family unit. Students will learn about different family structures and functions and investigate the changes in the family over the past 300 years. This class will involve research into a student’s own family history to understand how economic, political and cultural changes affect families. This course will meet the senior Social Studies elective.
ACADEMIC DECATHLON – 9, 10, 11, 12 – (Yr. – 10 credits)
If this course is successfully completed during 10th, 11th, or 12th grade, it may satisfy 5 credits of Social Studies electives.
Academic Decathlon is an accelerated and intensive year-long course of study in science, social studies, math, English (literature, critical reading, and writing), art, music, speech and economics. A new theme focuses the study each year, so a student may take this course more than once. Students are encouraged to participate in at least one scrimmage the first semester. A select group of twelve students will compete in Regional, and if successful, State, and possibly National Competitions. Because students in Academic Decathlon must come from three academic levels (A, B, and C or below) as determined by selected portions of their GPA, students of varying ability and grade will be in class together. Grading standards for this course are adjusted for grade and ability. Summer reading is encouraged.